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Nanette Burstein: Comedies That Inspired Me

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Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Nanette Burstein (On the Ropes, American Teen) prepared for her first fictional feature — Going the Distance, an R-rated comedy with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long that opens Sept. 3 — by rewatching her faves. The director, 40, shares some thoughts on her influences.

1. Knocked Up (2007)
”When I met Drew, she asked me for one film that captured what I hoped to do with Distance. I said, ‘Knocked Up.’ It combines edgy humor with a lot of heart and can get very real.”

2. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
”The hair-gel scene shows you that you can be very racy and very funny at the same time.”

3. Annie Hall (1977)
”It’s my favorite romantic comedy of all time. There are elements of sincerity and honesty that I look to in that film.”

4. The Break-Up (2006)
The Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn vehicle ”is pretty dark, but it’s peppered with a lot of comedy.”

5. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
”What I love about Judd Apatow’s movies is the supporting cast members are just so memorable. He casts people that to us are unknown, so it’s more exciting to watch them because you are discovering them at the same time.”

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