Although a movie has to be written before it can be filmed, you rarely see many good movies devoted to either writers or the writing process.
Well, here are the best 10 I’ve seen:
Woody Allen checks in twice on this list, and could also rock on a humble with both Manhattan and Annie Hall, but in this instance, his Harry Block finds it impossible to reconcile life in the real world and gratefully finally finds acceptance through the character’s he’s created as a writer.
9. Wonder Boys
This movie would be way closer to the top if, say, Bill Murray had played Grady Tripp instead of Michael Douglas’ mailing it in, but Tripp’s a professor struggling to come up with a follow-up to his break-through debut smash. Everybody else is bananas in this including Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr., Katie Holmes, and Tobey Maguire as the conflicted young student that’s already finished his own novel on the low.
8. Brown Sugar
My only criticism here is that it’s too much of a love story, not enough about writing but having worked as a Hip Hop journalist I can say that, yeah, some of the females are Sanaa Lathan-bad.
How can you not have Hunter Thompson? And Johnny Depp is better than he’s ever been here. Thing is, I hated this movie the first time I saw it – having loved the book of course – but since the best art, books and movies, also work as time capsules, this flick captures the spirit of the early 70s better than almost any other joint – except maybe Forrest Gump – filmed in the 90s. Copious drug use too. What’s better than that?
6. Hav Plenty
In the end, Lee Plenty is a sellout. I mean, not only does he give his story a “Hollywood ending”, but he’s a “serious” writer turned screenwriter. What’s worse than that? Bleh! Filmmaker, writer and star Chris Scott Cherot had the goods and it’s a shame he never became huge after this one.
This movie probably covers the writing process better than any other and is especially creepy when you consider it’s perhaps any writer’s biggest dream/greatest nightmare. Writer Karen Eiffel played by Emma Thompson, has a character, played by Will Ferrell, that actually comes to life. In her book, she had decided to kill him, but there he is, in the flesh, a man.
4. Cooley High
“Were I Pygmalion or God…” Stop it! Don’t front like you couldn’t see a nigga getting pussy with some shit like that? Glynn Turman brought it home as “Preach” the poet and the backdrop, the Motown sounds, the tragedy, a young Robert Townsend, Garrett Morris and the original “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” would make this a classic even if it weren’t a writer movie.
The Black version would have a young nigga (or chick) in maybe late 50s Harlem with Jimmy Baldwin, young Toni, Maya, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright and Chester Himes. Woody gives us Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Zelda.
2. Love Jones
The ultimate Black date movie proves better than anything poetry’s ability to gain, then lose, then gain love again. And… you know the cast, the soundtrack, c’mon!
The only real advantage this music journalism flick has over Brown Sugar is that you see young William Miller from the beginning of his career. That means that everything is still famous and everybody – even the roadies – are celebrities. Great take on the process and William even falls in love on the road. But… who doesn’t?