The Unofficial Movie/Tv Show Tag

movie tag

Yesterday, the wonderful Christine Eyre tagged me for this unofficial movie tag. She asked me to list a couple of the movies and/or TV shows that have had the most influence on me (I assume either on my writing or on my life, she didn’t clarify. But, since I haven’t ever watched a movie I would call life changing, I’m going to focus on how they’ve impacted my storytelling).

This should be fun!

1.   Lord of the Rings trilogy

I feel a bit like I’ve cheated, because this was also Christine’s first pick, but I can’t deny that Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy has impacted my writing. Probably not so much as the books have, but these have definitely had their impact. Their impact hasn’t necessarily been in any one thing, but rather in hundreds of little things. The literal worldbuilding that Jackson’s team did is phenomenal, and it proved to me that putting effort even into the little things in their portrayal of Middle-Earth really made a difference and it inspired me to put the same amount of effort into my own worldbuilding. Jackson also wasn’t afraid to reorder events to make the plot run more smoothly. That annoyed me, because it was tampering with Tolkien’s original material, but it also demonstrated that sometimes events can be reordered or altered slightly when editing in order to produce a more cohesive plotline.

2.   Les Miserables

My love for the Les Mis movie is rivalled only by my love for The Lord of the Rings. I just think this movie is not only a great adaption, but a cinematic work of art. It experimented with new and different methods of doing things, it took chances and it is quite different from other musicals movies because of that.

There’s also some cool foreshadowing in this movie. For instance, there’s a scene which shows a shot of the barricade, just after the revolutionaries have built it. In the centre of the frame are two coffins which have been thrown on, one being an adult coffin painted red, and the other being a child’s coffin, painted blue. Later on, Enjolras (an adult who wears a red jacket) and Gavroche (a child who wears a blue jacket) die together on the barricade. When Eponine dies the words ‘La Morte (the Death)’ can be seen behind her, which isn’t really foreshadowing, but is just sad. Every time I rewatch this movie, another little thing jumps out at me and blows my mind, so much foreshadowing! So much attention to detail!


See the coffins? (Photo from the internet)

3.   Sherlock

Sherlock is, above all things, a really, really good retelling. It might have even got me hooked on writing retellings. This TV series imagines Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as modern characters, and though each episode loosely uses one of the original Holmes stories as inspiration, it always manages to add a twist in there, to make something new and original. To the extant that, after I’d watched The Hound of Baskerville episode, I went and read the original novel and was really disappointed by it. (by the way, if you want to start reading Holmes stories, I can recommend a hundred which are better than The Hound of the Baskervilles, I was super disappointed by that book. I’m still not over it). Basically, this show does a good job at providing content that will appeal to the lovers of the original stories, will draw new fans in, and will entertain even those who’ve seen myriads of other Holmes adaptions. That’s what a good retelling or adaption should do.

4.   The Hobbit trilogy

My feelings on The Hobbit trilogy are very mixed. I love the first one, the second one is good too, but the third one descends into unimaginable depths of terribleness, and yet still had a few good scenes at the end. However, there was one thing I noticed watching The Hobbit probably more than any other movie. The characters and their mannerisms. I guess I’d never thought a lot about mannerisms and how you can use them to portray character in writing, but I think the actors in The Hobbit did a really good job of portraying their characters through their mannerisms, particularly Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug).

Freeman twitches his nose. A lot. which always brings to my mind a rabbit, and incidentally, Tolkien describes Bilbo as a rabbit a couple of times. And I was watching a behind-the-scenes video the other day, which included a film of Cumberbatch recording some of Smaug’s lines, decked out in a motion capture suit. It was quite awe-inspiring and he also makes a lot of facial expressions, some of which were actually used to model Smaug’s expressions off. Just the simple curling of a lip, or tilting of the head, was used very effectively to portray arrogance and mockery. Mannerisms are important, writers, take note. Watch Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Just one of many nose twitches (gif from Pinterest)
Look, I managed to find a gif from the clip I watched! (from Pinterest somewhere)
And here is Smaug from the movie. Such expression! So many mannerisms! (picture from the murky depths of the web)

5.   Thor

This movie showed me pretty much exactly how not to write a character arc. Thor’s arc is pretty much non-existent. Jane can’t have an arc, because she hasn’t got any character to start with. The only one who changes over the course of the movie is Loki, and that’s a pretty negative arc.

