Posts from the ‘Reviews’ Category
January 12, 2014
November 20, 2013
It’s Still Happening in Vegas
HarperCollins published my first book, Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide, several years ago. But this book review by Betty Jo Tucker from Author’s Den and Movie Addict Headquarters on blogtalkradio is new!
Thank you, Betty Jo.
Las Vegas Weddings: Book Review
Author Susan Marg deserves kudos for her impressive research in connection with “Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide.” It’s an entertaining read packed with fascinating information about how Vegas weddings intertwine with the history of the town itself.
It’s also fun reading for movie addicts like me, mostly because Marg highlights the nuptials of so many film stars who got hitched in Las Vegas. What a treat to find out the revealing facts behind weddings of such glamorous actors and actresses as Angelina Jolie, Michael Caine, Judy Garland, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Nelson Eddy, Bette Midler, Joan Crawford, Richard Gere, Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley!
And speaking of Elvis, Marg includes an entire chapter titled “What’s a Wedding without Elvis”? She writes, “While there is an impersonator for any celebrity…it is the King that couples clamor for.” There are hundreds of Elvis impersonators in Vegas, of course, and it’s no problem to hire a fake Elvis to escort the bride down the aisle and to serenade the newlyweds after the ceremony. The book also features a chapel guide that helps prospective brides and grooms plan their own wedding festivities in Vegas.
It’s no wonder Vegas and Hollywood seem like a perfect match, so I’m pleased that Marg mentions various films about Las Vegas — including Honeymoon in Vegas, Vegas Vacation, Viva Las Vegas, Fools Rush In, and Ocean’s Eleven. She points out that movies like these have played an important role in making Vegas weddings so popular.
Despite the massive amount of information in Las Vegas Weddings, it flows seamlessly. Marg has a breezy, appealing style that draws us in and keeps us interested. Her book also presents some rare photographs of celebrities. I especially love the one of Michael Caine and his beautiful bride as well as the photo of Elvis and Ann-Margret dancing together while filming Viva Las Vegas!
I think this book would make a wonderful holiday gift for movie fans.
August 19, 2013
Reviewed by John Burroughs for Midwest Book Review
Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following Their Dreams, Making It Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown collects more than 500 quotes, wisecracks, tell-it-like-it-is tips, and words of wisdom from popular stars and directors, including Ben Affleck to Jackie Chan, George Clooney, Carole Burnett, and many more. Grouped by subject, these vignettes offer a condensed glimpse of the trials and tribulations of the showbiz industry, and are just plain fun for a quick browse anytime. Hollywood or Bust also makes an excellent gift book for anyone who loves TV and movies! “I’d say the cut-off point for leading ladies today is thirty-five to forty whereas half the men in Hollywood get their start then. It’s a terrible double standard.” -Kathleen Turner, actress
Reviewer’s Bookwatch: August 2013
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
(To view original review, scroll down 7 bookshelves.)
July 21, 2013
Betty Jo Tucker is a movie critic extraordinaire, currently serving as editor/lead critic of ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosting “Movie Addict Headquarters” on BlogTalkRadio. An author herself of Confessions of a Movie Addict and Susan Saradon: A True Maverick, she took time out of her busy schedule to review Hollywood or Bust. Her review, posted on authorsden.com, is reposted below.
Hollywood or Bust Book Review
Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Happiness for movie fans like me is reading “Hollywood or Bust” by Susan Marg! I love all the quips, quotes, and off-the-cuff remarks from some of my favorite actors and actresses that are included in this fascinating anthology. So, of course, I found Marg’s revealing, star-studded book impossible to put down once I started it.
As someone who has had a longstanding love affair with the cinema for over fifty years, I was surprised to find so many delicious surprises in Hollywood or Bust. For example, why did Mel Brooks start out as a drummer? What did Sandra Bullock learn from directing a film? How does Harrison Ford define a movie star? What did Elizabeth Taylor have in common with the critics? Why did Michael Caine want to win an Oscar? And that’s just the tip of the show-biz iceberg.
