Charming...spiritually revealing ... So far as I can tell, Hanks’s book is not a roman à clef or a camouflaged tell-all or a sly act of disguised payback. Instead, it’s a novel shot in pastel tones ... Except for a few nods to entrenched sexism, the industry’s well-documented abuses are elided in favor of concentrating on the better angels of its nature ... A thoroughly engaging tale.
Opens with a prologue followed by 80 pages about uneventful life in a Northern California town where a young man meets his drifter uncle, a hero in World War II. Not much happens, so the long second chapter in Masterpiece may make you think, 'Why am I reading this?' and 'Where's the 'motion picture' stuff?' ... The trouble is that Hanks is guided by an actor's instincts, not a writer's ... In Masterpiece, Hanks includes all of that back-story stuff — he's constantly introducing minor characters, only to dive back into their childhoods — and most of it feels extraneous. That, readers, is why skimming was invented ... Entertaining, guided by Hanks' verbally dexterous humor, knowledge of film and idiosyncrasies.
The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece was not for me, but, actually, I found it quite good ... There's plenty of drama ... The prose tilts toward the gratingly foppish ... 'Write what you know.' So Mark Twain advised, and Mr. Hanks took it to heart, though with the book clocking in at more than 400 pages he frequently overwrites what he knows. The best parts of Masterpiece beam in on the minutiae of movie making ... For better or worse, satire doesn’t seem to be what Mr. Hanks had in mind. With The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece he has composed a valentine to the unsung and the frequently uncredited worker bees of his industry, of, you know, this business of show.