Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Movies about books - what's your favourite?

With this being the first post in a while, I was going to report back from the Literary Society meeting in November, when members - and some guests - discussed the potential for a literary festival on this fair isle. I had to miss the meeting, but I had a trusty spy there, who gave me the lowdown.

But, well, reports smack of admin, and I'd hate this post to end with your unconscious forehead crashing onto your keyboard. So how about a bit of bit of fun research...? We'll save the report till the next post.

One of the ideas thrown into the mix at a recent meeting with the IOM Arts Council (as an aside, we've downloaded grant/underwriting application forms for 2011/12, deadline is February 8) was to stage screenings of writing-related movies.

One of my favourites is Wonder Boys. Released in 2000, it won a raft of nominations and awards from various critics, but was largely ignored by the public, which was a shame, but perhaps understandable, as it lacked explosions, violence (although a poor dog does get it) and sex.

It follows a couple of days in the life of Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), a lecturer who has spent the last seven years failing to follow up his critically acclaimed debut novel. His wife has left him, he's having an affair with the Dean's wife, his nagging editor is in town for the university's lit fest, and he's babysitting his best student, who claims to be living out of a locker in the bus station. Oh, and his proposed 250-page manuscript has crept up to the 2,500-page mark...

It's a lovely film, beautifully directed by Curtis Hanson, with - arguably - a career best performance from Douglas (far less showy than Gordon Gekko) and a fine cast behind him; Robert Downey Jnr, before his Iron Man comeback, as the editor, a pre-Spider-Man Tobey Maguire as student, James Leer, Frances McDormand as the Dean's wife and 'Screamer' as the dead dog, Poe.

So there's your starter for ten. There are plenty to choose from - Misery, Capote, The Hours, the brilliant Barton Fink, Adaptation to name a few - but don't let me influence you.

Assuming we can arrange a venue, and we can get a print of a particular movie, which films would you like to see screened at the festival...?