The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Writers in Movies

Cover of "The Shining [Blu-ray]"
Cover of The Shining [Blu-ray]
The films that I'll be listing in my April postings may not necessarily be films that I'd call my favorite films, but they will be favorites in the genres I'll be naming.   The A to Z genres are very specific micro genres as opposed to the broader genres like action, romance, or comedy.

        If writers write what they know then it makes sense that they might write about writers.  If that holds true then it makes sense that there would be a lot of films about writers since films are usually based on works by writers or are original screenplays written by writers.   Yes, this mini-genre of films is about writers.  And there are a whole lot of them.

         Here are some of my favorites:

8 1/2 (1963)--Okay, I know I already used this film in my post Movies about Making Movies, but that's how much I like this film.  This is one of my top ten films.  If you are a serious writer you should see this film and take it to heart.  A masterpiece of the genre of thinkers' films.  Forget this one if you're an action fan unless you're in the mood to just sit, listen, and learn.  I'll warn you that it's in Italian and you'll have to read the subtitles if you don't know the language.  I just can't rave enough about this film.  Oh, and did I say it's good?

The Shining (1980)-- Jack Nicholson stars as a writer who gets more than he bargains for when he secludes himself and his family so he can get some writing done.  Chalk up another hit for Stephen King.  One writer's nightmare is another writer's dream. A shot of Red Rum anybody?

Misery (1990)--Famous novelist crashes car and is rescued by his "number one fan".   Fans like this we don't need.   Stephen King strikes again.

Shadowlands (1993)-- Based on the true relationship between author C.S. Lewis and poet Joy Davidson, this one's a weeper.  Grab the popcorn and the Kleenex.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)-- A liberal dose of poetic license results in a lot of fun with one of the most famous writers of all time.  This film won a few awards as well.

Adaptation (2002)--Great cast of actors in a curious tale.  This is one of those films that I rewatched as soon as I had watched it the first time.  Great film.

Secret Window (2004)--Johnny Depp as a writer suffering from writer's block.  But it doesn't end there. Now he's being accused of plagiarism and it only gets worse.  Oh yeah, and Stephen King is in on this one too.

Sideways (2004)--If the writing career is not working, you can always go get drunk.  The focus of this film is wine, but it's really about a writer and writing.


Freedom Writers (2007)--Brand new idealistic English teacher gets assigned to tough class of inner city students.  She gets them involved in journaling and they in turn fall into the writing life.  Inspirational film about teaching and the power of words.


Midnight in Paris (2011) -- In one of the best films directed by Woody Allen, a writer vacationing in Paris time travels back to the 1920's and meets famous authors and others.   Doesn't matter if it's a dream, a fantasy, or what--it's fun.

       What are some of your favorite films about writers or writing?   If you like movies about writing, why is this?   Have you seen 8 1/2 yet?

Ready to do some more writing after the A to Z Challenge ends?    Join us for the A to Z Reflections post starting Friday May 3rd.   For more details be sure to visit the A to Z Blog

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45 comments:

  1. I used to watch many movies when younger but as the family came along didn't go so often. I usually watch movies on TV now.
    I can't recall any of the movies you have mentioned but have heard of The Shinning.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Shining will always be a classic. Sideways was also really good.
    The only other ones I can add are Romancing the Stone and sequel and 2012.

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  3. This time I had seen a fair few of the films you mentioned. It's fun to see how writers are portrayed. Although I haven't seen it, Limitless was a recent one with an interesting concept.

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  4. Freedom Writers was a great movie for sure. How about The Raven; I liked that one too!

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  5. 'Something's Gotta Give' with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton is a great movie. Her scene where's she's writing/venting/crying is hysterical.

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  6. THE HOURS (2002) – written by David Hare would be among my choices. I thought is the best of Nicole Kidman.

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  7. I loved 'Midnight in Paris'. I have to agree with Em 'Somethings Gotta Give' is great. As for 'The Hours', one of the worst movies I ever saw. I recently saw 'The Words' and thought it was an interesting concept, but I can't imagine any REAL writer wrapping their head around it. But, then I guess there a lot of pseudo everythings, out there.

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  8. MISERY is easily one of my favorite movies.

    A new one called SINISTER is a horror movie about a true crime writer. Stars Ethan Hawke and was more creepy than gory, which is more my kind of thing.

