"By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There," (Atria Books), by Tom Sizemore, with Anna David
The cover photo of Tom Sizemore's autobiography, "By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There," is a perfect introduction for what's to come.
The 51-year-old actor stands looking up at the camera, instantly recognizable because of his work portraying tough-guy characters in such memorable 1990s films as "Saving Private Ryan," ''Heat" and "Natural Born Killers."
His face, though, looks worn, and his eyes are those of a man who's been to hell and back.
And that's exactly what his book details — Sizemore's ascent to the height of cinema, working for the Steven Spielbergs and with the Robert De Niros of the world — and his drug-fueled descent that left him imprisoned and out of options.
"I was a guy who'd come from very little and risen to the top," writes Sizemore, who was born and raised in hardscrabble Detroit. "I'd had the multimillion-dollar house, the Porsche, the restaurant I partially owned with Robert De Niro.
"And now I had absolutely nothing."
"By Some Miracle" — the title is taken from a line uttered by his "Saving Private Ryan" character, Sgt. Mike Horvath — is a painfully honest look at a man, who, by his own admission, had become a "spoiled movie star" and an "arrogant fool" who at his lowest point was "a hope-to-die addict."
Sizemore recounts his friendships with Hollywood's elite — Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr. and De Niro among them — and his dalliances with actresses Edie Falco, Elizabeth Hurley and Juliette Lewis.
It was during Sizemore's tabloid romance with former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss that his life truly fell apart. He was convicted in 2003 of harassing, annoying and physically abusing Fleiss. While Sizemore admits in the book to being "immature" and says he regrets may of his actions, he denies striking Fleiss.
Readers interested in a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood's machinations will love Sizemore's book, but it's not for everyone.
It's written in a plain, sometimes coarse prose befitting some of the hard-boiled characters Sizemore brought to life on screen. And the subject matter can at times be difficult to stomach — sex tapes, copious amounts of drug taking, etc.
But in many ways, it's a story of redemption — of a man who now is trying to regain a small measure of what he squandered.
"I've led an interesting life, but I can't tell you what I'd give to be the guy you didn't know anything about," Sizemore writes.
Tom, readers who get through your book will know just about everything about you.
Mike Householder can be reached at mhouseholder(at)ap.org and http://twitter.com/mikehouseholder