07
Aug
08

Movies about Making Movies

“Adaptation” (2002 ) – Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is struggling to adapt a book called, “The Orchid Thief.” The author Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) looks for something more in life and finds renegade botanist John Laroche (Chris Cooper). And tagging along trying to be like his twin brother is Donald Kaufman (also Nicolas Cage). Directed by Spike Jonze. Favorite moment: Brian Cox playing screenwriter Robert McKee.

 

“Baadasssss!” (2003 ) – Mario Van Peebles directed this half-documentary/ half-homage to his father’s movie, “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” The movie is based on his dad’s experience with making “Sweetback,” Mario’s experiences in/around the set of the movie, and other remembrances of what happened. Also titled: “How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass.”

 

 

“Barton Fink” (1991 ) – Barton Fink (John Turturro) is a New York playwright summoned by Capital Pictures President Jack Lipnick to write a B-movie “wrestling picture” for Wallace Beery. His only “friend” on the West Coast is Charlie Meadows (John Goodman), his next-room neighbor at the hotel he’s staying at. As he struggles to write the B-picture the world closes in; his mentor W.P. Mayhew (John Mahoney) offers little help and police detectives want to know more about Charlie Meadows. One of my favorites from the Coen Bros. Favorite scene: the hotel hallway is on fire and Charlie Meadows is running down it, cocking his shotgun.

 

“Bowfinger” (1999 ) – Directed by Frank Oz, “Bowfinger” has Steve Martin (who also wrote) as Bobby Bowfinger, a down-and-almost-out B-movie director/producer. When his friend Afrim produces a script called “Chubby Rain,” Bowfinger sets out to get the biggest name in town to “star”: Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy). Attending the cast auditions are his regulars including an aspiring actress who sleeps to the top (Heather Graham) and Kit’s younger brother Jiff (also played by Eddie Murphy). Favorite moment: Bowfinger driving into Mexico to pick up his “crew” (all illegals).

 

“CQ” (2001 ) – Roman Coppolla (son of Francis and brother to Sofia) directed this film set in the late-Sixties about an American filmmaker who moves to Paris to make a sci-fi film, and maybe find his purpose in life. Starring Jeremy Davies, Angela Lindvall, Gerard Depardieu, Jason Schwartzman, and Billy Zane, it’s a fun little movie. Favorite moments: anything with agent Dragonfly.

 

 

“Get Shorty” (1995 ) – Based on the character created by Elmore Leonard, “Get Shorty” is about mobster Chili Palmer (John Travolta) who goes out to Hollywood to collect on a debt from low-budget horror producer Harry Zimm. Palmer uses his mobster skills to survive and finds that what he really wants is to be a Producer. Good movie overall. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.

 

 

“The Player” (1992 ) – Tim Robbins is a studio exec who receives postcards threatening his life from a screenwriter whose script he rejected. As he tries to find the screenwriter to pay him off, he delves further and further into deceit, blackmail, and murder. Full of inside jokes and cameos, this one is worth checking out. Favorite moment: Buck Henry, writer of, “The Graduate,” pitching “The Graduate 2;”something about a ménage a trios… Directed by Robert Altman.

 

“Shadow of the Vampire” (2000 ) – Historical-based movie with John Malkovich playing F.W. Marnau and Willem Dafoe playing the enigmatic “Shreck” as Marnau was directing his “Dracula”-based movie, “Nosferatu.” When crew members die or disappear, Marnau sees that Shreck has been taking more and more advantage of him. Favorite moments: Willem Dafoe as Shreck.

 

 

“State and Main” (2000 ) – When a “big” movie comes to the small town of Waterford, Vermont, all chaos ensues: an actor chases after young girls, a starlet won’t go topless, the “Old Mill” burned down in 1960, and the locals aren’t easily conned. Directed by David Mamet.

 

 

 

“The Stunt Man” (1980 ) – Steve Railsback is a fugitive who stumbles upon the set of a movie being film by Eli Cross (Peter O’Toole). Since the movie needs a new stunt man, Railsback takes the job and falls for the leading lady, Nina Franklin (Barbara Hershey). Favorite moment: at the end of the credits Peter O’Toole yells, “Sam, rewrite the opening reel! Crush the little bastard in the first act!

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1 Response to “Movies about Making Movies”


  1. 1 Amir
    August 7, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Adaptation is one of my fave…
    Kinda complicated though…
    But real satisfying in the end.

    Like


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