Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines

Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines

The legendary icon tells his story—a tale of art, passion, commitment, addiction, as intense and hypnotic as the man himself.In a career spanning five decades, Nick Nolte has endured the rites of Hollywood celebrity. Rising from obscurity to leading roles and Oscar nominations, he has been both celebrated and vilified in the media; survived marriages, divorces, and a strin...

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Title:Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines
Author:Nick Nolte
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Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines Reviews

  • Jimilee Allen

    I read it in one day. I enjoyed it very much. His stories about his life and honesty was great to read. Not trying to hide his feelings or up and down past. True original in the acting world!

  • John

    This book popped up by accident on a search for ebooks at the Singapore National Public Library. Nick Nolte? It conjures up images of a hard-living blond jock from North Dallas Forty who had morphed into a wild-haired madman recluse staring vacantly into drug-induced middle-aged fiend captured in a DUI mugshot.

    This book is brutally honest, candid, funny, sincere and addictive. Like your standard Hollywood rock n roll bio, there are drugs, lots and lots of different drugs, a women. But Nolte men

    This book popped up by accident on a search for ebooks at the Singapore National Public Library. Nick Nolte? It conjures up images of a hard-living blond jock from North Dallas Forty who had morphed into a wild-haired madman recluse staring vacantly into drug-induced middle-aged fiend captured in a DUI mugshot.

    This book is brutally honest, candid, funny, sincere and addictive. Like your standard Hollywood rock n roll bio, there are drugs, lots and lots of different drugs, a women. But Nolte mentions drugs in passing sparing readers the narcissistic monologues on how stoned on how much dope for how many days. He does not haul off too much on his three ex-wives or girl friends.

    He takes his craft quite seriously, describing the challenging roles and co-stars he was blessed to work with. As an actor discovered in his late thirties, he peaked late with Rich Man, Poor Man. The book looks beyond the celluloid and goes into details about how various movies evolved - the Deep, 48 hours, Affliction, Warrior, Hotel Rwanda, Under Fire, Tropical Thunder, Graves and on and on - what life was like on the sets, occasional couplings with leading ladies (but not in a bragging macho way) and the challenges of each role.

    Given early career advice to do the studio's bidding and make picture he didn't like in order to have the power to ultimately choose his own roles, Nolte responds that he will only portray characters in roles that he feels strongly about. This includes taking small roles in interesting, avant garde films and stage productions.

    The best parts of this book deal with Nolte's maturing into late middle age, mellowing out with parenthood (although his two kids are about 20 years apart), making the transition from a matinee idol to character actor and accepting his own faults and shortcomings. The book reminds the reader of the range and variety of outstanding movies Nolte has appeared in. Apparently, he is the archetypal Method Actor who completely immerses himself in preparing for his roles and adapting the identity of the characters he portrays.

    There is an impressive absence of starstruck ego throughout this book. He has the utmost respect and admiration for most of the producers, directors and co-stars he has worked with (with a notable exception of one actor who prompted Nolte to walk off a set for good ...won't spoil it ... but it was justifiable and Nolte was vindicated when the movie bombed). Not to spoil things, but Nolte's other noteworthy run-ins involved producers who subsequently imploded on their own (read David Begelman, Harvey Weinstein ... but read the book for details).

    Above all there is wit and humour throughout this memoir and folk wisdom from a Hollywood survivor and rebel who knows how to tell a great story.

  • Robin

    One of the better celebrity memoirs I've read in a while. Nick appears to be candid about most things in his life and freely admits his rebellious, stubborn, and opinionated streaks.

  • Wynn

    Nick Nolte become an actor because real life was hard for him as a young man who only wanted to play football. I enjoyed reading about his journey to Hollywood via the many theatre groups and a couple of marriages. He talks a lot about his movies and how they inspired him and taught him life lessons. He talks about directors, producers and the actors he had the pleasure and displeasure of working with. I felt he was being honest and not gossipy and never cruel. His story was surprisingly interes

    Nick Nolte become an actor because real life was hard for him as a young man who only wanted to play football. I enjoyed reading about his journey to Hollywood via the many theatre groups and a couple of marriages. He talks a lot about his movies and how they inspired him and taught him life lessons. He talks about directors, producers and the actors he had the pleasure and displeasure of working with. I felt he was being honest and not gossipy and never cruel. His story was surprisingly interesting. He has lived profoundly in the moment and in the end I could feel his gratitude for everything good and bad in his life. Good read.

  • Brian Joynt

    This is essential reading for fans of the legendary actor, but while Nolte does offer some interesting stories and narrative beats about his life and some of his films, the memoir seems to lack the depth I'd anticipated. I suppose when you read a memoir like this you expect to connect with the literature the same way you connect to the films in which the actor played, but it's difficult for an actor generate that kind of tone without truly getting into the painstaking details of the productions.

