The Lists: Top 10 films about the movie business
Vanity-based industry that it is, it’s hardly surprising that Hollywood should deem itself an endlessly fascinating subject for its own movies. Even from relatively early days, filmmakers have found great satisfaction, perhaps even release, in either documenting or representing the creative, financial and personal trials of their profession on screen – anticipating a movie-mad audience keen to know what goes on behind the camera, in the service of entertainment.
It’s a subject that has made for a number of landmark films both about Hollywood and other hubs of filmmaking, ranging from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “Adaptation” to Truffaut’s “Day for Night.” Clearly, it’s not an area of interest that appears to be dwindling, given its presence in a number of current high-profile releases. “Hugo” and “My Week With Marilyn” are over-the-shoulder valentines to auteur innovation and white-hot star power, respectively; meanwhile, major Oscar hopeful “The Artist,” yesterday named the year’s best film by the New York Film Critics Circle, celebrates an entire medium previously laid to rest.
The timing, then, could hardly be more ideal for a list gathering the best films about the film industry. Less easy was deciding on just 10 titles to fill it. It’s a generously stuffed subgenre, and as I whittled down my shortlist, I was surprised at what I forced myself to leave out – including some obvious canon classics that I’m sure some of you will kvetch about. As always, omission isn’t necessarily dismissal.
So, apologies, “The Player.” Pardon me, “Le Mépris.” I’ll make it up to you, “The Day of the Locust.” I still like you. I feel less guilty about there being no biopics at all in the list, though “Ed Wood” was a notable contender. (Meanwhile, I ruled out “The Purple Rose of Cairo” only because it’s more about spectatorship than filmmaking.) I could only go with the 10 films that most insistently nagged in my head when this theme came up – many of them obvious, some a little less so.
Against competition this fierce, could one of the new batch even hope to crack the list? See if it did in our new gallery, and please do share your thoughts and personal favorites in the comments section below.
2014 | Mystery | TV-MASummary: You've never seen a detective pair quite like the one played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who must fight to retain their sanity while investigating a particularly heinous case.Director: Cary Fukunaga
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan
1990 | Documentary | NRSummary: Paris Is Burning is a 1990 documentary (directeor Jennie Livingston) filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, chronicling the ball culture of New York City and the poor, African American and Latino gay and transgendered community involved in it. Many consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable document...Director: Jennie Livingston
Cast: Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Willi Ninja, Octavia St. Laurent
2013 | Action | RSummary: An elite firm of assassins must face their own mortality as they are hunted down one by one by a mysterious assailant. Caught up in the drama is a disgraced journalist who is more connected to the assassins' world than he could ever know.Director: Ian Chinsee
Cast: Benjamin Alldridge, Daniel Cason, Ian Chinsee, Anna Doody
1961 | Drama | NRSummary: Paul Newman is astoundingly great as pool shark "Fast Eddie" Felson, who hustles his way into a game with Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) in the story of a gambler who risks everything to win.Director: Robert Rossen
Cast: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie
1996 | Drama | RSummary: Karl Childers is a mentally disabled man who has been in the custody of the state mental hospital since the age of 12 for killing his mother and her lover. Although thoroughly institutionalized, Karl is deemed fit to be released into the outside world.Director: Billy Bob Thornton
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Duvall, Dwight Yoakam, J. T. Walsh
1966 | Drama | NRSummary: Two women, an actress who can’t (or won’t) speak and the nurse who cares for her, retreat to a seaside cottage where their relationship grows strangely intimate in Ingmar Bergman’s dramatically impressive film.Director: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook
1948 | Western | NRSummary: All the ingredients of a great John Ford western are here: John Wayne, Hendry Fonda, a Monument Valley setting, and these of honor, duty, and justice.Director: John Ford
Cast: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
2014 | Documentary | NRSummary: This documentary explores just what a Showrunner does on a TV series, and how the job has risen to prominence in recent years.Director: Des Doyle
Cast: J.J. Abrams, Kristen Bell, Matthew Carnahan
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
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