Five Favorite Films with Nick Offerman

The Kings of Summer star also talks stunt choreography, typecasting, and what he considers manly.

Much like his wife Megan Mullally on Will & Grace, Nick Offerman's mustachioed visage became a pop culture phenomenon when his character on another NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation, simply refused to fade quietly into the background as a small, supporting role. The legend of Ron Swanson has grown exponentially since the show's debut in 2009, and he is among the most popular characters -- if not the most popular -- on a hit comedy chock full of popular characters played by grade-A talent.

The truth is, Mr. Offerman is a seasoned veteran of the stage and screen who emerged from the Chicago theater world back in the late 1990s and began securing parts in film and on television (including a guest spot on Will & Grace) before landing his big break on Parks and Rec. These days, he finds it difficult to dissociate himself from the Ron Swanson mythos, but that doesn't stop him from trying different things, like the play he and Mullally are currently performing in Los Angeles or his latest role in The Kings of Summer, in which he plays a single father whose frustrated teenage son escapes to the forest with two friends to fend for themselves. RT spoke with Nick about the film, what it's like to be pigeonholed as Ron Swanson, and how his love of carpentry helped get him into acting. First, of course, here are Nick Offerman's Five Favorite Films:
[Note: There is some colorful language in this interview.]


Midnight Run (Martin Brest, 1988; 96% Tomatometer)

I'll start with Midnight Run. Just one of the finest Goddamn movies I've ever seen. Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro. If there's a better buddy comedy, show it to me, and I'll shake your hand. It's so funny. It's also where I learned what chorizo is. Being from Illinois, not a lot of truck stops serve chorizo and eggs. It was part of my "goin' out west" legend, like, "One day, I will go to California, and on the way there, I will experience chorizo and eggs."

When you finally experienced it, was it all that you hoped it would be?

And so much more. It's still one of my mainstays. You can't beat the spiciness of the chorizo mixed with the sort of creaminess of the eggs. It's so delicious with a fresh salsa, preferably of the tomatillo variety. Forget about it. I just made my mouth water.




Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks, 1974; 89% Tomatometer)

As a kid in the middle of Illinois, it was really a culture vacuum. I mean, we had the Eagles on the radio and John Denver, which are fine in their own right, but you want a little more variety, especially if you're going to end up being an underground hedonist like myself. When Mel Brooks movies came my way, it was just like, "Holy shit. These were made in heaven and sent straight to my VCR." You know, come on, just Mongo. If you're 12, all you care about is Mongo farting and punching out a horse. Literature does not become any more refined than that of the great Mel Brooks.




The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998; 80% Tomatometer)

If I had to pick just one movie, I'd say, "Give me The Big Lebowski," because I can watch that thing 20 times in a row. I'm such a fan, and really, no one's busted me on it yet, but all I really want to do is be John Goodman when I grow up. He's so incredibly intelligent and full of pathos and hilarity, while at the same time, being this crazy linebacker of a man. His work in that and Raising Arizona, which I'll put in a subset under The Big Lebowski, when he eats that fucking bowl of cereal while smoking a cigarette in Raising Arizona, I'm like, "Alright, there is room for me in the pantheon of actors."




The Quiet Man (John Ford, 1952; 89% Tomatometer)

Taking a slight turn, I love the John Wayne film The Quiet Man. It's quite something. It's a John Ford movie, it's John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. It's kind of like John Wayne's Brigadoon. He plays this boxer who killed a man in the ring in the States, and so, to escape his past, he moves to his ancestral little home in Ireland. It's this quaint little village, and I believe it's called Innisfree -- I know Innisfree is from a Yeats poem, and it sort of represents the small Irish town of heaven; it's sort of a fantastical place -- but the town in The Quiet Man is Innisfree, which makes sense. So he goes there to escape his past, falls in love, of course, with Maureen O'Hara -- who wouldn't? -- and her brother turns out to be the enormous, pugilistic, evil, Bluto-like landlord. So the movie cannot be resolved, nor can their love, without one final fistfight. It's funny; just the other day, I sent a message to my agent, "Remake idea: The Quiet Man?" I have two fists. I can swagger.




Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1951; 100% Tomatometer)

[Akira] Kurosawa's Rashomon. I mean, any Kurosawa blows my mind out my ass. We did a production of Rashomon that was actually a play. We did that at my college. We had this amazing sword teacher named Robin McFarquhar, and that was one of his big triumphs, was this production of Rashomon. It's such a cool play, because you do it four times in a row, and you get everybody's perspective. You know, one time the samurai is brave, one time he's a coward. It's really delicious for the actors.



Next, Offerman talks about The Kings of Summer, swashbuckling, being Ron Swanson, and woodworking.

Comments

Gregory Mucci

Gregory Mucci

Rashomon and a chorizo fan? Nick just got better!

May 29 - 05:48 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Great comedies and "Rashomon". Sometimes the bear, why, he eats you.

May 29 - 06:10 PM

Dave J

Dave J

The only one that stands out is "Rashomon"! And I'm not surprised to see "The Big Lebowski" on this list as one of Offerman's favorites!

May 29 - 06:28 PM

Tom B.

Tom Beltran

Cool list a little bit of everything here

May 29 - 06:42 PM

Diego C.

Diego Crespo

He's Ron F***ing Swanson

May 29 - 07:37 PM

Grizzley A.

Grizzley Adams

You can't not read this in his voice

May 29 - 09:42 PM

Bazooka Jew

Bazooka Jew

Fun list. I love Blazing Saddles and Big Lebowski, and Rashomon is great.

May 29 - 09:59 PM

Saetre

Saetre Saetre

Hell yeah Rashomon and Midnight Run are both awesome.

May 29 - 10:59 PM

DBrock

David E-Brock

"any Kurosawa blows my mind out my ass". Quite possibly the best quote about cinema ever.

May 30 - 03:53 AM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Anyone that mentions The Big Lebowski as one of his favorites is kosher in my book. Extra points for Rashomon, a brilliant movie directed by a brilliant director based on a brilliant short-story written by the also brillian Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Haven't seen any of the other movies listed.

May 30 - 04:35 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

Good shit

May 30 - 07:33 AM

Brian Waldron

Brian Waldron

One of my favorite actors in TV has given me more reason to respect him.

May 30 - 10:41 AM

Stephen Cooke

Stephen Cooke

As much as I dislike remakes, doing remakes with Nick Offerman is a whole other deal. Sign me up for Citizen Swanson.

May 30 - 11:01 AM

BobHarris

Rich Aurillia

I really don't get the love for Midnight Run, but the rest are good choices.

May 30 - 02:49 PM

Mehdi Akbar

Mehdi Akbar

Where's "The Bridge on The River Kawai"???

May 30 - 03:16 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Kwai. Just in case someone was trying to google it. No spelling Naziing intended.

May 30 - 05:04 PM

James B.

James Bradford

No, you're being a Nazi, unless you're really THAT unfamiliar with Google and search engines in general. They're pretty intuitive. The movie pops up as an option simply by typing "Bridge on the". So, no one was going to miss out had they spelled it Kawai or Kwai.

May 31 - 07:56 AM

thickmcrunfast

John Huckleberry

GREAT list. I saw Rashomon as a play when I was a little kid long before I saw the film version. It was powerful stuff. It's awesome to see comedies get some love on one of these lists, especially such an unsung perfect movie like Midnight Run. Ron Swanson just got even cooler in this humble viewer's eyes.

May 30 - 04:59 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Kwai. Just in case someone was trying to google it. No spelling Naziing intended.

May 30 - 05:04 PM

James B.

James Bradford

No, you're being a Nazi, unless you're really THAT unfamiliar with Google and search engines in general. They're pretty intuitive. The movie pops up as an option simply by typing "Bridge on the". So, no one was going to miss out had they spelled it Kawai or Kwai.

May 31 - 07:56 AM

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman

I knew Lebowski would be on here! Nick is awesome, and I keep wanting to call him Ron.

May 30 - 06:32 PM

paul o.

paul oh

"I have only seen 3 films. Bridge of the River Kwai, Patton, and Herbie Fully Loaded. My girlfriend's daughters like it. I enjoyed it as well."

May 30 - 10:52 PM

Rob Bush

Rob Bush

Great list. Ron Swanson continues to be The Man.

May 30 - 11:06 PM

What's Hot On RT

Total Recall
Total Recall

Ethan Hawke's 10 Best Movies

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games

New Mockingjay teaser trailer

Emmys
Emmys

Full 2014 nominations list

Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes

Watch interviews with the cast

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile