Movie Soup for the Acting Soul
With the release of The Disaster Artist, I’ve been reminded why Hollywood movies about Hollywood are so beloved. There’s so much to cling to in these movies about the business, craft and passion that we go through in such an uncertain career path. The Disaster Artist is both hilarious and touching, and it portrays so many complex themes, from friendship and following your dreams, to humility and humiliation, fear, self awareness, and compassion’s consequences when present and when forgotten. Here are some more industry flicks to follow up on after The Disaster Artist stokes the wavering fire of your career ambitions.
Synecdoche, New York
To kick things off, the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars in Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut. Kaufman is a genius, if somewhat depressing, screenwriter who captures the bleak emptiness that lurks in creative occupations. Synecdoche is a beautifully indulgent meditation on the lowest points in a theatre director’s private and professional life, so maybe start off here and follow up with something a bit more glitzy and glamorous, because P.S Hoffman will really take you to the long, dark night of your soul and make you stare into the abyss.
La La Land
Here’s some good old fashioned Hollywood fun. Damien Chazelle has created a modern classic with the most visually arresting palette on the list, where glamorously lit nightclubs and crippling self-doubt destroy the budding romance of these artists. Finding your ‘why’ is so vital to the sustainability of a creative career, and La La Land addresses this in a neatly Oscar-driven package with easily consumable song and dance numbers to bring some levity to the desperate reality of aspiring actors in LA.
The Coen Brothers have old favourites John Turturro and John Goodman on board to deliver a hilariously dark study of Imposter Syndrome through screenwriting. Even Meryl Streep gets scared someone will ‘find her out’, that she doesn’t know what she’s doing, so rest assured that it’s a natural phase of the business that will repeatedly ebb and flow. On top of the relevant themes, this flick is an amazing character piece that is essential to any comedy-loving actor.
All About Eve
The classics are regarded so for a reason, and All About Eve may age but it will never fade. Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe go head to head when a young ingenue threatens to throw an ageing theatre star’s career, friendships and marriage into turmoil. These two juggernauts are a spectacle, holding up this 2+ hour epic without one Michael Bay-esque explosion in sight.
And finally, another recent Oscar bait insertion into the actors acting about acting cannon. Birdman is crafted to look like one extended shot, in an effort to mimic the feeling of immediacy and uneducable quality of the theatre. The business and the art can drive the best of us a little loopy, and Michael Keaton deals with it like a champ, all the while antagonised by addict daughter Emma Stone, it’s-Fight-Club-all-over-again Edward Norton, and highly strung Broadway producer Zach Galifinakis. This satire has a solid core, hitting home-runs on issues like integrity, validation, criticism and legacy.
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