Top 10 films about making films

I recently watched a film in which the plot revolved around, or at least touched on, the process of making a film. Which got me thinking about other films where this happens. Here are ten of my relatively recent favourites.

Their Finest (2016)

A rather sweet WWII-set flick which tells the story of the relationship between two screenwriters (Sam Claflin and Gemma Arterton) writing a screenplay for the Ministry of Information to boost troops’ morale. Also includes Bill Nighy doing Bill Nighy, which is always a good thing.

Tropic Thunder (2008)

In an attempt to make a war film more authentic a hapless director (Steve Coogan) drops his actors into the Vietnamese jungle. Trouble is, they end up in the middle of a real drug war. It takes some of the filmmakers (including Nick Nolte and Danny McBride) a while to realise what’s actually going on.

The Aviator (2004)

As part of the thread of this film, billionaire and aviation tycoon Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) is trying to make the film Hell’s Angels which, whilst it went on to be one of the highest grossing films of the silent era, it still lost money due to the inflated budget.

Get Shorty (1995)

Mobster (John Travolta) is sent to Hollywood to collect a debt from film producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). But upon pitching his life as a movie idea he finds being a gangster and a producer are not that different.

Saving Mr Banks (2013)

For a film about the making of Mary Poppins and the relationship between its author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), it’s incredibly sweet-natured. Particularly the scenes where they’re coming up with the songs.

Son of Rambow (2007)

School bad boy Lee Carter (Will Poulter) and Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) become friends, in sort of an odd couple way when they bond over a film they’re making for a competition. Their friendship gets tested when more kids join in and Lee feels cut out.

King Kong (2005)

Ambitious director Carl Denham (Jack Black) manages to persuade playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) and actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) to head to Skull Island to film his new flick. However it all goes awry when Kong kicks off, swipes Ann and heads off into the jungle.

Super 8 (2011)

A bunch of kids (including Elle Fanning) are making a zombie movie, when all of a sudden they witness a train crash. Turns out it was no accident, and a series of events and disappearances follow. It’s up to the kids and Deputy Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) to discover the truth.

Cloverfield (2008)

A bunch of rich and attractive New York kids (including Lizzy Caplan and T.J. Miller) are having a party when a huge monster starts smashing up the city. They film their experience on a camera as they try and flee the city with their lives.

While We’re Young (2014)

Middle-aged filmmaker Josh Schrebnick (Ben Stiller) is stuck in a rut. Until a young, hip guy called Jamie (Adam Driver) turns up. He breathes new life into Josh’s film but then enjoys more success in weeks than Josh did in years. So, inevitably, sparks start to fly.

Five unexpected song and dance moments in film

Now the obvious answer to this is something like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Flashdance. But those are lazy choices. And those films were some time ago. So with that in mind, here are my more contemporary offerings.

‘Dancing in the dark’
The Place Beyond the Pines

Here, Ryan Gosling’s tattooed motorcyclist bank robber celebrates his first heist by dancing around in a shack with his mentor, played by the ever shabby Ben Mendelsohn. Memorably, Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the dark’ plays as they both jig around with the dog. Weirdly, it’s impossibly cool.


‘Tear up the dance floor’
Ex Machina

Reclusive genius coder Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) ups the weird factor in a scene loaded with creepy intensity. One where he launches into an unannounced dance routine with his assistant, unnerving the already suspicious Caleb (Dohmnall Gleeson).


‘What do tigers dream of?’
The Hangover

You’re hungover with a tiger in your bathroom. You’ve drugged the beast and now you’re killing time till it passes out. So what do you do? Sing a little song, of course. A tune made all the more inspired by the fact actor Ed Helm came up with it inbetween takes, and director Todd Philips liked it so much he stuck it in the movie.


‘TeKillYah’
Baby Driver 

Perhaps an easy one, as Edgar Wright’s – possibly best – film has music baked into its very fabric. From the opening scene to the closing credits, it’s such a well executed treat. As close to a musical as you’ll see in an action film. I couldn’t find the ‘tequila’ track from the film, so have put the trailer up. Just go see it, and you’ll see the scene I mean.


‘Just can’t get enough’
Son of Rambow

Set in the summer of the ’80s, this delightfully cute and quirky film was littered with wonderful moments. One was a little dance routine where the cool French exchange kid starts dancing to electro, and everyone copies him.