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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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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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GIFs via Giphy

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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