If the best advice a storyteller can follow is indeed to “write what you know,” then no one should be offended any time there’s a movie made about the movie industry, or about the experience of watching movies, or about some period of movie history. Filmmakers are understandably primarily concerned with film, and as their main area of interest, it should be no surprise that it’s a subject that a large number of films are deeply interested in, or at least touch upon.
The result is an inflated number of stories being told about writers, or actors, or aspiring artists, potentially giving off the false impression that any attempts to make it in the industry will likely be met with success. But it also often results in movies being made about movies themselves turning out rather well—it is, after all, an area in which the creators are exceptionally well-versed.
It’s understandable for the more cynical among us to be turned off by the masturbatory sense that movies about movies can often exude, similar to any professional going on and on about the hardships of their particular profession (you know who you are). It’s especially irritating for us outside the industry when the seeming trends indicate that exploring Hollywood-focused stories will bring about an excess of praise from those within the industry, as though these folks are so deeply narcissistic that they can only appreciate and relate to stories that are thinly veiled versions of their own.
Nevertheless, there are a number of great examples. Here are 13 movies about movies that rank among the best of this specific inward-looking genre.
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