Do lawyers enjoy the depictions of themselves in movies? Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch probably propelled a lot of college students into law school, but lots of courtroom dramas serve up procedural inaccuracies and rafts of bad-guy attorneys. If I were a lawyer, I'd squirm when watching those flicks.
I've read of chefs who consider the finest film depiction of their craft to be Disney's Ratatouille, but car salesmen probably wish Fargo would disappear from the earth.
Writer protagonists in movies often suffer writer's block. They're frequently shown as desperate hacks in thrall to money or alcohol, not art. I can't get enough of them—and I'm not alone.
A recent post at Book Riot about author protagonists on the big and little screens triggered many retweets on Twitter.
Like Dr. B, the Book Riot post's author, I'm a fan of Stranger than Fiction, Castle, and The Squid and the Whale. Warning: the latter serves up adult characters so self-absorbed the movie's painful to watch although well-crafted. I haven't seen Down with Love or Spaced but plan to put both in my Netflix queue. Simon Pegg's in Spaced, and that's all I need to know since I belly-laughed through Hot Fuzz. Go ahead, judge me. I don't mind.
The comments that followed Book Riot's post yielded more movies with writer characters. Judy Lunsford nominated Paper Man, Misery, The Hours, Shakespeare in Love, Finding Forrester, Miss Potter, and Romancing the Stone.
Nice going, Judy! I missed Misery because I'm a 'fraidy cat who avoids anything that hints at horror but recall the others fondly, especially Miss Potter, (which featured Renee Zellweger as children's book author Beatrix Potter) a memorable movie that didn't seem to find its audience. As for Romancing the Stone, be still my heart. Two or three people may think I write because I want to entertain or illuminate the human condition. They're wrong. Deep down, I yearn for the adventure and happy ending the Joan Wilder character found in RtS. Go ahead, judge me. I don't mind.
Book Riot commenter Jeff O'Neal nominated Barton Fink. Good call! The title character, a playwright, leeaves New York for Hollywood lured by the promise of easy screenwriting money. Instead, he finds writer's block. Because misery loves company and I'm often stalled in my writing, I reveled in Barton's agony even though the movie left me with a fear of wallpaper and John Goodman. (I ache for myself and writer friends who hit roadblocks, but when a writer on screen stumbles, the schadenfreude is delicious.)
Speaking of which, another excellent nomination came from commenter Jape: Adaptation. Yes! Barton Fink mined writer's block, but Adaptation drilled a deeper, darker shaft. Its high misery-loves-company quotient invigorates me because, miserable and sick with fear as I am, I'm not quite as anxious and self-loathing as the Charlie Kaufman character, bless him.
My writer-as-protagonist nomination? Ghostwriter. This movie requires the writer to unravel a mystery. When he does, bwa, ha, ha, he must pay the price.
Your turn. What movies or television shows featuring writer characters did/do you find entertaining? Why?