Friday, March 2, 2012

A Reel Opinion: Movies About Movies

In an age where Hollywood is stuck in a ditch knee-deep with remakes, adaptations, and the dreadful life-sucking farce that is (goddamn) 3D, true movie fans and film buffs have been desperate for a breath of fresh air; a light at the end of the tunnel that is not a hijacked freight train.

Such a light may be on the horizon. This week, Fox Searchlight announced an upcoming project entitled ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE MAKING OF PSYCHO; with James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, and Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock. Seemingly less of a biopic and more of a story about the making of Hitchcock’s classic PSYCHO, this will quite simply be a movie about a movie.

On the surface, it may seem a bit self-congratulatory for the industry to tell its own story, but such an approach has worked before. Tim Burton’s ED WOOD earned Oscar nominations for its revealing of what went into Wood’s PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE put together an excellent cast in its alternate-approach telling of the making of NOSFERATU. And in 2005, a independent short called COURAGE AND STUPIDITY told a clever story of the making of JAWS; young Steven Spielberg is panicked when his friend George (ahem) accidently breaks the mechanical shark. And on top of all that, the same theme was present in last year’s HUGO, THE ARTIST, and MY WEEK WITH MARILYN; three films which combined for 23 Oscar Nominations.

The concept can be fascinating. Fans of the PSYCHO film would have to be drooling over seeing their favorite settings (Bates motel, anyone?) in a new world. And that world of movies is loaded with so much lore; there is unlimited, untapped potential waiting to be sipped. What about a movie about the guys who had to make the rubber masks for the Mos Eisley Cantina? Or a film about the people who had to make the dresses for Scarlett O’Hara?

There is a story to be told behind every movie, and Hollywood would be foolish to forget that. Embrace your past, or suffer by forgetting.

What say you?

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