For more than 75 years, Kirkus Reviews has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose has joined the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network, taking to the virtual pages of Kirkus Reviews Online to dish on the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books.

This week, it’s a read that’s both scurrilous and educational…

Five things I learned from the revised and expanded paperback edition of Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made?, by David Hughes:

It’s a goddam miracle that any movie, good or bad, ever gets made at all. A feature film can fall apart at literally any point in the intricate process of its making and marketing. You might think that a Ridley Scott thriller with Robert Redford in the lead would be bulletproof — but Hughes details how The Hot Zone came to pieces literally days before the start of filming. A movie is a creature as delicate as Tinkerbell; if it is to survive, everybody involved must believe in it. A momentary wavering of faith, a withdrawal of financing, and a project dies.

Everybody is in awe of Paul Verhoeven. The Dutch director’s movies are lurid trash, but they’re self-aware trash — which in Hollywood makes him some kind of genius. Much is made of Verhoeven’s doctorate degree in mathematics, and of the fact that he’ll spend a long time polishing a script to his satisfaction—then shoot it word for word, which is practically unprecedented.

Don’t believe anybody when they say it’s ”just business”: It’s personal, all right. Ego is necessary for creativity — but you’d think that in Hollywood, where the screenwriter’s job is a revolving door, you might find basic standards of professional detachment. Not so, says Hughes; bad blood comes with the business…

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About the Author

Jack Feerick

Critic at Large

Jack Feerick — editor, proofreader, freelance know-it-all, and three-time Jeopardy! champion — lives with his family somewhere in upstate New York, where he plays in a rock 'n' roll band and occasionally runs his mouth on local radio. You can listen to more of his work on Soundcloud, if you like.

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