    Another Stephen King one was THE DARK HALF. Not sure if it was a movie or a TV movie.

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  9. I love the Shining...also seen Sideways and Secret Window. Depp was great in that movie. You have given me some others to watch, thanks Lee.

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  10. Stand By Me (Another Stephen King) and David Copperfield come to mind. Both I hearly love!

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  11. The previous should be "dearly love." :-)

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  12. I haven't seen 8 1/2 but Misery was one of the scariest King movies I think because it wasn't supernatural, just psycho.

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  13. There are so many, but I'm drawing a complete blank except for The Raven, which wasn't all that great.
    The only thing I can think of that I like is Castle, and that's not a movie.

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  14. I loved some of these movies as well, particularly Midnight in Paris and Adaptation. Now i'll have to watch 8 1/2 after your rave!
    Karen

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  15. Yvonne -- Maybe you need to have some movie marathon weekends.

    Alex -- 3 good additions.

    Nick -- I remember hearing about Limitless but now don't remember what is about.

    Dani -- Haven't seen The Raven yet but I do like Poe.

    Em -- I haven't seen this one yet.

    AF -- Haven't seen The Hours and probably won't.

    Faraway -- I recently added The Words to my Netflix queue but I can't recall what the film is about. A lot of pseudos for sure.

    Madeline -- I prefer creepy to gory too.

    Chuck -- I need to watch all of these again. Where can I find the time?

    Rocky -- Stand By Me will be on my list for Y.

    Susan -- The Shining was pretty whacked.

    Andrew -- I'd heard that The Raven was not as good as it could have been.

    Karen -- I wish somebody would watch 8 1/2 and tell me their thoughts on it. I think most people would probably dislike it because newer movies don't involve much thought much of the time.

    Lee

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  16. Finding Neverland - another Jonny Depp movie

    The Shining I couldn't sleep for a week

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  17. I've seen all of these except Shadowlands. I'll fix that next week. Off to visit my friendly Netflix store.

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  18. Hey Lee,

    I would add “MY BRILLIANT CAREER” (1979) – written by Eleanor Witcombe. Based on the novel by Miles Franklin. Directed by Gillian Armstrong.

    Judy Davis gives one of her best performances as Sybylla, a woman torn between society’s expectations and her own ambitions as a writer. Simple yet universal themes told with charm, wit, and vulnerability. Director Gillian Armstrong was only 27 when she made this film and makes a cameo as a cabaret backup singer."

    Happy alphabeting and I look forward to May. Enjoy your weekend, Lee.

    Gary

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  19. Misery and Secret Window were crazy movies. Writers can have it rough or super rough. Never easy.

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  20. I love how most of these films are linked to Steven King, so weird man, it just so happens that my friend was telling me about Misery just last night and now it's came up on here, I've got to show him this post.

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  21. Moondust -- I've been meaning to watch Finding Neverland--it's been on my Netflix queue for years but keeps getting pushed down by other films.

    C.Lee -- Shadowlands has great acting and it's a well told story.

    Gary -- This is another film I have not yet seen. I've heard of it though. Need to put it on my queue if it's not already there.

    Sheena -- The life of a writer is usually far more exciting on screen than in real life. I guess writers like to fantasize about having exciting lives.

    Yeamie -- As I've been compiling these lists it's been amazing how many films King has inspired. He's a prolific writer who knows how to tell a good story.

    Lee

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  22. So far, I'm really liking what I'm seeing.
    My kind of discussions and I'm sure I'll go into a couple of these in future entries.
    Especially love the last two on that list.

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  23. Wow Lee-these are wonderful! I have seen a lot of them, but not all~
    Off to Netflix ;D
    Thank you!
    Happy Friday to you n' yours!

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  24. The Shinning and Misery are two of my all time favorite movies. Your post got me thinking about a movie I saw, but can't remember the name of (can't even remember who starred in it, right now), but maybe one of you will recognize it. It was about a writer who stole the content of his book from a (con-but didn't know it at the time) man in Key West, who faked his death but actually set the writer up. He ends up being framed for several real murders that he wrote about in his novel. The police chase him to New Orleans, which is where the character is from. Anyone recognize the movie from my attempt at outlining the plot?

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  25. Misery was classic! I'll have to check out 8 1/2, and the one about C.S. Lewis too. I liked Limitless and The Words...same actor (Bradley Cooper).

