If you haven’t read it yet,Their Finestiis a charming love poem to the power of narrative set in a British Ministry of Information film production facility during World War II. Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy star in the cinematic adaptation of Lissa Evans’ novel, which is based on a global crisis that sweeps other young men away from such trivial issues.
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The movie got us thinking about other films about creating films, among other things. While the documentary Hearts of Darkness about the creation of Apocalypse Now may be the greatest film about filmmaking ever made, we’re not talking about documentaries here. It doesn’t mean that we’re talking about films about filmmaking that don’t end up being created, such as Sunset Boulevard, King Kong, and many others you can name.
However, we’ve selected a few films that, in addition to being good, are also about the ups and downs of filmmaking and what it means to the individuals involved. For the time being, here are 25 other films on filmmaking that would be a perfect fit for their ranks.
25. The Dirties (2013)
But what really is the point? Other films on this list are about the creative process of filmmaking, but this drama follows two filmmakers (Matt Johnson and Owen Williams) who start out making a violent comedy, but one of them ends up planning a real school shooting after feeling increasingly alienated by his classmates and teachers. This independent film, done on a $10,000 budget with an unsettling use of the then-popular discovered footage approach, was championed by Kevin Smith after gaining recognition at festivals. As a result of the filmmakers’ decision to keep filming their friend’s degenerating mental state, it’s a grim film.
24. Get Shorty (1995)
But what’s the point of it all? It wouldn’t be on our list if all it said was that working in Hollywood is a lot like working for the mob. In Barry Sonnenfeld’s cinematic version of Elmore Leonard’s novel, a group of film-obsessed crooks, including John Travolta’s suave loan shark Chili Palmer and Delroy Lindo’s drug dealer and wannabe screenwriter, perceive their chance to escape by making movies. There is a love of movies that motivates several people in this story, as shown by Chili’s astonished revisit of Touch of Evil during an isolated moment. In 2005’s Be Cool, which was set in the music industry instead, there was nothing quite as impassioned as that scene in the late sequel.
23. Me & Earl & The Dying Girl (2013)
But what’s the point of it all? When his parents force Greg to befriend a dying cancer patient named Rachel (Olivia Cooke), the film follows Greg’s journey from being completely self-absorbed to eventually doing something truly altruistic for someone else. Despite the fact that it never descends into sentimentality or sentimentality, it hits home hard in the last minutes and moves even the most hardened of hearts. “Dem titties” is a catchphrase that Cyler, the current Blue Ranger, should use in the next Power Rangers film.
22. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)
But what’s the point of it all? “Revenge,” as Zissou (Bill Murray) swears to the befuddled festival press upon announcing the new picture. While paying homage to the films of Jacques Costeau, Anderson’s The Life Aquatic depicts an adventure in which the research vessel of the Team Zissou sets out to play Ahab with a creature that may or may not be made up. No spoilers here, but if you’re a fan of ocean documentaries, you’ll enjoy this one, which features pirates, Portuguese interpretations of David Bowie songs and Jeff Goldblum hitting a three-legged dog.
21. The Player (1992)
But what’s the point of it all? Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), a cynical Hollywood executive, will go to any measures, even murder, to protect his career at a large company. Griffin cynically rises to the top in Robert Altman’s scathing cameo-palooza after receiving death threats from a scriptwriter and fending off an eager junior colleague (Peter Gallagher). The closing scene offers it a brilliantly meta twist that skews the professed need for a joyful ending.
20. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
But what’s the point of it all? To restore the original Freddy Krueger character to its former glory, rather than turning him into a one-trick pony. Two years prior to Scream, Craven made his first foray into the franchise that founded New Line Cinema with a creative soft reboot of the series. Heather Langenkamp plays a version of herself who is stalked by the real Freddy as she considers returning to the franchise as the self-appointed gatekeeper of evil in fiction. Freddy is the only character in this film who is credited as ‘himself.’
19. Adaptation (2002)
But what’s the point of it all? Orchid Thief, which Charlie Kaufman finds extremely difficult to adapt. In the middle of the movie, the writer (Nicholas Cage), fed up with the plot and the relative ease with which his twin brother Donald (also Cage) has found success, decides to write about adapting the story.
18. The Artist (2011)
But what’s the point of it all? Several additional films on this list also deal with the agony of change as it is shown in film. You can’t criticize the form, but the themes have been done better previously (see #1 and #2). Michel Hazanavicius utilizes the silent film format as a sentimental and self-referential ode to old-time movie magic, but despite what the backlash would have you believe, it’s always funny and imaginative enough to earn that.
17. Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
But what’s the point of it all? Even a movie about corporate theft of intellectual property can be charming in this case. It was never going to demonize Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), coming from the live-action section of the House of Mouse, but it also doesn’t sugar-coat the way he courted a reluctant P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) for the rights to release his version of her writings with determination. A strong blend of sentimental manipulation and Poppins nostalgia is achieved as the Sherman Brothers (BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzmann) create the legendary songs for the’real’ Mr. Banks (Colin Farrell). The two films were issued in a box set by Disney, and they create an almost ideal double bill.
16. Hail, Caesar! (2016)
But what’s the point of it all? This is the second time the Coen brothers have attacked the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood with Barton Fink, in which John Turturro’s troubled writer strives to make a ‘wrestling picture’. The Coen brothers depict a day in the life of a fictitious version of infamous fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) as he tries to get Capitol Pictures’ affairs in order and recover a star who has been kidnapped by the Communists in the dramatized film.
Surely a man of Mannix’s stature would be better off abandoning the film industry in light of what the studio is producing? “I wish it were that easy.”
15. Tropic Thunder (2008)
But what’s the point of it all? Taking inspiration from his modest appearance in Steven Spielberg’s Empire Of The Sun, Ben Stiller’s lavish satire of Hollywood arrogance is a filmmaking marvel in and of itself. From Robert Downey Jr.’s blackface method actor to Tom Cruise the monstrous fat-handed studio head, the film’s use of makeup alone is amazing. However, the film shines in making fun of performers who create war films like they actually served and then reach out their hands for Oscars.
However, Downey’s performance received a disproportionately high number of nominations for a comedy film for his performance in the film. Meanwhile, Simple Jack, a quotable but utterly misguided character, goes unnoticed.
14. The Bad & The Beautiful (1952)
But what’s the point of it all? For Shields, an ambitious and obsessed would-be mogul who wants to clear his disgraced father’s name in pictures, this film recounts his career via flashbacks from an actress, director, and writer. Although they’ve benefited a great deal from working with him professionally, they’ve become estranged from him as a result of this merciless commitment, making them unwilling to cooperate with him on his final project. This slick melodrama works in large part because Douglas is an excellent character who gives up many things to pursue his passions.
13. State & Main (2000)
But what’s the point of it all? What’s the point of focusing on an ancient mill? As a result, when the difficult production of this passion project arrives in a little village in Vermont, they discover that the namesake place no longer exists. Slapstick humour is at the heart of David Mamet’s new film, which takes aim at Hollywood’s wasteful practices and commercial placement. Even Alec Baldwin, who steals every scene, is a big part of the joke in this ensemble cast, which includes Hoffman, William H. Macy and David Paymer. (Bazoomer.com is sponsoring this post.)
12. Hooper (1978)
But what’s the point of it all? Directed by ex-stuntman Hal Needham, a comedy about the rarely filmed profession of cinema stunts. In the aforementioned movie, Burt Reynolds plays Sonny Hooper, an extraordinarily talented stuntman who is facing the biggest stunt of his career while also being warned by physicians that one more stunt gone wrong could paralyze him. West makes a cameo appearance. Stunt work alone is enough to make this picture worth seeing, but it also needs to be seen by a wider audience, just as the pros in this particular field of filmmaking have been long overdue.
11. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
But what’s the point of it all? An exploration of the breadth and depth of a life spent immersed in the cinematic arts. In flashback, we learn how Toto (played by Salvatore Cascio and then Marco Leonardi) was initially fascinated by film in his local cinema in the little town of Giancaldo. He grew close to Alfredo, the local priest’s go-to censor who methodically cuts out amorous sequences from movies and then leaves the obnoxious piles of omitted material to accumulate in the projection room. No filmgoer will be able to watch the film without being moved to tears by the ending.
10. 8½ (1963)
But what’s the point of it all? Federico Fellini’s dreamlike avant-garde masterwork revolves around this central question. To make a “clean and honest” film, Guido is distracted by the people in his life. This has caused him to lose interest in his new project, which is a follow-up to one of his critically acclaimed prior works. Even though Fellini was inspired to write 812 by his own creative block, the film nonetheless reads as a universal exploration of procrastination and self-discovery. As the most cinematic and personal film on this list, it’s hard to pick a favorite.
9. Hellzapoppin’ (1941)
But what’s the point of it all? Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson produced and acted in this anarchic rendition of their popular stage show long before Kaufman came up with his meta-take on The Orchid Thief.
To begin the film, the duo are happy to make the same formless sequence of sketches that they did on Broadway, but the film company insists on a wet behind the ears screenwriter adding a narrative and a romance subplot to it. While the picture is running, Olsen and Johnson spoil it with brilliant comedy and strange sight gags, mixed with fights with Shemp Howard’s projectionist and an absolutely mind-boggling lindy hop routine. To oppose the relevance of vaudeville, the picture exploits cinema’s own techniques in a way that influenced the likes of Mel Brooks and the Zucker brothers.
