I just finished reading Hollywood Undercover: Revealing the Sordid Secrets of Tinseltown by Ian Halperin. I can’t bring myself to say it was a bad book, since it actually did have interesting parts, but it wasn’t exactly good either.
Ian Halperin was supposed to make a movie about struggling Canadian actors trying to land parts in TV pilots, but then he ended up making a different movie that is more about the inside of Hollywood. Kind of. And this is the book about it.
Basically what he does is, he runs around LA in an extravagant shirt, calling himself “His Highness Halperin”, and he tells a lof of people he’s royal. Sometimes he tells people he wants to make a movie or he tells them other stories he’s making up. Frankly, I think he’s a little full of himself and he makes fun of people believing all his tall tales. Who knows how many of the tales he’s been told and retells in his book are actually lies?
Mostly, the book is full of gossip. What I don’t like about it is that it is so unstructured. First he tells a short history of Scientology, which bored me since I read Janet Reitman’s very interesting Rolling Stone article Inside Scientology a while ago. And while Reitman’s article was thorough and exhaustive, Halperin seems to be doing everything halfheartedly. He starts investigating Scientology, but stops his investigation quickly. Then he talks about how supposedly most male actors in Hollywood are gay. Suddenly he’s talking about the rampant drug use among the stars of Tinseltown, and then suddenly he gives an overview of the theories surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s death.
Sometimes in this book you’ll find references to his YouTube videos. He uploaded short clips to some of the things he describes in the book, but they’re mostly not very spectacular and thus a are somewhat pointless.
I think his book could’ve benefited from just picking one or two topics and exploring them in greater detail rather than covering a wide range of topics. This way, his book is more like a collection of anecdotes and a string of stories of brief encounters with celebrities. Since some of those encounters and anecdotes are interesting, I still enjoyed reading the book, but sometimes Halperin just annoyed me.