From the Director of Men in Black, The Addams Family, and Get Shorty
Barry Sonnenfeld's philosophy is, "Regret the Past. Fear the Present. Dread the Future." He blames his mother.
Told in Barry Sonnenfeld's unmistakable voice, Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker
is a laugh-out-loud memoir about coming of age in a world teeming with neurotic and dangerous characters. Raised by parents he describes as the most narcissistic humans ever to draw breath, constantly threatened with suicide by his over-protective mother, disillusioned by the father he worshiped, and abused by a demonic relative, Sonnenfeld somehow went on to become one of Hollywood's most successful producers and directors.
Written with poignant insight and real-life irony, the book follows Sonnenfeld from childhood as a French horn player, through his miserable undergraduate college years, and on to graduate film school at NYU, where he developed his talent for cinematography. His first job after graduating was shooting nine feature length pornos in nine days. From that humble entrée, he went on to form a friendship with the Coen Brothers, launching his career. In addition to shooting their first three films, he was the cinematographer on many well-known features.
Though Sonnenfeld had no ambition to direct, after a meeting with Scott Rudin in 1990, he walked out as the director of The Addams Family
. It was a successful career move. He went on to direct many more films and television shows. Will Smith once joked that he wanted to take Sonnenfeld to Philadelphia public schools and say, "If this guy could end up as a successful film director on big budget films, anyone can." While that may or may not be true, this book is a fascinating and hilarious roadmap for anyone who thinks they can't succeed in life because of a rough beginning.