Barton Fink goes to Hollywood and can’t write

John Turturro wrestles with a wrestling screenplay

In the Coen brothers movie Barton Fink, the main character (John Turturro) experiences some success as a socially relevant, intellectual playwright in NYC, who prides himself with addressing the plight of the common man in his art. When he is offered quite a bit of money to write for a studio in Hollywood, he accepts, not knowing what a nightmare is getting into.

You wouldn’t think that an opportunity to make good money as a writer could turn out too badly, but it does. Not only does Barton abandon his passion for uplifting the common man through his writing, he’s also completely unable to write the Wallace Beery wrestling picture assigned to him. Totally blocked, he’s a fish out of water, gasping in tinsel town.

In desperation Barton turns to a veteran alcoholic screenwriter(a character based on William Faulkner) for tips, which only serves to make his nightmare even more horrific.

Usually movies with blocked writers as protagonists have an ending where the hero faces his demons, has an epiphany, has sex with a beautiful costar, and triumphantly breaks through his blocks. No such luck for Barton. He should have stayed in Manhattan and continued doing what he had a passion for.

Barton Fink is an offbeat, funny and provocative film about a blocked writer. Watching it probably won’t help you write more productively, but I say watch it anyway.

About David Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, teacher, consultant, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, Famous writers, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination, Uncategorized, Writing for money and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s