DID YOU READ

Jason Reitman at the New Beverly

Jason Reitman at the New Beverly (photo)

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More Spring Preview: [Theatrical Calendar]
[Anywhere But a Movie Theater]
[Repertory Calendar for the Coasts]

Forgive Jason Reitman if he can’t remember exactly how it came about that he would be guest programming the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. Even though he can easily recall first stepping inside the repertory shrine for a program of Alfred Hitchcock miscellany including WWII propaganda shorts and the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” when he was 16, these are busy times for the writer/director, who has either been shuttling around town collecting awards for “Up in the Air” or holed up adapting Joyce Maynard’s novel “Labor Day” in recent months. Still, he’s taking a break to show some of his favorite films this week at the theater, and introducing each double feature on first night they show. He also found the time to tell us about his choices, so even if you aren’t in L.A. this week, you can get a prime the pump for watching them at home.

02152010_BuellerElection.jpgJohn Hughes’ “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and Alexander Payne’s “Election” (February 19 & 20)

First, I think “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is kind of a perfect movie and in particular, “Election” is a film that deeply influenced me and I just thought it would be interesting to see Matthew Broderick as student versus Matthew Broderick as teacher, not to mention Matthew Broderick in control of the world versus Matthew Broderick [with] the world in control of him. I think they’re oddly perfect two sides of the same coin, in which in “Ferris Bueller” we see the world as hopeful as it gets – that last year of high school when there is opportunity in anything, and then “Election” is about the opposing moment when you realize this is it. “Ferris Bueller” is a movie about there being no ceiling and “Election” seems to be a movie about touching the ceiling for the first time. Or banging your head on it.

02152010_BoogieShampoo.jpgHal Ashby’s “Shampoo” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” (February 21 & 22)

“Boogie Nights” is a film that I saw at the Beverly Center for the first time at their first test screening and I saw the long version and that was a movie where I saw it and thought, wow, everything’s about to change. And “Shampoo” is a film that had an extraordinary influence on me as well, just in how I tell stories. I think “Up in the Air” is me desperately trying to make my “Shampoo” and I just thought they oddly went together. I think of Wahlberg’s character and Beatty’s character as interesting parallels. Oddly, now that I’m looking at all of my double features, I have to do with comparing the main characters. That there’s interesting line between the stars. Looking at “Boogie Nights” and “Shampoo,” there’s this inexplicable connection between their main characters and their ability to woo women that in a strange way their knack for romance is also their albatross.

02152010_BreakingBottle.jpgPeter Yates’ “Breaking Away” and Wes Anderson’s “Bottle Rocket” (February 24 & 25)

In the case of “Bottle Rocket” and “Breaking Away,” they’re my two favorite movies about misunderstood youth. They’re both about groups of guys in their late teens, early twenties who have been kind of cast aside and are trying to figure it out. I think it’s the [double feature] that excites me the most. It’s funny, I find a lot of people haven’t seen “Breaking Away” or haven’t seen it in a long time and I saw it recently, maybe a year or two ago, and I was struck by how perfect it is. It’s a movie without a false note and the actors are perfect. All four of those guys are just impeccable in it and it takes a world that people [ordinarily] don’t have access to, Suburban town in Indiana and yet has all these accessible ideas. And it speaks to the idea of our hopes and dreams and perhaps the moment where we’re let down. I suppose that’s in all six films that I’m showing and I guess it’s an important idea to me because it runs throughout my films as well — that moment of awakening and whether you acknowledge it or not.

If you live in the L.A. area, tickets are still available for Jason Reitman’s guest programming stint at the New Beverly with double features of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Election” (Feb. 19-20), “Shampoo” and “Boogie Nights” (Feb. 21-22), and “Breaking Away” and “Bottle Rocket” (Feb. 24-25).

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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