Why are writers so boring?

Saturday, August 8th, 2009 by Rachel

I watched White Oleander yesterday.  I am going to admit already that I have not read the book.  Honestly, I never had much interest in either the book or the movie. Yesterday, as I was planning on scrapbooking on the living room floor for most of the afternoon, it seemed like good background.  Of course, I didn’t end up scrapbooking at ALL and only spent my time watching the movie.  It is fantastic, especially with such a strong cast of women actors (especially Michelle Pfeiffer and Robin Wright Penn).


Like I do with all movies that I watch, afterwards I went to IMDB to check out the trivia and found this: “In the film, Astrid’s mom is an artist, while in the book her mom [Ingrid] is a writer – showing an artist working would make the movie more interesting than showing a writer write.”


Is this really true?  Is watching a movie about writing boring?



While I found this initial thought troubling/disturbing, I have had some difficulty brainstorming a list of movies that I love where writers write in some form or another.  I’ve decided to include movies where people write in most forms, from journals to newspapers to novels.  I excluded “movie-writing”/screenplay-writing, as this includes the visual element which may be deemed “more interesting” ala artists.  I have also included writers who don’t write, meaning their role as a writer (albeit an ineffective one) is still essential in developing character and moving the plot of the movie along.



Alex and Emma

Almost Famous

As Good as It Gets

Before Sunset

Breakfast Club

Burn After Reading

Butterfly Effect

Can’t Hardly Wait

Chasing Amy (maybe an overlap into art?)

Christmas Story

Cruel Intentions

Dances With Wolves

Down with Love

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag

50 First Dates

Girl, Interrupted

Halloween (Rob Zombie version)

The Hours

i <3 Huckabees


Jerry Maguire

Little Women


Moulin Rouge!

My Girl

The Notebook


Scream 2 &3

Secret Window

The Shining

Sliding Doors

Son of the Mask (again, a blurry one)

Stand By Me

Superman Returns


There’s Something About Mary

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

With Honors


TV shows also seem to prominently feature writers as the main character, as this conveniently leads to a first person narrator ala Sex and the City or Doogie Howser, M.D.  Even the more scandalous Red Shoe Diaries features “diary entries” as a catalyst to plot.


And as I’ve attempted to develop this list, I become more and more certain that writing is, in fact, not boring. Some of these movies are my favorites, and some, especially The Shining, Dances with Wolves, and Girl, Interrupted are probably considered to be mainstream “classics”.


I like to think that White Oleander wouldn’t have been a lesser movie, but a better one for including Ingrid’s writing ability.  Maybe this would have led to a more coherent ending, and probably superior to Astrid’s “art”, since Astrid was already narrating and this narration could have been more effective with the visual element of a pen or a typewriter versus the medium that was ultimately selected. (Am trying desperately to avoid spoilers, as I want you all to see this movie!)


Please, send me additional movies that you think of where writers write (or maybe don’t!) so we can develop a super comprehensive list.  I’m trying to avoid “minor writing”/list writing as seen in movies like She-Devil or The Bucket List.  I want to include movies where the movie would almost not exist without the writing within.


  1. Dead Poets Society, Finding Forrester, Sideways, Stranger Than Fiction (I love this one!)

  2. Wonderboys

  3. I mean Wonder Boys.

  4. Becoming Jane, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Shakespeare in Love come to mind.

  5. I’m still bringing you The Door in the Floor (which is definitely about writers writing)

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