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March 2021

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Shit, Actually by Lindy West

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Five Stars

Best for:
Anyone who watched blockbusters from the 80s-early 2000s and enjoys a fair bit of of honest snark.

In a nutshell:
Lindy West, who started as a film critic, revisits a bunch of films and comments on them.

Worth quoting:
ARG SO MUCH

From the Harry Potter review: “Even in the moment when his whole family is being terrorized by a giant, fatboy Dudley can’t stop himself from plunging his face directly into the cake and omph momph gromph skromph. As a fat woman, this moment of cultural representation moved me deeply.”

From the Forrest Gump review: “‘My momma always said life is like a box of chock-lits. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ I mean, you mostly know. They write it on the lid.”

From the Rush Hour review (a film directed by Brett Ratner) “Unfortunately, due to the indefatigable vileness of men throughout history, sexual exploitation and abuse of power have pervaded all of our art and media, and everything is tainted and fucked!”

Why I chose it:
It’s LINDY WEST. Also MOVIES.

Review:
I don’t believe this book has been officially published in the UK. When it first came out, the only place I could theoretically find it was on a website I’d rather not use. I eventually was able to get it from a different bookseller, but it took over a month for it to arrive.

Worth the wait.

I thoroughly enjoy West’s writing. Shrill is an excellent book, and The Witches Are Coming was a great follow-up. But I love that she got a chance with Shit, Actually to just sort of … have fun. Obviously she doesn’t turn off her brain when watching these films (as evidenced by that last quote above), but there’s a sense of joy coming from the writing even when she’s reviewing such steaming piles as American Pie.

The book starts out with a review of The Fugitive, which West proudly proclaims as the best movie ever, and the one by which all others are judged. In fact, her rating system is 10/10 DVDs of The Fugitive.

This book arrived yesterday. I spent the evening reading it, then finished it up today, because it was just so good. So fun. I laughed to the point of snorting multiple times. And yes, part of that is possibly because I, too, am a white lady who is about the same age as West, so we are going to have some cultural touchstones in common. I’d seen all but one film she reviews, but even that review had be cracking up.

Times are hard, and it’s fun to read something delightful like this.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep it.

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