By Lindy West
Published by Hachette Books
on October 20, 2020
New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle's alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film with brutal honesty and giddy irreverence. In Shit, Actually, Lindy West returns to those roots, re-examining beloved and iconic movies from the past 40 years with an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is Twilight the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in The Lion King trust Mufasa--who is a lion--to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after The Fugitive achieved perfection? And, my god, why don't any of the women in Love, Actually ever fucking talk?!
From Forrest Gump, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Bad Boys II, to Face/Off, Top Gun, and The Notebook, West combines her razor-sharp wit and trademark humor with a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones--the stories we've long been telling ourselves about who we are.
At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, Shit, Actually reminds us to pause and ask, "How does this movie hold up?", all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love without ever letting them or ourselves off the hook. Shit, Actually is a love letter and a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us and the ones that ruined us. More often than not, West finds, they're one and the same.
I’ve now read all three of Lindy West’s books, and I have to say that Shit, Actually was my favourite one.
I think part of that is because I read this one as an audiobook, narrated by Lindy West, and her narration is excellent! The book itself is really fun and funny, but I think that was all enhanced by the narration.
I don’t even think of myself as a big movie person, but I was so pleased to realize that I have actually seen each movie that is discussed in this book.
I just loved her critiques of these movies, and laughed out loud so much while listening to this one that I am considering getting a physical copy so I can leisurely re-read this (especially the Love, Actually essay during the holidays!).
And I now have a very strong urge to rewatch Face/Off.