The Big Picture (1989)
Christopher Guest's first feature film, The Big Picture, was about making a movie that is true to your individual vision ... and how impossible that is in Hollywood. Guest, who went on to direct other wonderfully oddball pictures -- Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind -- has crafted a clever and insightful tale about a film student (Kevin Bacon) who after winning a school competition accepts an offer to direct an actual movie at an actual studio. Despite some major red flags during his first meeting with a studio producer (J.T. Walsh), he descends deeper and deeper into the maw of the beast, compromising his vision, alienating his girlfriend (Emily Longstreth), dumping his friend and cameraman (Michael McKean) and coming close to forgetting why he got involved in the business in the first place. In short, he becomes a typical Tinsel Town D-bag. Guest, a terrific film satirist and chameleonic actor, has made an imaginative and ultimately uplifting film that is actually about more than movies -- as the title suggests.