Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thursday Movies Picks- films about writers but not real life writers


The theme this week may appeal to some of you authors out there.."in the dark" To semi-quote a great film I mention below (yes, I know this sentence sucks but I am not a grammar person). I was thinking of many films I could use here  and would love to know which ones you would choose. If you want to see what the other film bloggers have chosen, head on over to Wandering through the Shelves to see. There is a theme each week and you pick 3 films you love, hate or just like and talk about it. Well, here are my three....

1. SUNSET BOULEVARD-1950


I simply love this film! The director, Billy Wilder, created a caustic take on the show business world which actually irritated many people in the business. I think Louis B Mayer wanted to horse whip Wilder after viewing this picture. It starts off with the lead narrating the story as his dead body is being fished out of a pool from a beautiful mansion owned by the once great Norma Desmond. You find out the writer, who came out to Hollywood to make it big only to hear crickets, is deep in debt with his car ready to be re-poed. He loses the repo men ready to take his car by driving into the garage of  a decaying mansion where he is mistaken as the undertaker for the chimp. The dead chimp belonged to a once great silent screen actress who wishes to make a comeback with her horrible screenplay of Salome. The writer decides to take her up on her offer to help her write this play so he can dodge the creditors and enjoy a bit of the easy life.  This movie is wild, caustic, funny, sad and everything in between. Gloria Swanson, who plays the lead, was a huge silent screen star who still lived in a mansion near Sunset Boulevard. Her butler is played by that great nut, Erich Von Stroheim who was a director during the silents and directed Swanson in the unfinished Queen Kelly with parts of said film used in this film. The "waxworks" we're all great silent film stars who were now lost in time( except for the great Buster Keaton). What's funny is that Norma Desmond and all the others in the film did more in their life and were more successful than the writer ever will be.  When Mae Murray, a former big silent star, saw this film she said " None of us floozies was ever that nuts".

2. BESTSELLER-1987


This little known film (I could only find the whole movie on Youtube) stars Brian Dennehy as a former cop turned best selling author and James Woods as a hit man who wishes for Dennehy's character to write about him. They travel together where you see more of their characters and the hit man reveals how a corporate company hired him to deal with their enemies. It is a great character study and an excellent thriller. I have not seen it in a long time but would love to see it again and even own the DVD.


3. FUNNY FARM-1988


Let's throw in a comedy which I saw when it came out and then a couple of times on tv and I still enjoy it. It stars Chevy Chase as a sports writer who decides to take his wife to Vermont, buy a beautiful home and settle in to write his great novel. Things don't work quite like he expects what with the nutty ducks never flying south for the winter and slipping on the icy pond to the wacky townsfolk who really dislike this new guy in town. His marriage suffers and so does his writing. It is funny and better than what you may think. It is worth a look.

So these are my 3....which films would you choose?

44 comments:

  1. I haven't seen Funny Farm in years, enjoyed it when I did. Heard of the others but never seen them. Think they just released Best Seller again on Blu Ray. A Murder of Crows is a good one too.

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    1. I would like to see a Murder of Crows...heard good things about it

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  2. Would a film like Misery qualify? Not my first choice, of course.

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    1. Yes, Misery would qualify and it still gives me the Willies.

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  3. Sunset Boulevard is an amazing film with a mesmerizing turn by Swanson. Sadly, that's the only one of your picks I've seen. Haven't even heard of Best Seller. YouTube, eh?

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    1. Sunset Blvd is an amazing film in my opinion. Yes, you can see the whole film ...Bestseller, on YouTube.

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  4. I haven't seen any of them. I'm way behind in my film watching. Maybe I should throw a sicky week and just catch up a bit. I'm sure I'm missing out :)

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    1. If you have a chance and it's rainy and not nice out, it's fun to have a film day

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  5. Hi, Birgit!

    Sunset B is another film I studied in college when I took a course on the history of the cinema. It's a wonderful motion picture! I have not seen the other two, but your description of Bestseller got me interested. I like James Woods, wish his TV lawyer series Shark would have lasted longer, and enjoy his voice and character on Family Guy. Chevy Chase was at his peak during the late 70s and early 80s with hit movies Foul Play, Caddyshack and National Lampoon's Vacation. By the late 80s Chevy was becoming painfully unfunny and losing ground as a leading male box office attraction, but I like him and would be willing to give Funny Farm a try.

    Thanks, dear friend BB!

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    1. I could see you liking Bestseller and hope you get a chance to see it. Whole books have been written about Sunset Blvd alone because it is that good. You're right about Chevy Chase, he was so funny movies like Foul Play and Caddyshack but as he got older he became a parody.

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  6. I haven't seen any of these, but I'm putting Sunset Boulevard on my Blind Spot list next year.

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    1. Oh good! I hope you like it. It's one of my favourites

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  7. I love Sunset Boulevard. The book Funny Farm is better than the movie version. I've never heard of Bestseller. It sounds great. On Netflix streaming, I saw a movie about a writer that I liked: The Fundamentals of Caring stars Paul Rudd.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I never read the book Funny Farm but I bet it is funny. I haven't even heard about The Fundamentals of Caring but it sounds intriguing.

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  8. Not seen any of these here, but all sound interesting.

    Betty

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    1. They are and I would see Sunset Blvd first

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  9. I've been meaning to watch Sunset Boulevard for such a long time! It sounds like a good one, as well as Funny Farm.

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    1. Sunset Blvd. Is an amazing film and so much truth is behind it while Funny Farm is just funny.

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  10. There's little that can be said about Sunset Blvd that hasn't been said already. Just a brilliant film, disturbing, sad and funny by turns. There is a fascinating book by Sam Staggs called Close-Up on Sunset Blvd. that takes an in depth exhaustive look at all aspects of the film. It's well worth reading if you haven't.

