Monday, July 11, 2016
Ask JKM a Question: Movies about Movies?
A regular reader, Chuck, writes:
Recently, I have noticed a trend in documentary film making that I want to call the “movie-about-a-movie.”
In other words, there are quite a lot of film makers who seem interested in documenting the history of a particular film or franchise.
For example, The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? (2015) is about a movie which, in this case, was never actually made.
Back in Time (2015), on the other hand, goes into the history of the Back to the Future franchise. And while it may be a bit dated, I feel compelled to mention the HBO original film RKO 281 (1999), which was itself based on the documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1995)—in effect, a movie-about-a-movie-about-a-movie!
Anyway, my question is really two-fold:
First, are there any planned productions of a so-called movie-about-a-movie you are looking forward to (I do hope Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four” makes your list)?
Second (and perhaps more importantly), what particular film or franchise you would like see get the movie-about-a-movie treatment?
As always, thanks again for all the outstanding work you do on your blog!”
Chuck, thank you for the kind words about the blog. I always enjoy hearing from you, as well as the questions that you pose.
I also find these “movies about a movie” fascinating.
I recently watched Electric Bugaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, and thought it was terrific. It was informative, funny, and even generated a real sense of nostalgia for a bygone era in film history. I would give it my highest recommendation.
Some time back, I also enjoyed Best Worst Movie (2009) -- about Troll 2 -- which I reviewed here.
Frankly -- and perhaps selfishly -- I’ve always wished someone would make a dramatic movie, like RK0 281, out of my book, The Unseen Force (2004), which concerns, in part the making of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1983). There are so many fascinating characters, stories and events that go into the making of that film. I think it would make an inspirational and very funny movie.
I too have been intrigued by Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four for a good long time, and I’m definitely looking forward to that documentary!
What other ones would I like to see?
It’s not exactly a movie but I would absolutely love a documentary about the behind-the-scenes making of the 1973 science fiction series, The Starlost.
That series started as a great concept from Harlan Ellison, and had the input of artists like Douglas Trumball, Keir Dullea, and Ben Bova, to start. And then, things took a dramatic turn. It’s a fascinating tale, and all the participants are still around, to appear in a documentary.
What other movies? Well, two of the most fascinating John Carpenter movies of the 1980s are eminently worthy of feature length documentaries: Prince of Darkness (1987) and They Live (1988).
I also feel that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) deserves a full-on, feature-length documentary (perhaps directed by William Shatner himself). After all, it is the Star Trek film with the most unrealized potential, I feel. We've seen footage of the failed Rock Man, and so on, but the great story there is about how William Shatner's serious tale about a fake religious messiah became a (not-so...) crowd-pleasing attempt at comedy, and how he had to keep compromising his vision, in large part because of the success of The Voyage Home (1986).
Thanks for a great question!
Don't forget to ask me more questions at Muirbusiness@yahoo.com