The history of movies about writers is mostly colored in varying shades of tedium.
My nomination for the worst movie ever made about a playwright is Arthur Hiller‘s Author! Author! (’82).
Christine JeffsSlyvia, with Gwynneth Paltrow as suicidal author Sylvia Plath, turned out far better than Larry Peerce‘s The Bell Jar (’79), but that didn’t make it pulse-quickening in and of itself.
Ernest Hemingway‘s times in Italy during World War I resulted decades later in one of the worst wartime romance movies ever made, Richard Attenborough‘s In Love and War (’96) as well as the middling Rock HudsonJennifer Jones romance A Farewell to Arms (’57).
I don’t have any recollections of Peter MacNicol‘s “Stingo” being an especially riveting character in Alan Pakula‘ s Sophie’s Choice (’82).
Al Freeman Jr.’s budding writer character in Castle Keep (’69) had a few pithy lines, but mostly seemed to fade into the woodwork.
I have mostly dreary recollections of Vincent D’Onofrio‘s Robert Howard character in Doug Ireland‘s The Whole Wide World , and also of Jennifer Jason Leigh‘s Dorothy Parker in Alan Rudolph‘s Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle.
On top of Turturro in Barton Fink, Peter Weller’s “Bill Lee” in Naked Lunch and Jane Fonda’s Lillian Hellman in Julia, I can think of two other absorbing writer characters: Joseph Fiennes ‘ Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love and Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries.