/Answers: The Best Movies About Making Movies

Chris Evangelista: Shadow of the Vampire

What if the star of your vampire movie really was a vampire? E. Elias Merhige’s eerie, funny Shadow of the Vampire explores that question, and more, by telling the story of one of the best vampire movies ever made. In Shadow of the Vampire, it’s revealed that  Max Schreck, the star of the silent movie Nosferatu, wasn’t an actor buried in makeup, but rather an actual vampire, discovered by director F. W. Murnau. Murnau attempts to convince the rest of the cast and crew of Nosferatu that Schreck is simply a very committed method actor, but everyone has their doubts. Especially when the body count starts to climb.

Steven Katz’s script takes what could’ve been a one-note joke and turns it into something more hypnotic, and ultimately more somber. Willem Dafoe is incredible as the centuries-old Schreck, struggling to fit-in among the living, and John Malkovich brings a tortured, wild-eyed madness to his portrayal of Murnau, playing the director as someone who would do anything (and I mean anything) to get his movie made. Anyone familiar with Nosferatu will get a kick out of this ghoulish tribute to the age of silent film.

Vanessa Bogart: Zack and Miri Make A Porno

I spent four years in film school, I have worked odd jobs on a handful of sets, I have seen firsthand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making a movie, and boy oh boy, it can get tense. So, when it comes to the very meta experience of watching a movie about the making of a movie, I want something that makes me laugh away the all-night shoots, the endless cold coffee, and the pain of trying to mentally scratch the itch on your leg that you can’t get as you have to stay perfectly still, hiding behind a couch while they are rolling. Yeah, it’s a thing.

I find all of those desires fulfilled to complete satisfaction in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. As a tried and true Kevin Smith fan, this romantic comedy about two friends, played by the always hilarious Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks, falling in love over the course of making an amateur porno to pay the bills, is just about all I need in life. Ok, maybe not all I need in life, but this movie really is a gem. Although the actual ‘making of’ process is often pushed to the background, Delaney’s (Craig Robinson) heartfelt speech in the final act, poetically describing how making this porno created an unlikely family amongst all involved, truly captures the magic and camaraderie that is ever present on set…however densely surrounded by a thorn-riddled thicket of stress.

It may be about a super low-budget amateur porn film, and not a big Hollywood production, but Zack and Miri Make a Porno really embraces the fun side of filmmaking. When you are forced to lean on and work with a group of strangers through long hours and strange conditions, you will almost always end up with a great story and a new friend. At the beginning of the film, Zack tells Miri that he wishes she would get a female friend, and by the end of their porn production, she has found a connection with the other two female stars of…well, I actually don’t think I can say the name of their movie in this article.

I have always quietly wished for a sequel to Zack and Miri, if for no other reason than to get that perfectly imperfect group together again…and let’s face it, we could all use a little bit more Brandon St. Randy.

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