Thursday, January 07, 2010



And as if you needed any excuse just to stay inside, snuggle down and watch a movie, here are five films that have some relevance to writing. All other suggestions welcome.

1. Capote. A portrait of Truman Capote and the writing of his non-fiction classic, In Cold Blood. Harper Lee makes an appearance as her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird is published too. Brilliant on insecurity, manipulation and the elusive search for ‘truth’.

2. Naked Lunch. Because, with the best will in the world, there are times when this is how it can feel. Typewriters turn into bugs and extraterrestrial agents dispense strange drugs. An adaptation of William S. Burroughs' most famous novel.

3. The Singing Detective. The Dennis Potter television series is a million times better than the 2003 film, but enjoy this portrayal of a hospitalized pulp author with a nasty skin disease who wrestles with his demons, past, present, real, and imagined. Wonderful on the processes of memory and creation.

4. Adaptation. Based on the real-life Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book on orchid hunters, the real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has written a fictional film about how he would adapt Orlean’s book for the cinema. Clever on the thin lines between reality and fantasy.

5. Wonder Boys. Based on Michael Chabon’s novel of the same title, this is a film to make you feel better about your own writing as the unfortunate and somewhat depressing Professor Grady Tripp faces a myriad of problems, not least that he has yet to finish his next book which is already over 2,000 pages long.

See also:

Five Ways To Write More


louisa @ Recycle This said...

Despite the horrible name and the fact it stars Will Ferrell (ugh), Stranger than Fiction ( is a fun film about writer's block and the point where your characters take on a life of their own... ;)

James Burt said...

Thank you for the list. Adaptation and Naked Lunch would be on my own one, to which I'd add Synecdoche, In the Mouth of Madness, and Swimming Pool.

A lot of people I know didn't like Swimming Pool. Me, I was transported by the long scenes of Charlotte Rampling typing beside the pool in a French villa.

Shamefully I have yet to see the Singing Detective.


Sarah Salway said...

Funnily enough, Louisa, I was just coming to post this one up on the recommendation of someone else. LOVE your site, btw. Am going back to look at more now!

Dick said...

I'd much rather snuggle down with the treeware version of 'Naked Lunch' (well, sit slightly uneasily alongside, maybe) than watch the film. Much better visuals.

Sarah Salway said...

Hah, Dick - yep, always better images in a book.