DID YOU READ

There & Back: Joel Schumacher.

There & Back: Joel Schumacher.  (photo)

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For years, Joel Schumacher’s name was one to be hissed out with great venom: despite some nostalgic goodwill from ’80s kids for “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “The Lost Boys,” unleashing “Batman and Robin” on the world made him as ripe a target as Michael Bay. But this weekend, his latest film, “Blood Creek,” wasn’t just dumped; it was dumped to an unspecified number of theaters under a name whose box office results can’t even be tracked.

This has to be some kind of new record for fastest fall from grace. Just two years ago, Schumacher was directing Jim Carrey in “The Number 23,” a lousy movie, sure, but not a total financial disaster. I’d guess the plan for “Blood Creek” — some kind of gabba about Nazi occult experiments — was for Schumacher to reboot his cred with a little low-budget grit, a stunt he performed before, when he proudly announced that 2000’s “Tigerland” was Dogme inspired and that he was done with big-budget, impersonal Hollywood filmmaking. With that bit of penance out of the way, he was free to do movies like 2002’s “Bad Company,” where Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins run around blowing stuff up.

Reports are trickling in on where “Blood Creek” is playing — second-run theaters in Dallas, Memphis, Orlando. The best evaluation comes from one “Blue” in El Paso, TX, who writes: “I had never heard of it before and after watching it my friends and I didn’t even really know what it was about.” When Lionsgate did something similar with last year’s “Midnight Meat Train,” at least the fanboys got up in arms. Schumacher has earned no such goodwill; the dumping of his movie was not mourned. But he’ll be back, I guarantee it; a man who can survive “Batman and Robin” can survive anything.

[Photo: “Batman and Robin,” 1997, Warner Bros.]

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

fresno

When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

soap

Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Beavis and Butthead Movie

Huh Huh History

15 Things You Might Not Know About Beavis and Butt-Head

Catch Beavis and Butt-Head Do America this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Beavis and Butt-Head made spouting sarcastic comments while staring at a screen cool long before the Internet. But over the course of their eight season TV series (which was revived in 2011) and their 1996 big screen outing Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (airing this month on IFC), the giggling duo have left their mark (huh huh huh…we said “left their mark”) on pop culture. Check out a few things you might not know about this groundbreaking animated duo.

1. They hang out at Butt-Head’s house.

couch

We know that Beavis and Butt-Head live in the humble burg of Highland, Texas. But whose house are they constantly watching music videos in? Their location was never established during the series, but creator Mike Judge has gone on record to confirm that they’re watching TV in Butt-head’s house. His TV presumably has more inches. Hehe. Hehe.


2. Burger World comes from “Weird Al” Yankovic.

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The doofus duo “work” (we use the term loosely) part-time at “Burger World,” a generic fast food joint which first appeared in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s UHF. The fictional chain is also referenced in Al’s classic “Fat” music video.


3. Kanye West wanted to be mocked by the duo.

sucks

There are few places Kanye can’t appear, whether it’s by invitation or simply bursting onto stage. But Beavis and Butt-Head were denied the chance to rip on Kanye in the recent batch of episodes when a minor stakeholder in the song Judge and the rest of the staff wanted to use declined MTV permission to show the video.


4. Hank Hill Was Almost Tom Anderson’s Son.

anderson

In the early stages of King of the Hill‘s development, Mike Judge planned to make Hank Hill the son of Tom Anderson, the long-suffering neighbor and eternal victim to Beavis and Butt-Head’s misadventures. (They are basically the same character, right down to the voice and their dislike of wayward youth.) Ultimately, though, Hank’s father became the irascible Cotton, a character we imagine Beavis and Butt-Head would idolize.


5. An angry Beavis and Butt-Head caller inspired King of the Hill’s Boomhauer.

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However, there is a connection between Beavis and Butt-Head and another Arlen, TX resident. As Judge revealed to Jimmy Kimmel, an angry caller left him a voicemail during Beavis and Butt-Head‘s original run. The caller hated the show (which he thought was called “Porky’s Butthole”) and ranted about it in an incomprehensible accent. Judge found the caller hilarious and used him as the inspiration for King of the Hill‘s Boomhauer and his distinctive speech patterns.


6. The voice of Daria was in the pilot for The Real World.

daria

Daria served as the smart, snarky voice of reason in both the Beavis and Butt-Head world and in her own cult favorite MTV series. Tracy Grandstaff, the voice of Daria, was a writer at MTV and also worked as a production assistant on season one of The Real World. Due to MTV’s penchant at the time for putting staff members on-air, Grandstaff was selected to appear on the original un-aired pilot for The Real World. She eventually moved behind the scenes, but had things turned out differently, Daria might’ve been snarking on Eric Nies and his dumb ’90s hats.


7. The South Park creators met Isaac Hayes at the Beavis and Butt-Head movie premiere.

southpark

South Park owes its existence to Beavis and Butt-Head in more ways than one. In fact, Matt Stone and Trey Parker first met their future collaborator Isaac Hayes (aka Chef) at the premiere of Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. (Hayes performed a song on the film’s funky soundtrack.) We can almost imagine the characters looking down from the screen to pass on the torch. After lighting it with their own farts.


