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The Curious Cameography of Matt Damon

The Curious Cameography of Matt Damon (photo)

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When Stanislavsky decreed, “there are no small parts, only small actors,” Matt Damon was listening. In a career that started with one line in “Mystic Pizza,” Damon has risen to the ranks of the A-list. Yet as Damon’s star has gotten bigger, the roles have gotten smaller — most recently, the “Bourne” star reaffirmed his status as king of cameos with his brief appearance in “Che: Part II,” in which he plays Father Schwartz, a German priest fluent in Spanish who attempts to negotiate with rebel forces in Bolivia, with screen time of less than a minute. Though his finest pint-sized performance likely went down on the small screen last year in Sarah Silverman’s serenade “I’m Fucking Matt Damon,” no one has done more random onscreen favors for friends than Damon, who has been around the world more than Jason Bourne and worn crazier get-ups than the “Ocean’s” series’ Linus Caldwell in his briefest of roles. In case you blinked, here’s his cameography:

“Finding Forrester” (2000)

Appropriately enough, Gus Van Sant closed out his golden age — a double bill of this film and “Good Will Hunting,” marked less for being an artistic highpoint for the director than by their shared sepia-toned cinematography — with a last-minute appearance by Damon as the executor of reclusive author William Forrester’s will. Easily the least interesting of his cameos (but forgivable for being his first), Damon channels his “Rainmaker” days, playing the lawyer who bestows Forrester’s protégé Jamal with his apartment and belongings, in a scene more symbolic as a bookend to “Hunting” than anything else. Also, Damon’s cameo pales in comparison to the bizarro appearance midway through the film by Joey Buttafuoco as a security guard.

01082009_themagestic.jpg“The Majestic” (2001)

By the time Frank Darabont was casting his Blacklist-era drama about a screenwriter named Peter Appleton, who’s mistaken for a war hero named Luke Trimble after a car accident wipes away his memory, Damon had already played one amnesiac in “The Bourne Identity” and turned down playing another in “Paycheck.” He also turned Darabont down and left the heavy lifting to Jim Carrey. But when Darabont needed a voice to read a letter from the real Luke Trimble, he called up Damon, who obliged and wound up playing the central character in the film, anyway.

01092009_thethirdwheel.jpg“The Third Wheel” (2002)

When the largesse of “Good Will Hunting” allowed for Damon and Ben Affleck to create their own production company, Live Planet, Damon wisely stayed out of the casting calls for the films they produced — with one exception. Although he steered clear of being a guinea pig in one of the “Project Greenlight” films, he couldn’t avoid a last minute appearance as Denise Richards’ emotionally fragile ex-boyfriend Kevin in this ill-fated romantic comedy that went direct-to-DVD. Playing the kind of jerk he faced off with in “Hunting,” Damon makes a bad night worse for Richards’ Diana and her date, Stanley (Luke Wilson) after they hit a bum on the street who then bum feels compelled to chaperone their date. It’s worth mentioning the plot since Damon, compared to Affleck, who gamely suffers through a full-blown supporting role, gets off relatively easy.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.