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DID YOU READ

Troy Duffy Still Packs a Punch

Troy Duffy Still Packs a Punch (photo)

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There are really two reasons why you’d recognize the name of writer/director Troy Duffy. One, you’re a member of the energized fan base who can recite every line of his 1999 debut, “The Boondock Saints.” A John Woo-styled crime thriller that first trickled out in a perfunctory release, Duffy’s blood-soaked tale of Irish Catholic twins who go vigilante on some Boston mobsters slowly grew into a monstrous cult hit on home video. But if you haven’t seen it, the only other way you’d know Duffy is from the 2003 doc “Overnight,” a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the “Boondock” production, in which the novice filmmaker is depicted as an arrogant jerk who shoots his mouth off, alienating his golden-boy relationship with the Weinstein brothers, who pulled out of financing the movie before shooting started.

Finally getting the multiplex treatment, Duffy returns with “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.” Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery and Billy Connolly are also back — as, respectively, the vengeful MacManus brothers and their father Il Duce — who this time team up with a Latino criminal (Clifton Collins Jr.) and a flirty FBI special agent (Julie Benz) to take down a priest-killer with mob ties. The afternoon after the New York premiere, where the police had been called in to calm down the wild swarms of fans, I sat down with Duffy to discuss the sequel, what he thinks of other people’s opinions, and his uncensored reaction to seeing “Overnight.”

“Boondock Saints II” seems more a love letter to the fans than a necessary continuation of the saga. Would you cop to that?

I definitely made it for the fans, but here’s the way I look at it — we all know the sequels that have worked, the tiniest percent of a percent of a percent, have the same two aspects to them: They give you everything you loved about the first film, plus a brand new, unpredictable storyline. They don’t rest on the laurels of the first film. The cleanest example is “T2,” when Arnold was suddenly the good “Terminator” protecting Sarah Connor. We ate that up, we fucking loved it.

I tried to give “Boondock” fans a completely new story, so if it was a love letter, it was one with lots of effective prose to inspire and motivate the person I was sending it to. I threw as many curveballs as I possibly could. A female lead in “Boondock II,” are you shitting me? Clifton Collins, Peter Fonda and his whole character, with period piece flashbacks to 1950s New York to explain Il Duce’s history? We hopefully pushed the envelope further: more humor, more guns, higher body count, bigger stunts, all wrapped within a story that the fan base could never have seen coming.

The first film was made in the ’90s, when “bullet ballets” and slow-mo shots of dudes walking were a popular style, yet they’re here again in “Boondock Saints II.” Was this meant to have a retro feel or match the style of the original?

I don’t think about shit in terms of what the fuck’s popular or not. I make what I see in my head, and I mainly see myself doing gun scenes in that way, unless there’s a real good reason not to. A fucking cheeseburger can just be bread and meat and cheese, or you can put a whole bunch of crap on it and make a tasty fucking treat. I love to do that kind of shit. I learned from guys like Woo. I watched his movies and saw how effective it could be to dip to black in the middle of a gunfight, to give us that one moment of tension, come back up, and something else is going on. Masters like that, sure, I paid attention.

Considering the first film had such a crippled release, what qualities do you think made it such a success on home video?

When you talk to “Boondock” fans, you get a different reason every time. Some people like it because of the relationship of the brothers, the camaraderie, and some people go apeshit for the religious and vigilantism aspect. I just choose to call it a good fucking movie. If you make it, they will come. You’re right, this movie was effectively abandoned by Hollywood. Had it been given a chance, it would’ve been a gigantic fucking hit. That is no longer a matter of opinion.

10292009_Boondock6.jpgThere’s some weird magic in this film. It becomes a comfort film. Fans play it over and over again, they know every frame of this thing. If God could tell me the answer to that right now, I wouldn’t want to know. We got together, the kids took over the asylum, and it was just a beautiful fucking explosion. In all fairness, a bunch of people don’t like it intensely, who take the time to try to explain to people how bad this movie is: “Don’t you know why this is bad? A, B, C and D, I went to film school. I know this.” If you see a bad comment posted on “Boondock,” I guarantee the next ten comments are from fans, calling that guy a douchebag.

Have you ever heard any criticisms you felt were legitimate?

No. I mean, everybody’s got an opinion. I hear a criticism, I can show you a million fans that loved that. To me, it’s beyond critiquing, personally. With what this film has achieved, how it was plucked out of the muck by the fans and made successful, that tells me all I need to know it’s a good movie.

What about my gay colleague who took issue with “Boondock Saints II” for its homophobic humor?

We’re an equal opportunity offender. We will fuck with everybody. There was racial humor in the first one, there’s racial humor in the second one. We fuck with Irish, Mexicans, African-Americans, gays, everybody. If anything else rolled into the story, we’d tear that apart, too. If you can’t take a joke, go watch another fucking movie. People who actually look for morality in films and say it’s not real… Of course, it’s not fucking real. It’s a movie! Entertainment business. A lot of people have forgotten about that first word. You’re just supposed to be entertained.

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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.