Self Referential Films, Part 1

For the rest of 2012 and–if you’re very lucky–into 2013 I would like to entertain you with a list of the best, worst, favorite and horrid self-referential films of all time.  Movies about movies.  Or about acting or about actors.  Or films about films, if you prefer. 

For some reason not to be known except if I were to enter a deeply probing psychiatric healing process–which I’m unlikely to do given the state of my finances–I have decided to compile the ultimate list of self-referential films.  Not content, no not satisfied at all, with films about filmmaking, I am including in this grand list films about other genres of art: films about painters, about writers, about dancers and (god forbid) films about … I can’t say it; I can’t type it…movies about…aaaaaaaaah…POETS.

If you are good little readers, I won’t burden you with any blog posts about the OTHER artists; I know you simply don’t care.  You will be spared the blogs about films about P*o*e*t*s.  However, a description of the film titles about the dirty, seedy, other art forms will go into my ultimate list to be posted for future scholars.

How do I sort this list?  Is it by best plot?  Best acting?  Originality?  Or perhaps most cliche’s per page?  Best loved?  Most hated?  Worst plot or worst acting first?  Length?  Parody first, followed by serious?  The highest number of star cameos?  Cheapest production values?  No, dear readers, none of these.  I thought, perhaps, the best way to sort would be alphabetical.  It is so clean and so indisputable.  Relatively indisputable.  Then I thought, perhaps, that alpha sorting  is a poor, stupid, cheap, lazy way out.  I will just present them in the order I want to.  I will not explain. 

Here, then, the first five, the top five, if you will Films About Films.

1. Who Am I This Time?

Way too cutesy.  Another one of those films that would be dumped onto Lifetime channel had it not two stars in it.  Susan Sarandon and the ever-bizarre Christopher Walken.  Do. Not. Bother.

2. Waiting for Guffman

This film about community theater was just as touching as its independent film-themed counterpart, “Living in Oblivion.”  Not touching in a fake, schmaltzy, tear-jerky, vapid, predictable, wholesome “Miracle on 48th Street” way, but in a cry, cry, sob because-I’ve-been-there way.  I’ve had all those unvoiced (yet spoken silently on my face) hopes that a New York critic will be in the audience; I’ve had my heart jammed into my sinuses so hard that it stopped all air flow.  I’ve been willing to give up the next 60 years of my life for one chance to get to the next level of my acting career.  At the same time, I laughed my ass off watching this Christopher Guest masterpiece.  He is married to Jamie Lee Curtis, about whom a boyfriend of mine once said, “She has great underpants.”

3. Tootsie

At first i thought Tootsie was just more stupid cross-dressing….gawd, how boring and trite that trick is…but then I read the script and it’s funny and sad.  Actors struggling, willing to do anything, for a career.  It touched my heart, the part of my heart that still dreams I’ll be A-list.

4. A Star is Born

They made this one three times already.  It was not very interesting; it’s self-serving; it was predictable and uninspired all three times. Did I say trite? I hear that they are considering a fourth version.  Pah!

5. Noises Off

Speaking of laughing (we were, earlier), “Noises Off” made me pee my pants.  I was sitting next to Albert Kent in a theater and I had to put my jacket over my lap so he wouldn’t notice I had peed.  But do not bother seeing the filmed version.  This one, you have to see in a tiny community theater in the sticks.  Please do.  It’s theater about theater.

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