Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Movies ~ Author, Author...!

Feature Presentation...

The second Armchair BEA is happening this week. If you're not able to attend the live Book Expo America in New York City also happening this week, you can gather online at this virtual event with other book fans from the online book blogging community. Be sure to check out the Armchair BEA host site if you are a book blogger or a book lover! This week our thoughts will be dominated by books, authors and most things book-related. We have authors to thank for the wonderful abundance of books in many genres available to us to explore and experience. Movies also pay tribute to writers. The Bumbles came up with their list of writers in film and you'll find my own below. Share on your blog movies that feature writers, authors, poets and scribes, linking your post back to The Bumbles Blog.

Barton Fink (1991) written, directed and produced by the wonderful Coen brothers, this is an odd, terrific movie that is definitely worth seeing! John Turturro portrays Barton Fink, a young New York City playwright enjoying the success of his first Broadway play. He is lured to Hollywood, hired to write scripts for a movie studio despite his concern that it will separate him from "the common man", which is the focus of his writing and a major theme in the movie. He suffers a bad case of writer's block shortly thereafter. Trying to get his creative juices flowing, he meets a variety of quirky characters including insurance salesman, Charlie Meadows (John Goodman), who turns out not to be the man he claims. Barton Fink also suffers hallucinations from the pressure and stress of it all. The themes in this movie include the contrast between high and low culture as well as life on Broadway versus life in Hollywood, labor conditions in the creative industries, fascism and WW II. John Mahoney, Judy Davis and Tony Shaloub are just a few of the actors who turn in great performances as odd tangent characters in this sometimes Kafka-esque movie where Barton Fink wants in on the joke but it just might be the joke is on him.

Wonder Boys (2000) based on the novel by Michael Chabon, Michael Douglas plays professor Grady Tripp, also a novelist who teaches creative writing. His life is kind of a mess: he's struggling to finish his second novel after 7 years, his wife left him and he's having an affair with the Chancellor (Frances McDormand)of the university at which he teaches, who is also the wife of the head of Tripp's department. His editor, played by Robert Downey, Jr. is in town to see Tripp's novel and, while there, becomes interested in a book just completed by one of Tripp's students, played by Tobey Maguire. The sexual attraction between the older Downey and younger Maguire just add to Tripp's headaches. Another of Tripp's students rents a room in his house. As if his own problems weren't enough, several of these people come to Tripp with problems and issues of their own, looking to him for help! Although this movie didn't do well in the box office, it has a cult following and is quite entertaining!

Capote (2005) Philip Seymour Hoffman portrays Truman Capote during the time he is researching his book, In Cold Blood about the murder of a Kansas family. While researching and writing his book, Capote develops a very close relationship to one of the murderers. Catherin Keener portrays Harper Lee, a close friend of Capote, in this film.

All the President's Men (1976) Reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) work for the Washington Post. Woodward covers a story about a minor break-in at the Democratic National Party Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel as the 1972 elections approach. Surprisingly major lawyers are already on the defense case and the accused is discovered to have the names and addresses of Republican Fund organizers. Woodward and Bernstein are assigned to continue investigating the case and are surprised when it leads them all the way to the White House. This is the story of the Watergate scandal that leads to the eventual resignation of President Nixon's .

Adaptation (2002) this film, directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman is a great comedy-drama. Nicholas Cage portrays very different twin brothers Charlie and Donald Kaufman. Charlie, an agoraphobic, is a depressed and cynical guy who desperately wants to be in love but cannot seem to make it happen. He is struggling to adapt Susan Orleans "The Orchid Thief" into a screenplay but he's finding it extremely difficult. Meanwhile, Donald moves in with him, starts mooching off of him and decides to prove to Charlie that being a screenwriter is easy. Unfortunately, Donald makes it look easy and sells his first screenplay for a lot of money. Charlie, confused and desperate decides to get his brother's help. Together they track down Susan Orleans (Meryl Streep). Things aren't as simple as the brothers expected...adventure, fun and some surprises occur. That's all you're going to get out of me except a high recommendation for this great movie!

Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) Bill Murray portrays Hunter S. Thompson in this semi-autobiographical movie based on the adventures of the gonzo journalist and his attorney friend, Oscar Acosta, "Laslow" (Peter Boyle). In the movie, Thompson covers the 1972 presidential elections and the Super Bowl VI in LA but given he's often in a drug-crazed state he frequently veers off-course promising interesting adventures and a few laughs. I'm a fan of HST, he's a fascinating man! The Bumbles included the best HST movie in their list!


  1. Love love love Adaptation and Capote. I haven't seen the others. Still, I had a really long list of movies that would qualify for this one, and had to scale down to my favs!

  2. Ah, The Wonder Boys -- loved that film!

  3. All the President's Men is one of my favorites. I actually saw the movie and THEN read the book!

  4. Great list!! You made me want to see Wonder Boys again!!

  5. I'm familiar with Adaptation and Capote from when Oscar season came around for those films but was never really interested in watching them, although they do seem like really good films.

    Now, Wonder Boys is a movie that I may add to my Netflix list! lol.

    The Madlab Post

  6. I love your list best of all the ones I've read. Loved Wonder Boys and All the President's Men, liked Capote. I had no idea what Barton Fink was about but now I want to watch it!