Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Flix for Inspiration

One of the many great things about writing is that from time to time you get to indulge your muse with some cinematic inspiration. Here’s a list of movies (in no particular order) that always land on our “girls’ nite in”:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – No offense to Frodo and Sam fans, but when we sit down to watch this one, we fast forward through much of the angsty hobbit stuff. What I really want to see when viewing this is the interaction of the minor characters. The interactions between Merry and Pippin, Legolas and Gimli, and Eowyn and Aragorn. And if I need someone to get my heart pumping there’s Eomer, played by the ever-gorgeous Karl Urban. Lesson for writing: Minor characters count.

Pride and Prejudice – Mr. D’arcy as played by Colin Firth. Dancing. In period costume. Sometimes dripping wet. With his shirt open. And there’s all that other good stuff to like the amazing English countryside but we really watch it see Elizabeth Bennett royally diss Lady Catherine DeBerg and to see the look on D’arcy’s face when he watches his Lizzie play the piano. A masterpiece. Lesson for Writing: Witty repartee rocks.

Love Actually – I know some people have a problems with this movie but I am not one of them. I adore the ensemble cast and love the way storylines loosely intertwine. We love Kiera Knightley’s subplot (My daughter says she is definitely hiring a band to play ‘All You Need is Love’ at her wedding.), Hugh Grant as British PM dancing in his undies and seeing Colin Firth dripping wet only this time its in modern garb. Lesson for Writing: weaving a good story takes more than one thread.

Ten Things I Hate About You – A YA retelling of the Bard’s The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare really knew his stuff and it still rings true with remakes like this. A high school jock/jerk hires Patrick (Heath Ledger) to keep older sister Kat busy while he works on getting into younger sister Bianca’s pants. Only things get complicated when Patrick falls for Kat and Kat finds out the truth. Favorite part: Pat’s ‘grand gesture' to get back in Kat’s good graces. Nothing is as romantic as a man willing to make a fool of himself for his woman. Lesson for Writing: Great stories hold up over time.

She’s the Man – The Bard stirkes again with this loosely-based retelling of Twelfth Night. Set in the Illyria Prep School, Viola takes her brother’s place so she can play soccer with the boys and he can run off and play guitar in London for a few weeks. Lots of great comedy done by the lovely and wonderful Amanda Bines. Lesson for Writing: There's no such thing as an original story but there is an original way to tell it.

50 First Dates –When Lucy's car crashes permanently damaging her short-term memory, she relives the same day over and over since going to sleep wipes her memories clean. Too bad, Henry Roth didn’t know that when he fell in love with her. Now he must win her over again and again and again. Lesson for Writing: Sometimes love (like writing) is perseverance.

The Holiday - Two women on different continents swap houses to get away from bad relationships. They find good relationships but are they ready for them? Jude Law was great in this but Jack Black stole the show. Lesson for Writing: Be careful what you wish for.

Sliding Doors - One of my all-time favorites that asks the same question that writers invariably start out with: What if? This movies gives you both sides of the story but you can't take your pick. Lesson for Writing: Nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.

P.S. I Love You - A 3-hanky watch but don't let that stop you. Love may never end, but life does. A woman works through her grief with the help of letters written by her deceased hubby. P.S. I love Gerard Butler. Lesson for Writing: Backstory isn't the story even when you think it is.

So there you have some of my picks.

Got any to add? Post away!