There's a very good reason for the profane title of author Lindy West's book: She really, really hates the movie "Love, Actually." She tells you all the reasons why in her snarky, funny and (reader beware) very profane style in "Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema."
The book was inspired by her work for the website Jezebel. During her time there, West began a project where she would rewatch iconic movies from the past few decades and write essays discussing how each movie held up to our changing social mores; something we as a society clearly continue to grapple with in all areas of pop-culture. Her essay — absolutely decimating "Love, Actually" and originally published online in 2013 — is still hugely popular and continues to circulate every holiday season.
West, who started her writing career as a movie critic for a Seattle-based weekly alternative newspaper, admits in the book that as a 23 year old, she was more interested in writing jokes, and that's where she developed her snarky, profane style of writing. She was wildly successful and eventually moved onto a national platform and more serious writing. Her memoir, "Shrill," was a bestseller and has been turned into a Hulu series.
In this book, West reworked some of her original Jezebel essays and also added many new ones so there are about two dozen movie reviews. She chose movies based on one of three criteria: "1) cultural phenomena that took over the earth, 2) movies I was personally obsessed with, or 3) movies I picked because it seemed like someone should talk about them."
It's important to note, in West's opinion, the best movie ever is "The Fugitive," and all other movies should be measured by it and it alone. She writes, "I wanted to call this whole book, 'The Fugitive' Is the Only Good Movie, but my publisher wouldn't let me, probably because they are in the pocket of Big Gump." She gets them back by rating every movie in the book on a scale of 0 to 10 DVDs of "The Fugitive." "The Fugitive," by the way, gets 13/10 DVDs of "The Fugitive," while "Love, Actually" gets 0/10 DVDs of "The Fugitive."
A few of the titles West turns her sharp but incisive wit on include Disney's "The Lion King," "Face/Off," "Bad Boys II," "Titanic," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Forrest Gump" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." If you can handle your favorite movie being skewered, this book will elicit laughs even as you wince at the deserved blows West lands.
Lisa Sanning is the adult services librarian at Missouri River Regional Library.