Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 8 of '08, with Guest Blogger Dale McGladdery

Aside from being a WebWizard after my own heart, Dale McGladdery is also a film buff. In addition to his Group 42 Drupal Blog AND his Digital Doodle Pad blog, he is a founding (and participating) member of the crew of AFTER THE CREDITS.

No surprise, then, that he's got a few insights to share with his Top 8 Films of 2008 -- and with a writing link, too boot!

All films are written but few contain writing craft. I don't mean they're all lacking in craft! Well, some are. I mean few show details of craft only a writer can truly understand.

In no particular order, here are my top 8 movies containing references or insights only a writer can truly appreciate.

  • Finding Neverland

    The story of how author J.M. Barrie was inspired to create Peter Pan. Not only is it a wonderful story, it captures the creative process in action.

  • Adaptation

    A bizarre, self-referential story that had me laughing out loud many times. Only a writer can truly understand the emotions this protagonist is experiencing!

  • Stranger Than Fiction

    A man begins hearing a voice narrating his life and discovers someone else is the author of his story. It's a cool premise, a so-so movie, and a wonderful study of what goes into a story. This is also the only Will Farrell performance I've ever liked, so don't shy away because he's in the movie.

  • Starting Out in the Evening

    A wonderful, bittersweet movie about a dying author trying to finish his last novel. Contains many moments only a writer can appreciate as well as making one think about what goes into a good story.

  • Wonder Boys

    Sometimes you just need to start over.

  • Lady in the Water

    M. Night Shyamalan's story execution is ham-handed but I loved the underlying premise of solving the "real life" conflict by treating it like a story. A fun exploration of plot dissection. Check out Unbreakable for a subtler blending of "real life" and story.

  • Shakespeare in Love

    A bit of a stretch but good fun around the topic of inspiration.

  • Becoming Jane

    Another stretch, but somehow it belongs on this list. It also gives me a highly dubious excuse to mention The Jane Austen Book Club, a movie that wraps the study of the relevance of literature in everyday life into a series of romance stories.

I'd also like to give an honourable mention to Scribes, a documentary on storytelling set at the 2003 Surrey International Writers' Conference. Although Director Rusty Nixon didn't quite pull off his story arc, the interviews and presentation excerpts are golden! Worth the watch for anyone wanting to improve their writing craft. [Editor's note: I am actually in this movie. It is my one and only film credit in IMdB. And, sadly, I am forced to report to you that my face really DOES look fatter on camera....]

Did I miss one of your favs? Please leave a comment! I'm always looking for good movies.

Want to read more? Check out Dale's movie blog and podcasts HERE.

And I see on his Digital Doodles site that he has just put up a list of Reasons Why Christmas in Vernon Rocks. Two lists for the price of one! Check it out HERE.

Thanks for taking part, Dale!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me! I've always wanted to get that list out there! And thanks for mentioning the podcast.

I'd forgotten you made an appearance in Scribes before you were famous :-). Time to watch it again, perhaps.

Anita Daher said...

I LOVED Wonder Boys, and in general love all movies about writers :-) Another of my all time faves is Pandaemonium, which is about the friendship between William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge. Brilliant.

kc dyer said...


Ah yes -- all those long years ago, before the fame that I now wear like a heavy (but regal!) cloak... =)

Thanks again for taking part!


kc dyer said...

Hi Anita,

Thanks for the suggestion -- I've got to try and find that one!


Anonymous said...

Anita, I hadn't heard of Pandaemonium, but will now have to check it out. I loved John Hannah's performances in Four Weddings and a Funeral and the Mummy movies. He's got a poet's sensibilities, even playing a scalawag! Also like Samantha Morton.