I do watch a lot of movies. Much more than television shows, because of a combination of not having cable and not being a big fan of American television. Since I live in America, this limits my options. Besides, I don’t have time to watch both TV and movies too, what with the having a medium-sized child, a burgeoning writing career, my own (nascent and very much needing my attention) publishing company, and a pressing need to sleep once in a while. Though I sometimes enjoy some mindless fun, I prefer movies with great writing to those with great big explosions. I love documentaries! I like British movies and indie movies and old movies where the dialogue was what carried the film along. I like movies which are quotable and memorable and evocative and witty. In no particular order, the five* most well-written movies I can think of at the moment:
1. Network –
Network is a 1976 American satirical film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System (UBS), and its struggle with poor ratings. The film was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet. It stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight. – From Wikipedia
I first saw this when I was teenager, and I loved the dialogue. The conversations were intelligent, dry, yet still funny in many places, and I remember thinking that this is what grown-ups should sound like when they talk. Sadly, I grew up to find that not everyone was so quick with the witty reply, but it still stuck with me. It also made me look critically at every aspect of television, and was the first point where I remember that I realized that even the news was a product, for sale:
Nelson Chaney: All I know is that this violates every canon of respectable broadcasting.
Frank Hackett: We’re not a respectable network. We’re a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.
Nelson Chaney: Well, I don’t want any part of it. I don’t fancy myself the president of a whorehouse.
Frank Hackett: That’s very commendable of you, Nelson. Now sit down. Your indignation is duly noted; you can always resign tomorrow.