Thor starts off the movie arrogant and entitled. He gets hurled down to earth, watches the stars with a girl for one night and suddenly he’s a long haired version of Captain America (but much more annoying). That’s his arc in a nutshell. This is not cutting it, guys! There’s no subtle changes, no hints or foreshadowing, it’s just dropped. Suddenly he’s a perfect guy and half the universe is in love with him.

Nowadays, as I plan my character arcs I ask “What would Marvel do?” and I’ll never do that under any circumstances.

(Okay, that’s a bit harsh. Marvel has some good arcs, Cap, Iron Man, Spider-Man…just not Thor).


So, I think it was supposed to be six, but I’m not really a prolific movie watcher, so I’m going to leave it here. (Also, just a note, this Saturday is Easter Saturday and I’m going to be away, so I won’t be posting, but I’ll be back next Wednesday/Thursday as usual!)

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite movies? How have they impacted your writing? Also, I’m going to tag three of you, but if you want, feel free to steal the Unofficial Movie/TV Tag! I tag: MyMusicalAndWritingLife, The Story Sponge and Quinn O’Fallon.


22 thoughts on “The Unofficial Movie/Tv Show Tag

  1. Sherlock is great writing inspiration, both in good and bad ways. It really inspired me to write better villains, both in terms of what makes a villain scary and giving them a variety of personalities and motivations.
    One film that has really influenced my writing is Hidden Figures, which gave me lots of ideas of how to show rather than tell. Every action has a purpose in that movie.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Les Misérables- that movie started my journey with the musical. Without it, I never would have become passionate about musicals. It wouldn’t have led to me seeing the stage show five times or actually watched the filmed version of the 25th anniversary concert or even read the book. The movie was my first full experience of the musical.

    Other films I love are Beauty and the Beast (2017), Harry Potter Series, Narnia series, Sound of Music, Annie (1982) among others

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for tagging me! I’ll have my post up sometime next week! 🙂
    I loved reading about your choices! The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Les Misérables are all movies that I think would probably wind up on my list as well! I haven’t watched Sherlock but one of my friends loves those movies so maybe I should give them a try!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How cool that we both picked Lord of the Rings as a top inspiration! (We also both picked movies we disliked that taught us how NOT to write!) Ooh, wow, I’d never thought deeply about all that attention to detail in the movies. Great observation!

    And Martin Freeman was absolutely brilliant as Bilbo, through all three Hobbit movies 🙂

    I really enjoyed reading your answers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also love Sherlock and all of the Thor films! I also LOVE Suicide Squads, Avengers, Doctor Strange, Guardian of the Galaxy and Deadpool. I’m not sure if they’ve had any impact on my writing, to be honest, but I could probably get inspired to write something after rewatching some of them 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Martin Freeman’s Bilbo nose-twitches are so. good. They’re definitely mannerisms that build up his character!

    And I enjoyed Thor in Avengers, but not so much in Thor: God of Thunder. I never knew why, but maybe it’s what you said about there being no character arc? (Studying character arcs mostly confuses me, but it sounds right.) Loki was honestly the only interesting character (although I thought Darcy had potential which was never explored?)

