New England Patriots linebacker Larry Izzo has carved out a quietly impressive 12-year career in the NFL. In 1996, Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson named Izzo, an undrafted free agent rookie at the time, as the second player to make the team's roster that season (Dan Marino was first, Johnson said). Aside from longevity, Izzo has become one of the best special teams players in the NFL. He's made two Pro Bowls, serving as New England's special teams captain since 2001 and collecting three Super Bowl rings along the way.
These days, Izzo is not just part of a 15-0 start for the Pats; he's already thinking about post-season awards … in the film industry. Izzo is a serious movie buff and recently recorded his version of the Academy Awards for the Patriots All-Access TV show:
Cole: How long have you been doing the movie reviews for the Patriots TV show?
Izzo: Since I got here in 2001. On this show, I did my picks of the year, what I liked. You know, best actor, best actress. I like "American Gangster" a lot, "No Country for Old Men," "Gone Baby Gone," all those types of films. All the critically-acclaimed stuff.
Cole: So are your tastes getting a little more high-brow?
Izzo: I've always been like that. I like the commercially successful ones, but I do like the more … it just happened that this year was some really good stuff, like "Gone Baby Gone." I like "Superbad" and "Knocked Up," but I'm not like a "Transformers" type of guy … Yeah, "Braveheart" I loved and that's a great film. My favorite movie of all-time is "Pulp Fiction," so there you go. I love the Coen brothers, so "No Country for Old Men" is something I like. I didn't like the ending too much, but that's OK.
Cole: So are you out watching movies every Tuesday?
Izzo: No, just when me and my wife (Mara) can get there. We like to go on the off-days if there is anything worth seeing. We don't just go to go. We're not going to waste our time in there.
Cole: So are your movie awards already out?
Izzo: It's going to air next week.
Cole: Give me your picks.
Izzo: I like George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" for best actor or Casey Affleck in "Gone Baby Gone." I liked for best picture "American Gangster," "Gone Baby Gone" or even "Michael Clayton," those three. Best actress was Ellen Page for "Juno," this new independent film about this 16-year-old who gets pregnant, or possibly Keira Knightley in "Atonement," maybe. Supporting actor was Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men." Mean dude, scary dude. Best supporting actress was the chick (Amy Ryan) who played the mother in "Gone Baby Gone," the degenerate mother whose baby was kidnapped. Then the Coen brothers for best director.
Cole: How much do people recognize you around Boston after all this time?
Izzo: Now and then. I still have my anonymity, which is good. But you live here for seven years and eventually people know who you are, but it's not like I'm Tedy Bruschi walking down the street in Boston. That's a great thing. You just kind of blend in.
Cole: Any kids yet?
Izzo: No, we're just enjoying the two of us for now. Eventually we'll have kids, but we like to do a lot of traveling in the offseason, just being a couple. We did Europe the last two years, France and Italy. We … then we did Rome and Florence.
Cole: How much time did you spend in Rome?
Izzo: It was two or three days, but you could spend a little more. We did the whole power tour. In one day we had a guide who took us to all the key spots. But I think two days in Rome, you can do that. We always do like a 10- or 11-day trip so we can do three (days), three, three and two along the way. Like last year, we went to the south of France, then Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. It's hectic, but we're not the type of people who just want to go sit in our hotel room.
You can spend a lot of good time in the museums in Paris. In Rome, you could do a week. You go see the Pantheon, go to the Vatican. If you have a guide who can cut you through the lines that can help, but you have to pay. You can go bing, bang, boom … the Forum, the different neighborhoods, the Coliseum, obviously. They say you can't walk Rome, but we walked all over that city. But you want to go to Amsterdam over the Queen's Day, which is the Queen's birthday. It's in late March or early April. It's amazing. It's this huge party, like Mardi Gras, but cleaner.