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Creator Breakdown: Film
  • Parodied in the movie A Mighty Wind, where folk music duo Mitch & Mickey broke up in a particularly messy romantic dysfunction, and Mitch proceeded to release several solo albums with titles and cover art demonstrating an increasingly absurd degree of emotional breakdown.
  • The Wedding Singer.
    • Parodied. Robbie's breakdown occurred while he was writing a love song for the woman who would later leave him at the altar; the lyrics and style of that song start with fluffy romance, switch suddenly to extreme rage, dissolve into shocked sadness, and finally end with despairing "kill me now" screaming.
    • This also happens at the first wedding gig Robbie takes after the aforementioned 'abandoned at the altar' situation; he finally snaps and screams an extremely bitter cover of "Love Stinks" at the 'happy' couple. It eventually results in the father of the bride kicking his ass and throwing him in a trash bin.
  • David O. Russell fell out with Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees. Footage of that leaked onto youtube which created quite some fuzz at the time.
  • After going through an emotionally painful divorce and the resulting custody battle over his daughter, David Cronenberg made The Brood, where experimental psychiatry enables the Author Avatar protagonist's psychotic wife Nola to manifest her mental trauma physically as deformed mutant children who abduct the Author Avatar's daughter and kill anyone whom Nola views as personal enemies. Does This Remind You of Anything??
  • Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay for Scarface (1983) while trying to kick his cocaine habit.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was produced while George Lucas was going through a divorce, as well as Steven Spielberg's then-recent breakup with Amy Irving. Lucas has admitted that this may partly be why the film was made so much Darker and Edgier in tone than its predecessor, although it was also partly an attempt to replicate the success of The Empire Strikes Back, which was also darker in tone than the movie it preceded to great success (and owed to a minor version of this, as the first writer Lucas hired died after delivering her first script and Lucas' next draft made changes such as Darth Vader being Luke's father and Han Solo being frozen).
  • Martin Scorsese came to the decision to make Raging Bull at the behest of actor and close friend Robert De Niro when Scorsese had a life-threatening cocaine addiction. The tone of this movie with its themes of sin, punishment and redemption is largely inspired by the director's struggles to get his life back in order. Scorsese has described his experience making Raging Bull as "kamikaze filmmaking". The reason he had to be persuaded to make it was because he had intended to quit filmmaking altogether. Even after being persuaded to make it, his attitude was that if it was successful, he would keep making films, and if it wasn't, he would never make another film, but at least he went out with a bang. The screenwriter was Paul Schrader, who had fairly serious emotional problems and drug issues as well, not to mention his struggles with his Calvinist upbringing.
  • Roman Polanski's version of Macbeth is more bloody than other versions (and with a way darker ending than the play—and the play doesn't exactly end cheerfully itself, let us note) because it was made after his pregnant wife Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson Family. The end of the film is mostly shot from the perspective of Macbeth's head on a pike. A few years later, he was asked to direct Chinatown. In an understandably dark place, he insisted upon changing screenwriter Robert Towne's ending from a somewhat optimistic one to an almost nightmarishly bleak one. Towne later acknowledged that the change was for the better.
  • The film The Fall features this regarding its Story Within A Movie, due to its exploration of the relationship between narrative, creator, and audience.
  • Almost every possible form of musical-related Creator Breakdown (as listed on the 'Music' subpage) is parodied in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, in which almost every song Dewey Cox writes is a direct (and blatantly obvious) reflection of his current problems and emotional state at the time, from his complicated relationship with his father to how much he wants to sleep with his back-up singer to a Brian Wilson-writing-Smile style emotional collapse. It all culminates in his final song, "Beautiful Ride", which is an epic summing up of everything he has done and learned in his life to that point. He dies literally three minutes after performing it.
  • James Cameron came up with the idea of The Terminator while sick in the hospital in Italy during the Troubled Production of Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, when he had a nightmare that a robot hitman from the future was coming to kill him.
  • Played for laughs in Hamlet 2; the Shakespearean sequel is very clearly a thinly-veiled representation of protagonist Dana Marschz's various hang-ups and neuroses, most particularly his difficult relationship with his (unseen) father. He sorts himself out by completely mangling the original Hamlet (which is oddly appropriate, in a warped way, given how relationships with fathers and father figures are a central subtext of the original) and casting himself as Jesus in the process.
  • The scene in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film adaptation of Devdas where Paro's mother is ridiculed in the middle of a party was based on a recurring nightmare of his about seeing his mother humiliated.
  • The majority interpretation of Antichrist is that true art is offensive, but there have been arguments that the director's admitted depression was deeper than anybody quite realized. Much, much deeper. Here is a link to an interview with Antichrist's director, Lars von Trier.
  • The film All That Jazz (a fictionalized version of the life of Bob Fosse) is pretty much dedicated to this trope. The main character even has duets with Death, and he dies at the end.
  • Adaptation is a textbook example of this trope. Suffering from serious writer's block over being asked to write a screenplay about a book about flowers (in which nothing much happens), Charlie Kaufman writes himself and an imaginary twin brother into the story. While he becomes increasingly frustrated with his inability to write, his brother takes a three-day course and almost overnight starts turning out instant hit scripts of more conventional Hollywood fare. It's not until the author and "star" of the book have killed Charlie's brother that his writer's block is broken.