    Sherlock is a BRILLIANT retelling, I agree! And it’s so cool seeing all the references and twists on the original – like “Rache” being an actual angry note in German…

    Which Les Miserables movie is that, and would you recommend it as a good place for a newbie to start?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know! I get so much enjoyment out of him twitching his nose 🙂
    Yep I felt the same. He was good in Avengers but I think he is definitely lacking character in the first two of his movies (I haven’t seen Ragnarok yet). I would have LOVED more of Darcy!
    All the cool unexpected twists are the best parts of Sherlock. Its got to be my favourite TV show (not that I watch many tv shows…)
    Whoops! I should have specified that in my post! It’s Tom Hooper’s 2012 adaption of the musical. And yes, if you wanted to read the book or listen to the stage musical, I definitely think it is a good place to start. It does a really good job simplifying the events so its easier to understand the book, which can be really dense and complex sometimes.
    Thanks for commenting!


  8. Sherlock is awesome! Definitely one of my favourite tv shows. I’m not a fan of Thor, but I haven’t seen the third one yet and people keep saying it’s really good, so I’ll see it when my library gets it 😀 The Avengers and Doctor Strange were both pretty good as well! I haven’t seen Suicide Squad or Deadpool, and I didn’t really like GotG, but we all have different tastes 😀
    Thanks for commenting! (It’s nice to meet you too, I don’t think you’ve commented before!)


  9. The Lord of the Rings are really good movies, I LOVE them so much. (I still have never seen the extended versions though, which I’d really love to do). Oh yes, the detail is amazing! You get an even better idea of the attention to detail when you watch the behind the scenes things that my brother loves 🙂
    I agree, Martin Freeman is an EXCELLANT Bilbo.
    Thanks for commenting, and for tagging me!


  10. Yeah, Sherlock does a really good job of developing the villains and their motivations, I was really impressed by that!
    I’ve heard so much about Hidden Figures, but I’ve never seen it! I don’t even know where to find it, but I’d love to watch it one day!
    Thanks for commenting (and it’s nice to meet you too. I don’t think you’ve commented here before?)


  11. The Les Mis movie is really good, I love it a lot! And I’ve watched it way too many times. (the 25th Anniversary is also really good, one of my favourites as well)
    I still haven’t seen the new Beauty and the Beast, or Harry Potter, but Narnia and Sound of Music are really good!
    Thanks for commenting!


  12. I have watched the Les Mis movie who knows how many times: I have owned that movie since 2013. I also own the filmed 25th anniversary concert, which I don’t watch as much its movie due to its length.

    I have seen the stage show of Les Mis five times and listened to the songs a bunch of times. Still not sick and tired of it and many do not understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I haven’t commented here before, I think you might have commented on my blog? For some reason my Blogger name is Fran but my WordPress name is FC Tait, which can be a bit confusing. Or maybe I’m mixing you up with someone else. If we haven’t “met” before, it’s nice to meet you too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ha, ha, I love how you had Thor in here as an example of what not to do. I completely agree with that analysis.
    There are so many good movies on here! (Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are masters, there is no denying it.) I will try to get around to doing this tag in a couple of days!
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ahh this is really cool! I think movies really definitely influence my writing all the time because you get different things out of movies than learning from books right?! I always pay more attention to expressions and looks and body-language when watching shows and that’s so important to put into writing too. It makes the characters a LOT more dynamic. (AND BILBO’S FACE IS THE BEST HONESTLY.)😂I also definitely was inspired by LOTR in my smol-writer-days too! And the Supernatural TV show heeh.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I liked Thor the first time I saw it, but I rewatched it the other day and it gave my poor storyteller’s heart an attack. The plot is terrible, the characters are terrible….its just generally bad.
    Oh, yes, they are! Cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yeah, that’s why I love learning from movies. I sometimes purposely watch movies to record the actor’s expressions and body-language and mannerisms. Making the characters dynamic in that way has been something I’ve often overlooked. Never more though! Thanks to Bilbo’s nose. 😛
    Thanks for commenting!


  18. People are like “but Les Mis is so sad, aren’t you tired of that”. Well those people don’t understand the show is very inspirational. There actually those who don’t understand why I love musicals.

    Liked by 1 person

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