Movies About The Biz

Since there are a few new movies about the movie industry coming out soon including “Blonde” (a somewhat fictionalized biography of Marylin Monroe), “The Fabelmans” (Steven Spielberg movie partly based on his childhood), “Empire of Light” (Sam Mendes movie about a movie theater and the magic of cinema), and “Babylon” (Damien Chazelle movie about the decadence of early Hollywood) I’ve been seeing a few stories listing their picks for the best movies about the movie industry.  

So, I thought I’d create a list of my own.  These are my current top 10 favorite movies about the movie industry.  Plus some honorable mentions.  They’re in alphabetical order.

  1. Americas Sweethearts – Studio publicist Lee Phillips (Billy Crystal) is trying get good reviews for his studios new movie.  However, the director Hal Weidmann (Christopher Walken) won’t let anyone else see the movie until it’s done and the stars Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) and Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who were married when they filmed the movie are now estranged.  Fortunately, he gets some assistance from Gwens assistant/sister Kiki Harrison (Julia Roberts).
  2. The Artist – Silent film star with a big ego George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) and a young dancer Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) at the time movies were switching from silent to sound.  This movie won the Oscar for best picture, best director, and best actor in 2012, It’s also in black and white, 1.33 aspect ratio (the way movies were at that time), and an almost completely silent film.
  3. The Big Picture – Award winning film school graduate Nick Chapman (Kevin Bacon) discovers that the movie industry isn’t as great as he imagined it was.
  4. Cinema Paradiso – A filmmaker revisits the Italian village where he grew up.  When he was a child, he spent most of his time at the village movie theater where he formed a deep friendship with the movie theaters projectionist.  The movie won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1990.  Note: It’s in Italian with English subtitles.
  5. The Last Movie Star – Aging movie star Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) is tricked into attending a small movie film festival which is close to where he grew up.  He comes to realize some of the mistakes he made in his life.  This was one of the last films Burt Reynolds was in (he passed away about a year later) and it’s a fitting tribute to him.  It shows scenes from some of his best movies. 
  6. The Player – Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is a studio executive that’s being threatened by a mysterious writer he never got back to.
  7. Singin in the Rain – Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), a silent film star – falls for chorus girl Kathy Selden (Debby Reynolds) right as he and the movie studio he works at is struggling to switch from silent films to talking pictures.
  8. The Stunt Man – A fugitive (Steve Railsback) accidentally walks onto a film shoot and quickly takes a job replacing a stuntman that was mysteriously killed.  He ends up falling for the lead actress Nina Franklin (Barbara Hershey) while arguing with the manipulative director Eli Cross (Peter O’Toole).
  9. Sunset Boulevard – Aspiring screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden), ends up in the driveway of famous silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) who recruits him to help her write the screenplay for her triumphant return to movies.  
  10. What Just Happened – Based on the bestselling book by Art Linson, two weeks in the life of a fading Hollywood producer (Robert De Niro) who is having a rough time trying to get his picture made.

Honorable Mentions:

Movies that have SOME CONNECTIONS to the movie industry

  1. Blow Out – A sound editor (John Travolta) is out one night recording audio for a movie he’s working on when he records a car crash that ends up being part of a cover-up.
  2. Irreconcilable Differences – Part of the story of this movie: Albert Brodsky (Ryan O’Neal) becomes a successful director thanks to his wife Lucy Van Patten Brodsky (Shelly Long) but his career is ruined when he falls for young actress Blake Chandler (Sharon Stone).  If you’ve ever wondered what a musical of “Gone With the Wind” would look like, this movie has a scene that shows it.
  3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – After being mistaken for an actor, Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr), a New York thief is sent to Hollywood to train with private eye Gay Perry (Val Kilmer).  The duo end up in a murder mystery along with a struggling actress Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan) who is Harrys childhood crush.
  4. Sullivans Travels – Famous director John L Sullivan (Joel McCrea) wants to make a dramatic movie about the real America, so he poses as a homeless person to gain life experiences.  (I know it doesn’t sound like it but this movie is a comedy).
  5. True Romance – Clarence Worley (Christian Slater), a lonely pop culture geek falls for call girl Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette), steals cocaine from her pimp Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman) and travels to Hollywood to sell the cocaine to big time producer Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek).

TV Shows:

  1. Action (Series – 1999-2000) – Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr) is a ruthless producer who will do whatever it takes to make a hit movie.  Some people say the show is based on the real producer Joel Silver (who is a producer of the show).
  2. Entourage (Series – 2004 – 2011 and follow-up Movie in 2015) – Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) tries to be a film star with the help of his close group of friends and his ruthless agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).  Jeremy Piven won several Emmy awards for the role.
  3. Extras (Series – 2005-2007) – Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) works as an extra in movies while he attempts to boost his career.  The series was created and written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
  4. The Offer (mini series – 2022) – The problems that brand new producer Albert S Ruddy has while producing “The Godfather”.

What do you think of this list?

Oh wait, I don’t care…