    This is essential reading for fans of the legendary actor, but while Nolte does offer some interesting stories and narrative beats about his life and some of his films, the memoir seems to lack the depth I'd anticipated. I suppose when you read a memoir like this you expect to connect with the literature the same way you connect to the films in which the actor played, but it's difficult for an actor generate that kind of tone without truly getting into the painstaking details of the productions. Some actors will attempt to do this with their memoirs, and some will not. Nick Nolte's memoir, unfortunately, is one of those that does not. But I can't say it's not an enjoyable read, and I can't say it isn't like sitting down and having a personal conversation with the actor, because that's exactly how it is. Still, it left me wanting more, and its emptiness is resonating in a regretful way.

  • Scott S.

    4.5 stars

    Nolte first initially made his name as an actor with the popular TV mini-series

    (also a great epic book by Irwin Shaw, BTW) and for the next twenty-five years he landed on Hollywood's A-list after moving exclusively to movies. Surprisingly his autobiographical effort is just as interesting when he speaks simply and candidly of his Midwestern childhood years in the 50's and pre-stardom life of the 60's and early 70's. He never fails to give credit or thanks to the vari

    4.5 stars

    Nolte first initially made his name as an actor with the popular TV mini-series

    (also a great epic book by Irwin Shaw, BTW) and for the next twenty-five years he landed on Hollywood's A-list after moving exclusively to movies. Surprisingly his autobiographical effort is just as interesting when he speaks simply and candidly of his Midwestern childhood years in the 50's and pre-stardom life of the 60's and early 70's. He never fails to give credit or thanks to the various people - his parents, stage directors / producers, early acting instructors and more - who provided him with support and assistance, or something as simple as a kind word or gesture, along the way. Also, he does not shy away from mentioning the later downside of fame (failed relationships, substance use / addiction, health problems) that dogged him for awhile.

    Nolte only discusses about twenty or so of his movies (blockbusters like

    ,

    and

    , plus smaller and/or lesser-known efforts) and usually they're each limited to maybe two pages at most, so it's not quite a thorough filmography. However, he

    tell a good story - I easily imagined his distinctive gravelly voice narrating the book - and some of his philosophical ruminations (about acting as a career, being a parent, and impending death) in the final chapters were unexpectedly moving.

  • Barry Hammond

    Long known as a talented actor in such television and film roles like Rich Man, Poor Man, The Deep, Who'll Stop The Rain, North Dallas Forty, 48 Hrs., The Prince Of Tides, Down And Out In Beverly Hills, The Thin Red Line, New York Stories, Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear, Mother Night, The Good Thief, Affliction, Warrior, and Graves, Nick Nolte was also a person who got into the arts only after a promising football career was derailed by a rebellious nature, problems with authority, and an addict

    Long known as a talented actor in such television and film roles like Rich Man, Poor Man, The Deep, Who'll Stop The Rain, North Dallas Forty, 48 Hrs., The Prince Of Tides, Down And Out In Beverly Hills, The Thin Red Line, New York Stories, Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear, Mother Night, The Good Thief, Affliction, Warrior, and Graves, Nick Nolte was also a person who got into the arts only after a promising football career was derailed by a rebellious nature, problems with authority, and an addictive personality. His life and career has been tumultuous, erratic, but always driven by a need to explore both his and his character's inner depths. In this memoir, he reflects on his life and career with penetrating insight, not shying away from its more extreme moments but always trying to find meanings and understanding. A lifetime's wealth of stories make this a truly interesting read. - BH.

  • James Carter

    is an absorbing yet shallow story of Nick Nolte's life.

    Two chief reasons why I went for the book were: to learn about movies Nick Nolte was part of and to know his explanation of when his infamous mugshot spread through the news like wildfire. Of the former, he barely talked much while omitting a great deal of them and, of the latter, lightly touched the incident in a few pages before moving on.

    Instead, he talked about his life experiences, mostly with drugs and alternative medicines. Th

    is an absorbing yet shallow story of Nick Nolte's life.

    Two chief reasons why I went for the book were: to learn about movies Nick Nolte was part of and to know his explanation of when his infamous mugshot spread through the news like wildfire. Of the former, he barely talked much while omitting a great deal of them and, of the latter, lightly touched the incident in a few pages before moving on.

    Instead, he talked about his life experiences, mostly with drugs and alternative medicines. There were a few things I learned, but then again, the book felt banal and superficial for the most part which was odd considering that Nick Nolte titled his own book

    when he should have proved it by going against the grain in terms of talking about Hollywood and his experiences with movies.

