Writer Movies Revisited

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

I got lots of e-mails from folks recommending movies about writers to me. And promptly felt lame for not having seen most of them.

Here they are, with my commentary, in no particular order:

Shadowlands– about CS Lewis. I never read the Narnia books until last summer, and I’ve been meaning to see this since then.

Wonder Boys – my intuition tells me that this is going to be one of those movies about writers that I hate. But it has Frances McDormand in it so how bad could it be?

Before Night Falls– about the Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. Hmm. Poetry. Hmm.

The Odd Couple – I’ve been the cranky blogger all day, but, yes, I like this very much.

Big Bad Love – based on the stories of Larry Brown. Many alert Maudlinka readers have recommended this, and they are in the know, so I’ve added it to my Netflix queue, though the description of a “struggling writer” with alcohol problems seems to give it all the horribleness I was talking about.

Misery-this is a great movie, but it has that problem of too many close-ups on the typewriter.

Iris– a pretty good movie, but it’s still got that tortured genius thing, and lots of agonizing typewriter shots.

Il Postino-this is about a writer? I thought it was about the postman. I think Pia only recommended it because it’s Italian and sexy.

Out of Africa– I forgive Pia for recommending this one, and now I can move on.

Adaptation-ugh. This is a quintessential tortured-writer-struggling-alone-with-his-craft-movie, complete with lots of shots of the author struggling to say something and talking endlessly about his so-called craft. And oh! The pain of writer’s block! And deadlines!

Charlie Bubbles– well it’s got Liza Minelli in it.

The Color of Pomegranates-about an Armenian poet. The title seems a little pretentious, doesn’t it?

Sunset Blvd.-this just seems like one of those classic movies I’m supposed to like but won’t. And, oh, it has a faded star in it, which might’ve been interesting to me in 1950, but now I think I’d switch from the movie classics channel to some VH-1 countdown involving Nirvana in the #1 spot, and I wouldn’t enjoy that, either.

Naked Lunch-well, it’s directed by David Cronenburg, who did that awful eXistenZ movie. And it’s based on a book by Burroughs. My guess is that it will make me feel worse than a six dollar burger from Hardee’s.

Thanks for playing the movies-about-writers game, kids!


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