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Halliwell’s Top 1000.

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One of the most popular sports among film buffs is compiling the definitive list of greatest hits, an activity that reveals rather more about a person than they might care to admit. For a critic it’s like being asked how much you are paid. People’s eyes glaze over at your
brilliant and utterly obscure choices. They wince at your passionate case for "Withnail & I." And they are horrified that you haven’t seen "Once Upon a Time in the West." Mostly they wonder how on earth you got the job.

That would be James Christopher in the London Times on "Halliwell’s Top 1000," hitting shelves June 13 (in the UK at least, no word on the US though you can order it online) — and that would be top 1000 films of all times, yes. As you may know, we loathe magazine stunt lists, but this hardly falls in that category. Compiled by John Walker, "Halliwell’s" is a smart, obsessive cinephile’s dream, ballsy enough to feel no need to include a movie made in the last twenty-five years in its top ten (unless you count "The Godfather Trilogy"’s final segment, but we don’t). The ten:

1. Tokyo Story
Japan, 1953, Yasujiro Ozu

2. La Règle du Jeu
France, 1939, Jean Renoir

3. Lawrence of Arabia
GB, 1962, David Lean

4. The Godfather Trilogy
US, 1972, 1974, 1990, Francis Ford Coppola

5. The Seven Samurai
Japan, 1954, Akira Kurosawa

6. Citizen Kane
US, 1941, Orson Welles

7. Raging Bull
US, 1980, Martin Scorsese

8. Vertigo
US, 1958, Alfred Hitchcock

9. Some Like It Hot
US, 1959, Billy Wilder

10. 8½
Italy, 1963, Federico Fellini

Ozu! Ozu! ♥! And kicking "Citizen Kane" down to sixth place when it’s been the boring, de facto answer for top film for ages. The only inclusion we find fault with is "Some Like It Hot," which we’ve never been that fond of, and which has become the kind of comedy version of "Citizen Kane," occupying undeservingly high spots on top tens and such because it’s a safe comedy title (and comedy is so much more subjective than drama).

As with all lists, "Halliwell’s" is clearly intended to spark debate. What we love is that by picking an undeniably excellent but fairly obscure Japanese film for number one, Walker has ensured the only people who’ll be interested in debating this list are twitchy, passionate film types. Because we wouldn’t want to hear from anyone else.

To confirm this, Walker himself has an article, also in the Times, in which he defends his choices, pointing out that:

Writing about critics’ reactions to the TV soap-opera "Crossroads," the 1970s epitome of wobbly sets and wobblier acting, an academic researcher claimed that it was wrong to take no account of the feelings of viewers. Apply that to the cinema and the greatest movie would probably be "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith," closely followed by "Titanic" and the other five "Star Wars" films (the original trilogy can be found at No 70).

This variance may result from most audiences’ limited experience of film. They go regularly from their teens, stop in their late twenties and tend to think that cinema begins and ends with their own immediate experience.

This is snobby, but lists are all about being snobby. What infuriates us about the group lists done by magazines are that they pander to ideas about what movies deserve spots on lists (without thinking about why) and also insert controversial choices just to get attention.

The Times has the top 100 according to Halliwell. For the record, the most recent five entries in the top 100 are "Toy Story" (#25), the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (#30), "Breaking the Waves" (#39), "Gosford Park" (#71) and "Fargo" (#88). The oldest in the entire list is 1915’s "Birth of a Nation" (#232).

+ The best film ever? (Times)
+ Halliwell’s best movies 1-100 (Times)
+ The movies you must see before you die (Times)

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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