Title: “Silver Screen Fiend”

Author: Patton Oswalt

Year Of Publication: 2015

Genre: Memoir


Long before The Break is The Struggle. The hustle. Established actors and comedians can make a buck here or there telling these stories. The novel reading public is hungry for their hard times, being that we’re too much of cowards to experience like that ourselves.

In “Silver Screen Fiend” we get a sense of comedian Patton Oswalt’s struggle. The stand-up sets at the Largo, or other, less established clubs. The memoir is a remembrance of four years in the entertainer’s life (from 1995 to 1999) when he saw hundreds of films. Sometimes four or five a night.

He recalls how he spent his time from dutiful records and reviews he wrote of films he watched, all in training for him to become a haughty Director of Film. Nights spent on stand up stages, then to the theater, and wake up in time to get to his writing gig on MADtv. “I’m amazed I didn’t kill anyone,” he says of this time when his focus was stretched to the point of fissure.

“Silver Screen Fiend” is hilarious and benefits greatly from Oswalt’s powerful memory and oddly specific “Night Cafe’s” (a van Gogh reference) that influenced him and abetted his addiction – for a time. Delivering one line in “Down Periscope,” for example.

It’s a fascinating read that really pulls the reader into the mind of Oswalt, clearly the guy who dominates playing Trivial Pursuit: Movie Edition, and let’s us see the insecurity and personal discomfort that young Hollywood hopefuls must deal with.

He’s written a previous memoir, “Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland” that I haven’t read but most certainly will, and performed a number of comedy specials and film roles. I find him hilarious and sharply funny. “Silver Screen Fiend” is, too.

TL;DR: Patton Oswalt wrote a book about how he was, for a time, addicted to film.

Verdict: A love letter to his LA experience in the 90;s, Oswalt’s memoir makes one aspire to that sort of cineaste-status.