Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
The formula for Hollywood success has long baffled even its greatest visionaries. For every blockbuster there are countless flops. Directors, producers, and actors who achieve great success with one film often suffer abject humiliation on the next. After all, George Lucas may have created the Star Wars franchise, but he also created Howard the Duck. Now Peter Bart, the editor-in-chief of Variety, co-host of Sunday Morning Shootout, and the former studio executive whose hits include The Godfather and Rosemary's Baby, presents a fascinating look at the hits that sizzle and the flops that fizzle.In Boffo, Peter Bart reveals the backlot secrets behind the biggest hits and misses in both film and television: how movies with the biggest stars and budgets turned out to be bombs and how unknowns with no studio support overcame great adversity to make cinematic history. In so doing, Bart tells the history of pop culture itself. He looks at the mega successes of today, from The Lord of the Rings trilogy to the CSI phenomenon, the smashes of the past including Easy Rider, American Graffiti, and All in the Family, as well as the progenitor of all blockbusters, Birth of a Nation. Bart offers his signature straight-shooting analysis of the silk purses and the sows' ears of the entertainment world.
Peter Bart started his career as a newsman with the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, then spent seventeen years as a film executive (vice president of Paramount, senior vice president of MGM, president of Lorimar Film Co.) only to return to journalism as editor-in-chief of Variety. Along the way, he was responsible for seven books, including Shoot-Out, written with Peter Guber (the basis for their current weekly television show), Dangerous Company (a short story collection), and two nonfiction books, The Gross and Fade Out.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Please. Have mercy. I’ve been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday.”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and the forthcoming The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently working on a memoir about his marriages and a feature-length documentary about his father, jazz musician and composer Dave Zoller.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. He has the attention span of a gnat.