Review: ‘Hollywood Jock’

Rob Ryder, a former college basketball player and writer, parlayed those skills into a gig as a sports consultant on pics such as "White Men Can't Jump." "Hollywood Jock" recounts his experiences working with stars in the arena and on the stage -- as well as his attempts to become an industry player in his own right.

Rob Ryder, a former college basketball player and writer, parlayed those skills into a gig as a sports consultant on pics such as “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Celtic Pride.” “Hollywood Jock,” culled from his eponymous writings on ESPN.com, recounts his experiences working with stars in the arena and on the stage — as well as his attempts to become an industry player in his own right.

“The thing about movie stars,” he writes after Whoopi Goldberg threw a tantrum while filming “Eddie,” “When they yell at you can’t yell back. You gotta eat it. You gotta bend over and take it.”

He also has it out with Dennis Rodman, who refuses to speak directly to Ryder during a film shoot, and instead has an interpreter who relays messages.

While it’s not the best writing, it gives an honest outsider’s account of the travails suffered while trying to score studio meetings.

“It usually involves a great deal of begging, arm-twisting, misrepresenting the truth, calling on old favors, outright lying, threatening, more begging, more lying, beating down doors, beating up assistants and even more begging … ”

Early in his flirtation with film, Ryder did stunts, took a bat beating in “The Warriors,” did location scouting and worked as an extra. He writes about the cruel (Tommy Lee Jones) and the kind (Nick Nolte, Diane Keaton and Steve Martin).

Somewhere along the line, Ryder locks down a contract with ESPN.com to write a his weekly column. By book’s end, Ryder has finally latched onto a project that just might escape development hell, setting the stage for the most Hollywood of entities — a sequel.

Hollywood Jock

Harpercollins; 290 Pgs.; $13.95

Production

Rob Ryder
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