    Nick Nolte achieved his cinematic breakthrough in

    , a good but mostly dated film. The greatest performance of his career, I felt, was given in

    which was barely touched upon in the autobiography. The same treatment was rendered for his other great performances in

    ,

    , and

    . But he talked in length of his outstanding work in

    and

    which was fine by me. Nothing was mentioned about his selling out to appear in

    .

    All in all, Nick Nolte's autobiography is just simply too guarded to make for a satisfying read.

  • Mediaman

    This shallow memoir is from a nutcase actor who is unapologetic about his lifelong drug use, cheating, anger issues, and rebellion. And much of the book makes no sense.

    Nolte's issues start at age four in Ames, Iowa where his dad returns home from World War II a hollow ghost of a man who transformed from a loving father to a distant silent man. Around the same time Nick's mother responds by going a bit crazy (telling the kids that the parents will divorce once the kids are grown for the next 15

    This shallow memoir is from a nutcase actor who is unapologetic about his lifelong drug use, cheating, anger issues, and rebellion. And much of the book makes no sense.

    Nolte's issues start at age four in Ames, Iowa where his dad returns home from World War II a hollow ghost of a man who transformed from a loving father to a distant silent man. Around the same time Nick's mother responds by going a bit crazy (telling the kids that the parents will divorce once the kids are grown for the next 15 years and then does it) and starts drugging Nick to calm her son's anxiety. The combination turns Nolte into a basket case whose drug addiction lasts throughout most of the rest of his lifetime and he never seems to regret it. Drugs and alcohol become the things he loves most in his life--and he is unwilling on the pages of this book to see how much damage they (and his mother) did to him.

    The heavy drug use and drinking as a young adult lead him to make some crazy decisions. He certainly thinks he's hot stuff and brags repeatedly in the book about his football abilities. This is a guy who got cut from one high school team, his parents move to another town just to let him play somewhere, then he skips around to play for three community colleges--and talks about what a hot talent he was. Again, delusional, showing no understanding of his actual inabilities and failures. A guy nominated for three Academy Awards that brags about his community college football playing abilities is still holding on to a false image of himself.

    Anxiety seems to be his main problem and he uses every method possible to relieve it. Sex is a big part of that but he has a cavalier attitude toward women that he uses, leaves, cheats on, returns, and misleads. Through it all this rebel acts like tough guy James Dean and doesn't care about anyone but himself. How does he approach analyzing his relationships in the book? That he was a great guy, never seeing how much damage he did.

    Nolte is notorious for being difficult to work with (his anxiety brought out the anger in him) but you wouldn't know it here based on his summaries of his work. He blame-shifts for everything he's famous for (including that horrible crazy-haired mugshot). This rebel will not take responsibility or consequences for his actions. He does go through his movies, film-by-flim, with a small story about the making of each, but those sections come across as very formal and distant as if they were written by an outside biographer. Much of the book feels like he didn't actually write it. One chapter starts with the ratings history of ABC TV in the 1970s--I seriously doubt Nolte knows anything about that and some co-author researched it before writing it. The first third of the book (his pre-fame years) often make no sense, skipping locations without explaining what is going on or leaving out details as if an editor went through cutting paragraphs without realizing that others then make no sense. So the book goes back and forth between either being a simplistic distant overview of his work authored by someone else and his own inner story that often makes no sense or shows a lack of true self-awareness.

    The only positive thing about the book is his heart for children. The scene of his crying over the stillborn death of his first child is touching. His standing up for his young son as the school tries to put the boy on drugs shows deep insight into how school systems and doctors are too quick to pick the simple solution instead of taking the time to do what Nolte did--commit himself to being by his kid's side every day until the truth comes out (the kid was bitter about his parents divorce due to the mother's cheating). The whole book is a great example of how bad parenting can damage a child, and how long distance parenting is horrible for children. You think Nolte learned from his wacky drug-pushing mother that he didn't want his son to go down the same path--but then the author wrecks whatever he learned by giving his 12-year-old son "open house" freedom when the boy buys his own plane ticket and runs off to live with dad. So Nolte didn't want his kid to turn out like him, then sets up the same permissiveness that caused the author to become a rebel.

    You probably know before you read this book that someone like Nolte isn't going to open up much emotionally. But it would have been nice if he would have learned one life lesson. To be in your 70s and still think it's okay to be a rebel after all the disasters Nolte has been through shows that he isn't as smart as he thinks (he is very anti-organized education in the book while claiming to have superior knowledge to others about most subjects!). It's a sad commentary on how Hollywood people think nothing of a life of drug abuse, destroying relationships, and living in a spiritual vacuum. Nolte acts like he's proud of how he has lived but he has no reason to be.

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