Friday, January 30, 2009

An attempted top 10 from veteran movie assistant (to the) director Nick Lazo

My friend Nick Lazo was a fellow student at JMU's film studies program who had interned at Mirage Productions (his grandmother was friends with late producer/director/writer Sidney Pollack, see last post) and has taken film courses at the prestigious USC school of film. Last I heard, Nick had worked as an assistant (to the) director of the marginally unsuccessful film "Never Back Down" (you notice he didn't put that on his list as best films of 2008). I asked Nick to share his top 10 list, while I catch up on a couple more films to formulate mine:

Speaking of people named Nick, I had the recent idea to interview distinguished journalist and broadcaster Nick Clooney. You might know him as the uncle of Crossing Jordan/Twin Peaks actor Miguel Ferrer or the father of George Clooney, but he is also the author of a number of books, one of which "The Movies that Changed Us" is one of the better books I've read about film. He is the scholar-of-residence this year at American University and is teaching a class entirely based around his book. I talked to his media contact and in my pitch, I mentioned this blog, so I imagine
he will be reading this entry at some point and judging it's quality on whether Nick's entry will be good enough, so here goes:

Nick's introduction:
I have never blogged before. I feel like that’s an important fact to disclose. I’m sure there are a great many insightful writers and political scientists and experts on the migration patterns of the Mandarin Duck that have an enormous wealth of knowledge they simply must blog about, and good for them. Their voices (probably) deserve to be heard. Mine, on the other hand… I don’t know. Decide for yourself.
2008 was a pretty good year for the movies. I enjoy going to the cinema, sitting in a sold-out crowd, greedily wolfing down handfuls of popcorn before the previews even start. It’s an experience, and one that I enjoy as frequently as possible. I saw a lot of really good stuff this year, and my friend Orrin asked if I’d share some of my opinions with you. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to 10 films, but we’ll see how it goes.
So let’s begin, shall we! Here they are, in no particular order: Nick Lazo’s Top 10 Movies of 2008! (If you’re expecting deep critical prose, please skip to the end.)
1) MILK.
This one won me over with the trailer. Huge font, a powerful operatic score, and an elegant one-word title. I thought the acting was first-rate (James Franco is one of my favorites; did everyone see Freaks and Geeks?), and the fact that the production moved into the Castro in San Francisco like they did… Well, authenticity paid off in a big way. I’m only sorry the movie didn’t come out sooner, as it may have helped California’s failed “No on 8!” campaign. Bummer City.

I want to travel to India. This deep-seated desire of mine may have skewed my viewing of Danny Boyle’s intricate tale of love and luck, but that’s fine by me. This is the only movie on the list I didn’t see in a theater (it was watched in two parts from my best friend’s couch: Part 1 – before Subway sandwich; Part 2 – after Subway sandwich). I don’t regret this choice (especially when considering the intermission), but I’d pay to watch this again.

I don’t really mind that this wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. That’s fine by me. I got my mind stimulated and still had the popcorn. Not too much else I need to say here.

I love Ron Howard. I saw him once in a Digital Intermediate facility. He ordered a carrot juice from Cynthia, the wonderful woman in charge of the kitchen. Seemed like a nice guy. Oh, and I really enjoy a good political piece, even when I know the ending (see All the President’s Men if you haven’t already).

Awesome, with a capital “A.” I recently got a look at the Blu-Ray disc, and after five hours of bonus features I’d only scratched the surface of what Iron Man has to offer its fanatics. Great movie.

“What the fuck have you done lately?”

I love to learn, and learning while I watch a movie is wonderful. Man on a Wire teaches its audience about passion, about drive, and about the intrinsic need some of us have to do something the majority will find inconceivable. It’s about risks, and the fantastic results of taking them.
So there you have it, Nick Lazo’s Top 10....errr....7 Movies of 2008. I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing. Maybe I could get into this blog thing after all. And for those of you looking for deep critical prose, apologies for wasting your time.

Since Nick didn't complete his contractually obligated 10 films of the year, I get to chose for him.
8. The Love Guru-It might have won Razzies for worst film ever, but Nick felt it was Oscar-worthy.
9. 27 Dresses-It won chick flick of the year at the teen choice awards, but Nick loved it anyway
10. Pineapple Express-Nick said he loved James Franco and Freaks and Geeks, seems like a logical place to go

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