#1 – The Player
Directed by Robert Altman, written by Michael Tolkin and based on his book by the same name, the 1992 film The Player sees a Hollywood film studio exec’s life collapse in on itself after he murders a fledgling screenwriter. It’s a film that makes fun of the film industry and the people who work in it. It’s a black comedy with a biting wit and a message. Some go as far as to call it one of Altman’s best. In any case, it’s well told, doesn’t lag, and you’ll laugh and learn along the way.
#2 – Adaptation
Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze, Adaptation is a film about Charlie Kaufman, played by Nicholas Cage, who’s been hired to adapt Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book The Orchid Thief. The movie is a plunge into the writer’s writing processes. It chronicles his struggles with doing the adaptation, then there’s also the writer’s relationship with his fictional twin brother. The film is a high watermark for both Jonze and Kaufman.
#3 – My Favorite Year
Written by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg and directed by Richard Benjamin, My Favorite Year sees a young comedy writer land his first big break. Starring Peter O’Toole and Mark Lin-Baker, the film is set during the early days of television and shows a young upstart meeting and working with his boyhood idol. This is one coming of age story all creatives can glean something from.
#4 – Singin’ In The Rain
The quintessential musical, Singin’ In The Rain, directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen is a shining example of good filmmaking. The film centers on the transition from the silent era to talkies but also deals with larger themes of interpersonal struggle and creative freedom, tensions nearly all creatives can relate to. It’s a nostalgic must see for movie lovers and film geeks.
#5 – Tropic Thunder
Written by Ben Stiller, Ethan Cohen, and Justin Theroux, Tropic Thunder is a movie about the botched making of a Vietnam war movie. It’s a comedy that lampoons egotistical actors and the process of making big budget Hollywood films. With notable performances by Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Tom Cruise, and Matthew McConaughey, you can imbibe just how much fun these guys had making this imperfect yet charming film.
#6 – Barton Fink
Written, directed and produced by The Cohen Brothers, Barton Fink tells the story of a struggling screenwriter who moves to Los Angeles where he flounders and becomes progressively more isolated and withdrawn. The film is an engaging narrative, commentary, and a caution on the creative process.
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