The complete title of this entertaining read is Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following their Dreams, Making It Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown. And “dish” they do — from the price they pay for stardom and what they think about acting as a career to their feelings about each other as well as about directors, writers, studio executives, agents, and the Oscar. According to Marg, their observations “are caustic, critical and cynical on the one hand — but they are also eye opening, amusing, inspiring, and in some cases, even endearing.” Most of all — to me — they are extremely readable.
Marg calls herself a writer, a reader, a television watcher, a moviegoer, a theater attendee, and a museum visitor. She is also the author of Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis and the Complete Chapel Guide, published by Harper Collins. To read more about Marg, go to her interesting popular culture blog “The More Things Change” at www.susanmarg.com.
July 4, 2013
Reviewed by Gayle Colopy for Bookpleasures.com on July 2, 2013
By Susan Marg
Publisher: Cowgirl Jane Press
Hollywood Or Bust is a collection of celebrity quotes from actors, producers and other notables in the film industry. The quotes are grouped in chapters loosely based around the quest for recognition and fame, the up and downsides of having achieved it (or not), and the inevitable downhill slide once the public has moved on to newer, fresher flavors of celebrity. The book covers a wide time span, with quotes from studio heads of the “Golden Age” of motion pictures to contemporary luminaries like Lindsay Lohan and Quentin Tarantino.
The path to stardom begins with a vision. (Hilary Swank: “I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.” Each has their own definition of what stardom means. (Harrison Ford: “Stars are people who sell a lot of popcorn.”) There are ruminations on the effects of stardom. (Clint Eastwood: “It’s like waking up with a hooker – how the hell did I get here?” Robert Mitchum: “I’ve still got the same attitude I had when I started. I haven’t changed anything but my underwear.”)
There is a price to be paid for success. (Bette Midler: “The worst part of success if to try to find someone who is happy for you.”) Artistic ambitions may take a back seat to other considerations. (Charlton Heston: “The trouble with movies as a business is that they’re an art; the trouble with movies as an art is that they’re a business.” Michael Caine: “You get paid the same for a bad film as you do for a good one.”) Disillusionment may set in. (William Faulkner: Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder.” Marilyn Monroe: “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
Eventually, there is a fall from grace. (Michael Medevoy, producer: “This is a business that eats its elders instead of its young.” Joan Collins: “The problem with beauty is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.”) The stars may come and go, but that entity known as Hollywood lives forever, a force unto itself. (Michelangelo Antonioni: “Hollywood is like being nowhere and talking to nobody about nothing.”
The collection is a slim, breezy read, something one could knock off during a long waiting room visit or a very short flight. Like junk food, there’s not much nutritional value here, but for those with an interest in stars talking about stardom, Hollywood Or Bust may prove to be irresistible.
The reviewer Gayle Colopy: Gayle is a semi-retired veteran of various governmental, non-profit and commercial enterprises, and is now a freelance writer based in northern California. His literary preferences are Beat-era American literature, classic erotica, and fiction writers who blossomed in the Sixties, including Joseph Heller, Donald Barthelme, Ken Kesey, Kurt Vonnegut, William S. Burroughs, Terry Southern, and Hunter S. Thompson.
June 1, 2013
Reviewed by Joy Hannabass for Readers’ Favorite on 05/29/2013
FIVE STAR REVIEW!!!!!
Hollywood or Bust:
Movie Stars Dish on Following their Dreams, Making it Big,
and Surviving in Tinseltown
“Hollywood or Bust” is a selection of quotes taken from magazines, interviews, biographies, autobiographies, and the internet. Over five hundred quips, quotes and off the cuff remarks from all of your Hollywood favorites make up this exciting new book compiled by Susan Marg. Some of the quotes in this book come from actors like Rock Hudson: “I can’t play a loser, I don’t look like one”; Steve Guttenburg: “Unless you’re Jack Lemmon or Cary Grant, there are few guys who can do comedy and drama”; Ted Danson: “Acting is pretending that you’re not pretending when you’re actually pretending”; and Marilyn Monroe: “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul”.
