If I like Aaron Sorkin, what else will I like?
June 28, 2004 6:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm in love with anything and everything that Aaron Sorkin has worked on, but I've run out of stuff to watch. Any suggestions for what else I might like?

The possible exception to my statement is "A Few Good Men"... I like it a lot, but it doesn't stand up to repeated viewings as well as the rest of it.

As an example, I'd put "Dave" on a comparable list, not (just) because of the political subject, but the quality and style of the script.
posted by o2b to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Sorkin was heavily influenced by the TV series "M*A*S*H"--and it's now on DVD. In particular, the West Wing episode "Noel" (where Josh, er, "accidentally" slices open his hand) was loosely based on a M*A*S*H episode where one of the traumatized characters insists that a baby died from something it did not.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:10 PM on June 28, 2004

Check out Gilmore Girls. I think you'll like it.
posted by willnot at 7:47 PM on June 28, 2004

I've never seen any of Sorkin's TV stuff but one of his co-writers from earlier in his screenwriting career was Scott Frank. Frank's a pretty respected screenwriter these days with the adaptations of Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Minority Report under his belt, as well as some others that aren't that great. OoS and GS are pretty excellent if you haven't seen them.

Dave was written by Gary Ross who now writes/directs--his latest being Seabiscuit. The somewhat melodramatic storyline aside, Seabiscuit is a superb example of visual storytelling. In my opinion Ross will be one of the most celebrated filmmakers of this decade if he continues his progression as a writer-director. Others may scoff, but I think Seabiscuit is definitely worth a watch.

Since Asparagirl mentioned MASH, I'll assume Sorkin's tv stuff is satire and recommend the films Network and The Hospital (both written by the brilliant Paddy Chayefsky) and The Player. I'll also recommend the very dry The Long Goodbye, one of the more underrated films of the 70s (among Robert Altman's many masterpieces from that decade) and All That Jazz.

The play A Few Good Men wasn't my cup of tea (nor the movie) but other playwrights who've had fantastic films made of their scripts are David Mamet (Glengarry GlenRoss), David Rabe (hurlyburly and Streamers), David Hare (Weatherby), Neil LaBute (Your Friends and Neighbors), and Harold Pinter (The Servant, The Accident, and Betrayal).

The above list also makes me think of and recommend Roger Dodger, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, The Sweet Smell of Success, The Knack and How to Get It, The Loved One, Three Kings, the Ealing comedies (the original The Ladykillers, Whiskey Galore!, The Man in the White Suit), and anything by The Archers (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger), particularly The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death.
posted by dobbs at 8:05 PM on June 28, 2004

Also a huge Sorkin fan here, just yesterday I finished watching the Sports Night dvd set for about the 30th time (literally), and I watched a few good men before bed last night.

For a similar level of dialogue, which - in my opinion - is really the cornerstone of Sorkin's work, I'd second the recommendation for Mamet. I haven't seen everything by him, but State & Main in particular stands out as being very Sorkin-esque to me. Also check out anything by Kevin Smith. Much lower-brow humor, but the dialogue is just as fast paced, and often as witty. Finally, much of the Coen brothers' work relies on quick, witty dialogue. Their stuff tends to be a bit quirkier, however, and recently, less consistent. Like Mamet, they've got an extensive catalog, but I'd like to recommend the oft-overlooked The Hudsucker Proxy.
posted by rorycberger at 8:37 PM on June 28, 2004

every once in a while this comes on the history channel when I happen to be home and reminds me how great a television series it is.

too bad there's no dvd collection as far as I know.
posted by juv3nal at 9:54 PM on June 28, 2004

Yeah, I'd start with David Maet, Joel & Ethan Coen and David O. Russell and see if that fed my jones.
posted by blueshammer at 4:36 AM on June 29, 2004

Joss Whedon is another terrific writer/director. If you can get past the genre, Buffy, Angel and Firefly are wonderful, with great characters and snappy dialogue. All three series are on DVD now.
posted by mimi at 5:56 AM on June 29, 2004

I'll heartily second (and third) rorycberger's recommendation of The Hudsucker Proxy. It's quite possibly my favorite movie. And while it's not exactly a "true" Coen brothers movie (since they weren't the primary screenwriters), Intolerable Cruelty, which I recently watched, was really funny, up until the somewhat disappointing last 1/2 hour. I think that George Clooney is at his best when he's mugging around for the Coen brothers, and he was quite entertaining in this one.
posted by UKnowForKids at 7:48 AM on June 29, 2004

I love The West Wing, and the Coen Brothers movies. Also Kevin Smith (I really like Mallrats, which people seem to hate).

Three Kings is fantastic.

Buffy I like, but never got into Angel, and haven't seen Firefly.

A film I think everyone should see is Wet Hot American Summer. Also, Bottle Rocket is great.

From David Mamet, I really like The Spanish Prisioner.
posted by sycophant at 8:50 AM on June 29, 2004

I dug Intolerable Cruelty a lot as well, at least through the first hour or so. The "Before her before" scene is among my favorite bits of dialogue ever recorded on film.

Good call on Bottle Rocket, and check out Wes Anderson's other flicks as well.
posted by rorycberger at 10:08 AM on June 29, 2004

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