Top 10 Movies About Movies
Some of the best writing is that which is motivated by personal experience. How much more personal can a filmmaker get than creating a movie about the trials and tribulations of making a movie? Here is a list of ten of the best films about filmmaking. Be sure to add your own favorites to the comments.
Perhaps the most grisly and realistic portrayal of the pornographic film industry, Boogie Nights tells the story of a man whose career path paves the way into notoriety that brings him both fame and abuse.
A hilarious send-up of Vietnam War films, Tropic Thunder is the story of three actors (portrayed by Jack Black, director Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey Jr. in blackface) that are dropped into a real jungle and forced to portray their movie roles in order to complete the film. This was a surprise critical hit, and it was the movie that finally stole the Dark Knight’s crown at the box office last summer. It also garnered Downey Jr an Oscar nomination.
A strange, semi-autobiographical film about a screenwriter’s struggle to adapt Susan Orlean’s book “The Orchid Thief.” Charlie Kaufman, when commissioned to adapt the book in real life, decided instead to pen a screenplay about his own failure to do that very thing, creating this bizarre film directed by Spike Jonze and starring Nic Cage as Kaufman and his twin brother.
A nearly 3-hour epic about a film star that helps to guide a young starlet to fame in spite of his own problems with alcoholism and age. Unfortunately, some footage of the film, which may very well be Judy Garland’s greatest performance, is now considered lost.
An anime film about a documentary filmmaker investigating the life of an elderly actress; shown in a “film-within-a-film” style that blurs the lines between fact and fiction. In many ways simultaneously a tribute to Japanese cinema and the art of animation, Millennium Actress is one of the greatest anime films ever created.
Perhaps Tim Burton’s greatest film is this biopic of Hollywood’s worst director of all time, Edward D. Wood, Jr. The film portrays Wood in a decidedly positive light, coming across as more of a tribute than a parody; which is one of the film’s greatest charms. It invents fanciful explanations for some of Wood’s most unexplainable directorial choices, and isn’t always entirely accurate, but a brilliant (and Oscar winning) performance by Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi makes it a winner.
The Coen Brother’s film about a playwright that comes to Hollywood to write movie scripts. The film not only provides commentary on the film industry itself but the direct contrast between Hollywood and Broadway and the impact of World War II on such business practices. This is a rather strange film that not everybody will immediately “get,” but it certainly warrants multiple viewings to appreciate the work as a whole. While maybe the the best Coen Brother’s film, it is perhaps one of their most personal.
The story of a silent film production company that’s forced to convert their latest picture into a “talkie” after the success of Warner Bros.’s The Jazz Singer. Not just a musical comedy, but the king of musical comedies, its soundtrack is often consider the best of any musical film ever produced.
Billy Wilder’s classic film about a struggling screenwriter who discovers a former starlet that begins to absorb him into her delusions of returning to the screen. Quotable, chilling, and bursting with class, watching this film reminds me of just how small pictures have gotten since 1950.
Federico Fellini’s masterpiece about a troubled film director struggling to complete his latest movie while his own life begins crumbling around him. Fellini, suffering a bout of writer’s block, opted to write a semi-autobiographical film ABOUT his writer’s block, choosing to title it in reference to the fact that it was his “8½” film (short films counting as “half” a movie). A tough film to swallow, but perhaps the most accurate portrayal of film making ever put on celluloid.
We certainly can’t miss out on an opportunity to include a David Lynch movie on a list, so here it is. The synopsis: after taking the lead in a new movie Hollywood star Nikki Grace learns the script is based on an old polish film, which was abandoned after the two lead roles of the film were murdered, Thinking the film is cursed Nikki’s imagination runs riot. This is a must-see film for anyone that loves Lynch films.