Films about making movies

ByNida Faraz

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January 28, 2023

Films about making movies

Nida Faraz describes some novel movies

Films about making movies are made on multiple subjects and cover these subjects deeply and leave lingering impression on filmgoers. Interestingly some filmmakers like making movies that are about making movies themselves. This subject has kept the interest alive in the very process of filmmaking and it is extremely fascinating to watch the intricacies of this specific art.

Pain and Glory (2019)
Sometimes a filmmaker perceives that he has really earned the right to make a thinly-veiled biopic about himself. It is safe to say Pedro Almodovar did that before making “Pain and Glory.” He casts frequent collaborator Antonio Banderas as his analog in a movie about an aging director who fears like his career is on the decline. And the fact remains that while making a biopic the filmmaker gets carried away and pats on his back.

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
“Mary Poppins” is an iconic movie but its path to the screen was not easy. The writer of the book the movie is based on, P.L. Travers, had to really be convinced to sell the rights to Disney. That is the story being told in “Mr. Banks.” The movie does not always work but it features Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, which is one icon playing another.

State and Main (2000)
David Mamet is not known for his light, optimistic movies. That becomes clear in his film about the making of a movie, “State and Main.” It is one classic film about compromised ideals in show business. Unsurprisingly, a guy who made his name as a playwright has a lot of sympathy for the screenwriter who is seeing his work being tinkered with – and arguably destroyed – by the filmmaking machine.

The Stunt Man (1980)
Peter O’Toole is a venerated actor. He was nominated for Best Actor eight times – though he never won – and one of those nominations came for “The Stunt Man.” What is surprising is that “The Stunt Man” is not a searing, serious drama but an action comedy. It is about a fugitive who hides out by working as a stunt double in a World War I movie. Some consider it something of a lost classic.

Matinee (1993)
“Matinee” seems to come straight from Joe Dante’s heart. It is about a kid during the Cold War who meets a legendary schlocky filmmaker, Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman). Woolsey is based on William Castle who would use any gimmick he could think of to try and generate attention. That is kind of the real drive of “Matinee.” Woolsey’s movie “Mant!” is pretty much ready to go. The director is really trying to figure out what kind of gimmicks he can use to hook audiences in a troubled time.

The Disaster Artist (2017)
“The Room” quickly became an iconic bad movie, inspired in part by the fact the star and director of the film Tommy Wiseau seems like a truly bizarre guy. Hollywood celebrities quickly came to have an affinity for “The Room,” leading to a movie about the making of the film. James Franco stars as Wiseau, channeling the eccentricities of the avant garde filmmaker. Maybe “The Disaster Artist” is not as fun to watch as “The Room,” but it is clearly a better movie in the traditional sense.

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
“Nosferatu” is one of the iconic early horror films. It starred the German actor Max Schreck, who was very much a normal human man. That is, unless you are watching “Shadow of the Vampire.” The film has a clever premise as it focuses on the crew of “Nosferatu” trying to figure out of Schreck is, in fact, a vampire in real life. Willem Dafoe was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for playing Schreck. TW


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