DID YOU READ

The cranky charisma of Harrison Ford.

The cranky charisma of Harrison Ford. (photo)

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Harrison Ford has a reputation for disliking interviews — so much so that, talking with the star ahead of Friday’s “Extraordinary Measures” at the AV Club, Tasha Robinson gets it out of the way first thing.

“You have a reputation for hating doing publicity interviews. Does having that out front help?” she asks. Ford responds, a bit disingenuously: “I didn’t know that I had that reputation.” (No way.) But: “I don’t mind answering thoughtful questions. But I’m not thrilled about answering questions like ‘If you were being mugged, and you had a lightsaber in one pocket and a whip in the other, which would you use?'”

Put that way, I don’t blame him one bit.

The interesting thing about Ford’s cantankerousness — justifiable or not — is how it juxtaposes with the persona that made him famous. In his breakout part in “American Graffiti,” Ford was hilariously cocksure of himself; as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, he defined laconic confidence.

Yet despite the roles that made him a box-office supernova — roles that led, inevitably, to a series of critically/commercially disappointing duds (“K-19: The Widowmaker,” “Hollywood Homicide,” “Firewall” et al.) — there can be something pinched and constricted about many of Ford’s roles. The famous ones, sure (“Blade Runner,” “Witness”) but there’s more where that came from (TV Guide‘s formidable review database compares his performance in “Presumed Innocent” to “a tightly balled-up fist”).

01202010_sabrina.jpgCharming man of action though Ford was, there was something oddly appropriate about him taking the Humphrey Bogart part in 1995’s ill-fated “Sabrina” remake. For all his easy charisma as Solo/Jones, he wasn’t exactly going to turn out to be the new, action-oriented David Niven or something; that’d be George Clooney, who never lets the gap between off- and on-screen personas grow too large. Ford really is more like a hangdog, dour Bogart successor with a prettier face and who can run faster.

As an actor, Ford takes himself very seriously indeed (read that interview if you don’t believe me), which suggests the intensity it took to make himself that seemingly effortlessly likable onscreen. And that makes him an anomaly: the charming leading man who may not have much natural charm of his own — the same way David Byrne isn’t a real weirdo; he just plays one on-stage.

[Photos: “Extraordinary Measures,” CBS Films, 2010; “Sabrina,” Paramount, 1995]

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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