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Nine Movie Parties We’d Like to Crash

Nine Movie Parties We’d Like to Crash (photo)

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Parties get a lousy rap in movies. Really, how often do you get to see characters having unfettered fun? More often, they’re moping and feeling alienated (see “Garden State”) or wasted out of their minds (see “Kids”) or feeling let down (see “Swingers”) or unearthing dark, long-kept family or friendship secrets (see “The Celebration”).

Parties are cinematic shorthand for decadence and overindulgence — and why does that always have to be so bad? In honor of tonight’s celebrations of the year to come, here are a few film parties we’d actually like to attend.

“Dazed and Confused” (1993)
Directed by Richard Linklater

Like, I’m guessing, many of you, I had warm, fuzzy feelings toward Austin long before ever getting to go there (and in the dozen or so trips since, it has yet to disappoint), all thanks to Richard Linklater’s landmark high school movie. “All I’m saying is that if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life, remind me to kill myself,” says Jason London’s Randall “Pink” Floyd, neatly limning the film’s refusal to honeyglaze it’s portrait of an age and an era like some holiday ham. Which is why, perhaps, it all looks so tangible and welcoming, particularly the impromptu kegger at the moon tower, which brings together most of the ensemble cast to fight, flirt, philosophize and abuse substances into the small hours of a warm summer night. As a hopeless nerd in high school, I always empathized most with the trio played by Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp and Marissa Ribisi, prone to lingering on the sidelines and overintellectualizing everything — Mike’s (Goldberg) confession as to why he’s giving up his goal of being an ACLU lawyer because he doesn’t like people is exactly the kind of deadly earnest, extremely silly statement I’d have made at age 17. They’re not party people, but head out to the kegger anyway in search of some “worthwhile visceral experience,” and get more than they bargained for — a brawl, the promise of a relationship and a date with Matthew McConaughey. All right, all right, all right.

“The Thin Man” (1934)
Directed by W.S. Van Dyke

For occasional detectives and eternal drunkards Nick and Nora Charles, life is a party. Nora’s father died and left them an inheritance that allows Nick to quit the private eye game and devote his life to his two great loves: Nora and whatever liquor’s in his glass at that particular moment. Returning to New York after a lengthy stay in California, the Charleses are drawn into a murder mystery involving another wealthy family and their assorted mistresses, business partners, lawyers, accountants, leeches and low-life associates. Nick is reluctant to get too involved in the case because, as he puts it, “It’s putting me way behind in my drinking.” To economize his time, he combines both of his pursuits and invites all the suspects to the sort of lavish dinner party that only happens in period murder mysteries, a black-tie affair where everyone has something to hide and the whole case is laid out in one lengthy, borderline incomprehensible monologue. Of course, in this case, said monologue is delivered, like all of his lines, with bottomless wit and verve by William Powell. Who other than the actual murderer wouldn’t want to get to sit around that table, smashed on highballs, listening to Powell and Myrna Loy coo and banter? No wonder they made five “Thin Man” sequels. Nobody wanted the party to end.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)
Directed by Blake Edwards

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is like an Epcot Center version of urban bohemia, in which waking up disheveled in the late morning still involves having an impeccably made-up face, in which overeager suitors are easily stymied by a closed door, and in which Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are about the most wholesome call girl and kept man you’ll ever find. That’s all part of its naïve charm, culminating in the party Holly Golightly throws, cramming dozens of people into her unnervingly spacious Manhattan apartment. Everyone’s fabulously dressed and dancing, and they take their liquor like it was laced with acid and Ketamine — one woman apparently spends the whole soiree laughing and then crying at her own reflection in the mirror. A couple’s making out in the shower, the phone’s ended up back in a suitcase somewhere, an attendee takes a drunken face-plant, and a Brazilian millionaire shows up out of the blue. And then there’s Hepburn herself, the waif as epicenter of all this “wildness,” navigating the crowd, cigarette holder bobbing above her like a palm frond. Who are all these people? Where did they come from and where do they go? Even if they end up sleeping off those cocktails in a gutter, you know they’ll look great once they dust themselves off and make it home safely — it’s just that type of movie.

“Lost in Translation” (2003)
Directed by Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola would go on to capture grander, giddier, more lavish and more cutting (after all, the peasants were starving) scenes of celebration in “Marie Antoinette,” but it’s “Lost in Translation”‘s intimate neon-lit night out in Tokyo that’s always had more resonance for me. You don’t see so many odes to those in-between hours spent in hotels in places you don’t know and aren’t given enough time to really get to — though this year’s “Up in the Air” has a doozy, with its Young MC-led tech conference bash — where you huddle with the few people you’ve met and form tentative exploratory expeditions. Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), drifting in their hotel limbo, are lost and lonely but also freed from the constraints of their relative social strata. They can be friends, despite his stardom and her youth, and they can spend an evening in bars and karaoke joints, running through pachinko parlors and hanging out, late night, in someone’s living room. Their night is strung together with a series of ellipses — where does Charlotte’s pink wig come from? — and floats delightfully free, both characters’ burdens and melancholy temporarily lifted. Maybe that’s why it ends in the sleep that’s been eluding them both, as Bob carries a sleeping Charlotte back to her room and tucks her into bed.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.