Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks - Movies About Movies

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. You can play along by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them - it's fun!

This week on Thursday Movie Picks, we are covering one of my favorite topics: Movies About Movies. It's always fun when Hollywood turns its lens on itself, allowing us to see the inner workings of how our favorite pieces of entertainment get made. Some of my favorite movies are about movies, but I've used them already for this series, so I decided to eschew those in favor of ones that I really like but haven't talked much about here.

Bowfinger (Frank Oz, 1999) Bobby Bowfinger is a movie producer who has finally saved up enough money to direct a film of his own - just north of $2,000! The only problem is, he needs a big company to handle the distribution. He gets one executive to agree, but only if he gets Kit Ramsey, the hottest action star around, to star. When that doesn't happen, Bobby decides to film the movie guerilla-style without Kit knowing. The problem is, Kit is already paranoid, and the film's alien invasion premise makes things worse, so he goes into hiding, forcing Bobby to hire a look-alike to finish the film. This very funny satire features Eddie Murphy as both Kit and his look-alike Jiff, Steve Martin as Bobby, and Heather Graham and Christine Baranski as two of the actresses working on the film. Bowfinger mostly forgotten now, which... honestly feels about right. It's not one of the greats. But it is REALLY funny, and more than worth a watch.

For Your Consideration (Christopher Guest, 2006) Leave it to Christopher Guest and his bitingly funny repertory troupe to make one of the most cutting satires about the film industry. No one is safe in this scathingly hilarious movie about a small, slightly overly self-important independent film that gets turned into the talk of the town because of one blogger's comment about it maybe being in the hunt for an Oscar. All the Guest regulars you know and love are there: Parker Posey is again a stand-out as the ambitious younger star on the rise, and Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, and John Michael Higgins reliably steal every scene they're in. But the genius Catherine O'Hara gives the performance of her career as the steadily working but un-famous character actress Marilyn Hack. She gives a completely vanity-free performance, exposing every nook and cranny of Marilyn's psyche as she is suddenly thrust into the spotlight. It's a brilliant performance in a killer movie.

Tropic Thunder (Ben Stiller, 2008) The novelty may have worn off a bit on this one, but I still laugh at pretty much anything, from Ben Stiller's maniacally committed action-hero posturing to Tom Cruise's delicious flights of fat-suited cursing to, above all, Robert Downey Jr.'s demented comic genius as an Australian method actor playing an African-American. Tropic Thunder may be a little bit stupid, but it's goddamned COMMITTED to it, and it plays like gangbusters for me, every single damn time.


  1. I love all three of these movies! Excellent picks. Tropic Thunder always gets huge props from me because RDJ's character could've gone so horribly wrong and it didn't.

  2. What makes Bowfinger so good is that Murphy isn't phoning it in as he does all too often but instead is giving it his all. Maybe being pitted against Martin and Baranski, two actors not adverse to stealing the spotlight from an under-performing costar, smartened up his game. You're right its not a lost classic but a fun film.

    Catherine O'Hara is just brilliant in For Your Consideration, so of course she was passed over come award time.

    I had hoped to love Tropic Thunder but while I thought it was alright I didn't think it was that great. Once was enough for me.

    Many, many choices this time out and I love this type of film so choosing was easy.

    Hollywood Story (1951)-Producer Larry O’Brien (Richard Conte) decides to make a film of the infamous unsolved murder of a silent film director that had occurred decades earlier and remained shrouded in mystery. As he attempts to investigate during pre-production the truth begins to emerge and he finds his life in danger. We see behind the scenes of at the time modern filmmaking as well as the appearance of several one-time silent stars. Slightly reworked (probably because many of the participants were still living) version of the infamous real life murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor which remains officially unsolved to this day and destroyed the careers of silent stars Mabel Normand and Mary Miles Minter and rocked the 1922 film community.

    The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)-Movie producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), ruthless and opportunistic claws his way from bottom of the barrel movies to the apex of studio system success. Along the way he enlists, uses and betrays movie star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner in her best screen work), director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) and writer James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell) making sworn enemies of each. Now down on his luck Shields, though his agent (Walter Pidgeon), attempts to involve them in a collaborative project but old wounds are not so easily healed. Nominated for six Oscars it won five including Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress (Gloria Grahame-a great actress but her role is a nothing).

    Contempt (1963)-Writer Paul Laval (Michel Piccoli) is hired by boorish American producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) to contemporize his current film’s script about Ulysses which he feels director Fritz Lang (who plays himself) is making too prosaic. Heading to the Isle of Capri with wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot) in tow he becomes enmeshed in the process of filming as his marriage disintegrates in large part due to Camille’s resentment that Paul is using her to leverage his position in the production. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

  3. I've seen 'em all, but I guess I need to see them again. Can't remember much about any of these. Tropic Thunder was a clever film--I do remember that much.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  4. I love Bowfinger and found it a great satire but an homage to the people who love film but don’t quite know how to do it except the Ed Wood way. I always crack up seeing the illegal Mexican cameramen reading Cahier De Cinema. Tropic Thumder is silly, stupid and so funny...always makes me laugh. I can’t believe I haven’t seen For Your Consideration because I love Guest’s comedies with his acting group. Have you seen Schitt’s Creek? It is a Canadian comedy that stars Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy that I think is so funny but I don’t see it much because my hubby is the opposite of me when it comes to this type of comedy.

  5. I haven't seen any of these but Bowfinger and Tropic Thunder were popular this week. I'll check them out.

  6. Tropic Thunder is a freaking laugh riot. RDJ's performance there is one of my all time favorite Oscar nominated performances. The entire cast is incredible but he was just out of this world amazing

  7. Great collection, I haven't seen all of these but looks cool I watch online trailer of thunders and it all about riots. It reveals all things that I want to know about real world. I will watch full movie later.

  8. Tropic Thunder is the only one I've seen and it didn't work for me.