Score: 94/100 (9.4 out of 10)
Culver City by Brant Vickers explores a fantasy scenario that many of us have dreamed of—being able to meet, talk to, interact, and even hang out with famous actors and actresses from our favorite movies!
But remember... some things are better than they seem, and good things often come with a price...
The year is 1969. Kyle and Cassady, two teenagers, sneak into the MGM Backlots in Culver City. This is the site where some of MGM's all-time classics like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were filmed.
Kyle and Cassady come upon a magical realm in the MGM Backlots that allows them to meet and engage with some of the legendary actors and actresses from MGM's golden era including Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O'hara, often just called “Scarlett”), Leslie Howard (“Ashley”), Frank Morgan, Judy Garland, and even Lawrence Olivier. These encounters form the highlights of the book as each of these figures reveals a lot of the fascinating history and trivia regarding their acting experiences and MGM. All of this is paramount to the history of film and cinema as a whole. This can especially be interesting to fans of these films, particularly Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
These figures come across like ghosts from a bygone yet fascinating age. However, these “ghosts” of the past may have ominous origins and malevolent ulterior motives as the characters and the reader learn more about the evil spirits or demons in this “Sift” (realm), creatures that seem to feed on the dreams and aspirations of the impressionable.
We were very impressed with and entertained by this book. The premise is absolutely fascinating. As fans of the classics and of these legendary actors, we loved it!
The author may believe that this book is some kind of horror or paranormal mystery book, but that's not what came across to us. Yes, it's a mystery with some paranormal elements including spirits/demons, but it's rather lighthearted and fun. In fact, it's actually quite humorous and funny.
One funny moment that stood out to us was when the boys' mom decided that aerosols are bad for the atmosphere due to climate warming scares, so she throws away all of their deodorant. It is hilarious when the characters roll their eyes and just decide to roll with it, knowing that they're going to smelling like BO all day thanks to their mother's newfound hippy obsession.
Another funny thing that we're not sure is supposed to be funny is the Brie Ann character, the niece of Eleanor (another character). Brie Ann is obsessed with social justice issues, particularly slavery. She can't have a normal conversation without talking about slavery. She can't even talk about disapproving of the Vietnam War without bringing up slavery. However, she did bring up some things about To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee that we found interesting.
One thing we didn't like about this particular book is that, despite it being nearly perfect for teenagers, the author decided to include foul language. We're not prudish at all, but this does make this book less appropriate and accessible for young people who might otherwise enjoy this.
All in all, this is a very entertaining read with some really interesting trivia about MGM films and their legendary actors.
Check it out on Amazon!