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DID YOU READ

Odds: Thursday – “Unfinished Life,” “Katrina: The Movie”?

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"Rawr, rawr, rawr...no one understands you, she-bear!"It’s hardly worth the time to pick on Lasse Hallström‘s "An Unfinished Life," probably the most glossy and expensive of the films Miramax has dumped this summer. But we did anyway: see our review of the film here.

Over at MSNBC‘s gossip column "The Scoop," Jeannette Walls claims that, according to an unnamed source,  Michael Moore is "seriously considering" making a documentary on Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath.

Also at MSNBC, Erik Lundegaard has a rather great, if quietly seething piece on how Hollywood portrayed terrorism before 9/11:

Watching these movies, in fact, one wonders all over again about right-wing attacks on Hollywood. These movies encourage patriotism, faith in our leaders and an-eye-for-an-eye. They encourage a simple absolutist view of the world. There are good guys and bad guys and never the twain shall meet. The hero is always right, and the people who disagree with the hero are always wrong, and if the hero needs to — and he usually does — he can go it alone. Sometimes the hero is the President of the United States. Sometimes he wears a flight suit. Sometimes he says tough things like "Get off my plane!" I know: It’s all so anti-Republican.

On that note, Bruce Schneier at Wired News suggests that homeland security is hampered by the fact that they seem to think of terrorism only along the lines of movie plots.

In the New York Times, Dinitia Smith talks to reclusive author S. E. Hinton, who wrote "The Outsiders" at age 17 and who consented to the interview only to promote Warner’s release of a recut version of Francis Ford Coppola‘s (terrible…oh, you know it’s true, don’t be so sentimental) 1983 film version of the novel.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Coppola said he recut "The Outsiders" to be truer to the book, and retitled the new version "The Outsiders: The Complete Novel."

In the original film, Mr. Coppola went quickly to the main action at the drive-in, but he has restored an early scene in which the Greaser characters are introduced one by one as they are set upon by Socs. "Very often the solution is to get to the second reel fast," he said.

Mr. Coppola also restored a scene in which Sodapop comforts his brother, Ponyboy, in bed. It was cut because, though innocent, early audiences snickered.

Nancy Mills at the New York Daily News talks to Elijah Wood about his hopes that his upcoming roles as an angry hobbit in "Green Street Hooligans" and a pensive, Jewish hobbit in "Everything is Illuminated" will lead to his getting beyond the role of Frodo Baggins.

And, in the most awesome piece of the day, former baseball player Jose Canseco has hired a manager to make…him…a…movie star! When we were mini, we (and everyone other kid in the East Bay) got Jose Canseco to autograph a softball (it was all we had, we weren’t so sporty) for us, because, if we recall, it was part of a community service requirement in order for him to avoid jail time for some incident. Lots of great quotes in the piece. Two of our favorites:

Here’s how the pitch sounds. "I’m only 41 and in great shape for my
age," Canseco said. "I don’t think I’ve lost a beat at all. Because of
my physique and my look … I fit in the natural action-hero role."

Canseco already has a little experience in front of the camera,
having appeared in VH1’s celebrity-driven reality show "The Surreal
Life."
But the demo tape is helping. "I think there is strong potential
for his future in this business," said Pamela Shae, senior vice
president of talent and casting for Spelling Television Inc. "He seems
very committed to this next chapter in his life. I truly feel that
[casting him] is something I want to entertain. I was very, very
excited to meet him."

+ Bearly there: Lasse Hallstrom’s "An Unfinished Life" (IFC News)
+ Will Moore turn Katrina into film? (MSNBC)
+ "Saddam Hussein is bombing us!" (MSNBC)
+ Terrorists Don’t Do Movie Plots (Wired News)
+ An Outsider, Out of the Shadows (NY Times)
+ Kicking the Hobbit (NY Daily News)
+ Taking some mighty swings (LA 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.

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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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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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 IFC.com and the IFC app.

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