Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The Last Decade of Cinema - Book Tour


Nonfiction, Television, Performing Arts

Date Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Publisher: Fayetteville Mafia Press, 2024  (FMP Publishing)


“I feel like Scott Ryan could have written this directly to me and others in our generation who have basically ‘given up’ on movies. It is at once tribute and eulogy, so bittersweet.” – Screenwriter Helen Childress (Reality Bites)

 “The nineties are lucky to have Scott Ryan.” – Actress Natasha Gregson Wagner (Two Girls and a Guy, Lost Highway)

 Ah, the nineties. Movies were something in those days. We’re talking about a decade that began with GoodFellas and ended with Magnolia, with such films as Malcolm X, Before Sunrise, and Clueless arriving somewhere in between. Stories, characters, and writing were king; IP, franchise movies, and supersaturated superhero flicks were still years away. Or so says Scott Ryan, the iconoclastic author of The Last Days of Letterman and Moonlighting: An Oral History, who here turns his attention to The Last Decade of Cinema—the prolific 1990s. Ryan, who watched just about every film released during the decade when he was a video store clerk in a small town in Ohio, identifies twenty-five unique and varied films from the decade, including Pretty Woman, Pulp Fiction, Menace II Society, The Prince of Tides, and The Shawshank Redemption, focusing with his trademark humor and insight on what made them classics and why they could never be produced in today’s film culture. The book also includes interviews with writers, directors, and actors from the era. Go back to the time of VCR’s, DVD rentals, and movies that mattered. Turn off your streaming services, put down your phones, delete your Twitter account, and take a look back at the nineties with your Eyes Wide Shut, a White Russian in your hand, and yell “Hasta la vista, baby” to today’s meaningless entertainment. Revel in the risk-taking brilliance of Quentin Tarantino, Amy Heckerling, Spike Lee, Robert Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson, and others in Scott Ryan’s magnum opus, The Last Decade of Cinema. 



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Excerpt from "The Last Decade of Cinema"

Scott’s favorite Excerpt

 Before we get started, I will circle back to my theory one last time to try to drive the point home. I am not saying the nineties are the only decade of good movies. There have been good movies made before and after. I am saying the nineties was the last complete decade when filmmakers could tell their story without fear of retribution, mixed with the fact that studios would fund risky films with small, grown-up stories. They would actually greenlight movies for just a particular slice of the ticket buying audience, and at the same time, they would make big tent pole action films. The movies that were released were actually shot on film and they looked beautiful. The era of digital film was still years away. There were choices at the multiplex theater. There was variety, risk, and true character development. It also is the decade where technology allowed directors to capture their stories with high-quality lighting, sound design, camera equipment, editing, scoring, and, yes, special effects. It is the perfect intersection of brave storytelling and modern technology. No one knew that fear would soon take over all artistic and corporate decisions. It is a look at the last time where we just went to the movies to be entertained, to dream, to feel, to cry, to laugh, to escape, to reflect. If you were a wannabe writer from Ohio like me, it was also a place where I learned how to create from artists who had experiences different from my own.

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