Sunday, July 10, 2011

Movies I Watch When Writing – Part II: Stuff I Watch When Writing True Crime

True Crime requires mood, and concentration.  At the same time there are movies I play in the background when I’m doing work on this kind of book to help me focus.  Here’s Part II of my movies list…

Fargo.  I cannot say enough good things about this movie.  Let’s face it, once you see it you never look at a woodchipper in the same way. Great characters and atmosphere make this a classic to write-by. 

Sherlock Homes.  This is the new edition of this character portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.  Alright, it’s not a true story, but that wasn’t a criteria to make this list.  These are simply the movies I play when I write.  This one is neat on a many levels.  To hell with the critics, check it out.

Tucker – The Man and His Dream.   It’s almost impossible for me to write true crime without having this on at some point (or many points).  I worked in the auto industry early in my career and this movie is wonderful.  It’s a pure American story and even though the ending is not happy, it’s great. 

Zodiac.   I’ve read the books on the Zodiac killings.  This movie was incredibly intense.  When I’m writing about a killer, this is one that has to be on the office.  Zodiac makes me type faster and is scary, and I’ve seen it about 10 times so far. 

Capote.  How did I miss this movie when it was in the theaters?  Truman Capote, according to some pundits, create the true crime genre.  I won’t argue the validity of that.  This movie is neat if you’ve ever read In Cold Blood because it gets at how that book was written. 

In Cold Blood.  Yeah, after mentioning Capote you knew I was going to go there.  While dated by today’s standards, this is a good movie when you are wading through police reports doing research. 

All of the President’s Men.  Watergate was a massive crime and this movie is fun to watch or have on in the background. 

October Sky.  I’m sure you’re scratching your head at this point.  What does this have to do with true crime?  This genre is about telling stories about people (some of which happen to be dead).  Character generation is critical and October Sky helps you get an idea of how to set a scene very well for a reader. 

The Informant.  I saw this originally on a business trip on the plane.  This is a neat way to get your creative juices flowing.  How this story begins and unravels is fascinating. 

Catch Me If You Can.  This is one of those movies that goes in a direction you’d never expect – just like some of the books I write.

Cinderella Man.  I don’t give a damn about boxing.  I do care about people.  This movie swells up tears at the end every time I play it.  It’s well worth having on when you want to drive home an emotional point in the story. 

V for Vendetta.  I’m one of those geeks that read the graphic novel first…so shoot me.  This movie has a rich background story that unfolds in the movie slowly and carefully.  There’s something there for any aspiring writer. 

Munich.  This movie is not one I play a lot, but it is neat to have on.  Vengeance is important with many true crime books. 

Frost Nixon.  Nixon is a neat guy.  There, I said it.  I don’t like him, I’m just stating fact.  This movie has a lot of depth to it and it’s important for my books to have that kind of depth. 

Spirit of St. Louis.  Jimmy Stewart – come on, you gotta love this true story.  It’s wholesome, deep and cool.  I live having it on because you don’t have to watch it – it can be experienced with a few quick glances when I need a break. 

True Grit.  Actually either version of this movie gets played in my house when I write – that includes when I’m working on science fiction.   This is story-telling at its best.  I love the new version even more than the John Wayne version.  “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!”  Wow!

Any recommendations from you folks?

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