  • In (500) Days of Summer, Tom's greeting cards vary widely based on how his relationship with Summer is going. When it's going well, he comes up with a card that says "I love us." When things aren't he writes "Roses are red, violets are blue... Fuck you, whore" The film itself is based largely off the screenplay writer's life as he estimates about 75% of the film happened to him. The film also begins with "Author's Note: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch."
  • Woody Allen's Stardust Memories is pretty much a feature-length rant by Allen about how his fans have rejected his attempts to make more mature and intelligent comedies and want him to go back to the style of his "early, funny ones." He does acknowledge via several of his characters that his earlier, funnier movies still made the world a better place by giving people something to laugh at, even if they weren't serious works of art.
  • There's a great deal of discussion about this relating to Deconstructing Harry. It generally comes down to whether you take the eponymous character to be even more of an Author Avatar than Allen's characters in his previous films (something which is quite a debate anyway) or a fictional version of someone else (many claim he based the character on writers Philip Roth or Norman Mailer). Of course, the film takes a great deal from an Ingmar Bergman film (Wild Strawberries) and Freudian psychoanalysis, both of which are common Allen themes. In general it is difficult to not consider the very dark, nasty tone of Deconstructing Harry, as well as preceeding films Husbands and Wives and Celebrity, to be influenced by his then-recent, very ugly, very public breakup with longtime partner Mia Farrow.
    • Subverted with "Manhattan Murder Mystery''; although made soon after Allen's relationship with Farrow imploded, it's a pretty light-hearted movie, and Allen specifically stated that he just wanted to do something a bit more cheerful to take his mind off things.
  • One of the many, many theories concerning Eraserhead is that it's David Lynch coming to terms with marriage and fatherhood. Even the baby's inhuman state can be defined as a massive exaggeration of real life - Jennifer Lynch was born with a clubfoot. Lynch has admitted in interviews that moving from his quiet suburban hometown to Philadelphia in the late '60s was...ugly. The most specific Lynch has gotten is that "bad things happened".
  • Discussed in Music and Lyrics, where the characters are writing a pop song; one of them makes the case that it's better to channel your personal issues and pain into creative endeavours that you can get paid for and see success as a result of, rather than sitting around moping, "being a little bit self-indulgent and creatively bloody moribund." He puts this into practice when his writing partner, who he's fallen in love with, leaves him and he writes the first good song he's ever written solo to try and get her to come back.
  • Paul Schrader went through a divorce and a breakup with a live-in girlfriend. He lived in his car for a few weeks. He stayed in the aforementioned former girlfriend's apartment for a few weeks as well. He was lonely and alienated. The result? He wrote Taxi Driver. Schrader has been struggling with drug addiction and emotional problems for decades. It tends to turn up in his work as a director.
  • Alan Parker, the director of Pink Floyd The Wall, reportedly had many breakdowns, and often describes the filming as a complete and total nightmare. From the exceptionally dark and unpleasant subject matter nearly driving him crazy, to nearly every scene presenting some kind of unimaginable catastrophe for Parker to struggle through, it's been noted by others working on the film that there were an untold number of times that Alan Parker just wanted to quit. Especially involving one very particularly ugly story, in which the REAL Neo-Nazi Skinheads that were hired to play the part of FICTIONAL Neo-Nazi skinheads continued their savage lynchings and attempted rapes during their "riot scenes" a little too convincingly long after Alan had yelled "Cut"...
  • Brad Silberling's Moonlight Mile (not this one) was born out of the murder of his girlfriend, actress Rebecca Schaeffer. Though most of his movies concern death and loss to some extent (Casper, City of Angels, Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events), none are as personal as this.
  • 8, where the entire movie is about the director, Federico Fellini. Fellini's life at this point was at a low point, having a creative block while working on a movie, becoming disillusioned by directing in general, and going through the end of his marriage. All this is mirrored by the main character in the movie, also a director, who eventually has an Imagine Spot suicide before quitting his work on the movie he was directing and trashing the props, which had already cost a fortune to make. In the end, however, he finally feels a sense of relief for the first time in ages.
  • About halfway through La Dolce Vita, this defines Fellini's career. For example, even Fellini's wife (and often lead actress) thought Juliet of the Spirits was about his struggles with his homosexuality, so much so that there were bitter, bitter fights about it between them as the movie was shooting.
  • George Stevens, before World War II, made rousing adventure films like Gunga Din and light comedies such as Swing Time. Then he joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and filmed both D-Day and the liberation of Dachau. When he came back, his work took a darker, serious tone, including what many critics think of as his masterpiece, Shane.
  • John Ford had a major alcohol-fueled one on the set of Mister Roberts. He had major conflicts with his cast and crew, including a physical confrontation with the film's star, Henry Fonda. (Fonda and Ford never forgave one another.) Eventually, Ford had a gall-bladder attack and left the production for good, but his behavior nearly destroyed his career. About a year later, he got a chance to go off into Monument Valley with his old friend John Wayne and make a movie with minimal studio interference. The result was The Searchers, widely considered one of his masterpieces.
  • Dario Argento contemplated suicide for a few days after finishing Suspiria. Thankfully, he got better.
  • Bill Murray was going through a divorce while making Groundhog Day which, coupled with arguments with director and friend Harold Ramis over what direction the movie should take, led to their friendship completely breaking down. Happily, they reconciled shortly before Ramis' passing in 2014.
  • Crackedonce did an article about various commentaries where the commentators lose their cool.
    • The Arnold Schwartzenegger commentaries are an inversion, as while the others were miserable, his ones are bursting with excitement.

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