Thursday, March 22, 2007

FRIDAY SCREEN TEST: Lucas McNelly

Lucas McNelly not only presides over his blog 100 films, but also d press Productions, a 'community of writers, artists, performers, and cinephiles,' where you can also view some of Lucas' short films. Be sure and check out L'Attente, which was made in three hours for $15. At 100 films, Lucas has a cache of rich reviews and exciting blog-a-thon entries. The latter is highlighted by Lucas' own Lovesick blog-a-thon, which collected quite a few stellar entries (hmm, don't know about this one, though). Lucas' latest efforts center on his Uber-Indie Project, which highlights ultra-low budget films you probably wouldn't know about otherwise. Who knows, maybe someday Criterion will release a DVD set entitled 'The Short Films of Lucas McNelly.'

WHAT'S ON THE 'BACK TO THE FUTURE' CHANNEL?: 'What I've never understood is how when a film is in theatres, I won't even consider seeing it, even if I don't have to pay, but if that same, terrible film is later on TV, if it's on TBS some random Saturday, I'll not only watch it, but I'll even sit through commercials, just to find out what happens.'

LOCOMOTIVE BREATH: 'I forget the name of the film, but back in very beginning, before the talkies, before Chaplin, there was the famous footage of an oncoming train that cleared a theater of people who, being unfamiliar with the new medium, were convinced they were about to get killed. Can you imagine being a first-hand witness to that sort of audience reaction?'

THE 'LOST' BOY: '[...] the day I came around to the realization that American television could do stuff on par with film. I'd heard good things about this new series, so when it came around on Netflix, I popped in the DVD and 8 hours later was wondering just how long it would take the next disc of LOST to arrive. I'd spent a lot of time complaining about how bad television could be, but that day I saw the narrative possibilities for the first time. Sure, Bergman had done it in Europe, but that was a whole different animal.'

THE MAN WHO MAKES THE MOVIES: 'I'm kind of streaky. My primary involvement is that of a filmmaker, and when I'm really working hard, I only tend to watch films as research. Partly it's because of overload and partly because I have a lot of trouble viewing films passively enough to simply enjoy them for what they are, especially if I've been thinking actively about it all day. In times like that you can find me watching re-runs of Arrested Development or Seinfeld. Other than that, though, it's not unusual for me to watch two or three films a day, time permitting.'

PLAYING FAVORITES: 'When I was a kid, this was an easy answer–Hoosiers (1986)–no question. But then I went to college and for a couple years it was Swingers (1996). Then, I started delving into film history and it became Casablanca (1942). But, when I'm asked for a top 10 of all-time list, my answer is invariably Kieslowski's Dekalog (1989).'

YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FILM CLUB: 'I didn't start getting into film (or literature, for that matter) until my junior year of college. A bunch of people were getting together to go see "that street fighting movie with Brad Pitt in it", which we were all sure would be terrible and mindless. Of course, Fight Club (1999) was anything but and blew me away. It was as stunned as I've ever been in a movie theater. We all went for coffee later and discussed the film ad nauseam. Over the next few weeks, we spent a lot of time convincing people to go see it.'

PARADISE FOUND: 'On the worst days, the recipe is something like this: pizza, several good beers, and Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Sequel as needed. Alternately, substitute in good wine and some Woody Allen'

STRANGE MAGIC: 'Kazaam (1996). Not only is it terrible in every way you could possibly imagine–the script, the acting, the directing, the effects, and the production values are all unbelievably inept–but it stars Shaquille O'Neal as a genie who lives in a boom box and only talks by rapping. Not only that, but his performance may be the best in the entire film. At least he seems to be having fun. Only in the 90's could a film like this have been made. Also: I have a brilliant idea for a sequel that I hesitate to include here because I still have a sliver of hope that somehow it might get made before Shaq retires from the NBA.'

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6 comments:

lucas mcnelly said...

I'm flattered

Matt Riviera said...

Thanks for revealing the identity of the man behind the mask, Adam, we are big fans of Mr Mcnelly here in Australia!

His Nouvelle Vague-informed sequel to Kazaam could be our generation's Godfather Part II (and Shaq the new Brando?)...

lucas mcnelly said...

when i started doing this, i never would have imagined having fans in Australia. it's all so very cool

Adam Ross said...

It's just too bad "big in Australia" doesn't have the same ring as "big in Japan."

lucas mcnelly said...

that's true, but it's better than being "insignificant in Pittsburgh"

Rob said...

"Kazaam" was acutally a 93-minute Nestle's Crunch bar commercial. Sounds like a solid foundation for a law enforecement career.