    With Best Seller I thought it started well and lost steam as it went along. Love Brian Dennehy! I'm a bit more variable on James Woods, sometimes he's terrific and sometimes just too unhinged.

    I laughed at Funny Farm when I watched it but never had any desire to watch it again. Still a cute film.

    I love this type of film so I just picked three favorites and called it a day. All the weeks should be this easy!

    Swimming Pool (2003)-Writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) is blocked working on her new detective novel so her publisher suggests she get out of London to refresh herself and lends her his home in the French countryside. On arrival she luxuriates in the sunshine and solitude but that is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of the publisher’s wild child daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). After a rocky beginning the two form a bond, one that is challenged by a serious turn of events. Strange, moody and captivating with a brilliant Charlotte Rampling performance.

    Wonder Boys (2000)-Shaggy dog college professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) drifts through his days in a pot induced haze avoiding the various crisis that are swirling just below the surface of his life. He’s a noted author suffering from a strange sort of writer’s block-he can’t seem to end the follow up novel to his first hot book, his third wife has just left him, his mistress, the college chancellor (Frances McDormand), is married to the chair of Grady’s department and has just discovered she’s pregnant by Grady, his editor is in town hounding him for a completed manuscript and he has a new odd wonder boy writer James Leer (Tobey Maguire) in his class stirring memories of when Grady was the hot young kid on the block. Oh and the department chair’s dead dog, accidently shot by James Leer, is in the trunk of Grady’s car! Somewhat shambling film is kept centered by Michael Douglas in perhaps his best ever performance.

    In a Lonely Place (1950)-Hot headed screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is considering adapting a novel he knows is trash. Rather than reading it he invites a hat check girl at his favorite watering hole to his apartment to tell him the story. After she leaves she’s murdered and Dix is suspected, however his neighbor Laurel (Gloria Grahame) is able to provide him with an alibi. Only nodding acquaintances previously they strike up a friendship which rapidly turns serious and they plan to marry. Everything seems rosy until Dix’s violent outbursts start to create doubt in Laurel’s mind. Both Bogart and Grahame are just great. Brooding nihilistic Nicholas Ray directed film is an essential noir.

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    1. I know what you mean about James Woods but I liked him in this film and I never get enough of Brian Dennehy. I will be looking this book up for sure because I love film books(duh:)) Funny Farm is funny and nothing to think deeply about...it is funny. I have not seen Swimming Pool but it sounds like an excellent film especially with Charlotte Rampling in the role. I almost picked the Womder Boys because it is classic and made me laugh...they are all so mixed up. In A Lonely Place is one older film(one of many) I have not seen and plan to.

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  11. Misery
    Barton Fink
    Sunset Boulevard

    I've seen Best Seller, but it's been a while. Decent movie.

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    1. Misery is excellent but it gives me the Willies. I still have to see Barton Fink and you know what I think of Sunset Blvd.

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  12. I've seen Sunset Boulevard, a masterpiece.

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  13. Don't know any of those films although I have heard of Sunset Boulevard. I always enjoyed Brian Dennehy's performances.

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    1. I love Brian Dennehy! Sunset Blvd is a true classic.

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  14. I think you'll like my most recent post. ;)

    Misery is a great choice. Ruby Sparks is good too, and of course, the epic Authors Anonymous. LOVE that one!

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    1. I'm going to have to check your post! Misery is one scary film. Ruby Sparks has been mentioned on more than one blog today. I haven't heard of your last one and need to check it out.

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    2. It's so much fun. It's a mockumentary that I think anyone who's been in a writers' group (or similar) will be able to relate to. Love that movie!

      Ruby Sparks is bittersweet, but it's fun as well.

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  15. I saw Funny Farm way back when it came out. I should watch it again- along with the others you listed- which I haven't seen yet. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. I'd like to see that movie again as well.

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  16. BIRGIT ~
    'SUNSET BOULEVARD' is my #1 all-time favorite example of Film Noir. Great choice!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  17. Never seen Sunset Boulevard. (I know. I need to fix that!) I was going to say I'd never seen Bestseller, but your synopsis... I don't think I've seen it, but I remember it. Vaguely. I probably heard of it when it came out.

    Funny Farm... Yup, seen it. Not my favorite Chevy Chase.

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    1. I'm surprised you never saw Sunset Blvd and hope you get to see it soon

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  18. Sunset Boulevard is an incredible film. Not at all surprising it offended so many in the industry, though! Every actor or actress who appeared in it showed courage for having done so.

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    1. You are so right and Buster Keaton never wanted to see the film

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  19. I haven't seen any of these - my most popular quote this week - but I've been meaning to watch Sunset Boulevard since always and the other two sounds very interesting. Hopefully I'll be able to watch Bestseller somewhere.

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    1. Hope you get to see Sunset Blvd soon and Bestseller can be seen on Youtube

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  20. Love Sunset Blvd. such a great film. Best Seller sounds great too! Love a good hitman story.

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    1. Both films are great but Sunset Blvd is one of the best ever made.

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  21. You sure come up with some doozies, Birgit. And, you get me wanting to see them. I want to all 3 of these, even Chevy Chase's. I didn't know that was what Sunset Blvd was all about. I thought of Breakfast at Tiffany; a movie with Johnny Depp as an author, which title I can't recall or even the plot, but, I liked Depp in it; and, how can I forget, The World According to Garp with Robin Williams. A few years ago I finally understood Garp when he said he had writer's block for the last 2 years.

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  22. Great films! I have just seen Best Seller. It was pretty good and also I liked the Chevy Chase one too. I haven't seen Sunset Boulevard, but I am going to have to check it out. It looks good!

    : )

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  23. Sunset Boulevard is the only one I've seen and I enjoyed it.

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