Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Top 5 Best Movies About Writers

Books, plays and movies about writers are often painfully self-indulgent, but I thought I would share a few that I think are worth watching. Please add your own :)

#5) I Capture the Castle (2003)
This is just one of those charming, picturesque movies that is enjoyable in a low-key way. A blocked novelist moves with his daughter to a crumbling, rural castle. The two rather unconsciously Bohemian daughters compete for the interest of their handsome landlord. This is a coming or age story, a romance, a period piece and just a very enjoyable, very British, movie that is all about personal choices and morality--without being at all judgemental or cloying.

#4) Total Eclipse (1995)
Based upon the relationship between Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud (nineteenth century French poets), this movie is just eye candy. Especially if gay sex and poetic angst and a young Leonardo DiCaprio tickle your fancy. Even if you are not into the M/M aspects this is a great movie about a man with waning powers falling under the spell of a young but completely destructive genius--kind of a romance-tragedy.

#3) Gothic (1986)
This movie covers a few days Byron, Shelly, Mary Shelly, Clair Clairmont and Dr Polidori spent together on a country estate. An interlude that saw the genesis of both Frankenstein and The Vampyre. Mary Shelley (then Godwin) has told conflicting accounts of exactly what happened at this interlude of complex relationships, inspired ghost stories and lurid dreams--and this movie embellishes the know facts to an over-blown extent. This movie has very over-the-top styling and you have to just 'go with it' to really enjoy its gothic kitsch eighties charm.

#2) Deathtrap (1982)
This is a rather static thriller that revolves around a couple of plot twists that make it hard to say anything with out spoiler-ating it. Featuring Christopher Reeve at his most gorgeous, and Michael Caine as a burned out playwright. This really is a writers movie in an almost stilted and self-conscious way--but it is so clever I loved it anyway. The movie opens with Caine character watching critics eviscerate his latest play, and anticipating the visit of a student who has written a inspired debut thriller. His wife begins to suspect that he is planning to murder the student and steal the play... but is he?

#1) The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
So, some people seem to think paranormal romance is a new invention. I beg to differ. The Ghost and Mrs Muir is about a widow who moves to a remote cottage, to find it is haunted by a hot-tempered sea-captain who does not want to share his abode. Out of this initial hostility they develop a very sharp-tongued but ultimately rather touching romantic friendship. When her funds run low the ghost comes up with the idea of having Mrs Muir write and publish his memoirs. The scenes in the publishers office are great fun. The romance is more sentimental than sexy with a downbeat ending, but this movie has been a favorite of mine for decades. Based on a 1945 novel that I have long been meaning to read, if only I could find a copy.


Mem said...

There is always The Wonder Boys (based on the novel by Michael Chabon) with Michael Douglas playing a novelist / professor struggling with writer's block and Toby Maguire playing his protege from his creative writing class. It can be very funny!

M Barnette said...

Finding Forester with Sean Connery as the mentor of a young black college aged man who wants to be an author. Of course there's a total jerk of a white man professor who treats the aspiring author with contempt. It's a great film.

LVLM(Leah) said...

Julia About Lillian Hellman.

The Hours about Virginia Woolf

Henry and June Henry Miller, Anais Nin and Henry's wife June. Very erotic this one.

Sade A French film about Marquis de Sade.

Angelia Sparrow said...

ZOMG, I'm not the only person in the world who saw Gothic! Love that movie...

Fiona Glass said...

I think Deathtrap was based on a play which might explain it being so static - but yeah, brilliant. I'm still reeling at That Scene. ;)

There was a more recent movie with Will Ferrell as a man who comes to realise he's a book character? Not seen it and can't remember what it's called so I'm not doing very well. LOL

Sonja Foust said...

Romancing the Stone needs to be #1. ;)

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

My favorite movie with a writer protagonist will always be Sunset Boulevard.

Also Romancing the Stone (ditto), Love Actually (the part about the mystery writer and the Portuguese maid) and Sideways.

Anonymous said...

The movie with Will Ferrell was called "Stranger than Fiction" and was quite good, made naturally stronger by the performances of Emma Thompson as the writer and Dustin Hoffman.

Personally, I like "the Secret Window", but I have a bizarre compulsion for movies and stories where writers are kind of off their rockers... not really sure what I should be reading into that, of course.

Fiona Glass said...

Thanks Anon, I've been going potty trying to remember that. ;) Like Secret Window too.

And how about The Shining?

Ava Quinn said...

I agree with M Barnette and Finding Forester. It's a great movie.

But like fiona said, who could forget Jack Nicholson in The Shining? There are some days I wish I could freak out at interruptions like he did in that movie.