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Publisher's Summary

Film and television director Barry Sonnenfeld's outrageous and hilarious memoir traces his idiosyncratic upbringing in New York City, his breaking into film as a cinematographer with the Coen brothers, and his unexpected career as the director behind such huge film franchises as The Addams Family and Men in Black, and beloved work like Get Shorty, Pushing Daises, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Barry Sonnenfeld's philosophy is, "Regret the Past. Fear the Present. Dread the Future." Told in his unmistakable voice, Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother is a laugh-out-loud memoir about coming of age. Constantly threatened with suicide by his over-protective mother, disillusioned by the father he worshiped, and abused by a demonic relative, Sonnenfeld somehow went on to become one of Hollywood's most successful producers and directors.

Written with poignant insight and real-life irony, the book follows Sonnenfeld from childhood as a French horn player through graduate film school at NYU, where he developed his talent for cinematography. His first job after graduating was shooting nine feature length pornos in nine days. From that humble entrée, he went on to form a friendship with the Coen Brothers, launching his career shooting their first three films.

Though Sonnenfeld had no ambition to direct, Scott Rudin convinced him to be the director of The Addams Family. It was a successful career move. He went on to direct many more films and television shows. Will Smith once joked that he wanted to take Sonnenfeld to Philadelphia public schools and say, "If this guy could end up as a successful film director on big budget films, anyone can." This book is a fascinating and hilarious roadmap for anyone who thinks they can't succeed in life because of a rough beginning.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Barry Sonnenfeld (P)2020 Hachette Books

What the critics say

"If I went to prison, and I saw that Barry Sonnenfeld was going to be my cellmate, I would think, 'Oh, this will be a breeze.'" (Jerry Seinfeld)

"Anyone who has encountered Barry for any length of time has wondered how he came to be the way he is. The answer is hilariously, poignantly, and forthrightly told through various stories that resulted in me feeling nauseous, laughing out loud, blushing, and repeatedly saying under my breath, 'Oh my God, Barry.' Sometimes all of those things at once." (Allison Williams)

"Barry's memoir is amazingly honest and brazenly hilarious. Now excuse me, I need to take a shower and try to get some of those images out of my head." (Cheryl Hines)

What listeners say about Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother

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Hilarious

Hilarious book. The porn chapter is so disturbingly funny. I’ll never forget it. Barry has a had a very interesting life and it makes for a great read/listen.

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  • Jess
  • 2020-05-05

The Kosher Cowboy Rides Again

What a fun read! As a fellow Jewish person, I felt like I was listening to stories told to me by a cool uncle. Barry Sonnenfeld has been involved in so many of my favorite films and television shows that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to learn more about the stories behind the scenes. If you want to take a peek into Hollywood’s backstage through a neurotic and witty lens, this is the book for you.

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  • john
  • 2020-03-23

good memoir, not crazy about the narrator

good memoir, not crazy about the narrator, turns out the narrator is the author. very flat somewhat slow delivery. stories are great though.

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  • dorina melamed
  • 2020-05-25

Great, entertaining and funnier than I expected

This was an enjoyable read (or listen rather). It’s hard to make me laugh out loud but I did.

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  • Susan Godorov
  • 2020-04-29

Quirky, Funny and Annoying!

Quirky -- Barry is neurotic to a fault and capitalizes on this in the book. Mother and father also fit neatly in to the stereotypical Jewish parents. Funny -- so many funny stories and what a ride through his telling of encounters with many celebrities. Annoying -- at times but still funny!

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  • Ariel Schulman
  • 2020-12-20

Hilarious, honest and inspiring

Plus, gets you out of the vortex of wondering what to watch tonight. Just watch something Sonnenfeld shot or directed and you’ll be happy. Don’t be afraid to listen at 1.3x

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  • Amy McMinn
  • 2020-11-19

Hysterical

Funny guy who leads a unique life and comes from a harsh past. Read well by writer.

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  • A. G. CT
  • 2020-10-25

This is The Funniest book

I loved Mr Sonnenfeld’s voice: his actual voice and the literative voice. Omg the stories! The stories! I laughed so hard, out loud, in my car and alone. And here is one of the best parts: it’s a comedic memoir and there is a plot twist at the end!

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  • rachel a canis
  • 2020-09-18

One of the best memoirs I've ever read

I didn't want this to end. My words won't do this justice. 11 thumbs up

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  • Pamela
  • 2020-08-08

Fxxxing hilarious!!!

This is a really funny book. I love memoirs and this really did it for me. In spite of being King of the Dweebs, Barry Sonnenfeld is pretty cool in my book!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-05-05

Not Just for Cinephiles

This is the most intriguing, hilarious, insightful, disgusting, enlightening, and overall well-written biographies that I've "read" in ages. I'm a film buff, but I feel that this book would be entertaining to anyone, whether they care about filmmaking or not. I'd add that this is one of those books that I recommend listening to as opposed to reading as the author brings a lot of extra flavor through his vocal performance.