Aren’t You Gonna Die Someday? explores the deceptions and veiled truths lurking within a film that has haunted author Patrick Cooper for nearly a decade: Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky. Called both a “masterpiece” and a “celluloid death wish” upon its release in 1976, Mikey and Nicky is an astonishingly dark work in the oeuvre of legendary comedienne-filmmaker Elaine May. This book examines May’s tragic film scene-by-scene, digging up the titular friends’ long-buried truths in an attempt to get at the heart of their lies.
Along the way, Cooper offers behind the scenes insight and anecdotes, gathered from interviews and research, as well as never before seen set photos. Weaved together with this detailed look at the film are autobiographical threads in which Cooper uses Mikey and Nicky as a lens to examine toxic friendships from his own past. A tapestry of film history, reconstruction, and personal reflection, Aren’t You Gonna Die Someday? is an unexpected look at a wholly unique American film.
“Patrick Cooper's Aren't You Gonna Die Someday? is a big-hearted and personal look at Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky, my all-time favorite film, a tender and neurotic masterpiece. Cooper’s approach is so accessible, so highly readable, that this felt less like a work of criticism or biography and more like a thrilling novel centering around May, Falk, Cassavetes, and the City of Brotherly Love. This is an essential companion to the film. If you’re like me and you bought the recent Criterion Blu-ray the day it came out, well, this is your next move. Revel in Cooper’s detailed investigation of the greatest film by one of our most neglected masters.”
—William Boyle, author of Gravesend, The Lonely Witness, and A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself