Monday, May 12, 2014

Book 48: I Don't Know What You Know Me From

"Say goodbye to these!"  My guess is that most Pajibans are most familiar with Judy Greer due to her portrayal of Kitty on Arrested Development, though she has been in so many things as "the sassy best friend" that she is also one of those people that many recognize even if they don't know her name.  I would just like to say that I totally knew her name even before the book.  I consulted IMDB a few times while reading this, and I was actually surprised when I realized that I hadn't seen more of her roles since I really thought I'd seen her in so many things.  Of the titles she's appeared in, I've seen The Descendants, HIMYM, Elizabethtown, The Village, 13 Going on 30, The Wedding Planner, What Women Want and Three Kings.  Quite a few those caused, "she was in that" reactions too, though I think that had less to do with her perfomance and more with that the fact that I've mostly forgotten (or blocked) what happened in movies like The Village and Elizabethtown.
She breaks her book up into three parts, "Early Life," "Hollywood Life" and "Real Life."  As a result the essays aren't completely chronological since many things are happening in her personal life while she is developing her career, but it worked well for the structure of the book.  She discusses hoping for larger roles and more success, but is also very happy with the fact that she has been working constantly since graduating from acting school.  One very much gets the idea from her that this is a line of work she stumbled into but loves and enjoys.  She landed her first role before a few weeks before graduation because an agent discovered her on the street - she gives all the credit to her fabulous blue raincoat.  She had actually been too lazy to look for an agent before graduation so this was a serendipitous opportunity for her.
I had so much fun reading this.  Greer balanced telling stories about herself with name dropping and tidbits about life in Hollywood perfectly and also had a rather self deprecating view of herself.  In "Press Junket," she reveals how she keeps interviews entertaining for herself and the crew, and I have to make sure to watch some of her interviews now to look for this - she basically has a word of the day that she tries to work into interviews.  In one essay, she mentions that she didn't realize until rather recently that celebrities were sometimes paid to walk down the street with certain brands so that when magazines show shots of stars with Arby's, it's actually advertising, not a caught-in-the-act moment.  Given that, I was actually amused by how many brand names Greer dropped herself throughout the essays.  I haven't quite decided if it was a bit of a joke on the reader or not, but then again, I have quite a bit of brand loyalty myself so I'm sure if I wrote a biography, I might also mention certain stores a few times (however, if she is getting paid, then good for her).  Greer seems to be at that level of success where she can still get away with going on trips to Target (yes, she shares many people's love of Target, a store I have never really been that into) undisturbed though people do recognize her, even if they don't know what they know her from.  She mentions a love of junk food, but since she also mentions running marathons in passing, she probably works it off rather easily.  Of course, she also talks about having to eat healthier now so once again grounds herself in normalcy and doesn't try to convince anyone that she can eat anything she wants and look the way she does.
I thought it was a lot of fun, and it helps that Greer presents herself as someone that is still starstruck.  She is a star but still has the option of normalcy and anonymity when she needs it.  As a result, in this book, she comes off as very real and relatable, a hard worker that would be a great friend in real life and not just the movies.  I also know now what mistakes not to make if I ever meet her thanks to one of her essays.  I would love to know how she would rate me on her "fan profiler," ie when she tries to guess where people know her from.  I wonder if asking her to profile me would be a mistake?

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