Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Auteur Watch - Desmond Nakano

Oh, I hoped beyond hope that this one might be easy. Not quite. Well, we might as well get the Decade Theory part of it over with. Clearly, looking at Mr. Nakano's resumé, it is the 80s that must be his favourite decade. Okay, so he wasn't directing then, but he had his screenplay career ahead of him. He was hip, he was now, he was translating the beat of the street onto the silver screen of the campy 80s. Breakdancing! A pre-Die Hard Die Hard clone! And an Indie Title fave: Last Exit to Brooklyn. Well, you know how it is. The Accused is critically acclaimed, too, but I ain't goin' back to watch it!
But it was exactly these kind of '80s credentials that led to his big break... when Comet Quentin streaked through Hollywood and gave it to him. That would be 1995's White Man's Burden. Yes, before M. Night Shyamalan came to town and started doing feature-length Twilight Zone episodes in his own right, we had White Man's Burden: the only film before or since, for some reason, that dared to ask the question in its own inimitable fashion: what if it was the white people who were treated like blacks? Travolta was riding high and feeling invincible. Why, the cleft in his chin seemed bigger back then. And he took on the role of Louis Pinnock. The role that would win him the Academy Award once and for all... or am I thinking of Mad City? I already lost track. And so did Nakano's career, for that matter. Why, work would be harder to come by for him than for even Whit Stillman. But 2007 would be the Year of the... Nakano, and he'd get back to his American roots with ... American Pastime. Yes, with Tony Kayden acting as his screenplay parole officer, he would fall back on that old surefire title trick of having the word American in the title. Yes, just like American Pie, American Beauty, American Splendor, Proud American, American Movie, American Graffiti, More American Graffiti, American Quiet, American Psycho, American Pop, American Perfekt and American Me before him, he would add his own chapter to the American story, and get back on that treadmill known as the Directorial Fast-Track... okay, maybe in 2010, who knows. The economy's a little tight right now.

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