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Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind

Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind

Escrito por Gavin Edwards

Narrado por Luke Daniels


Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind

Escrito por Gavin Edwards

Narrado por Luke Daniels

valoraciones:
4/5 (27 valoraciones)
Longitud:
8 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Oct 22, 2013
ISBN:
9780062319395
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descripción

Hollywood was built on beautiful and complicated matinee idols: James Dean and Marlon Brando are classic examples, but in the 1990s, the actor who embodied that archetype was River Phoenix. As the brightly colored 1980s wound down, a new crew of leading men began to appear on movie screens. Hailed for their acting prowess and admired for choosing meaty roles, actors such as Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Keanu Reeves, and Brad Pitt were soon rocketing toward stardom while an unknown Leonardo DiCaprio prepared to make his acting debut. River Phoenix, however, stood in front of the pack. Blessed with natural talent and fueled by integrity, Phoenix was admired by his peers and adored by his fans. More than just a pinup on teenage girls' walls, Phoenix was also a fervent defender of the environment and a vocal proponent of a vegan lifestyle-well on his way to becoming a symbol of his generation. At age eighteen, he received his first Oscar nomination. But behind his beautiful public face, there was a young man who had been raised in a cult by nonconformist parents, who was burdened with supporting his family from a young age, and who eventually succumbed to addiction, escaping into a maelstrom of drink and drugs.

And then he was gone. After a dozen films, including Stand by Me and My Own Private Idaho, and with a seemingly limitless future, River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. He was twenty-three years old.

In Last Night at the Viper Room, bestselling author and journalist Gavin Edwards toggles between the tragic events at the Viper Room in West Hollywood on Halloween 1993 and the story of an extraordinary life. Last Night at the Viper Room is part biography, part cultural history of the 1990s, and part celebration of River Phoenix, a Hollywood icon gone too soon. Full of interviews from his fellow actors, directors, friends, and family, Last Night at the Viper Room shows the role he played in creating the place of the actor in our modern culture and the impact his work still makes today.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Oct 22, 2013
ISBN:
9780062319395
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Sobre el autor

Gavin Edwards is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and has written for Details, Spin, and the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of eight books, including the New York Times bestseller VJ, which he cowrote with the original MTV VJs. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their two sons.


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3.8
27 valoraciones / 6 Reseñas
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Reseñas de lectores