8. Shadow Of The Vampire (2000)
But what’s the point of it all? Murnau (John Malkovich) and the vampire Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) make a Faustian pact. Director feeds him ferrets and promises he can devour the lead actress if he plays Count Orlock in exchange for his appearance in the film. Merhige, the film’s director, does a fantastic job of recreating the expressionistic techniques of the early silent horror films that inspired it in a behind the scenes speculative fiction that’s both terrifying and hilarious. The infamously unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula also goes increasingly deranged, all the way up to the horrifying finale.
7. Bowfinger (1999)
But what’s the point of it all? Regardless of your financial situation, you may secure the services of an A-list celebrity to feature in your film as long as you don’t inform them beforehand. In addition to the fact that Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy are at the height of their powers in Bowfinger, or the fact that the Scientology piss-take in the film is one of the funniest scenes in cinema history, or the fact that there is a hilarious scene where the characters cross the road, it is so high on the list because it never forsakes its obvious affection for its characters, even while making terrific fun of the situations that they get into. So at least Bobby Bowfinger, played by Martin Freeman, must be overjoyed with the end product, no matter how horrible it is.
6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
But what’s the point of it all? In fact, it’s not about Brad Pitt fighting Nazis, as the film’s trailers had led viewers to believe. An alternate history war film directed by Quentin Tarantino tells the true story of Shosanna Dreyfuss (Mélanie Laurent), a woman who uses film to fight the Nazis, who murdered her family and used European film as propaganda throughout World War II. During a screening of a high-ranking official’s new film at her Parisian cinema, she unleashes an explosive reply.
Many of Tarantino’s films are in some way “about” movies, but the concluding line of this one is “I think this might be my masterpiece” is surely not from lack of self-awareness.”
5. Ed Wood (1994)
But what’s the point of it all? It’s about a man who, despite his infamous reputation as “the worst director ever,” only wants to tell tales. When Vincent D’Onofrio (as Orson Welles) makes an appearance in a cameo role, Johnny Depp excels as an independent director with the kind of unconventional style that only makes sense to him. Even though Wood has a devoted following, Burton’s portrayal of him isn’t crazy at all; rather, it’s funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Like many of the films included on this list, he’s all about the big picture and not about the minor details (like the order in which they’ve been placed).
4. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
But what’s the point of it all? Sullivan’s Travels is an example of a film that promotes the idea of making movies for the sake of having fun rather than for the sake of generating money. For his role in the film, Joel McCrea plays an outspoken filmmaker who has social conscience issues due to his prior success in mainstream comedies. This leads him on an investigation into his fellow man, who he determines is worthy of being the subject of his film. Escapism is a better gift than realism, according to filmmaker Howard Hawks, and his picture boasts an uncommonly positive feel-good quotient to balance out its blunt representation of socioeconomic inequity.
3. Son Of Rambow (2007)
But what’s the point of it all? Garth Jennings’ best film is also one of the best British films of this century, and we’ve covered a few fictitious young filmmakers on this list. In order to compete in a filmmaking competition, quiet, sheltered Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) and wild young upstart Lee Carter (Will Poulter) partner up to develop Son Of Rambow, which features a flying dog, an evil scarecrow, and an aloof French action hero on a shoestring budget. Fans of cinema should cherish this film, which is brimming with hope and energy. Lee Carter, you’ll be OK!
2. Boogie Nights (1997)
But what’s the point of it all? Comedy and pathos in an epic about the adult film industry during a time of transition and uncertainty, when video takes the place of theatrical display and actors and producers’ careers in California are forever altered by the onset of the 1980s. John Holmes’s life and work are loosely based on Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about an unorthodox family, yet the film handles pornography like if it were any other film. Tragic, but never depressing, is its depiction of filmmaking’s demise following the 1970s. Trying to cut an album to cash in on Wahlberg’s screen bonking heyday while recording his hundredth take of You’ve Got The Touch is nothing short of terrible, in our opinion.
1. Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
Is it a film? The Dancing Cavalier, a musical adaptation of the silent swashbuckler The Dueling Cavalier.
But what’s the point of it all? This film, unlike The Bad & The Beautiful, which came out the same year, centers on a romance: a love affair with film and music (as well as with Debbie Reynolds’s character, Kathy Selden). A popular screen couple (Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen) find themselves in a musical, and when Kathy is enlisted to dub over the leading lady’s ear-splitting vocal performance (and she says “And I cayn’t stand’im! “), the leading man is drawn to her. Though many of the songs on the soundtrack are from prior MGM films, this isn’t just a jukebox musical; it may be the greatest screen musical ever made. No other film does a better job of capturing the pure wonder and romance of film, and the end effect will always leave you smiling.