Movies about movies tend to be pretentious exercises resulting in films only appealing to critics or the creators themselves – unless those movies are about the movie business or better yet, Hollywood. The luster or lack thereof that oozes from this magical town has resulted in plenty of films that both celebrate and tear down this city.

So, join me in a walk down that boulevard of broken dreams for a compilation of the best films inspired by Hollywood.

The Big Picture

The saying simply goes, “Write what you know.” Well, there is no shortage of writers who have been inspired by Tinseltown, and actor, director and comedian Christopher Guest must have had some experience of success when he made The Big Picture .

This film stars a young Kevin Bacon as an aspiring filmmaker who shoots to the top … and falls just as fast. Martin Short is inspired as a gushing agent.

Best line uttered in the movie: “You're gonna get an agent, a mother, a father, a shoulder to cry on, someone who knows this business inside and out. And if anyone ever tries to cross you, I'll grab them by the balls and squeeze ‘til they're dead.”


Steve Martin is a modern day Ed Wood as a hack filmmaker who makes a film with a celebrity doppelganger with both roles played by Eddie Murphy.

Best line : Kit (Murphy): “White boys always get the Oscar. It's a known fact. Did I ever get a nomination? No! You know why? Cause I hadn't played any of them slave roles, and get my ass whipped.”

The Player

Tim Robbins' performance is chilling as a studio executive turned murderer in this Robert Altman modern classic. Perhaps the best film made about Hollywood and the perfect movie to show anyone considering entering this crazy industry.

Best line: Griffin Mill (Robbins): “I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process. If we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we've got something here.”

The Muse

Albert Brooks plays a successful screenwriter that has lost his edge and must seek out a muse (hence the title) and finds it in a spiritual nutcase played by Sharon Stone. Brooks' meeting with the nephew of Steven Spielberg named, well, Steven Spielberg is laugh out loud funny.

Best line: (Brooks to the gate guard, after being informed that he may enter the studio grounds as a “walk-on”) “Let me ask you – is this the lowest a human being can go? I mean, is there such a thing as a ‘crawl on'?”\

Ed Wood

Johnny Depp's performance is enthusiastically over the top as he breathes life into the world's worst director. As Ed, the story of the making of Plan 9 From Outer Space is as much a disaster film as the story of one of Hollywood's most infamous characters.

Best line: Edward D. Wood, Jr.: “No, I'm all man. I even fought in World War II. Of course, I was wearing women's undergarments under my uniform.”

State and Main

David Mamet's State and Main takes a look at the inner workings of film crews, and the result is brutal.

Best line (that we can print and did not contain expletives): “Who designed these costumes? It looks like Edith Head puked, and that puke designed these costumes.”

Swimming with Sharks

Later this summer, Kevin Spacey will become known as Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor, but his turn as an agent in Swimming with Sharks will be remembered as perhaps his most evil role to date.

Best line: Buddy (Spacey): “No offense to you, but you are just an assistant. Now, granted, you're my assistant, but still just an assistant. Dawn, on the other hand, is a producer. Her car phone bills are more than your rent. So, just how far do you think you'll get?”

Get Shorty

Hollywood folks getting mixed up with Mafia types doesn't seem like such a stretch these days, what with so many lawsuits over that Pelicano guy. John Travolta is flawless as Chili Palmer, a tough as nails hood who would make an excellent film producer.

Best line: Chili Palmer (Travolta): “Whew, this movie business is tough. I might just have to go back to loan-sharking for a while to get some vacation.”

Full Frontal

Steven Soderbergh put his celebrity cast, including Julia Roberts, on notice that they would drive themselves to the set and do their own hair, makeup and wardrobe for this digital and decidedly indie look at Hollywood.

Best line: “You can't pretend that you are having sex with someone, when you are actually having sex with them.”


Al Pacino is a desperate producer who needs a lead actress and fast. So, with some souped-up software he creates the ultimate hot actress – she's fantastic and all digital. Of course, this leads to complications as the industry suspects this actress may be fake. Hey, in Hollywood, what actress isn't fake?!

Best Line : Simone: “Everybody always talks about the negatives of cigarettes, but look at the benefits. I mean you don't eat as much and you've got something to hold in your hand.”