August 11, 2008

George Lucas in Love (1999)

Director George Lucas is without a doubt one of the most important filmmakers of the 70s, as while his body of work is often considered of lesser quality then the work of other members of his generation, it is by far the most influential in the field of science fiction thanks to the creation of "Star Wars", the epic saga of fantasy and sci-fi that changed the way people looked at sci-fi movies. With "Star Wars", Lucas created not only one of the most bankable franchises in history, but also a story that has inspired countless sci-fi aficionados across the world. Since "Star Wars" is nowadays a defining element of pop culture, it is not a surprise that it is often referenced in other works, sometimes as a homage, others as a parody, and sometimes as both. Joe Nussbaum's short film "George Lucas in Love", is probably among the best of the homages/parodies "Star Wars" has received across its history.

Set in 1967, "George Lucas in Love" is the fictional story about how Lucas created "Star Wars" during his last year as a student at USC. Lucas (Martin Hynes) is suffering from writer's block as he tries to shape his still unnamed space opera. Lucas has only three days to finish it or he won't graduate, but he is unable to begin writing as he can't make it work. He tries desperately to find inspiration in college, and even asks for advice to his odd professor (Patrick Kerr) but nothing seems to work, until he meets Marion (Lisa Jakub). Marion is a young girl (with a strangely familiar hairdo) who admires Lucas' previous shorts, and thinks that he is talented. Lucas finds his muse in Marion as she encourages him to write about what he feels and just follow his inspiration.

Written by Nussbaum himself along with Daniel Shere and Timothy Dowling, the film is of course a spoof on the premise of 1998 film "Shakespeare in Love", a movie detailing William Shakespeare struggle with writer's block. Filled with countless references to "Star Wars"' first film (as well as other works by Lucas), the screenplay is very well-developed for an 8 minutes short movie. While of course there are a couple of plot holes in the story, they are devised that way to be more funny references to Lucas' legendary space opera. The story unfolds nicely in its short time and always remains focused on its spoofed themes. Unlike most similar parodies, it never relays on cheap attacks and takes its subject with a very fresh intelligence.

It is worth to point out that director Joe Nussbaum shows his love for the "Star Wars" movies without being too respectful and staying true to his comedy roots. Working nicely with both visual gags and jokes referencing Lucas' biography (and future filmography), Nussbaum creates a very creative movie and showcases his very promising talent for comedy. He also knows the limitations of his medium, and exploits the joke to the most without making it boring or tiresome, and always keeping that light hearted approach that gives the movie a really appropriate touch of sweetness. True, the film shows some of the common problems of short films, but the movie shows that Nussbaum truly put a lot of work in this "calling card" that it's not a surprise to discover that he has started a career as director of comedies. To tell the truth, Nussbaum manage to do more in 8 short minutes than many filmmakers do in 90.

The cast if truly effective and one of the reasons the movie works so nicely. Martin Hynes is excellent as George, playing him as an intelligent writer, but lacking a bit in his social skills (without a doubt a play on the stereotype of "Star Wars" fans). Lisa Jakub is not only beautiful as Marion, but also adds a lot as one of the most experienced members among the cast. The rest of the cast appears briefly, but most tend to leave a lasting impression as not only the script allows them to shine, they truly make the most of their small roles. Particularly funny is Patrick Kerr (another of the experienced members of the cast), as Lucas' professor who may be the inspiration for a character famous for its odd way of speak.

"George Lucas in Love" is definitely not the work of a genius, but it's truly amazing when one considers it was conceived as a student film. Nussbaum finally began his professional career as a director in 2004 with the teen comedy "Sleepover". Story says that the success of this modest short film played a major part in he being hired by Dreamworks, and personally, I wouldn't be surprised if that were true, as this movie is definitely something special. Hopefully Nussbaum will deliver another comedy as good as this short, as "George Lucas in Love" seems to be only the beginning of a very promising career.


1 comment:

Erick said...

Wow, esta increible!! de donde sacaste esto? Quisiera tener tantas palabras para decribir algo asi como tu lo has hecho, jeje,

Sigue así, y gracias por compartir esto!!