WICKER PARK — You probably know Scott Lucas as the Chicago indie rocker who despite all his success never sold out and moved to L.A. — and even celebrated that fact in one heckuva song.
Readers of a certain age might know him as the Local H frontman who recently covered New Zealand singer Lorde’s song, “Team.”
Either way, I’d like to introduce you to another side of Lucas, who just might be the newest thing in modern movie reviewers.
With a mix of wit and brevity, the lifelong cinephile prolifically delivers his take on every film he watches in 140 characters or less via Twitter.
MovieCount 2014: #82 - "The Raid 2". Lacks the purity of the first one, but that just means we get to see what Evans does with a car chase.— Scott Lucas (@dsl151) April 23, 2014
It’s a project Lucas started for himself as a way to measure how much of a movie fan he really is.
“With Twitter I wondered how many movies I see in a year and that was it. I didn’t really say anything about them. … But then people started asking what I think about the movies,” he told me over the phone during downtime between shows while on tour with Filter and Helmet.
“As a musician, I wasn’t completely comfortable criticizing movies. I’m more of a fan than anything else,” he said. “But I got over that. I’ve got opinions, whatever. And just started saying my thoughts or what I got out of the experience of watching a movie.”
So far this year, Lucas’s Twitter movie review count stands at 120.
He had this to say about the last flick he saw, “Lucy,” starring Scarlet Johansson: “’Le Femme Nikita’ as an episode of ‘Cosmos’. Scar-Jo continues her streak of roles celebrating her otherness.’”
And this to say about “Chef”: “Not groundbreaking - but heartfelt. I'll take it. People making movies for people. Welcome back, Jon Favreau.”
Frankly, Lucas would love to have more than 140 characters at his disposal to offer his opinion.
“I hate it. Can’t stand it,” he said about struggling to review a movie in a single tweet. “Boiling down my opinion to 140 characters is so annoying. I’m not into it at all. Sometimes if the title is long I just get two words to say something.”
Still, he keeps going, counting the movies he watches at theaters and marking each cinematic moment with a Tweet that launches discussions among friends, fans and movie lovers alike.
MovieCount 2014: #93 - "Palo Alto". Forget "The Godfather". Coppola's greatest cinematic legacy might be his kids.— Scott Lucas (@dsl151) May 19, 2014
Even though Lucas has written longer movie reviews for Chicagoist.com — and expanded on his Tweet reviews with posts on Facebook and Movie.com, he’s not looking to follow in the footsteps of his favorite film critics — J.R Jones and Jonathan Rosenbaum, to name a few.
Well, at least not yet.
“Sometimes you start to think when the clock will run out on this [rock music] thing and what else are you going to do,” Lucas said. “Reviewing movies is something I think about once in a while. I like to write and I’d like to write more, but writing is a lot harder than being a musician. For me the actual physical act of writing is a pain in the a--.”
It’s movies that he loves the most.
Lucas, 44, grew up in north suburban Zion, said he’s loved films since his dad took him to see old 'Captain America' serials when he was a kid.
“I couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10. They rolled them on a screen and played like 12 episodes … and that’s what really popped it off for me,” he said. “There was a movie theater in town and I would walk there and see anything. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ I must have saw that 13 times one summer.”
Lucas watched "Sneak Previews" starring the late movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert — which introduced Lucas to the work of Martin Scorsese and encouraged him to take films more seriously.
“I wrote a couple reviews for the school paper and then in high school wrote for the town paper a little bit,” Lucas said. “I gave a real positive review to ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ and got in hot water with the churches in town.”
After Lucas saw the Roger Ebert documentary, “Life Itself” — No. 116 on his 2104 film tally — he summed it up this way, “I was bawling 30 seconds in.”
“Ebert was a big deal to me, a major influence. He was this guy who turned on a 10-year-old kid to Martin Scorsese, that was a big deal for me,” Lucas said. “I was watching a movie when I found out he died.”
And like Ebert, Lucas loves the Music Box Theater.
“What I love about the place is that the movies they show there will all of the sudden take you down a rabbit hole and get you into Anthony Mann westerns,” he said.
But there are city theaters that Lucas absolutely hates — The Logan Theater, he’s talking about you.
“’Once again, #LoganTheater proves itself the s------- theater in Chicago. Worst projection ever.’,” Lucas tweeted.
Despite his short but strong opinions, Lucas said he’s just guy looking for “the perfect film experience:”
“Going to a theater to see a movie and not knowing what it’s about without hearing what someone else thinks about it and experiencing it perfectly for the first time myself,” he said.
At the top of Lucas movie wish list is Richard Linklater’s film "Boyhood," which sadly hasn’t been playing at theaters in any of the less than cosmopolitan towns that he’s visited on tour.
“It’s killing me,” the rocker movie reviewer said. “I want to see it so bad.”
If you want to know what Lucas thinks of the movie that took 12 years to make, check out his Tweets.
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