Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
NEW TO STORE:
Mad Men, Sopranos AND
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
“I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence.” These eight treasonous words delivered with intense earnestness by Nicolas Cage would launch a pop culture phenomenon in National Treasure(2004) and its sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007). Years after the films were box office hits, quotes and sentiments from the two-part franchise are frequently referenced in response to both the most joyous and most scathing moments in recent history. But even so, the films have been heavily criticized for purportedly “crazy” storylines, forcing National Treasure enthusiasts to defend their fandom against those who think it merely a guilty pleasure.
But what if the majority of National Treasure’s plot points were inspired by real figures and events, its heists drew upon actual techniques in science and technology, and production choices were made with the hope that viewers would better remember both triumphs and failures of history? In this book, franchise experts Aubrey Paris and Emily Black, hosts of the National Treasure Hunt podcast, set the record straight, taking a scene-by-scene approach to prove that National Treasure, like protagonist Benjamin Franklin Gates, is not crazy, but rather one step short. Their analyses unearth lesser-known stories from history while considering the ethics of character decisions, assessing comparisons with similar film franchises, interpreting key deleted scenes, and revealing behind-the-scenes secrets from filming. The result is a more complete understanding of the franchise, one that might just turn National Treasure skeptics into begrudging admirers. In the end, don’t we all want to know what’s on page forty-seven?
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
National Treasure experts Aubrey Paris and Emily Black, hosts of the National Treasure Hunt podcast, bring their expertise to their first book.
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.