BY BILL BISS
Author Dennis Hensley has taken his love of movies and
created a book that is a first-rate amusement ride through
celluloid and stardom.
The premise is this. Every month, he and a group of friends
get together to view a movie. The witticism of each viewer
has been captured on tape for posterity - and now, Dennis
captures those screening party moments for your reading
Speaking with Dennis about the book and its cover, he replies, "The
people on the cover are all friends of mine that came to
most if not all of the parties. They were all a part of
creating the book."
The book is broken down into chapters, based on each different
film viewed. Each film is subject to ridicule, sentiment,
cutting-edge humor, and sincerity by this eclectic group
of friends - three gay men from West Hollywood, two women,
and a straight video shop clerk. Dennis not only captures
all the non-stop zingers regarding each film, but also
lets you into the lives of the people behind them. Films
such as The Sound of Music, The Bodyguard, Cruising,
Flashdance, Saturday Night Fever, Pretty
Woman and more
are screened, and are prey to the group's observations
- which makes the reader wish they too could be part
the fun. The films were initialed selected by Dennis'
editor when he worked for the British Premiere magazine
would write articles about them. Eventually, Dennis took
over the initiative to select the films viewed in his
book and says, "Sometimes I would have an idea and
say, 'What if we do St. Elmo's Fire?' The other ones
picked because I thought they would be fun. Pretty
was just asking for it."
The humor flies fast and funny at all times throughout
Screening Party. How many gratuitous butt shots of Barbra
Streisand are there in A Star is Born? Which actor wins
the swimsuit competition to be the best James Bond? Why
watching Michael Douglas's ass in Basic Instinct is like
America's Funniest Home Videos and a cat has just fallen
from a six-story building and landed on a sunbathing obese
woman, who then vomits? Get the picture? These questions
and more are just the tip of the iceberg in hilarity from
author Dennis Hensley.
of my favorite parts in the book is when one of the characters
out while attempting to yank a stuck
VHS tape out of the player with no success. Afterwards,
two of the guys attempt to classify the different varieties
of fits from tizzy and hissy to conniption fits and the
granddaddy of them all, the Shit Fit, which Hensley describes
as, "Look the f#*k out. Shit Fit throwers are not
just reacting to the perceived injustice of the moment.
No, a lifetime of disappointment and rage bubble to surface
as well. The Shit Fit thrower is out of control, dangerous,
and probably a little bit crazy. Jack Nicholson smashing
someone's car with a golf club, and the "no wire hangers" scene
in Mommy Dearest would fall under this category."
Well, there you have it. That is just one of many hilarious
moments from Dennis's book. Laughter is the best medicine
and Screening Party will definitely keep a grin on your
The author will be appearing at Obelisk Bookstore on Oct.
30 to read excerpts from Screening Party as part of his
book tour. You can also get a first hand look at Dennis
Hensley and his work by checking out his web site at dennishensley.com.