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20 Ways to Get Your “Arrested Development” Movie Fix*

20 Ways to Get Your “Arrested Development” Movie Fix* (photo)

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*Until they actually make the movie

Forget Scientology or Heaven’s Gate. Today, the biggest cult in our country may very well be the teeming masses anxiously awaiting the return of “Arrested Development.” After years of rumors and dashed hopes, it seems the beloved TV show will finally, for real, this time, be reincarnated on the big screen.

But don’t break out your Cornballers yet: the film isn’t set to hit theaters until 2011. How will you last that long? While you can treasure your DVD collection of all three seasons (or, for that matter, catch re-airs on IFC), you’ll probably want to vary things up in the year-plus before we get sweet relief. Off the top of your head, you might know to watch Michael Cera in “Juno,” but where can you find Judy Greer in a role as crazy as Kitty Sanchez? Will Arnett as a man as bumbling and self-involved as Gob? Or Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman having more comical (and sexual) misunderstandings than they did as Rita Leeds and Michael Bluth? Nerve and IFC have joined forces to give you all the help you need — here are the 20 best movies to give you your Arrested Development cast fix (until they actually make the “Arrested Development” movie).

Will Arnett (George “Gob” Bluth II): Lou Redwood in SEMI-PRO (2008)

If Gob Bluth ever gave up on magic and turned to booze, he might turn into Lou Redwood from “Semi-Pro,” another one of Will Arnett’s mellifluous American disasters. Lou is a former forward for the Flint Tropics, the ABA team that Will Ferrell’s Jackie Moon has coached into near-bankruptcy. Now a splenetic color commentator for the team, he knocks back whiskeys in between smokes on the sidelines, ogling the cheerleaders and dodging questions about an affair with his broadcast partner’s wife. Arnett dons a once-dapper moustache and adds some more gravel to his voice to nail this caricature of faded grandeur. It’s as if Gob’s narcissism has finally been broken down and replaced with a brittle, drunken shell of self-pity. Whether it’s Gob’s booming inanities, Lou’s bitter diatribes or even his scheming figure skater in “Blades of Glory,” Arnett is carving out a uniquely grotesque gallery of American no-talents that’s worthy of Preston Sturges.


David Cross (Tobias Fünke): Larry Schwartzman in THE GRAND (2007)

David Cross hasn’t really played anyone else like bad-doctor-turned-worse-actor Tobias Fünke; the closest he’s ever come before or since to replicating Tobias’ guileless stupidity is his cameo in Christopher Guest’s “Waiting For Guffman,” where he plays a dimwitted UFO expert who claims that the spot of a supposed alien landing “is always 67 degrees with a 40% chance of rain.” But there are plenty of other “Arrested Development” connections to his role in another mockumentary. Zak Penn’s “The Grand” is about a World Series of Poker-style tournament, and the assortment of wacky characters who make it to the final table. Cross plays Larry Schwartzman, a loudmouth player who prefers to beat his opponents by throwing them off their game with intimidation and mockery. The role gives us the chance to see what it would have looked like if Cross had played GOB; like GOB, Larry’s trash talk and cocky attitude cover intense insecurities caused by a lifetime of extreme daddy issues. Larry’s constantly trying to impress his father (Gabe Kaplan), who always roots for his more successful daughter Lainie (Cheryl Hines). He even left Larry alone as a child for three days while he took Laine to Disneyland, in order to teach him a lesson about competition; that’s the sort of thing that George Sr. used to do to teach his children (“That’s why you always try to win at checkers!”). The funny and often touching results in “The Grand” suggest that Cross was right for multiple parts on “Arrested,” not just the one he wound up with.


Portia Di Rossi (Lindsay Bluth Fünke): Tess Tobias in WHO IS CLETIS TOUT? (2001)

The “Arrested Development” writers loved to set up a potentially touching scene and then immediately undercut it with a surprising comedic punchline. A scene might start with George Michael sincerely telling his father how much he means to him, then conclude with Michael responding ‘That’s a little cornball,” followed by a closeup of a small, literal cornball to be cooked in the family’s “Cornballer” deep fryer. Experienced “Arrested” viewers could often see these punchlines coming, but they were always a little harder to anticipate when Portia de Rossi’s Lindsay was involved. Despite the character’s materialism and thoughtlessness, there was always something genuinely sad about Lindsay. She was stuck in a loveless marriage with Tobias, saddled with a bratty daughter, and raised by a mother who constantly made fun of her weight. She didn’t let her guard down often, but many of the show’s most genuinely emotional moments belonged to her. Even before “Arrested,” de Rossi’d proven herself adept at playing sincere amidst silliness in the indie crime comedy “Who Is Cletis Tout?” where her character Tess is, like Lindsay, the daughter of a jailed criminal. Most of the movie is about Christian Slater relating his story to a hitman named Critical Jim (Tim Allen) who sees the world only in terms of movie clichés. Surrounded by Tarantino-esque hitmen, carrier pigeons and Billy Connolly hamming it up as a wisecracking coroner, di Rossi brings some real heart to Tess, a sad young woman who misses her father.


Judy Greer (Kitty Sanchez): Penny in THE WEDDING PLANNER (2001)

Whether she’s Penny in “The Wedding Planner” or Kitty in “Arrested Development,” Judy Greer is the go-to actress for sprightly named, perky blonde assistance. With her precise, bird-like head bobs and chirping line delivery, she adds an eccentric twist to her my-girl-Friday roles. In “The Wedding Planner” she’s an asexual super-assistant, covered in tasteful woolens from head to toe while setting Jennifer Lopez up with hunky children’s doc Matthew McConaughey. As a character, she’s simply a prop, but Greer imbues her with cockeyed ebullience that verges on the grotesque. She loves distorting her cute-as-a-button face with wide-eyed intensity and a slack-jawed grin. In “Arrested Development,” she’s able to push this way over the top in the show’s strong caricatured style. Kitty is a bouncy assistant as well, but a man-hungry, power-tripping one, with a cross-eyed gaze and a frizzy haircut that makes Gob gag. Greer owns the role, a carefree bit of nerdy sexual aggressiveness that is bracingly unique.


Ron Howard (Narrator): Sam Freeman in GRAND THEFT AUTO (1977)

Ron Howard wasn’t just the narrator of “Arrested Development,” he was also an executive producer. Yet he’s rarely discussed as one of the “authors” of the show. If you want to make the case that Howard played a bigger role in shaping “Arrested” than he’s given credit for, check out Howard’s directorial debut, “Grand Theft Auto” and note how many thematic similarities the two share. In both, Howard plays the voice of reason in a world dominated by greed. Both also feature intensely unfavorable depictions of wealthy families and both delight in knocking their rich characters down a peg or two. Howard stars in “GTA” as Sam Freeman, an average guy who wants to marry a powerful industrialist’s daughter; when he rejects their love because Sam’s not good enough for her (shades of the Bluth’s reaction to George Michael’s “bland” girlfriend Ann Veal), the pair steal her father’s Rolls Royce and head to Vegas to elope. Paul’s rival for his girlfriend’s affections is a composite of Lindsay (spoiled, privileged brat) and Buster (immature mama’s boy) named Collins Hedgeworth (Paul Linke). Plus “GTA” isn’t just about a family, it’s by a family: Howard co-wrote the film with his father Rance, who also co-stars, along with Ron’s brother Clint.

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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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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.

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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!

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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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