Mark Duplass Can’t Get Enough of ‘Rocky II’

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That’s when it occurred to me that an artist can have a life that is neither in the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts nor in the Top 10 at the box office—or that you don’t. These groups were making several hundred dollars overnight. They were local celebrities. There were also day jobs. And they were successful artists in that way.

2. David Foster Wallace’s “Endless Joker” I did two of my studio movies, “Cyrus” and “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” and they didn’t set the world on fire. So I convinced myself that if you were to describe these strange characters and this level of originality, it would never be successful. Then I read “Infinite Jest” and said, “Oh no, you didn’t do it well enough”. And it gave me comfort. I realized that I would not be an auteur like David Foster Wallace. I don’t have that. What’s inside of me is that I’m an incredible collaborator. A great first leg on the relay team.

3. Tracy Chapman I was 12 and a skater punk with my snarky skater punk friends. We were watching “Saturday Night Live,” enjoying all the broccoli jokes, and the musical guest was Tracy Chapman. He walked and played “Fast Car”. All my friends said “This sucks” because we are Metallica fans. “Yeah, that sucks,” I said. And I went into the bathroom and I came out crying my eyes. I was like: “Well, I’m different from my friends. This is something else for me.” And that took me on a singer-songwriter journey.

4. Neutral Ground Coffee House in New Orleans I was obsessed with the Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin. That’s why I used to go to Neutral Ground Coffee House every Sunday from the age of 14-15 and see open mic nights. Finally, I mustered up the courage to play my original three songs, which—not fake humility—was terrifying. The man who ran this place, his name was Les Jampole, then looked me in the eye and said, “Hey, Mark, I’m digging your stuff man.” And having someone confirm me from the outside was everything to me. So I continued writing songs and when I was 17 they offered me my own concerts. It was this small enclave that built trust for me.

5. Gus Van Sant “My Private IdahoThat’s how I discovered independent cinema. I was 14 years old and a big fan of “Bill & Ted’s Perfect Adventure”. He is a big fan of “Stand by Me”. So I am: “Keanu Reeves, Phoenix River. Wonderful. This will be a funny movie.” I went to see it without reading anything and thus found myself in the Gus Van Sant art film.

6. Film Jugs in New Orleans

The movie was an art house movie that was released for the second time and they didn’t push too hard, God bless them. From 92 to 95, when I finished high school, I got my independent cinema education there. And I could persuade some of my friends to come with me because they would offer us pitchers of beer and we would watch movies on the couches.

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