Crackle is a free, online, streaming video service that offers complete movies and TV shows, interrupted by short commercials ~every 15 minutes. Crackle specializes in handpicked content in favorite genres – like action, sci-fi, horror, crime and comedy, and every once in a while, there’s a little biography or movie that is about a writer, or writing.
In December of 2012, I did a post outlining Films for Writers on Netflix, which probably needs updating. I’ll get to it at some point. It is on my TO DO List… page 6 or 7, I think. Anyway, I am continuing this same theme with Films for Writers on Crackle.com.
The pitch: John Carpenter leads a list of illustrious disciples for a peek behind the reclusive curtain of a horror fiction luminary, H.P. Lovecraft.
The real: It’s a well done biography with interviews from Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter and others. Reading Lovecraft is a rite of passage for many horror authors, and I really enjoyed the way this film unfolded the man behind The Dunwich Horror. Not that it may put you off seafood for a while.
The pitch: Documentary on Charles Bukowski, author of ‘Notes of a Dirty Old Man’, ‘Love Is a Dog from Hell’, and the autobiographical novels, ‘Women’, ‘Hollywood’, and ‘Post Office’.
The real: The life of west coast literary rebel Charles Bukowski is so compelling, even Bono makes an appearance. There are a lot of candid moments with Bukowski captured here. It is a glimpse into a tortured soul.
The pitch: Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has intrigued academics and brilliant minds ranging from Mark Twain and Charles Dickens to Henry James and Sigmund Freud, namely: who was the author of the plays credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles hungry for the power of the throne were exposed in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.
The real: This is a wonderful movie and a fanciful speculation on who actually authored the plays credited to William Shakespeare. Even if you have no interest in Shakespeare, this is a very good movie and worthy of a look.
The pitch: Terry Zwigoff’s documentary focuses on Robert Crumb, the controversial comic artist who Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes has called “the Breughel of the 20th century.” When Crumb created Zap Comix (and characters like Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural and Angelfood McSpade), he started the wave of underground comics still thriving today. But since those days (the first Zap appeared in 1968), critics have come to recognize him as an extraordinary and iconoclastic talent, and his work is finding its way into museums. Crumb’s acute eye and ear render the familiar, painfully funny circumstances of life’s rich pageant with scintillating precision. A glimpse into the psyche of one of America’s foremost artists, Crumb is frank, intimate and darkly humorous, full of disturbing revelations about the world we live in.
The real: It is when artists are at their most absurd that they are also most interesting. If so, Robert Crumb is never boring. I thought this was a fascinating glimpse into the life of a literary pop-culture icon. I couldn’t look away.
That’s the end of my list and I know it’s short, but Crackle has a small library compared to Netflix. Also note that this is just my list. I did not mention any of the great documentaries about songwriters, musicians or other artists, and I hope you check those out, too.