Friday, March 21, 2014

10 Movies I Wished I'd Written

Yesterday on Facebook, I got tagged to list the fifteen authors who have influenced my writing by two author friends. In the comments of one, they got to talking about a writing exercise where you list the ten movies or books you wish you'd written, and analyze why. I kind of loved that idea, so I'm trying it out here so I can talk about them a little bit more.

1. Dead Again.
2. Parenthood
3. The Philadelphia Story
4. Fargo
5. Sunset Boulevard
6. Memento
7. The Usual Suspects
8. When Harry Met Sally...
9. Breaking Away
10. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

These aren't in any particular order, though I can say that Dead Again is always the first movie I think of when I consider work I wish I'd done. When I saw it in the theater in 1991, I walked out thinking exactly that. That this, to me, managed to incorporate so many elements I wish I could and it had done so in such a way that I was enthralled for the entire ride. My love for noir, my fascination with reincarnation, the all tied into this wonderful package. And really makes me want to dig it out again and watch it for the umpteenth time.

I think it's an eclectic list, to say the least, but quite common amongst a lot of these is how much I admire smart movies. More than a few have brilliant twists or structure, and most of them have amazing dialogue. The quieter movies, like Breaking Away, are on the list because of how remarkably perceptive I find them, and yet, still thrilling in their own ways.

And I'll admit that Butch Cassidy is on the list because it has one of my favorite movie lines of all time in it. It's when Butch says to Sundance, "Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals." It's funny, it's insightful, and it's completely sold by Paul Newman's performance.

Any other commonalities you see? I'm curious what your list might be, too.


Joy Daniels said...

Great list! Now I really want to read your work!

Three of your movie aways make it onto my favorite movies list: The Philadelphia Story, Memento, and The Usual Suspects, but they're not ones I wished I'd written. Don't really know why - maybe while I LOVE watching them I realize that's just not how my brain works when it comes to storytelling.

Vivien Dean said...

One of the things Xio and Denny's prompts have got me thinking about recently is how far I've strayed from how I used to write. When I first moved from screenplays to prose, I wrote long, plotty, twisty stuff. These days, I write short and sweet. They're fulfilling in their own way, but I'm beginning to think that maybe I need to go back to my roots.