As a native of the Crown Town/Queen City/Charlotte I believe I have a few things to be proud of, but I’m not in denial of the fact that my fair city still has a long way to go in terms of culture. New Yorkers, Londoners, and natives of other world class cities can claim a great number of achievements, among them a long list of notable figures in history, politics, and especially entertainment. In that arena, we’re sorely lacking. We’ve got Billy Graham, Ric Flair, both of whom are debatable in my eyes, but there’s one native of Charlotte I can be proud of. He is an actor and writer by the name of Jim Rash. Don’t know who he is?
That’s okay. Because unless you’re a true connoisseur of television and film writing, I wouldn’t expect you to know who he is, so let me catch you up. Almost everyone in America has seen him in passing, while flipping through the channels on a fall Thursday night on NBC’s Community as the sexually ambiguous Dean of Greendale Community College. The comedy series strength with the critics is in my opinion is its weakness with ratings, its heavy dependence on meta humor and pop culture reference. Here’s a montage of Jim Rash’s portrayal of Dean Craig Pelton.
If that felt random, it was supposed to. Community, to it’s advantage and detriment alike, has become one big inside joke between the fans, actors and writers. That’s not why we’re here though. I just wanted you to know who Jim Rash was. This isn’t the only item on his resume. Hell, it isn’t his only resume. He’s a writer too. Have you heard of a little movie called The Descendants? It won an Academy Award in 2012 for best Screenplay. Jim Rash and his partner in crime Nat Faxon are responsible for that. If you didn’t see it, go check it out. It was one of George Clooney’s most genuine performances.
And while the movie was based on a book by the same name, you and I both know a good book doesn’t necessarily make a good movie. It takes great writers, directors, producers, and actors to get it done. Rash and Faxon managed to capture and enhance the essence of Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel, and brought to life a balance of poignancy and comedy that I didn’t catch when I was reading the book. Rash and Faxon have followed up with an original film called The Way Way Back, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It’s out in theatres right now, and it’s awesome. I laughed the entire time, and it was a great reprieve from all the big budget films of the season. Check it out before it leaves theatres.
Now Rash is hosting a behind the scenes show on the Sundance Channel called The Writer’s Room, in which he gets together with the creators and cast members of some of the most innovative shows on television, including Game of Thrones, New Girl, Dexter, and American Horror Story. I don’t know about you, but I’m an avid watcher of most of those shows. The first episode premiers tonight at 10pm on The Sundance Channel, and Rash’s first guests will be the cast and writers of the AMC’s Breaking Bad. You don’t have to wait until then to check it out. Sundance has already released the first full episode on their website, and since I’ve gotten in the habit of hitting you with YouTube Videos, I’d might as well leave you with the preview, but before I do, I just want to say how proud I am to call Jim Rash a fellow native of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jim, you may never see this, but keep on trucking. I’m rooting for you.
- Audio Q&A: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (“The Way Way Back”) (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- Learn The Secrets of The Writers’ Room With Oscar Winner Jim Rash (fastcocreate.com)
- Actor And Writer Jim Rash Visits Charlotte Talks (wfae.org)
- Hanging Out In the ‘Writers’ Room’ (waitwhatsadial.wordpress.com)
- Oscar-winning Charlotte native plunges into directing with ‘The Way Way Back’ (charlotteobserver.com)
- Daily Post: Pat on the Back