Cover image for Ain't it cool? : Hollywood's redheaded stepchild speaks out
Ain't it cool? : Hollywood's redheaded stepchild speaks out
Knowles, Harry, 1971-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Warner Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 318 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1994 .K48 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Harry Knowles, a college dropout who grew up on films, started the Ain't It Cool Web site from his bedroom in Austin, TX, and in four short years has become one of the most powerful and feared men in show business. With his legion of "spies", Harry has crashed the insider world of Hollywood, uncovering guarded secrets about scripts, casting, production, test screenings, and the release of films, before anyone else. In "Ain't It Cool?", Harry uses his own story as a launching pad for his life-long obsession with films and how they're made -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. "Ain't It Cool?" is the story of the ultimate movie geek getting a place at Hollywood's most exclusive table. It's for anyone who loves movies and the entertainment industry.

Author Notes

Harry Knowles created in 1996, a Web site that is read by over 1.5 million people and receives over 1,200 e-mails each day. Harry has been named one of the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood by both Entertainment Weekly and Premiere magazine. He lives in Austin, TX
Paul Cullum is a writer for L.A. Weekly in Los Angeles and a wide range of publications worldwide. He was managing editor of the late, lamented Film Threat Magazine during its final print incarnation under the Larry Flynt aegis. Like Harry, he originally hails from Austin, TX
Mark Ebner is an award-winning investigative journalist who has covered all aspects of entertainment for dozens of publications, including Spy, Details, Premiere, and New Times. He lives in Venice, CA

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Knowles' self-portrayal as Hollywood outsider--a "kinder, gentler Walter Winchell" --seems odd, what with media megagiant Time-Warner publishing his scrivenings. Still, he works hard at delivering memorably iconoclastic pronouncements on his Web site, Ain't It Cool?, which takes its title from an interchange in Broken Arrow between Christian Slater and bad guy John Travolta: Chris tells John he would be nuts to "explode a stolen tactical nuclear device. `Yeah,' says Travolta. . . . `Ain't it cool?'" Expect similar bon mots here, encased in vignettes from Knowles' life and observations on filmdom in general. Knowles' unique perspective allows for making meaningful comparisons of, say, Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara with Courtney Love as Courtney Love. In general, he makes it work. His focus wanders at times, but he can be a real treat for those who appreciate film as art and enjoy guilty pleasures like The People vs. Larry Flynt. If he could only make his prose read more like Winchell's, with or without his helpers here, he would embody perfectly the kind of critic Hollywood deserves. --Mike Tribby

Publisher's Weekly Review

The creator of the studio-scooping Web site delivers a rollicking memoir, a passionate analysis of film industry flaws and an infectious appreciation of "the last bastion of true democracy in America" movies. The child of an alcoholic Texas heiress and a Young-Republican-turned-hippie, Knowles split his childhood between the family compound of his mother's violent relatives and trips to Mexico and Central America, where he and his father would collect native art to resell. After an accident left him bedridden, Knowles launched his Web site, a "Geek Forum" that follows movies from script development to release. His muckraking approach rattles studios, which became clear when Sony served Knowles with a restraining order in 1997 for posting a scoop about the computer animation in Starship Troopers, or when Knowles's early pans of Batman & Robin were widely blamed for the movie's failure. More Winchell- than Ebert-like in approach, Knowles presents himself as a hard-boiled, scrappy underdog working on behalf of the public; largely this works, particularly in his expos of the National Research Group's test marketing of movies. The book is also valuable as a record of the Web's early entrepreneur-driven years, and for its rare insight into Knowles's former employer, Matt Drudge. Film lovers, however, will probably most appreciate Knowles's exuberant, knowledgeable paeans to his celluloid favorites. They include a tribute to 1930s comedy star Lee Tracy, an analysis of how nascent Leo-mania launched Titanic, an explanation of the life lessons of Flashdance and more. (Mar. 5) Forecast: With Knowles's enthusiastic Web following, expect this to surface on some regional and college-oriented bestseller lists and, of course, on every desk in Hollywood. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Film fanatic Knowles's web site, www., gets over two million hits a month, so you know that there's an audience for this account of what's really happening in Hollywood. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Knowles is a movie "geek," which he defines as someone with an "almost hyperactive enthusiasm toward his highly proprietary subject matter." His Web site, "Ain't It Cool," is dedicated to movie news, from the sale of a script to a film's release. Knowles's opinions are pervasive and have frequently brought him into conflict with the Hollywood powers that be. He describes fights with Sony, the National Research Group, Matt Drudge, and others in a light, highly opinionated style, and casts himself as David fighting Goliaths. The narrative is filled with history, trivia, commentary about the ethics of today's journalists, and stories behind the stories. Knowles rounds out his tale with a list of his favorite and least-favorite films, and those he would like to see made. Movie buffs will enjoy this inside look at an outsider who has made a big impact on the film industry.-Jane S. Drabkin, Chinn Park Regional Library, Woodbridge, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Quentin Tarantino
Forewordp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 The Trouble with Harryp. 17
Chapter 2 "A Boy's Best Friend Is His Mother."p. 25
Chapter 3 The Abyssp. 43
Chapter 4 Wild in the Streetsp. 59
Chapter 5 Ace in the Holep. 69
Chapter 6 A Face in the Crowdp. 79
Chapter 7 The Big Carnivalp. 91
Chapter 8 Lost Horizonp. 101
Chapter 9 "Take Your Stinking Paws Off Me, You Damn Dirty Apes!"p. 113
Chapter 10 Sleeping with the Enemyp. 121
Chapter 11 "How Many of Those Things Are Out There?"p. 131
Chapter 12 Ocean's Elevenp. 141
Chapter 13 "Valhalla, Mr. Beale."p. 149
Chapter 14 Basic Instinctp. 161
Chapter 15 A Night to Rememberp. 201
Chapter 16 "To George Bailey, the Richest Man in Town. Hee-Haw!"p. 211
Chapter 17 Skin Gamep. 221
Chapter 18 Born Yesterday (or the Geek Manifesto)p. 233
Notesp. 273
Appendices, or "You Wouldn't Put Charlie Parker in with the RandB, Would You?!"p. 279
Appendix A My Top 10 Favorite Films of All Timep. 283
Appendix B My 10 Least Favorite Films of All Timep. 295
Appendix C The 10 Films I Would Most Like to See Madep. 309