For all of you Hollywood buffs out there, this book is a must for you. Words from your favorites will give you hours and hours of pleasure and entertainment as you read and re-read these interesting quotes and quips from the famous well known people. Some sayings will give you wisdom, some may be a little harsh, some mean nothing at all, and others will make you laugh. Whatever it may be, you will be amazed at the enjoyment this little book can give you. You just can’t go wrong picking up a copy of this book for your personal library. This book would be a nice conversation piece to keep on your living room table for others to see. I think you will be very happy with your selection.
May 14, 2013
From the Del Mar Times
Author sheds new light on the Hollywood dream in unique new book
By Diane Y. Welch
Is Hollywood the happiest place on Earth or the most miserable? This is the question that author and popular culture maven Susan Marg pondered as she pored over piles of glossy magazines and newspaper gossip columns searching for the best celebrity quotations that might answer her query.
The result is an informative and entertaining book that contains quotations — that both laud and deride Tinseltown — dished out by Hollywood stars, past and present.
Titled “Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following their Dreams, Making it Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown” [Cowgirl Jane Press, April 2013], the 182-page volume is a fun pick-up-and-read-anytime book or a handy resource for anyone needing that perfect celebrity quotation, said Marg.
Organized in seven chapters, the collection reads like a story and comprises “over 500 quips, quotes, and off-the-cuff remarks” by actors, directors, writers and other show business folk, Marg said. “They talk about themselves, their lives, their fame, their careers, and each other!”
Chapter headings are movie titles. “The question of whether art imitates life or vice versa interests me,” said Marg. “Also I didn’t want to ignore movies altogether while I focused on what the celebrities were saying about their experience. I also have quotations at the beginning of each section that helps illustrate the focus on that section,” she explained.
Movie titles include “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” and “Anyway Which Way You Can.” The book’s title is a nod to a 1956 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy, in which the goofy pair take a cross-country ride to Hollywood. Star comments include the celebrated words of Ben Affleck, Jack Black, Woody Allen, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Lindsay Lohan, Clint Eastwood, Scarlet Johansson, and those of vintage icons such as Bing Crosby and Marlene Dietrich.
Marg said that she read a lot, especially biographies, while she was culling the book’s content. “At one time I had over 2,000 quotations, which I then sorted by theme and while it took a long time to gather the material the book came together easily and it was a lot of fun!”
Some of the themes of the book address stardom and how celebrities often rise from humble roots to lofty heights; technical acting skills; their looks; and the big payoff – the Oscars – and more. Directors talk about their perspective from the other side of the camera, and screenwriters vent how they are the “lowest of the low on the Tinseltown totem pole, except possibly for agents,” quipped Marg.
When asked if she had a favorite quotation, Marg was hard pressed to think of just one. “But I particularly enjoy the classics,” she said, such as Marilyn Monroe’s famous words “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul.”
Another of Marg’s favorites is Sandra Bullock’s comment on fame: “When your computer modem is broken, the repair guy comes out a little faster.” And Marlon Brando’s “The only reason I’m in Hollywood is that I don’t have the moral courage to refuse the money.”
Marg is also the author of “Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide” [Harper Collins]. Her interest in popular culture and the entertainment industry, and her writing skills, grew from her background in the world of advertising and marketing.
“You need to know who’s in, who’s out and what’s going on in the world of entertainment. I guess it’s in my blood,” said Marg.
Born and raised in Ohio, and after spending a 15-year career as an advertising manager for AT&T in New Jersey, Marg later relocated to Del Mar where she still lives with her husband, James C. Simmons, who is also an author and a historian.
On her blog, “The More Things Change…”, Marg reflects on history, her story, true stories and fiction. “I believe our stories make us who we are,” she said. The book, which recently received an honorable mention for one of the Best Books of the Spring, at the San Francisco Book Festival, retails at $14.95 and may be purchased online at www.hollywoodorbustthebook.com. Log onto www.susanmarg.com to read Marg’s blog.