Most of us here at Moviepilot are writers, right? We work so hard every single day to express ourselves to the world. Despite troubles with our writing, fear of judgement and ridicule, we still write. We overcome those long nights and overly caffeinated jitters to produce a final draft that makes us proud. Writers often get stereotyped as alienated loners that spend most of their days doing anything but actually writing. This is simply not true.
The writer is one of the most complex souls in the universe. They are bursting with expression and creative passion like any artist, but can only express their inner most thoughts with the written word. Unlike other forms of art that provide visuals for you, writers create a framework and allow their readers to form their own visuals. We can spark the imagination of others.
Many claim that writing is a calling. I agree with that sentiment. As a writer, I can not feel any relief until I record any thoughts I've held on to for any substantial length of time. They boil within me and sometimes fill my mind with bubbles of inspiration and true grit of a written work. All this happens when I can't actually write them out. By the time I'm able to sit down and let it flow from my fingers, its gone: only to resurface and pull at me until I write it. The struggle is real. Maya Angelou said it best:
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you"
This is something my loved ones can't seem to understand about me. For years I was told that writing isn't a real job - so I stopped. I became a shell of myself, silenced and numb. I began to discover that I had a hard time adapting to any work environment I entered. I loved and lived each one for a while, but eventually got bored. As I bounced around, I kept the knowledge and inspiration from the previous experiences and used them to my advantage wherever I journeyed to. I kept wondering why I couldn't find a home anywhere. It took me 8 years to understand that I truly am a writer. I realized that it doesn't have to be my job. I can write because I feel it. I write because I need it. I'll do it for me, not for anyone else. F. Scott Fitzgerald put this confusion into perspective for me:
"Writers aren't exactly people...they're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person."
I'd like to celebrate myself and all other writers with this article and highlight some of my personal favorite movies with a writer as the main protagonist. Its nice to pay tribute to ourselves sometimes. We deserve it and so do these films.
Writing On Full Auto: Limitless
In 2011, Bradley Cooper gave us a look into the life of Eddie Morra, a struggling author doomed to miss another deadline due to crippling writer's block. To make matters worse, his girlfriend leaves him, sick and tired of his financial dependence and seemingly cyclic lack of progress. After running into his former brother-in-law, Vernon, who works with pharmaceuticals, he is given a sample of a new "smart drug" called NZT-48. Upon taking it, Eddie is changed forever. Able to clean his entire apartment and write 90 pages of his book in one night, he rushes to Vernon the next morning to acquire some more. Social complications and very dangerous side effects spiral Eddie into the most difficult trial of his life. Inspired by the development of a real life smart drug called Neuroflexyn, Limitless tackles some heavy ethics issues that hit close to home.
I love this movie for many reasons, the biggest of which is that the protagonist is a writer. I feel an author fits the profile of someone wanting to unlock their brain's potential. Eddie becomes multi-passionate and excels in many of his pursued interests on NZT. Most writers don't have one specific hobby, they have many. I feel it was perfectly written, well cast and wonderfully produced. It had a concept that grabbed me by the hair and pulled me along for the ride.
The Ending Is Most Important: Secret Window
Johnny Depp is captivating as the newly divorced, highly on-edge Mort Rainey. An author by trade, his current circumstance is seriously blocking his creativity. Hidden away in a remote lakeside cabin, he is awakened from a midday nap by John Shooter, a southern author that claims Mort plagiarized his short story, "Sowing Season". Offended, he attempts to get Shooter off of his property. He agrees, but leaves his manuscript on Mort's porch. He skims the manuscript and realizes it's almost identical to "Secret Window", a short story he wrote while he was still married. It's all downhill from here.
Mort and Shooter continue to argue over the origins of the story, then things go too far. Horrible things start happening and Mort seems powerless to stop it, but that doesn't stop him from trying. It all culminates to one of the best movie endings I've ever seen. The way Depp portrays a writer is beautiful and well carried out. The realism behind how intense a plagiarism issue can get was spot on and very telling. Writers are very protective of their work and the thought of intellectual theft, as the victim or the thief, makes a writer like me uncomfortable from start to finish. Its an excellent film with some realistic glimpses into the world of an author.
I Go Where The Story Takes Me: Sinister
True crime writers are dedicated people. They go to extreme lengths to get their story and care enough to uproot everything and sacrifice heavily for that exclusive knowledge. For Ellison Oswalt, that involved moving into the home of the murder victims he's writing about, unbeknownst to his wife and children. Soon thereafter, the fun begins. His 7 year old son develops strong night terrors and the discovers some home movies left in the house. The reels contain brutal murders with the same figure appearing in all of them: the one known as Mr. Boogie.
After consulting with a local expert, Mr. Boogie is identified as a pagan deity named Bughuul, known for killing entire families and taking one child back to his realm to devour their soul. The early Christians wanted to rid the world of Bughuul's image, believing it served as a gateway to our world. Things take a turn for the worse as the demon continues to haunt the family, seemingly after Ellison's daughter Ashley. He must now come to terms with the consequences of his actions and the danger he subjected his family to just to get a good story.
This movie is on my list because its just plain relateable - well, to an extent. As I'm writing this article, it is 6:45am. I haven't been to bed and I have adulting to do in the morning, but the story calls to me. Once I've started a project, I can't stop. I go to great lengths to ensure my ideas are recorded and that's exactly what Ellison was attempting to do. Good writers get consumed by their work, which is usually a good thing. However, I'm now a little worried about true crime writers everywhere.
True crime, novelist, fanfiction, journalist: these are just a few of the many types of writers out there. Every single one is dedicated to passing on their thoughts and conclusions to the reader in the hopes that they will be enticed to tell others and keep the conversation rolling. One hallmark of a good writer is the passion for writing paired with a bigger passion for reading. The more you read and understand about your audience from their point of view, the more readers will wander over to your book, article, post, and so on. These 3 movies did a stellar job at offering a peek into the lives and minds of today's writers. In no way a complete list, these movie would be a good starting point for a marathon of such movies! I hope you had as much fun celebrating writers like ourselves as I did. Remember that there are countless others out there like you when the gift of writing is stressing you out.
What are some of your favorite movies about writers? Tell me in the comments! Follow me here for more articles on a wide array of topics, and never stop writing!