Above: Today's image has absolutely nothing to do with the movies discussed below. I just like to have images at the start of my posts, and this was some fun I had with the brush pen one night doing quick memory sketches as I watched TV (i.e., I let the TV continue running and try to sketch what I remember, which I can tell you is not much as neither of these guys look like who I was remembering). I was using a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and working in an 8 x 10 inch (or so) Hand•Book Journal, which I will review soon as promised a couple weeks ago.
At the end of my December 29, 2014 post "A Movie Marathon…" I suggested a double feature about the wine industry. That started me thinking about other double features people might enjoy. So I decided to make this a semi-regular feature. Today I am recommending movies about the voice-over industry.
Since I believe sometimes viewing order does matter, I recommend that you watch these two movies in the order listed below—it will be a little more interesting and fun for you if you do. (I saw both these videos on Amazon Prime and they may still be there, but they are also on Netflix, as well as available as DVDs for purchase.)
Documentary. Voice-over artists discuss their craft and the industry of giving voice to the animated characters we've grown up loving, as well as video game voice-over work. We hear the thoughtful way in which they create characters not just funny voices.
I love watching interviews of people involved in a creative process especially collaborative art forms like film, animation, and video games. This movie is full of fun anecdotes and reminiscences. My only disappointment with this movie is that Phil Hartman, who gave voice to so many "Simpsons" characters before his murder, was not mentioned. I still see his influence in the industry and think it was a sad oversight.
Comedy-Drama. This is a little gem of a movie about a young woman working as a voice coach and living in the shadow of her voice-over legend father. When the death of another voice-over legend creates a vacuum, talent rushes in to compete for a big new series.
This movie contains so much more than the hilarious (and sometimes painful) fulfillment of this synopsis. Director Lake Bell (who also wrote the script) has created a movie about familial relationships that is deep and insightful. She even manages to create a stark but hopeful statement about the state of feminism and the responsibility of the individual.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Lake Bell writes and directs next.
Extra Viewing Fun
Now that you've watched movies about the voice-over industry it might be fun to explore a couple things like the following:
The Nut Job, with an absolutely crazy character created by Brendan Frazer. There is a lot of great voice acting in this animated feature. The trailer is a little misleading about the characters' relationships and roles. It's a movie about being an individual in a complex society and hero worship.
You might also want to watch a movie staring Edward Everett Horton, or rather, including him because he wasn't exactly leading man material. "Arsenic and Old Lace" is good and you get to see Cary Grant. Or any one of several Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger's movies—I suggest "Top Hat." Then watch any episode of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show containing an episode of "Fractured Fairy Tales."
Susie Essman does a marvelous job in "Bolt" as a rather jaded cat.
I've always been partial to Bruce Willis in movies and his voice-over of Mikey in "Look Who's Talking" is spot on. In 2006 he gave voice to a cynical raccoon, RJ, in "Over the Hedge," and if you watch that movie you'll also fall over laughing at the way William Shatner gives voice to an opossum. (Gary Shandling, Steve Carell, Nick Nolte, and others also give great performances.)
I could list more. I'll just say this, watch a couple Ronald Colman movies. (His voice has been much imitated.)
A Side Note
If you're looking for a series to binge-watch that also deals with familial relationships, I found "Transparent", an original Amazon show (available on Amazon Prime), totally engrossing. Jeffrey Tambor's performance as a transgender father was painful, funny, and intense all at the same time.