Sunday, December 23, 2012

Five Movies About Writers

I was reminiscing about older movies today. Not major mega hit movies, but the ones I can watch again today. I rediscovered these five movies. They are ones that make me smile when thinking about them.

What do they have in common? They have protagonists and/or supporting characters who happen to be writers. These writer characters carry, in a sense, some of my own spirit. If you haven't experienced these movies, please go out and buy them! I’d like to know your thoughts.

1. Funny Farm (1988), Andy Farmer (Chevy Chase) is a sportswriter. He and his wife Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) move to the country so he can write the next Great American Novel.

However, so many obstacles keep him from completing his manuscript, including his struggles with the fact that his wife is also looking to publish a children’s book. I could sit down today and watch this movie in my PJs while having a cup of hot chocolate topped with those little mini marshmallows.

Andy Farmer (Chase): You don't know a thing about writing. You're a Goddamn schoolteacher.

2. Don’t Tell Her It’s Me (1990), Shelley Long plays a romance writer whose brother, a survivor of Hodgkin’s disease, crushes on a friend. Lizzie Potts (Long) transforms her brother into one of her stereotypical romance heroes in order that he wins over the woman he has fallen in love with from afar. Everything from his new name, Lobo, his tan skin, and new eye color, thanks to color contacts, conveniently disguises his former self. I won’t spoil it for you, but this movie is hilarious.

Lizzie Potts (Long): No! Annabelle! Don't play with the space heater coil. Piglet, if you breathe gas it will tie up all your available hemoglobin and there will be none left for oxygen transfer. Your lips and nail beds will turn cherry red and you'll die of carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Misery (1990), Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a famous writer rescued by a fan and former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). Annie kidnaps Paul (Caan) and holds him hostage so that he can write his next sequel to Misery, his famous series. This woman is psychotic, and when she discovers his latest manuscript involves killing off her favorite heroine, it is not good for Paul.

Annie Wilkes (Bates): [Right after smashing Paul’s ankles with a sledgehammer] God I love you.

4. Best Friends (1982), Richard Babson (Burt Reynolds) and Paula McCullen (Goldie Hawn) are screenwriters in a 5-year relationship. When they decide they should get married, plans are made to visit each other’s families, where they discover how different they are.

This is a perfect example of don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. Separate, they are perfect. Merge them and it doesn’t work. The same reason you shouldn’t mix genres, but everyone is doing it, right?

Breasts too large, Richard? Every female character you create has breasts too large.

Just an aside:

You can tell a dude wrote a female protagonist…

She stopped running to catch her breath, her breasts rising and falling against the soft cotton material of her blouse.

5. Seems Like Old Times (1980), Nick Gardenia (Chevy Chase) is a writer who rents a cabin in the woods in hopes to complete his novel. Forced at gunpoint, he commits a robbery and then seeks out his ex, Glenda Parks (Goldie Hawn), to represent him. In the meantime, he is being disruptive with her new life and ambitious husband, Ira Parks (Charles Grodin).

Note: Glenda Parks has a house full of dogs, large and small. She even has one that looks exactly like my Biscuit.

Glenda (Hawn): You are making me crazy!
Ira (Grodin): I’m not making you crazy…
Glenda (Hawn): Anyone who forces me to make chicken pepperoni is making me crazy. And YOU are making me crazy. (Exits)
Ira (Grodin): [to himself] I’m not making her crazy.