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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 pleasure.
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 of the fun. The films were initialed selected by Dennis' editor when he worked for the British Premiere magazine and Dennis 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 I just picked because I thought they would be fun. Pretty Woman 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.

One of my favorite parts in the book is when one of the characters freaks 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 face.

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.