Why are there so many films about filmmaking? For many directors, their movie becomes their mouthpiece to speak out about the business, more often scathing than sycophantic (see: The Player, Sunset Blvd). For others, it's a paean to a bygone era. There's nothing Hollywood likes more than its own history, one more chance to bask in its golden heyday. While claiming to hold a mirror to society, the film industry is instead admiring its own reflection. Just as authors cannot resist writing about a frustrated novelist (see:Stephen King), so screenwriters are seen to struggle for their art, directors dying for that perfect take. But surely there's more to it than narcissism and nostalgia? Or are all films about films invariably made by insiders, for insiders? Here's ten of the very best;
10. Hamlet (Last Action Hero)
It's a tragedy, but Shakespeare never had the opportunity to write a screenplay. Thankfully, only five hundreds years later, Shane Black stepped in to transform an Austrian Oak into a Great Dane. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater, the ultimate ubermensch of the 1993 title, is hardly inspired casting. But as Hamlet, Prince of Denmark? Ay, there's the rub. Last Action Hero may have divided critics like a karate chop, but at least it had a sense of humour. With director John McTiernan sneaking Schwarzenegger into the Laurence Olivier version; slicing a soliloquy into a slew of one-liners, machine guns and explosions, the question is : And why not?
Yorkshireman (hence the surname). Often spotted sacrificing sleep and sanity for the annual Leeds International Film Festival. For a sample of (fairly) recent film reviews, please visit whatsnottoblog.wordpress.com.