George Lucas in Love [1999]

Genre: Short, Comedy, Romance
A hilarious and affectionate parody of both the Star Wars films and the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love, George Lucas in Love provides more wit and intelligence in eight minutes that most full-length feature films do in 90. It's 1967, and George Lucas (Martin Hynes) is only three days from graduating from film school. The "agricultural space tragedy" he's been working on isn't going well at all. Taunted by his asthmatic rival (who wears a black cape), flummoxed by his adviser (who speaks in backwards sentences), he's at wit's end, until inspiration arrives in the form of the comely Marion (Lisa Jakub), the leader of the student campus rebellion who sports a distinctly familiar hairdo featuring twin buns. Funny without being too in-jokey, and clever but never full of itself, George Lucas in Love is a perfect example of the short film parody: it never wears out its welcome. Can't catch all the references? A fun-filled enhanced version of the short, like a Pop-Up Video, points out all the allusions along with facts about the making of the short, and a 10-minute, behind-the-scenes feature details the creative process from inception to the success the film received upon its release. Included on the DVD are three additional short parodies--Swing Blade (which the makers of George Lucas in Love cite as their inspiration), Film Club, and Evil Hill. Swing Blade is a blissfully short, truly inspired melding of Sling Blade and Swingers, with a Billy Bob Thornton look-alike trying to make it on the L.A. singles scene, and Film Club is a goofy take on Fight Club, but with independent filmmaking taking the place of bare-knuckle brawling ("I want you to shoot me, and make sure you give me lots of head room."). Only Evil Hill, which purports to tell you how Dr. Evil of Austin Powers became truly evil, loses its momentum in its 10-plus minutes, as it attempts to mix Austin Powers references with both Notting Hill and the Marilyn Monroe mythos. Sometimes imitation isn't the sincerest form of flattery. --Mark Englehart

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