Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Favorite Movies about Writers

Movie night
Originally uploaded by Andrei Z
Lest people get the wrong idea from my post, The Mythical Writer, I do like some movies about writers. In fact, I thought I'd list a few of my favorites.

1. Sideways. One thing I love to do is laugh at myself, and the character Miles Raymond is the perfect foil. A frustrated, middle-aged writer, Miles takes a road trip with his quasi-famous TV star friend, Jack, and along the way, tries to come to terms with his own lack of success. I'm convinced this is the ultimate writer movie because there is so much humor that only writers will get. For example, when Miles tries to explain his novel to the girl he's falling in love with, he says, "[The plot] shifts around a lot. Like you also start to see everything from the point of view of the father. And some other stuff happens, some parallel narrative, and then it evolves - or devolves - into a kind of a Robbe-Grillet mystery - with no real resolution." Gotta love that.

2. Barton Fink. You take one neurotic writer, stick him in a ghastly hotel with an insane serial killer, add an insincere Hollywood movie producer and you get... well, a majorly creepy, sometimes funny, ultimately bizarre movie by the Coen brothers (writers and directors of such films as No Country for Old Men and Fargo.)

3. The Shining. Okay, I had to go there. 'Scary' and 'creepy' don't even begin to describe what this movie is like. Watching Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) is like staring deep into a nightmare and not being sure if you'll ever get out of it alive. Stephen King claims that he never liked the movie, but it remains one of my very favorites.

4. Stranger than Fiction. True, the main character Karen Eiffel represents every myth I hate about writers (she's a depressed alcoholic who is pampered by her publisher), but I love this movie all the same. The genius of this movie, in my opinion, is that it looks at fiction from the character's point of view. It's a wonderful film, full of fun and whimsy and has a lot to say about writing and the writer's relationship to her characters.

5. Shakespeare in Love. What would have happened if William Shakespeare had written 'Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter' instead of his more famous love story? I'm not a huge fan of romantic movies, but I fell in love with this one. Not only is the story fun, but the Elizabethan costumes and dialogue are wonderful as well.

Here are some more movies that offer a unique perspective on the writer's life:
- Naked Lunch
- Synecdoche
- Adaptation
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Have any favorites to add? I'd love to know!


Scobberlotcher said...

Terrific list! If I made a list, it would also include SHADOWLANDS, the film about C.S. Lewis' life and teaching.

Elle Scott said...

Good call! I knew that I would be forgetting some terrific movies. Shadowlands is a wonderful film.

Redleg said...

Wonderboys? Should that count?

Elle Scott said...

I've never seen that one, but I've heard of it. If it has writers in it, then it should be added!

Frances Pauli said...

I love this topic. You've come up with a few I didn't know about/haven't seen.
I'd add the Romancing the Stone duo, just because I love corny eighties movies.
I also love Orange County for something more current.
I did a similar list awhile back at:
I think Stranger than Fiction is the only one we both listed! lol
aparently there are a lot of good flicks about authors.

Thanks for the additions,
Frances Pauli

Elle Scott said...

Thanks, Frances! I forgot all about those two movies which are favorites of mine, too. I'm definitely going to check out your list : )

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