Archive for December 8, 2009

Movie Break

I took a break from grading last night to watch an old favorite, Throw Momma From the Train a movie starring Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito.  I haven’t seen the movie in years, and Anthony has never seen it, so it was fun to watch both Crystal and DeVito in their “younger years” (the movie came out in the late 80’s).  A part of the movie that did strike me (and that I didn’t remember until I watched it again last night) is that Billy Crystal plays a creative writing professor at a community college with writer’s block (the character has writer’s block, not the college). I guess I can appreciate the character more now because I do teach creative writing at a community college.

In a dark/funny sort of way, the movie does explore many issues with contemporary writers including writer’s block, writing vs. art, and idea stealing.  It also got me thinking: are there other movies that show contemporary writers working?  I don’t mean biopics about real writers — I’m thinking of more fictional accounts.  The only other movie I can think of is Room 1408 starring John Cusack.  Yes, this is a horror movie, but at the beginning of the movie there is a touching scene where Cusack, who plays a writer who specializes in debunking paranormal issues, is at a book signing and a young girl comes up with one of his older books she purchased off EBay.   It’s clear in the movie that Cusack now “specializes” in travel books that explore the supernatural, and that he really wants nothing to do with his writing from the past — in this case, a book about a son’s relationship with his father.  I’m sure that many viewers didn’t really get that scene, but I thought it was the best thing in the whole movie.

So, can anyone out there think of movie clips that may show the contemporary writer at work?  Next semester, I’m thinking of opening my creative writing class by looking at some of these scenes to get my students thinking about writing issues….