Patton Oswalt’s ‘Silver Screen’ Addiction

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Comedian Patton Oswalt on his addiction to movie classics and his new memoir “Silver Screen Fiend.”

In this file photo, Patton Oswalt performs in the comedy tent during Fun Fun Fun Fest on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (AP)
In this file photo, Patton Oswalt performs in the comedy tent during Fun Fun Fun Fest on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (AP)

How do creatives get creative?  Get productive?  Get started?  For comedian Patton Oswalt – an icon of the alternative comedy world – the laughs started with mimicry.  He could do Bill Cosby cold.  And Steve Martin.  And Richard Pryor.  Then, just as he was taking off, alongside Sarah Silverman and Louis CK and Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt got obsessed – with movies.  As in addicted.  Morning, noon and night.  All night.  If he just watched enough, he could become a great director, too, right?  This hour On Point:  alt-comedy headliner Patton Oswalt, movie fiend.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Patton Oswalt, comedian, actor and author. Author of the new book "Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life From An Addiction To Film." (@pattonoswalt)

From Tom’s Reading List

Rolling Stone: Patton Oswalt: My Life in 10 Movies — "For a lot of folks, movies are a diversion, a date-night option or something to dip into on a lazy Sunday afternoon; for Patton Oswalt, they weren't a pastime so much as a pathology. During the mid-Nineties, right after the future stand-up-comedy headliner and star of Ratatouille moved to Los Angeles, Oswalt started frequenting the New Beverly Cinema, an old-fashioned single-screen movie theater known for programming everything from Casablanca to vintage creature features. Soon, he started compulsively chain-viewing double- and triple-features as much as he could, personal life and professional duties be damned."

The Wall Street Journal: Confessions of a Movie Addict — "It’s easy for Mr. Oswalt to borrow the language of addiction to describe his movie mania. There’s the darkness of sitting in a theater, the obsessiveness to details and connections that can alienate friends, and all the time that the habit steals from presumably more productive life activities. Much of the book explores whether the movies helped him become more creative as a comedian or just gave him less time to hone his stagecraft and joke-writing. (Besides performing stand-up, he was struggling as a sketch writer for the series 'Mad TV' at the time.)"

New York Times: Patton Oswalt By the Book -- "Nothing has ever laid me out like the moment in 'Huckleberry Finn' where Huck says, 'All right, then, I’ll go to hell.' Pure heroism and friendship. It’s so rare to see that in real life that that sentence is, technically, science fiction.

Read An Excerpt Of "Silver Screen Fiend" By Patton Oswalt

This program aired on January 6, 2015.


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