    Chontali Kirk
    chontalikirk.blogspot.com

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  26. I was going to suggest Stand by Me as well, though it seems you already have plans for that one.

    I can think of other movies with writer characters, even if they're not necessarily the main character: "The Philadelphia Story" would be one. Jimmy Stewart's character is a writer.

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  27. You have some good ones but I have to admit Something's Gotta Give (mentioned in an earlier comment) is my favorite.

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  28. Jackie -- So pleased that you came to visit.

    Ella -- Good stuff here. Glad you stopped by.

    Melissa -- This sounds familiar. When was it made? I'm picturing an old black and white film noir film, but I don't think that's what you're talking about.

    Chontali --I've got to look into Limitless and The Words.

    Armchair Squid-- I don't recall if I've seen Philadelphia Story. It's on TV a lot.

    LD -- Guess I'll need to see it.

    Lee

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  29. I quite liked The Ghost Writer, with Ewan mcgregor. It had an unexpected ending!

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  30. I'm afraid I'm stuck in a rut of watching paranormal/fantasy/sci fi movies with the odd chic click thrown in. Nothing very deep and meaningful ;)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day.

    It's getting tougher with the end of the alphabet but have enjoyed my first A to Z challenge :)

    Kate
    The Tales of Me

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  31. I really liked Finding Neverland. It was the story of how Peter Pan was written. Johnny Depp was fabulous in it. It was both funny and sad. I think it qualifies since it is the story about the writer of Peter Pan...

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  32. Micro genres - I like that term. And movies about writers is a great one! I just watched Shakespeare in Love - last time I'd seen it I wasn't writing yet, so it was cool to watch it from the writer's perspective this time.

    I see Secret Window has already been mentioned - a really great one for suspense!

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  33. Absence of Malice. I was in a journalism class at the time and we got extra points if we went to see that film.

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  34. Only one I know there is Shakespeare in Love which I didn't enjoy. Misery was a good one as well as the one about C.S. Lewis such a moving story.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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  35. Rowena -- Yes!! I'd forgotten about that one. I loved it.

    Kate -- Thank you for visiting back. All those genres you mentioned can be deep and meaningful, but movies are for entertainment so that's okay if they aren't deep and meaningful.

    Robin Neverland definitely qualifies. Someday I'll see it.

    Nicki - It is fun to watch films like these with the perspective of the writer in mind.

    L.Diane -- Yes I saw that when it came out. My first wife used to hate it when I quoted from the film. I really liked it.

    Jo -- Shadowlands was a deeply moving film I thought.

    Lee

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  36. Another winner, Lee. I love all these films about the writing life.

    A smaller film I very much enjoyed was "The Shipping News" about a man (Kevin Spacey) who is robbed of his self esteem as a child and finally, when given a chance as a writer, learns to reclaim it.

    By the way, one of my favorite quotes about writers was carved on a tombstone, of all things. It read:

    "HERE LIES A WRITER..... AS USUAL."

    Cheers, and thank you for your kind comments on my blog.

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  37. Liz -- I've got to watch Stranger Than Fiction again. I remember liking it, but I can't remember it. Me and my memory.

    Michael -- Clever quote--nice and simple. I'll have to check out Shipping News. I like Kevin Spacey and the movie premise sounds good.

    Lee

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  38. That photo of Jack N in the shinning scares the living day lights out of me. I never knew how many films were about writers,quite a lot.

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  39. Anne -- There have been many, many films about writers and writing and I think it's because of the reasons I mentioned.

    Lee

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  40. Another great list. Secret Window stands out for me, as it had many unexpected twists. Midnight in Paris was also special, because it was unlike any of Woody Allen's previous films.

    Julie

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  41. Julie -- Writer films have some great imaginative possibilities.

    Lee

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  42. Thanks for the advice on 8 1/2. I'm going to see if I can find it... I've only seen one of these and I'm not into the horror aspect of two of them. One I thought a bit silly, but that's just my opinion! Great post. Makes me want to look up more writer movies! Seen some of those on the "20 writer movie" list...

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  43. Haha, I love this list! It's so funny how at least two of those movies are extraordinarily creepy (The Shining and Misery). At least the writer is the creepy one in only one of those. :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  44. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas comes to mind (also Where the Buffalo Roam) and Capote. Decent films-great writers.

    Almost Famous (great film/writer).

    Loved Adaptation!

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