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The Best of Sundance Sex

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By Andrea Meyer

IFC News

Does anyone else find it funny that the most talked-about sex at Sundance was the kind that didn’t make it to screen? First off there’s the case of the missing sex scene in “Thank You for Smoking.” Apparently footage of Katie “mother of Tom Cruise’s child” Holmes cavorting with Aaron Eckhart vanished. Poof. The director of the painfully funny satire, Jason Reitman, was the most shocked of all at the scene’s omission, taking a wild guess that it had mistakenly wound up on the editing room floor.

I attended an added, end-of-fest screening that had the two sex scenes, both fairly tame: one of the handsome pair doing it all over Eckhart’s apartment, almost fully clothed, in quick, cartoonishly kinky snippets, and another with Mrs. Cruise-to-be straddling Eckhart while wearing an oversized men’s shirt. Whether or not either scene was the restored 12-seconds in question, it is clear that Katie’s “Smoking” sex is nothing for Tom to bully a director into removing — or to jump up and down on the furniture like an outraged baboon about.

The other scandalous sex at Sundance also went unseen: the notorious dog blowjob in Bobcat Goldthwait’s “Stay.” It’s no longer a spoiler to give away the nature of the notorious act, which occurs within the first 30 seconds of the film, and which we only experience via voiceover — and a quick flashback to the splayed pup, the race to the sink. The adorable comedy’s dirtiest scene is actually our heroine (Melinda Page Hamilton) trying to sleep while her friend and her husband howl with pleasure in the bedroom next door — i.e., we don’t see a thing there, either.

While not all the sex at Sundance was so chaste, rarely was it inspired by love or even lust. Just as Katie the sexy reporter jumped Aaron the tobacco lobbyist to nab a hot scoop, so much of the other Sundance sex was about exchanging goods for, well, services. In the world of Laurie Collyer’s “Sherrybaby,” nothing comes for free. Whether Maggie Gyllenhaal’s eponymous ex-con is bent over in the basement while her halfway house manager pumps away or performing a blowjob for a job swap, Sherry understands the value of her skinny ass. While the 14-year-old heroine of Claudia Llosa’s twisted fairy tale “Madeinusa” seems naïve when she lets an attractive city stranger hike up her skirt in an alley during the town’s holy days, when God recognizes no sin, she may in fact be using her moral free pass to try to earn a ticket out of town.

Marcos, the middle-aged chauffeur in Carlos Reygadas’ powerfully disturbing “Battle in Heaven,” may not realize that sex comes with a price tag, but what he seeks when he lets his boss’ daughter blow him is redemption, the kind he won’t find screwing his obese wife-cum-partner in a hideous crime. In the explicit film, graphic sex and actors’ raw, imperfect skin represents what is tactile and earthly, as opposed to the realm of the spirit, in which God — or at least conscience — punishes for sins committed by one’s physical body.

Most films at Sundance 2006 declared that crawling between someone else’s thighs is a good way to avoid the hell that life dishes out. Ashley Judd beds man after man while boozed up to near-unconsciousness in Joey Lauren Adams’ “Come Early Morning.” Matt Dillon and Lily Taylor do likewise in “Factotum” as Charles Bukowski’s alter-ego Henry Chinaski and his most beloved floozy. Other booze-induced fumblings include Ryan Gosling’s coked-up grappling with a cute fellow teacher in Ryan Fleck’s soulful “Half Nelson,” and small-town tae kwon do instructor Mr. Simmons’ big-boobed wife’s cheating on him with first her boss, then her hubby’s sleazy martial-arts star idol in the hilarious midnight movie “The Foot Fist Way.” And then there is Carter Smith’s impressive short “Bugcrush,” in which angel-faced Ben falls for the high school tough guy who has a slimy secret that makes their first touch a lethal one.

Glowy, rose-colored, between-the-sheets moments were few and far between in Park city. “Flannel Pajamas”‘ Stuart (Justin Kirk) and Nicole (Julianne Nicholson) meet cute in a New York coffee shop and proceed to copulate in beds, bathtubs and on the bare living room floor. Ambisexual Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) rolls raucously around with boys (Kirk) and girls (Nicholson, Gretchen Mol) in Maria Maggenti’s rom-com romp “Puccini for Beginners,” and Carlos Bolado’s “Sólo Dios Sabe”‘s Damián (Diego Luna) and Dolores (Alice Braga) fall inevitably gaga following a series of enthusiastic and embarrassingly noisy couplings. The award for funniest sex scene, however, goes to Jennifer Aniston for sinking to new levels of humiliation in Nicole Holofcener’s “Friends with Money,” in which she plays a broke, love-deprived housekeeper whose personal trainer/would-be boyfriend demands sex — and payment — for his company. No one has ever looked more bored than Jen, clad in a French maid’s outfit, while Muscle Man does his best to get his own rocks off.

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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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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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