Earlier this week marked the fake holiday Encourage a Young Writer Day. And while the day is totally bogus, I do believe in the message. Also, I still used it as an excuse to go drinking.
Since one of the best ways I know to encourage writers is to inspire them with great writing, I’ve put together a list of 10 movies that I consider extremely well written. There are a lot to choose from, but these are my favorites.
Full of fantastically tense and heartbreaking moments.
Pioneered dozens of filmmaking techniques, many of which had their foundations in the screenplay.
Kevin Smith gets some cracks for writing fast-paced dialogue that doesn’t necessarily sound real. But the conversations are always funny, as are the situations and portrayal of suburban ennui. Clerks has remained one of my favorite movies.
Of course, it helps that the source material is an excellent novel written by the outstanding Chuck Palahniuk. His style translates so well to the screen — the movie is unmistakably his.
Good Will Hunting
I know — I didn’t want to like the writing of Jason Bourne and the dude from Gigli any more than you did. But, objectively, Good Will Hunting is a well-told story with likeable, fairly fleshed-out characters, making it better than 85% of its contemporaries.
Kicking And Screaming
I’ve mentioned Kicking and Screaming several times, and I always have to caveat it with this: No, not the Will Ferrell movie. The Noah Baumbach movie, which is full of great dialogue and quirky-but-still-realistic characters.
I loved the surreal elements and the characters in Magnolia. It’s a fairly complex narrative that still works because of the clever way it’s woven together.
I like the characters and their interactions, as well as the dialogue, which feels genuine in both humorous and serious moments.
The Usual Suspects
I love a good caper movie, and The Usual Suspects has so much more depth and grittiness than the standard entry in the genre. The character interactions are well written and performed.