Get ready for Oscar season with these five great movies about the film industry.
What happens when Hollywood turns the lens on itself? Get ready to celebrate the business of show business, and take a look behind the scenes of Hollywood, with these fantastic films about Tinsel Town itself.
Every year, the Academy Awards celebrate the best movies of the year - but we think some of the best movies ever made are those that tells stories about the film industry itself. Celebrate the Hollywood movie making machine this Oscar season and take a look behind the scenes with these entertaining and thrilling films about the movie business.
1. The Player
Robert Altman's hit 1992 film offers an insider view into the movie industry and its warped values, wrapped inside an enjoyable thriller with plenty of Hollywood in-jokes. Tim Robbins plays Griffin Mill, a hotshot young studio executive who's used to being the boss and getting everything he wants. Through a series of events, Griffin gets caught up in a blackmail plot that has him fearing for his career and even his life. Greta Scacchi plays the femme fatale to Griffin's anti-hero, while Whoopi Goldberg delivers laughs as a Los Angeles cop who's unimpressed by Griffin's studio status. Meanwhile, dozens of recognizable Hollywood stars pass through this suspenseful and often funny story, as director Altman serves up scene after scene skewering the self-importance and sleazy politics of the film industry.
Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy are at their comic best in this comedy movie about making a movie, with a screenplay by Martin. Bobby Bowfinger (Martin) is a low-talent, D-List film director who has struggled desperately for years to make a hit movie, with no success. Sensing he's running out of time, Bobby puts together a script written by his accountant with a cast of no-name wannabes, but he can't afford to hire his dream star, Hollywood's leading action hero Kit Ramsey (Murphy). With the help of one of Kit's look-a-like relatives (also played by Murphy), Bowfinger comes up with an insane plan to film the movie starring Kit, without letting the actor know he's in the film. Hilarious performances by the leads and a talented ensemble cast, including Christine Baranski and Heather Graham, combine with wicked jokes about the phoniness and exploitative nature of the film industry to create a very fun watch.
3. Sunset Boulevard
If you were only going to watch one movie about the movie business, we'd tell you to watch this one. It's an oldie (from 1950) but a goodie that deserves its place at number 12 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 Films list. The movie tells the story of talented but dead-broke screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden, a one-time lover of Audrey Hepburn), who stumbles into the crumbling Sunset Boulevard mansion of long-forgotten silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson, once a real-life silent movie queen). When Norma learns of Joe's profession, the monstrously deluded, aging actress hires him to help her with a comeback script she's been working on for years. Joe knows both the script and Norma are awful but takes the job because he needs the money. Soon, Joe is banging more than his typewriter in this wicked melodrama. Written and directed by Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard is a classic black comedy about the egomania, failure and unethical behavior that can combine to create a toxic stew in Hollywood.
4. Hollywood Shuffle
Hollywood Shuffle is a very funny movie from 1987 about a not-so-funny problem with the movie industry. Writer-director-star Robert Townsend created this comedy to take a satiric look at the troubles an African American actor encounters in a Hollywood run mainly by white men. Townsend casts himself as Bobby, a struggling young actor looking for his big break in Los Angeles. As he makes the rounds of auditions, Bobby finds himself torn between remaining an unknown burger flipper, or accepting the only jobs he is offered - demeaning, stereotypical "black" roles as a gangster, pimp, servant or slave. Meanwhile, in a series of fantasy scenes, Bobby imagines himself playing great movie roles from the past (all originally played by white men). The laughs have bite in this movie, helped along by talented co-stars including real-life brothers Damon and Keenen Ivory Wayans.
5. Boogie Nights
Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman star in this movie about the glory days of the adult movie industry in the 1970s. Wahlberg plays Dirk Diggler, an enthusiastic young man with "one special thing". (Hint: It lives in his boxers). Dirk's special, ahem, quality wins him the attention of a Los Angeles porn producer (played by Burt Reynolds in a hilariously sleazy performance) and soon makes him a star of the underground scene. Throughout this funny, touching and sexy movie, you get the sense this world is a lot like Hollywood - only the people are nicer to each other. That is, until it all unravels. Wahlberg is charming as Dirk, but the knockout performances here are by Moore, as a porn actress with a maternal side, and Hoffman, whose cringe-inducing pass at Wahlberg's Diggler is one of the saddest-slash-funniest scenes in the movie.
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