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DID YOU READ

Small talk stinks.

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"HIM? You fell in love with a boy? That's silly."
Quotables from the latest round of interviews and profiles:

Woody Allen, with Sam Allis at the Boston Globe:

So there really is then, such a thing as a Woody Allen movie?

"I myself don’t think there is, but people will talk about my kind of movie and being able to identify it, and if they’re criticizing it they’ll say it has a sameness and if they like it they’ll say it’s an auteur movie.

"The truth of the matter is to me they’re all very different, but it’s like Chinese food. You can eat differently every night of the year in a Chinese restaurant but in the end it’s all Chinese food. . . You’re in the mood for it tonight or you’re not."

Luc Besson, with Wendy Ide in the London Times, on returning to directing after six years (with "Angel-A"):

"I believe in signals. You meet someone once, then the week after you meet them a second time. I like to believe in that, I don’t know if it is true. It was also a question of timing. It was a good moment for Jamel [Debbouze], he is a comic. He is known for that. But he was wounded when he was 13. (Debbouze has lost an arm.) He has all this pain inside him. And he starts to feel the desire to express it. Just once in a while to do something different and serious. And here I come, with a script that he loved."

Steve Carell, with Logan Hill in New York (and we’ve heard the dreaded E-word being attached to his performance in "Little Miss Sunshine" — yes, yes, EndOfYearBestOfList):

"Oh, I’m so Hollywoody now," he tells me. On Conan, he announced that he’s selling out with a sequel called "The 41-Year-Old Whore . . . It’ll be a hard X." "I’m a jerk," he told Matt Lauer. "I’m huge; I’ve totally changed."

Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland  (the directors of "Quinceañera"), with Margy Rochlin at the New York Times:

Recently it was reported that two backers of "Quinceañera" — Nicholas T. Boyias and Avi Raccah, both listed as executive producers — work behind the scenes in pornographic films. At the mention of this nugget of unintended publicity, Mr. Westmoreland’s quick smile faded a little, and his thin shoulders drooped. Then, he rallied.

"I call it my ‘Blue Period,’ " he said, crediting the four years he spent filming direct-to-video sex movies as a sort of renegade cinema school. "It was really like working on Roger Corman movies or being a B-movie director in the 40’s, where you get to write and direct very fast and practice your skills."

Keith Fulton, (co-director of the fantastically strange "Brothers of the Head" and, before that, "Lost in La Mancha") at indieWIRE:

What is your definition of "independent film"?

I think that this notion has become very difficult to define. It used to describe films that were made outside the studio system and without the same kinds of pressures that movies made within that system face. I think of Spike Lee‘s early films and Robert Rodriguez paying for everything with a credit card. Now it seems to me that the same pressures apply to so-called independent films to stack the cast with as many celebrities as you can get and with an equal number of executive producers. It sounds really hateful, but now I actually use the word "indie" as a negative. It usually means to me a family drama with the same actors who were in the last family drama with a title that sounds unusual but which will be explained by the time the film is over.

Sam Neill, with Chrissy Iley in the Guardian:

At the moment Neill is filming Henry VIII in Ireland – he plays Cardinal Wolsey. "The good thing about the part is I can put on as much weight as I like for reasons of historical veracity. It’s not hard in Ireland. The Guinness is so good. I see paintings of Wolsey and he really was a fat bastard, and conflicted. Dealing with the whims of a prince – it’s a man’s job."

François Ozon, with Ruthe Stein in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Ozon found his calling at age 16 when he confiscated the family’s Super-8 after deciding that his father was botching their home movies. One of Ozon’s first efforts depicts his brother killing their parents.

"My mother and father said, ‘OK, we’ll do it because we prefer you kill us in a film and not in reality.’ My mother was killed with poison and my father with a coffin on his face." It took some grilling to establish that he meant pillow. A coffin might have really done his dad in.

John C. Reilly, with Jacques Steinberg in the New York Times:

"…[P]eople ask me a lot, ‘What’s it feel like to be a character actor?’ I say that when I work, I always see my character as the main character in his life story, even if it’s a small part or a cameo.’"

"Then people ask me, do you ever want to be center stage?’" he said. "I don’t feel that way. But people say it. Should I?’"

Uma Thurman, with Gill Pringle in the Independent:

"I’ve been trying to do it [comedy] for 20 years and nobody would give me a job. I’ve always known I would be good at it if anybody would let me do it. I read scripts and I wanted to do them but they wouldn’t consider me – only other people that you know who do those kinds of movies all the time. I couldn’t even get auditions for certain things. So this is very exciting for me and I’m hoping that I can do more like this. Because actually this is much more fun for me and much closer to me and I’ve more to draw from playing quirky crazy girls obsessed with relationships than I do women who carry samurai swords."

+ For Woody Allen, the big picture involves maintaining autonomy (Boston Globe)
+ Is cool-hand Luc a hostage to success? (London Times)
+ Steve Carell’s Smokin’! (New York)
+ Keith Fulton, Co-Director of "Brothers of the Head" (indieWIRE)
+ Not Fat, Not Greek, Not a Wedding, but What a Party (NY Times)
+ Put it away, Sam…  (Guardian)
+ French connection (San Francisco Chronicle)
+ One of These Days Audiences May Remember John C. Reilly’s Name (NY Times)
+ Uma Thurman: Wonder woman (Independent)

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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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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.

via GIPHY

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!

via GIPHY

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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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….

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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.

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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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