Another Ayoade book! So exciting! Except….wait. This is barely Ayoade. Yes, he wrote it, and yes, he does some narration- “some” being the key word in this situation. The Grip of Film is a fake book written by a fake person (written by Ayoade, naturally). The fake person is Gordy LaSure; a longtime Hollywood vagrant and alleged screenwriter.
Gordy is a (purposefully) contemptible character; he has the bravado of The Kids Stays in the Picture with a fraction of the success and (at least) four times the casual misogyny. He has been tasked with writing this book by Ayoade, who decided that a two-book-deal was too many books to write.
Gordy’s ramblings were “compiled” and “edited” by Ayoade into an A-Z breakdown of what makes movies great (and what makes films terrible). To Gordy, the greatest movies of all time are mostly testosterone soaked 80s/90s action flicks and thrillers, but with this being Ayoade and all there is still plenty of love for View From the Top. To Gordy, Road House is the greatest creation that man has given to the world (he’s not not wrong). He hates Citizen Kane, obviously.
Unfortunately, the audio book is almost all in Gordy’s voice- and Gordy is not Richard Ayoade. Ayoade pops in from time to time to give notes to Gordy and to re-enact scenes from Steven Segal movies (his tough-guy action star voice is SO good). He also has an extended scene where he plays all four Beatles; it is a mess and it is wonderful. Gordy is voiced by Jon Korkes, and his lackluster delivery drags down the entire production. Jesse Eisenberg also shares the billing of narrator, but he is only around for a short introduction before leaving, never to return (both Korkes and Eisenberg are in Ayoade’s film, The Double).
I picked an Ayoade book because that’s who I want to listen to! Gordy’s persona is gross, sexist, racist, bigoted- every bad quality that a person can have, he has it- and it would have been easier to laugh at the satire (because so much of it is very funny!) if it was delivered by an Ayoade character- or really any other character actor. The premise comes in hot, but Korkes left me cold.
Four stars for the writing, but two for the audio.