Saturday, September 8, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Movies About Writers

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to one of this weekend's new releases, "The Words", and decide to also focus these lists around movie about writers. "The Words" stars Bradley Cooper as an aspiring writer who finally finds literary success upon stealing another man's work. The rest of the film revolves around romance and conspiracy, but for our purposes here, none of it matters without our leading character's passion for the pen and paper.


There are a huge variety of different types of writers and films about each them to choose from, but most notably it breaks down into novelists and screenwriters. Both of these trades have been the center of countless Hollywood films (the screenwriting thing even kind of as one of those pictures where someone's looking into a picture of themselves, looking into a picture of themselves, looking into a picture of themselves etc.). It wasn't too hard to try and define this subject much more - either there was a writer in the film or there wasn't. Arguments can be made on how central the character presented or how focused the aspect of writing is to the film, but nonetheless, all of these films revolve around the medium of writing.

So hit the jump for all of our favorite selections that this category has had to offer over the years!

Alex Schopp -
I mostly want to start this by saying that I'm still upset with myself for never having gotten around to "Barton Fink". I've been wanting to watch it for years, but it's never been a priority. Now with hardly any brick and mortar stores anymore, where do you even find movies like this?

     1. Midnight in Paris (2011)
I loved this movie and the themes it portrayed. It felt like a very powerful message to me and made a big impact on my views towards nostalgia.
     2. Finding Forrester (2000)
This was one of my all-time favorite movies for a while back in the early 2000's. Just a great character drama about beating the odds. Plus I love movies about prodigies - "A Beautiful Mind" and "Good Will Hunter" are both in my all-time Top 5; I guess they're just better versions of this.
     3. Sideways (2004)
This film makes an appearance on the weekend list for its second weekend in a row. I guess there's just something about alcohol and writers that goes together.
     4. The Player (1992)
A really great young Tim Robbins here. I remember thinking how funny it was that a movie studio made a movie about how cold and heartless the movie industry can be. We've seen plenty of those at this point now, but it always seemed fascinating to me. This is still a great dark comedy if you're looking for something as such.
     5. The Shining (1980)
I was kind of surprised that this film didn't make last week's list, but the writing element of this film feels much more powerful to me than the drinking (I'm not sure if that's an apt assessment or not). Definitely a great movie though that seems like it's received plenty of praise from this site over the past month or two.

Ben Foutch -

      1. The Shinning (1980)
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
     2. Barfly (1987)
"And as my hands drop the last desperate pen, in some cheap room, they will find me there and never know my name, my meaning, nor the treasure of my escape."
     3. Midnight In Paris (2011)
'Wonderful but forgettable. It sounds like a film I've seen. I probably wrote it."
     4. Sideways (2004)
"It 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."
     5. The Help (2011)
"Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you for bringing it back to our family."

Derek Clem -

     1. The Muse (1999)

     2. The Player (1992)

     3. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

     4. Orange County (2002)

    5. Barton Fink (1991)



Nathan Hinds -
Don't look for any sort of pattern in the criteria I used for this list because their wasn't any. Basically, the movie had to be about something being written and not just happen to have a writer in it.

     1. The Help (2011)
It seems too soon to have this listed as number one on a list, but I loved it so much. Plus, this was the film that introduced me to Jessica Chastain, and I will be forever grateful for that.
     2. The Hoax (2006)
It's such a simple film yet it's so outrageous as well. If you haven't seen it, definitely check it out.
     3. Basic Instinct (1992)
Everyone only talks about one scene from this movie, but it really is a great, sexy thriller.
     4. The Swimming Pool (2003)
If you like "Basic Instinct", you'd like this movie.
     5. Misery (1990)
This is the best movie on this list. The reason it's not higher up is because I only watched it once since the movie made me so mad.

Andy Schopp -

     1. Orange County (2002)

     2. The Shinning (1980)

     3. Misery (1990)

     4. Finding Forrester (2000)

     5. Limitless (2011)



So that's what we're looking at this week. Tons of great variety, and probably the most we've seen for a few weeks, at least. Notably, as well, all five of the number-one selections all featured different films, which is always interesting. And maybe even more notable was the lack of overall performance from any one film. The film garnering the most selections was "The Shining", which also nabbed one of the #1 picks. It was the only film with at least three picks, nothing else making stronger appearances. This led to an out pour of films hitting on two lists though. The haul of films with two selections apiece include "Orange County", "Misery", "Finding Forrester", "The Help", "The Player", "Midnight in Paris", and "Sideways". "The Muse" was the only film represented that received a #1 vote but then did not appear on any of the other lists.

That's it for this week though. Otherwise, plenty of variety for you to sift through when better acquainting yourself with this category of movies.

So as always, we hope that each of these selections helps you to expand your knowledge and appreciation of some of the best films that this category has to offer, and guides you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!