8. Chris Farley and David Spade almost played Beavis and Butt-Head on the big screen.

farleyspade

Beavis and Butt-Head were a huge phenomenon in the ’90s, so naturally a live-action film was considered. Chris Farley and David Spade were suggested as the title characters, so have fun imagining that. Spade did end up voicing several characters on the show, including Mr. Manners in the infamous etiquette episode.


9. Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando were huge fans.

depp

The show had many celebrity fans, including a couple of acting legends. Mike Judge related to Jimmy Kimmel how Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando would do the characters’ voices on the set of Don Juan DeMarco. And that is an image you will never, ever forget.


10. “Buffcoat and Beaver” came from a real life Senator.

buffcoat

Beavis and Butt-Head never invaded the Janet Reno hearings on violence in television, but only because Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (of South Carolina) couldn’t remember their names, calling them “Buffcoat and Beavo, Beaver something.” The show paid homage to the Senator when the Rush Limbaugh-esque character Gus Baker referred to our boys by this colorful mispronunciation.


11. There’s a hidden message in the movie’s desert scene.

hallucination

Senators might say Beavis and Butt-Head are bad for society, but the movie’s only hidden message is “Everybody go to college, study hard, study hard.” This mind-expanding message can be heard in the desert hallucination scene if you reverse the audio of the background noises.


12. A scene where Beavis defaces the Declaration of Independence was cut from the film.

In a deleted scene from Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Beavis is in need of “T.P for his bunghole” and comes across a group of tourists looking at the Declaration of Independence. He proceeds to break the glass on the case and, well, you can imagine where things go from there.


13. Mike Judge animated the first Beavis and Butt-Head short “Frog Baseball.”

After a stint working in Silicon Valley, Judge created some animated shorts that caught the attention of MTV execs. One of the shorts, “Frog Baseball,” featured two dimwitted teens who would go on to massive success. Judge animated the short himself, which first aired on MTV’s Liquid Television.


14. Beavis and Butt-Head got their names from kids Mike Judge knew growing up.

Beavis and Butthead dancing

Yes, there is a real Beavis. The fire-obsessed miscreant got his name from a kid named Bobby Beavis who lived three blocks from Judge in his youth. The real Beavis, however, was an athletic kid who wasn’t a metal obsessed spaz. Judge got the idea for Butt-Head from another kid in his neighborhood who had the nickname “Iron Butt” due to claims that you could kick him in the butt as hard as you wanted and he wouldn’t feel it. The kid was supposedly a terror, and once burned down a tree. He also had a friend everyone called “Butt-Head,” and Judge used the name when he was creating the “Frog Baseball” storyboard. The name made him laugh, and the rest is history.


15. David Letterman May Be Their Dad.

David Letterman appeared in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America in an uncredited role (he is listed as “Earl Hofert”) as one of the Motley Crue roadies the duo meet in the desert. The roadie, who bears quite the resemblance to Butt-Head, brags about “scoring with two chicks” in Highland 15 years back. The Beavis-ish roadie also claims to have scored, but as usual his counterpart takes all the credit. Though Letterman has never admitted his paternity, he did have the pair on his show back in the day.

Eddie Murphy Beverly Hills Cop

When Eddie Was Raw

5 Classic R-Rated Eddie Murphy Moments

Catch Beverly Hills Cop this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Before becoming the voice of Donkey in the Shrek movies and every family member of The Klumps, Eddie Murphy exuded raw comedic genius on the big screen. His rock star magnetism was so big in the ‘8os, he was up there with Prince, Michael Jackson and E.T. Before you catch Eddie in Beverly Hills Cop this month on IFC, take a look at some hilarious moments from his wilder, raunchier days. Put the kids to bed, because this is NSFW Eddie we’re talking about.

5. Billy Ray shows off his kung-fu moves, Trading Places

In this scene, Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine shows off his impressive karate skills to some tough guys, one of whom is Giancarlo Esposito, aka Gus Fring from Breaking Bad. It is doubtful that Mr. Miyagi would be able to talk his way out of getting a prison shiv in the gut the way Eddie does here. Luckily for Billy Ray, his hilarious antics let him avoid a confrontation with a Barry White look-alike before a guard arrives.


4. Akeem says good morning to the neighbors, Coming to America

Prince Akeem bids good morning to his neighbors the Big Apple way in this memorable scene. We think he’ll fit in just fine.


3. Impersonating a Rocky fan, Eddie Murphy: Raw

In this R-Rated story, Eddie captured the essence of a testosterone-filled ’80s Rocky fan stupid enough to pick a fight and demand some Jujubees from a much taller man. Eddie Murphy is probably the only comedian who could’ve pulled off wearing a blue and black leather jumpsuit on stage.


2. Posing as a building inspector, Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop is filled with hilarious moments that showcase Eddie’s improv skills. This scene finds Axel Foley reading the riot act to some builders and delivering the classic line, “What are you, a f–ing art critic?”


1. Messing with rednecks, 48. Hrs.

From the moment Eddie Murphy takes the badge from Nolte and enters the redneck bar until he puts the cowboy hat on his head at the end of the scene, he was perfect. This is the moment Eddie went from being the funniest cast member on SNL to a full-fledged movie star. While pointing out how much he enjoys messing with rednecks, most of whom are clearly too stupid to have jobs, he matches Nick Nolte’s intensity throughout. The scene announced that there was a new Comedy Sheriff in town, and his name was Eddie Murphy.

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