Waiting for Guffman (1996)

I grew up in a small town in Missouri and hadn't been exposed to much TV and film that wasn't super mainstream. As a 15-year-old, I thought Waiting for Guffman was hilarious, and it seemed all too perfect that it took place in the fictitious town of Blaine, Missouri. The cast was composed of folks who would become some of my favourite entertainers ever: Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, and of course--Christopher Guest. I love the magic of those improvised moments in Guest's films where you just imagine the actors are doing everything in their power not to break character and burst into laughter. Odd trivia: much of the film was shot in the small town of Lockhart, TX, where my new album Whet was mixed.

Boyhood (2014)

I was on tour with a friend's band some years ago and the day after playing a show in Austin, TX, we had a wild hair to go bowling on our day off. Unbeknownst to us, Richard Linklater was at the bowling alley filming a scene with Ethan Hawke for what was rumoured to be "this film that followed a kid growing up in real time, that was being shot over several years." I didn't see Boyhood until 7 or so years later. It's an incredibly moving film and a truly inspiring production. But even just the rumoured concept of how the film was being shot over several years--that was something that stuck with me and inspired me to think outside the box on production scale.

The Ladykillers (2004)

This has often been ranked the worst of the Coen Brothers' films. But I've watched it over a hundred times. I'm an enormous fan of charismatic voices, and pretty much every character in The Ladykillers has a funny, cartoonish voice. There's some really painfully hilarious dialogue that you're certain to miss without subtitles. So many good one-liners hidden in there. Tom Hanks is great but Irma P. Hall (who plays the "lady") really steals the show. Every time she speaks, I just double over in laughter. A lot of it's pretty nonsensical. Honestly, I don't really recommend this movie, but I've personally always been obsessed with it.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

This film had a huge impact on me when I was a teenager. I wasn't really into musicals at all back then, but Hedwig was different. The songs are just so, so good. They're all written by Stephen Trask. And John Cameron Mitchell is incredibly magnetic on screen. I remember learning those songs and playing them with my friends in high school. 'Wicked Little Town', 'The Origin of Love', 'Wig in the Box', 'Midnight Radio'--Those songs all really influenced my musical sensibility in some very formative years.

Fargo (1996)

For many years, I'd put Fargo on at night to fall asleep to. It's a pretty dark movie to use as a night light, but it's always resonated with me. It's a no-brainer why it's a classic movie with tons of accolades--It's just masterfully done. The moral corruption and violence are perfectly balanced with the funny dialogue and famously celebrated (and shamelessly exaggerated) "Fargo accent." I actually saw the kidnapping scene, completely out of context, at a friend's.


Lucas Oswald's new album, Whet, is out on November 24th. Listen to 'I Believe In Trying' below.