Year of birth: 1957
Year of death: still alive
Title book: Popcorn
Number of pages: 298
Publishing house: Simon & Schuster
The story is set in different places, it begins in a police-office where both Bruce Delamitri and Scout are being questioned. The second important setting is the caravan in which Scout and Wayne
live. Then we move on to Oscar night where Bruce receives an Oscar afterwards he goes to the party. The last setting where the story takes place is Bruce Delamitri's home.
Bruce: Bruce is a director, he makes violent movies, his last one was called Ordinary Americans, for which he receives an oscar for Best Director. His movies are controversial because a lot of people say he is responsible for the murders caused by two people, the Mall murderers, who act just like in his movies, they just shoot everybody no matter who they are.
Wayne: He is one of the Mall Murderers, he is a young, strong man, but he is also quite smart, he intends to get away with all his killings by getting Bruce Delamitri to say he is responsible for all the killings.
Scout: She is Wayne's girl, she isn't very smart, she is very tiny and pretty. She loves Wayne very much and she knows he has a plan to solve the trouble they got into by killing everybody, but she doesn't know how.
She is a former playboy model but she would like to be an actress, because she really wants a part in Bruce's next movie so when he invites her to come to his house she agrees. She seduces him, but when he touches her she pulls out a gun, he is terrified. When he asks her what she wants she says she wants a part in his next movie. She puts away the gun and he asks her whether she would sleep with him to get a part in his next movie. She refuses and he gives her a screen test, then she agrees to sleep with him.
Velvet: Bruce's daughter, she really means a lot to him, but they don't really get along. She also wants to become a movie-star and she has already made a fitness-video.
Farrah: Bruce's wife, Bruce and Farrah met at the shooting of a commercial for used cars, but they grew apart because as they got older Farrah could no longer do bimbo parts and Bruce started to act cool while she knew he really wasn't. They ended up hating each other and getting a divorce.
Karl Brezner: Bruce's agent, he had been in business for more than thirty years. He comes to Bruce's house unexpectedly when Scout and Wayne are there too. Karl doesn't understand who they are and ends up insulting them and being very dead.
Oliver and Dale: The presenters of Coffee time USA, Bruce is on their show on the day of Oscar night. When they talk about his movies and Oliver and Dale say he is responsible for the copycat-killings by the Mall Murderers, he defends himself but in a very unfriendly way, which is not very smart when half of America sees Oliver and Dale as their personal friends.
Bill and Kirsten: They are send into Bruce's house when Scout and Wayne demand television coverage of the story from inside Bruce's house. They are only allowed to wear underwear so they can't carry any weapons along.
I think there are two themes in this book, the first one is violence and the second one is who is whether or not movies are responsible for violence caused by copycat-killers. An answer to this question is not given.
2.4 Title explanation
I don't think the title has a very deep meaning, popcorn just stand for movie, just like the MTV movie awards looks like a big beaker of filled with popcorn. On the cover there's a drawing of a machine-gun lying in a beaker of popcorn which could indicate the connection between movies and violence, fiction and reality.
2.5 My own title and explanation.
It's hard to think of a different title, because I think Popcorn is such a good one, it sounds very cool. Which is good because it also says in the book that Bruce's movies make violence look cool.
Maybe another title could be Guns, because that's a hint toward violence, just like popcorn to movies and Scout and Wayne use guns to kill their victims.
The story begins the day after Bruce receives his Oscar, when you start reading you really don't have a clue why he's been arrested. Scout is also being questioned, but you don't know who she is. But even though you don't know what you're reading the story immediately has a certain speed and you are very curious what is going on. After that we go back to Oscar night where he receives his Oscar which he receives with a speech which I thought was quite nice but that he hated after he had given it. On the party he spots Brooke who he thinks is the most attractive woman in the world.
Then there is a seen in which Scout and Wayne go shopping and shoot everybody in it.
What follows is a very strange scene between Bruce and Brooke because she pretends she wants to shoot him, but all she wants is a part in his next movie. But because you don't know that you get confused and think that she might try to shoot him. Then they find out Wayne and Scout are inside the house, Wayne is a big fan of Bruce so him and Brooke aren't shot. Then Bruce's agent visits who gets shot by Wayne, for a moment Wayne leaves the room and Brooke tries to convince Scout to help her and Bruce so Wayne can be helped, because he is insane. For a moment Scout seems to doubt what to do, but then she puts her gun in her mouth and shoots. Brooke is badly wounded, but when Wayne returns and he isn't paying attention she grabs the gun from Scout and holds it against Scouts head, but Wayne because she isn't fast enough she gets shot again, this time she is too wounded to get up again.
Then something very strange happens, Bruce has a discussion with Scout and Wayne about who is responsible for all the killings, because people don't like discussions they switch to another channel which isn't broadcasting live from Bruce's house. Bruce doesn't like that and shouts at the camera:
„Listen, phone your friends, tell them all to tune in, because in in ninety seconds I'm going to shoot Farrah Delamitri. In one minute and a half, the wife of the guy who just got the Oscar gets shot dead live!“ Of course there is a total panic, but the ratings go up and Wayne shoots Farrah. The police wants to do a assault but Wayne shouts at the camera he will give himself and Scout up, so they wait. But Wayne continues, „But we give ourselves up to the people. The people are responsible. They decide our fate, the fate of everybody in this room. It's up to you, the people out there ... the lives of us all are in your hands. Here's how it is. When I've finishes talking, if everybody watches switches of their TV, I swear me and Scout will walk out of here with our hands up... But if you keep watching, I will kill every last mutha in this room including myself and Scout. Not a bad show, huh? Exciting, right? And to see it, all you have to do is stay tuned for another few seconds. Well, you're responsible. Are you gonna turn off your TV?“
The ratings go up, there is an assault.
4.1 My own opinion:
It's a very strange book, because some of the chapters are written in the form of movie scripts it's just like you're watching a film after you've read it. Also because you sometimes hear about the question whether movies and television are responsible for certain types of violence it's a very real book. Just like you really have to choose whether or not to turn of the television, I think I would, but it would still be hard because you want to know what happens, whether or not the ratings go up or down, because you need to know everybody is all right, but because you want to know that they will get shot. Of course there is another problem: all those people getting shot looks impossible and you being in control of their lives even more, so because you don't feel responsible you don't do anything.
Anyway, I think it's a very good book, but I also think it has two sides, on one side it is very funny, it's written in avery funny way, but when you think about it is also very serious, and even though the answer to the question: Are movies and television responsible for violence? May seem very simple (no) at first, you will certainly think again after reading this book.
5.1 optional assignment:
5.2 Which character in the book did you especially like?
I really liked Brooke, at first she seemed just some stupid blond with a cocaine addiction, but after some time she turned out to be a very strong woman who just wouldn't give up. She is much more courageous than Bruce, the only mistake she makes is not to shoot Scout when she has the chance, on the other that makes her look even more nice and real, I wouldn't have shot Scout either. She is also the only reason I don't totally love the book, she doesn't deserve the fate that awaits here, dying because of bullet wounds because she went to the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong man.
Bruce Delamitiri directs movies, violent movies, for his latest one he is even nominated for an Oscar. But there is also a not so nice side to his career, people hold him responsible for the killings that have been committed by two copycat killers called Wayne and Scout. They are called the Mall Murderers and commit their murders just like the characters in one of Bruce's movies. On the night that Bruce wins the Oscar he meets Brooke, a former playboy model who aspires a career as an actress. They go to Bruce's house and watch his latest movie, of course all he really wants is to sleep with her. When they've watched the movie, Brooke seduces Bruce but when he touches her she gets a gun out of her purse and points it at him. Bruce is terrified and obeys her wishes, when he asks her what she wants, she answers that she wants a part in his next movie. When he asks her whether she would sleep with him to get the part she answers no. He gives her a screen test and asks if he should call a cab but she says that there is still time and now that she has got her screen test (“I don't screw on professional basis. I already got my screen test“).
What Bruce and Brooke don't know is that Scout and Wayne are also inside the house, Wayne has a plan, he knows he isn't going to get away with all these killings, but he also knows that he isn't necessarily responsible for them, if he can convince the public it's Bruce's fault he might actually walk free. So he wants Bruce to read out a speech on national television saying it is all his fault.
When Brooke and Bruce are lying on the sofa trying to get undressed Scout and Wayne enter the room. Bruce is very honored because he is meeting Bruce Delamitri, but Scout feels a bit embarrassed because she doesn't look her best. Then the doorbell rings, because Bruce is expecting his wife he thinks its her but it's his agent, who insults Wayne and Scout and says the Mall murderers are just insane and stupid so he gets killed. Then the bell rings again, when Wayne leaves for a while Brooke tries to convince to help them to put Wayne in a hospital and help him. But Scout get angry at her and shoots her. At the door is Farrah who also took Bruce's daughter Velvet along, they come into the living-room where they see Brooke lying on the floor, but they convince them they're just practicing a scene for a movie. Bruce tries to get Velvet and Farrah to leave, when he offers them all his money and the house in the settlement for the divorce, Farrah notices that something is wrong and wants to leave, but it is too late. Wayne stops them, he has heard that Bruce would like Farrah dead and offers Bruce that he will shoot Farrah, but Bruce stops Wayne. Then suddenly Brooke has gotten up again and is now holding a gun against Scout's head, she threatens to shoot Scout, but Wayne shoots her first, and she now lies even more wounded on the floor.
Then the police arrives, Wayne had called the television where he was, and they had called the police. Now on almost every channel in America you can see ht exterior of Bruce's house, Wayne tells Bruce he will shot Velvet if he doesn't give a speech on national television right now in which he says that he is responsible for Scout's and Wayne's actions. Bruce doesn't want to and he convinces Wayne it would be better if they would have a debate about the violence and who is causing it. Bruce intends to win the discussion and have Scout and Wayne arrested. Wayne lets in to television people, who are only allowed to wear underwear, so the debate can be broadcast live throughout America, but the discussion doesn't go Bruce's way at all. Wayne is also not happy because the ratings are going down. In order to get the ratings to go up again he tells the viewers he will shoot Farrah in one minute and a half. The ratings go up and he shoots Farrah. The police want to do a assault now, but Wayne says he and Scout will give themselves up if everybody turns off their TV, but if they don't he will kill everybody inside the room, again the ratings go up. The police intervene, only Bruce and Scout survive.
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