There's no shortage of movies about writers who wind up having crazy adventures. (Or TV shows, for that matter -- just look at 'Bored to Death' and 'Californication.') This week marks the release of 'Limitless,' in which Bradley Cooper plays -- yep, you guessed it -- a writer named Eddie struggling with writer's block who winds up going on a pretty wild ride.
Eddie's escapades begin when his former brother-in-law gives him a mysterious pill that promises to let him access 100 percent of his brain, as opposed to the tiny fraction us regular mortals use. The pill does what it promises, and Cooper's character rapidly transforms from a schlumpy, scraggly writer into a polished, clean-cut Wall Street advisor. Aside from the implication that writers are inherently lazy losers who need to grow up and get real jobs, it's a pretty cool concept for a movie.
Robert De Niro co-stars as a demanding Wall Street tycoon interested in tapping into Eddie's unrivaled intellect. Abbie Cornish plays Eddie's fed-up girlfriend. Naturally, no magic pill is without its consequences, and Eddie is forced to contend with its impact on his body, and bad guys who also want to get their hands on it.
As far as movies about writers who embark on zany escapades go, 'Limitless' does not disappoint; Eddie's exploits are quite remarkable. It brings to mind other flicks featuring hapless scribes who find themselves out of their element, which brings us to this week's list: our top five favorite movies about writers having wacky adventures.
1. William Miller (Patrick Fugit) in 'Almost Famous.' Imagine being a 15-year-old kid who gets to go on tour with a hot new band and write a cover story for Rolling Stone. Naturally, William becomes completely engrossed in his insanely fun adventures on the road, and runs the risk of losing his objectivity (not to mention totally pissing off his over-protective mom, played to perfection by Frances McDormand). But that's a small price to pay for the adventure of a lifetime.
2. Paul Sheldon (James Caan) in 'Misery.'' Paul's adventure was significantly less fun than young William's. After getting bashed up in a car accident, he finds himself in the home of his "number one fan," Annie (Kathy Bates), who seems sweet at first but then starts freaking out and spilling hot soup all over him. Hot soup! Of course, it only goes downhill from there, when her antics become much more psychotic than a bit of spilled soup. [Editor's Note: This is perhaps one of the only movies where we still have to turn away, despite seeing it multiple times.]
3. Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) in 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.' As a general rule, it's probably a good idea for journalists to refrain from taking LSD or mescaline before covering a big event. But of course, that wouldn't be half as much fun as seeing poor Raoul tripping on acid in the trippiest city on earth. Chances of him filing his story on time? Slim to none. Chances of him embarking on wacky adventures? Very, very good.
4. Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) in 'Romancing the Stone.' It's pretty certain that when you receive a treasure map from someone who was recently murdered, crazy escapades are about to ensue. I mean, how could they not? Throw in a trip to Colombia to rescue your kidnapped sister from drug lords and an encounter with a swashbuckling Michael Douglas and you've got yourself a bona fide adventure!
5. Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) in 'Stranger than Fiction.' Can you think of anything more unsettling than finding out that one of your fictional characters is real, and you're unwittingly controlling his life? And plotting his death?! Kay is certainly in for a wild ride as she figures out what's what.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!