Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies About Writing/Writers of Novels



Films about writers is probably a favourite genre - sub genre - of mine. Stories about writing stories has the possibility to go anywhere. Film about real writers have their own separate space but these picks are about writing or about writers of novels but not about real-life writers. Just to be clear.

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

Stranger Than Fiction
Said to be Will Ferrell’s Truman Show, it follows Harold Crick, a bland tax man who starts to hear his life be narrated. The narration spurs Harold to change his ways and to live life to the full. But once he discovers that the narrator is famous author Karen Eiffel, who is notorious for killing off all her main characters, Crick has to come to terms with death. I felt that the film was oversold to me. I thought it was going to be a great film that ‘had something profound to say’ especially as the cast was quite good, but it turned out too sentimental and had the same old message about making the most of life. The interesting part of the film was the dilemma for Karen Eiffel who has to decide whether she kills Crick or not. 

Barton Fink
Sorry if I’ve used this film before but I cannot remember. Barton Fink (John Turturro), the surprising winner of 1991 Palm d’Or is about a New York playwright who wants to write about ‘the common man’ but is persuaded to write for a Hollywood studio. He lives at The Hotel Earl, whose motto is ‘For a day or a lifetime’ along with other single men. Hi neighbour is friendly but has a dark secret. Filled with symbolism and other mixed messages, paying homage to real writers and the Hollywood system and their treatment of screenwriters. The Coen’s present us with a deliciously genre twisted film that has co much more going on that a writer with writer’s block. the

World’s Greatest Dad
 Honestly, I cannot remember how or why I saw this film. Robin William’s plays Lance, single middle aged father and school teacher. He has a horrible, below average academically son, Kyle, who is obsessed with porn. Lance is failed writer who has had his work continuously rejected by publishers but when Kyle dies accidentally from erotic asphyxiation, Lance covers it up as a suicide and writes a note. Soon the note gains attention giving Lance hope for his dream as a writer, but as this is a very dark comedy, things go wrong. You feel for Lance’s struggle, whether it’s his writing, his son’s death, the fact that his son was a terrible person when alive and with just trying to do better at work. Williams is brilliant in the film, but it makes me sad to think we won’t see him anymore.

16 comments:

  1. World's Greatest Dad was so sad! I hated the son, liked the movie a lot. I also went with Stranger than Fiction (we have the same graphic!); I wish Will Ferrell would make more movies like that.

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    1. The son was just the worst which made it more sad because his dad was trying to be a good. Ferrell seems to be losing it and yes he should go back to films like this.

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  2. I really want to see Barton Fink! Another Coen film on my watch list.

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    1. Barton Fink will not disappoint. Check into Hotel Earle and enjoy :)

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  3. Wow Stranger than Fiction seems to be the title of the week. I liked it, despite my distaste for Ferrell who was better than usual, but once was enough for me. Barton Fink has been on to see list for years, don't know why I haven't gotten around to it yet, oh well some day. I've never heard of the last, it sounds very dark but I'll have to read up on it a bit more.

    Love films about writers so this week was a snap. I just picked three favorites and was done.

    Swimming Pool (2003)-Writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) is blocked working on her new detective novel so her publisher suggests she get out of London to refresh herself and lends her his home in the French countryside. On arrival she luxuriates in the sunshine and solitude but that is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of the publisher’s wild child daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). After a rocky beginning the two form a bond, one that is challenged by a serious turn of events. Strange, moody and captivating with a brilliant Charlotte Rampling performance.

    Wonder Boys (2000)-Shaggy dog college professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) drifts through his days in a pot induced haze avoiding the various crisis that are swirling just below the surface of his life. He’s a noted author suffering from a strange sort of writer’s block-he can’t seem to end the follow up novel to his first hot book, his third wife has just left him, his mistress, the college chancellor (Frances McDormand), is married to the chair of Grady’s department and has just discovered she’s pregnant by Grady, his editor is in town hounding him for a completed manuscript and he has a new odd wonder boy writer James Leer (Tobey Maguire) in his class stirring memories of when Grady was the hot young kid on the block. Oh and the department chair’s dead dog, accidently shot by James Leer, is in the trunk of Grady’s car! Somewhat shambling film is kept centered by Michael Douglas in perhaps his best ever performance.

    In a Lonely Place (1950)-Hot headed screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is considering adapting a novel he knows is trash. Rather than reading it he invites a hat check girl at his favorite watering hole to his apartment to tell him the story. After she leaves she’s murdered and Dix is suspected, however his neighbor Laurel (Gloria Grahame) is able to provide him with an alibi. Only nodding acquaintances previously they strike up a friendship which rapidly turns serious and they plan to marry. Everything seems rosy until Dix’s violent outbursts start to create doubt in Laurel’s mind. Both Bogart and Grahame are just great. Brooding nihilistic Nicholas Ray directed film is an essential noir.

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    1. Same - film about writers can literally go anywhere.

      I've not seen your picks but I really want to see In a Lonely Place. Swimming Pool has been, well, swimming around for a while and I haven't got round to see it but I do like a good thriller, plus I have heard great things.

      Not a great Douglas fan so I can side step Wonder Boys.

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  4. Stranger Than Fiction is popular today, I also chose it, it's such a wonderful film. I'm sorry you didn't care for it more. I haven't seen your other two choices.

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    1. Its a good film but I thought it became to sentimental, I agree Hoffman's character, the character should have been killed off, the story would have been better.

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  5. I haven't seen any of these films but Barton Funk is on my watch list and World's Greatest Dad but it would feel weird since Robin Williams killed himself the way his film son did in this movie. Stranger Than Fiction actually sounds like, a good movie but I get it is not a great one...shame

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    1. I don't think it was the exact same way but I do get what you mean that its sad. It's not a film I would say you should rush to see but it is worth seeing at some point.

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  6. Haven't seen any of these but I want to watch them all. Especially the one with Robin Williams. Even though it makes me sad watching his movies.

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    1. It was a good role - he did great but I get what you mean. It will be a while before I venture in Jumanji again.

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  7. I've seen all of these. Stranger Than Fiction has won the week and deserves it. It's such a good movie. Barton Fink is great. I could've easily picked it. I just stuck with movies about novelists. Great picks! World's Greatest Dad was not for me. Can't remember enough of it to say why.

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    1. It did! Who knew it was so popular?! Don't worry about WGD, its a film that is kinda difficult. I couldn't watch it again. I actually can't remember where and I why I watched it...

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  8. I don't remember much of Strange than Fiction than that it has a somewhat similar plot with Ruby Sparks. I've seen World's Greatest Dad as well. Just a generally sad movie.

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    1. Writers and their characters getting to close? I see what you mean. It is sad, some of it so darkly funny though, but overall a sad film with an open conclusion.

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