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Secret homophobia, liberal guilt: It’s the Oscars!

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Goin' fishin'.
How important are these so-called "Winter Olympics" anyway? Could anything, even 80+ years of international winter sporting tradition, possible justify dragging Oscars discussions on for so goddamn unbearably long?!

Sorry. Excuse us a second while we scrub the glaze off our eyes.

So…"Brokeback." Johnny Diaz at the Boston Globe talks to the two Emerson students who made "Brokeback to the Future." And then there’s the New Yorker cover (a wag at Gothamist drawls that "’Brokeback Mountain’ references are soooo 2005"). John Patterson at the Guardian observes, semi-seriously, that "it warms the heart to note that these are officially the Gayest Oscars Ever":

"Brokeback Mountain" really is the movie of the cultural moment, and gay cowboys are an irresistible metaphor for the state of gayness in the US. Religious right leaders decided not to dignify it with a boycott, aiming instead to let it rot in the multiplexes. It wouldn’t have made a whit of difference – most Americans have passed their sort by. "Brokeback Mountain"’s broad-based acceptance proves it, and in this instance Hollywood is far closer to the mainstream than the media gives it credit for.

LA Times columnist Al Martinez presents a kind of average Joe, "I winced a few times but hey! young people like it, and that’s great" look at the film, while Tom O’Neil at the LA Times‘ Envelope hints darkly, and somewhat oddly, at a possibly homophobia-based "Brokeback" backlash amongst Academy voters:

The academy is comprised mostly of straight white guys with white hair
who know it’s intolerable to bash gays in lavender-friendly, liberal
Hollywood. But I really don’t think it’s that in any large way.
Instead, I think it’s the same frustration non-Jews feel when there’s a
glut of Holocaust films leading the Oscar pack in Jewish-friendly
Hollywood. They want to exclaim, "Enough already with the Holocaust
films!" This time I suspect many straight Hollywooders — who are
totally cool with gay people in general — are fighting the urge to
shriek, "Enough already with the gay persecution films!"

Peter Howell at the Toronto Star ponders the same issue:

[I]n all the discussion, I have yet to see anyone asking whether the movie represents a genuine shift in public attitudes towards homosexual unions, or whether it’s just another passing fad.

Part of me thinks it may prove to be the latter, because the reaction by supposedly liberal Hollywood towards the movie has been oddly conservative, almost to the point of Red State redneckery. There have been little whispers throughout the Oscar campaign that many older Academy members not only aren’t going to vote for Brokeback, they can’t even bring themselves to watch the damn thing, even though they’ve all received personal DVD copies of it.

Andrew O’Hehir at Salon announces his own prize: the "Liberal Guilt Awards, otherwise known as the Guilties." Ah, Salon and its long tradition of acting unbearably snide towards the Oscars — as if the awards were ever anything but bloated and self-congratulatory. But O’Hehir’s piece is a very funny read, particularly when he gets to clear winner "Crash": "I had high hopes for that scene when it appeared they might have to
shoot Sandra Bullock‘s eterna-whiny rich-bitch character. After that,
it was all downhill."

The New York TimesDave Carr points out the truth about the "indie Oscars": "Sunday at the Oscars, directors, actors and producers from a handful of small films will pick up the majority of the big awards. The winners will talk about courage, about independence, about the women and men who were willing to step forward and triumph over the big Hollywood machine. So they will be sticking it to the man. Except, of course, they are the man." He doesn’t think that we’re in a new age of Important Indie Films, more that we’re entering the era of the Niche Film, and that that’s what the studios will have to figure out a business model around.

David Thompson at the LA Times thinks that the Oscars need more than Jon Stewart to connect to the kids these days: he’s cut sound, costume and art direction, song, the shorts, the docs and the foreign films, and push technical achievement and promotional campaigns. Oof.

Sharon Krum at the Guardian writes about the "Queen Kong" billboard on Sunset and Cahuenga, which lists the disturbing statistics that "Women directed only 7% of the top 200 films of 2005. No woman has ever won the best-director Oscar. Only three have been nominated."

At the Observer, Paul Harris tries to explain Jon Stewart to the British, while Emma Forrest has an interesting, if frustrating piece on the "Paradise Now" situation: she brings up some worthy points about the film’s aestheticizing of its lead potential bomber while also presenting what seems to us to be a clear personal bias under the guise of a straight news report.

And, given how punch-drunk we’re feeling at the moment, we can’t find it in us to say more about Kim Voynar‘s Oscar predictions at Cinematical than: Inspired!

+ For ‘Future,’ Emerson students parody until the wee hours (Boston Globe)
+ The pink vote (Guardian)
+ A molehill to a ‘Mountain’ (LA Times)
+ Is secret homophobia fueling a possible ‘Crash’ upset? (LA Times)
+ Howell: Willie singing a different tune (Toronto Star)
+ Introducing the Guilties! (Salon)
+ The Big Man Still Reigns in Hollywood (NY Times)
+ Oscar needs a high-tech remake (LA Times)
+ Beware! Queen Kong is coming (Guardian)
+ The Oscar for best satirist goes to… (Observer)
+ Suicide bomb film set to shake Oscars (Observer)
+ Cinematical Oscar Predictions: Pin the Oscar on the Donkey (Cinematical)

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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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