Eric Warberg went to Hollywood to make it big. For many years, he was successful, until directing a few box office bombs made him virtually unemployable. When an opportunity presents itself for a return to his hometown of Memphis, to direct a small, independent film, it is a return to his roots in more ways than one. Despite the fact that he’s greeted like a star, his homecoming is bittersweet.
The novel begins on the onset of filming of what is temporarily called Memphis Movie. From day one, Eric feels stuck and unable to find his creative spark. He is helped along by a large cast of characters, some from his past and some from the filmmaking industry, including his partner, Sandy, who wrote the script for the movie. Their open relationship will be challenged by Eric’s return to his roots.
Memphis Movie reads like a Robert Altman film, with many story strands making up the rich tapestry. The novel’s central question: will Eric lose or find his soul in Memphis, a town where soul has so many meanings?
Few Hollywood movies have any lasting value. The same can be said of novels about Hollywood. All the good ones would line a very short shelf. With Memphis Movie, Corey Mesler adds another permanent treasure to this exclusive canon. Equal parts expose, memoir and fantasy, Memphis Movie is insightful, satirical, funny and ghostly. Place Mesler’s novel on that shelf beside They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, Play It as It Lays, Get Shorty, What Makes Sammy Run? and The Day of the Locust.
I have difficulty believing that Corey Mesler was not nurtured on celluloid. This dark, funny, mysterious, sexy novel is so spot-on in its recreations of film-land zeitgeist as to be spooky. And nestled cunningly in this highly-entertaining, sheet-ripping romp is a serious and well-crafted book about talent, confidence, memory, loyalty, and the every-day hauntings that happen only to the living. Dan Yumont is a major character in this novel: a true Hollywood wild-man, a walking id completely committed to his own sensory overload. What saves him from being a Hollywood trope is that he just happens to be an inspired and brilliant actor and acting is the one thing in his life that he takes seriously. On top of the rest he is bold and very funny. Writing is my passion and I don’t roll over easily for the writing of others; however, I was charmed by this book. I’ve started it over a second time, and recommend it heartily. I’ve read any number of books about the movies. I’ve never before read one that I sent to my publisher who bought it faster than he bought mine. Corey Mesler is an undiscovered treasure. This book screams to be a movie. The role of Dan Yumont, the drug-addled priapic hero is waiting for a super-star with the balls to do it. Brad? Colin? Sean? Johnny? The characters are sharp, smart, and funny. I was sorry when I finished it. So I started it over again.
In Corey Mesler’s tale of movie magic, he shows us how the sausage is made. And in learning of the process, the ingredients, the myriad hands that touch it all, the end product is made that much more delectable. This is a story that is all at once funny and frustrating, mystical and real, sexy and sad. If you love movies and/or you love Memphis (and it’s clear that Corey is passionate for both), you will want to read this book.
Corey Mesler’s novel Memphis Movie reads like a train you caught just in time and are glad to be on, no matter where it’s going. What I like about it are the accuracy in which he records the clamor and frenzy and desperation and massively collaborative effort of film production, and that the setting is in my home town, including what I like to hope is the same house I lived in on Rembert 40 years ago. With an intimacy gleaned from somewhere, Corey knows producers and screen writers and all the people involved in film production who keep plates spinning and balls in the air while the meter is running. This is a novel with humor, clarity and soul, and I will give each one of you who buys a copy a shiny 10 cents piece.
Memphis Movie is a delight. It is a bright narrative filled with non-stop humor. Its laughs are the best kind. They come from a keen observation of human aspirations coming in conflict with human weaknesses. The wild assortment of characters seem to lovingly drift toward the ‘loser’ end of the spectrum. However much fun Corey Mesler has in telling their story, he always seems to find their dignity along the way. Highly recommended.
Quirky, funny, wild. Corey Mesler’s witty, sardonic voice leads the reader through a rollicking, ribald romp. Here’s sophisticated, elegant Memphis, mashed up with seedy, bedbuggy, front-yard-in-a-tangle Memphis. And the movie folks have everybody all stirred up. Brilliant!
I have long suspected, because of my hubris, that I would discover the lost continent of Atlantis. Little did I know that it would turn out to be a movie. And what an amazing one, very unique and persuasive and strange and sometimes quite funny, written and directed by this original, clever, funny writer – who is now also a star.
Memphis Movie... is the latest book from prolific poet and novelist and all around Renaissance man Corey Mesler. This novel spirals deep into the moviemaking process, the chaotic world of stardom, and the increasingly unstable tectonic shifts of director Eric Warberg’s psychology. Human relationships are handled at times delicately, at times callously, always with honesty, in this masterful synthesis of fiction and reality set in the richly contradictory landscape of Memphis.