  • (5/5)
    Amazing book I loved river and loved to hear all about his life Rip !!
  • (1/5)
    87 chapters that could have been condensed to 10. Basic tabloid info.
  • (3/5)
    I have mixed feelings about this book. Some of the reasons I hate this book are the same reasons I liked it. It touched on a part of River that is rarely talked about, his darker side. But then, do we really need to see this part of a person who's good much outweighed his flaws? I'm not sure, except that maybe it shows that he was human, flawed, and just trying to make it through life like everyone else.As for the technical aspects, this book can be choppy at times as it goes back and forth through time. This may annoy many readers, but for me it did not take too much away from the book. All in all, I think the author was able to do what he set out to do, show a time in Hollywood history that River was very much in the center of.
  • (3/5)
    I've always liked River Phoenix. He was a beautiful man and a good actor in the right parts with the right directors, although he didn't live long enough to have the career he could've had. As the primary financial supporter for his family, he took the movies he was offered and quality of script and director didn't always factor in. I like to think that if his career trajectory had been longer he would've truly shined much as his brother, Joaquin Phoenix, has (River thought Joaquin was the most talented in the family). Maybe I have a special fondness for both him and Keanu Reeves because they were in Gus Van Sant's brilliant My Own Private Idaho, one of my all-time favorite movies.Last Night at the Viper Room is a decent celebrity biography, exploring River Phoenix's brief life and untimely death with stops along the way to visit other people with whom his life was intertwined. More than a biography of Mr. Phoenix, this is really about the times - the glorious nineties when more was more. Mr. Edwards does justice to Mr. Phoenix's childhood, touching on the family's ties to the Children of God cult and the damage that was done to their children because of their involvement. It's a sad and cautionary tale about choices and the context within which they are made. I wish Mr. Edwards had been better able to piece together the last day of Mr. Phoenix's life, but since I read this in tandem with Bob Forrest's Running with Monsters I already knew what happened. How sad for a life to end seizing on the sidewalk in front of friends and family with the terror of bad publicity and the paparazzi hanging over the entire event. I'm glad I read this book, but I'll remember River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho, falling asleep by the side of the road, helpless and sad but still fighting on.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed listening to this biography of River Phoenix. I was in the mood for something different, and LAST NIGHT AT THE VIPER ROOM fit the bill perfectly. This book was released just a few days shy of the 20th anniversary of his death. A night out at a club. Drugs. A bad decision. A promising young actor dead at age 23.This was more than just a recap of what happened on October 31, 1993. It spans River's life from his unconventional childhood in South America (his hippie parents were members of a cult) to his rise to stardom and beyond. Learning about what went on during River's childhood was surprising. I can see how his experiences shaped the troubled young man he became. The book also talks a lot about "Young Hollywood" at the time, which included Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, and Winona Ryder. Hearing about what the other actors where doing helped put River's career in perspective.The audiobook was performed by Luke Daniels, and overall I was pleased with his narration. He had a strong, interesting voice and good pacing. When quoting people he would change his voice, and most of his impressions were spot on (at least for the people I'm familiar with).LAST NIGHT AT THE VIPER ROOM is a well-written story of a life cut short. It didn't glamorize drug abuse at all - it told it like it was. Sad. The author also poses "what if" questions and the possible answers which were very interesting to think about. This book might appeal to film buffs and and fans of Gen X biographies.
  • (4/5)
    Last Night in the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind by Gavin Edwards is a Harper Collins Publication and was released in October 2013. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.IF THE SKY THAT WE LOOK UPON SHOULD TUMBLE AND FALL"Chris Chambers was the leader of our gang, and my best friend. He came from a bad family, and everybody knew he'd turn out bad- including Chris."That was Richard Dreyfuss, narrating as the adult Gordie Lachance, described the character in Stand by Me that made River Phoenix a star.Last Night at the Viper Room is the story of River Phoenix. His unconventional upbringing, his real passion for music, and then fame and fortune, and death at the age of 23.River was actually his given name. His parents were in a hippie religious cult and their kids were totally cut off from society as most people knew it. River was eight years old and still had never attended school. He never did really attend a regular school. He didn't watch television or have the experiences most of us have growing up. He adhered to his parent's strict vegan diet and was an animal rights activist. Music was always River's first love and passion. Acting came along and he didn't take it all that seriously at first. He was his family's bread winner and acting was just a means to an end.River always had a band going and had even carried his guitar with him to the Viper Room the night he died.As his acting skills developed and he became more famous, it went without saying that River was heading for big things in his acting career. He really did have a natural ability as an actor. At the time of his death he was just on the cusp of really breaking loose. But, the more money he made and the more people in the entertainment business he rubbed elbows with, the more access to drugs became available. River had maintained his clean living lifestyle up to a point. Once he started using drugs he had no control over his indulgence. The Viper Room was a famous club on Sunset. It had weathered many changes over the years. The actor, Johnny Depp had a part ownership in the club and basically used it as a VIP club for all his famous friends. The place had a reputation for always having a full house. On any given night you could find Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, or Timothy Leary, or members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, models, actresses, and other entertainment personalities. On the night in question, River was out with his brother and sister. He was given a drink by a guitarist friend and he swallowed in one gulp. He overdosed on a what is known as a speedball, the same deadly combination of cocaine and heroin that killed comedian John Belushi. The story is a old one. Young, rich, and independent. The moneymaker for the family, and too many people looking the other way. I don't know if his upbringing or the people he knew through fame and acting were to blame for his downfall into drugs. The shocking allegations regarding the cult his parents were members of would be enough to cause severe damage in anyone. His isolation from society and constant relocation would also make it hard for someone to fit in. Having no real parental supervision, River stayed with other families, looked for a father figure on every job, and longed to be a part of something. Once people surrounding him began to suspect he had a real substance abuse problem, no one wanted to approach him about it, not even his own mother, who appeared more interested in being his manager than his parent. The night he died, people kept saying someone should call 911. But, they were all assured River was alright, while he was have seizures every twenty seconds and banging his head against the pavement.This young, beautiful man was just so incredibly talented and had so much promise. Despite his lack of formal education, he was so smart and caught onto things that others couldn't comprehend. Deep down in his soul, he was a good person or wanted to be. His thoughtfulness shone through even when he was out of his mind on drugs.Anytime I finish reading a book like this, I'm left feeling not only sad, but angry and frustrated. This was a person that people should have been watching. Someone that should never have fallen through the cracks. But, no one had the courage to step up to the plate. Yes, it is said that there were some attempts at interventions, but no one really took those hard steps that you have to with a drug addict, and on the night he died, people basically stood around and watched him die, more worried about saving his reputation as an actor than saving his life. The layout the author used to tell the story was really unique. I liked that fact that we went chronologically through River's life. It's just easier to see how things evolved that way. But, it was also interesting that the author set the stage for each chapter in River's life by reminding us of what was happening in that time in Hollywood with other young actors. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, and Iona Skye. Also, the music scene was explained since River was often playing music and had a group he played with, and he was friends with Michael Stipe and Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers. River's association with Johnny Depp was minor and the two didn't know each other all that well. The media played up Depp's association with the club when River died on the scene.The author did fine job of telling this story. Again, it is always important when you take it upon yourself to write this kind of book, to not only do the research and interviews etc. But, also to keep yourself from leaning toward a certain view point. The author kept his own personal viewpoint out of the book and told the story of this young man's tragic life as it should be told.A very compelling read, and one I recommend to all who like performance arts books, non- fiction, biographies, or are a fan of this era of entertainment or if you would just like to remember River Phoenix. Overall this one is an A.