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Disc Covering: “Airline Disaster,” and What a Disaster It Is

Disc Covering: “Airline Disaster,” and What a Disaster It Is (photo)

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Last week’s disc-covery proved that all you need are some clever ideas and and a bunch of passionate, talented craftsman to make a straight-to-DVD movie that’s worth watching.

This is not last week.

“Airline Disaster”
Directed by John J. Willis III

Tweetable Plot Synopsis: A high-tech airplane on its maiden voyage gets hijacked with remarkable ease by white supremacist terrorists. (Supremorists? Suprerrorists?)

072010_airlinedisasterdvd.jpgSalable Elements: Absolutely none that I can think of, which is weird. Usually movies that are on the low-end of the DTV world like “Airline Disaster” have some kind of immediate hook connected to a current Hollywood hit — a la “Transmorphers” instead of “Transformers” — or a couple name actors with built-in brand appeal. “Airline Disaster”‘s got neither. It doesn’t even have an eye-catching title. “Airline Disaster”? It sounds like something by Friedberg and Seltzer, and their films are titled that way as jokes.

Plus the title’s not even accurate! “Airline Disaster” suggests some sort of massive, company-wide problem, but the movie is about an incident on a single plane. I mean, sure, the hijacking of this newfangled Starquest thingie probably didn’t do Coastal Airlines’ stock price any favors. But it’s not like the movie pays any attention to that sort of thing. Which means it should have been called “Airplane Disaster,” but of course that makes you think of “Airplane!” and that implies that the film is a comedy. Which “Airline Disaster” is, just not intentionally.

Biggest Success: The only recognizable name in “Airline Disaster”‘s cast is “Family Ties” star Meredith Baxter as the President of the United States. Though Baxter is in a movie of near-limitless stupidity, she plays her role straight without an ounce of visible embarrassment or camp. I wouldn’t necessarily call her performance “presidential” but I would call it “committed,” and for that, I give her credit.

07202010_airline2.jpgBiggest Failure: Simply put, this movie has no reason to exist. The plot, obviously lifted from “Die Hard,” involves a bunch of terrorists with ulterior motives, necessitating the heroics of a lone police officer (or, in this case, Secret Service agent) in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since “Die Hard” was set in an office building, reconfiguring that plot to work on an airplane might have been enough of a novelty to justify this movie’s existence if only a whole bunch of mid-90s “Die Hard” knockoffs like “Executive Decision” hadn’t already done it more than a decade ago. Those movies had bigger stars and bigger budgets and they’re readily available on DVD, so I don’t know why anyone would watch this low-rent version with inferior acting, stunts, action, direction, effects, and dialogue. I’m not sure why anyone would make it, either.

I Question: how ten armed Nazi terrorists could sneak aboard the first flight of a state-of-the-art airplane. If it were me running an airline and I had a new plane, I’d be extra careful who I left on. I would not hand out free tickets willy-nilly at Klan rallies. But hey, I’m old-fashioned.

Seriously, who was the baggage screener who let all these people on the plane? Cause I’m pretty sure they need to be fired. These terrorists all have guns in their luggage and bandages on their faces hiding their conspicuous teardrop tattoos. Neither of those things are red flags? “Hm, a lot of passengers on this test flight seem to have brought a lot of ammunition aboard! And quite a few of them have cut themselves shaving, including several women! Oh well — don’t want to hold up the line!”

07202010_airline3.jpgSpecial Features: include a blooper reel and the five minute “Making of ‘Airline Disaster.'” In it, McKeon explains the difficulties she faced playing Agent Vitale. “The role was a bit challenging for me,” she says, “because [she’s] a Secret Service agent, and I’ve never done that.” Yes, as opposed to all the actresses who have a background working security for the leader of the free world.

Later on in the making-of, one of McKeon’s co-stars compares the thrill of appearing in “Airline Disaster” to an orgasm. Which begs the question: is there any chance this movie was originally conceived as a porno? Maybe one called “Airline DisASSter?” And then later they just cut out all the sex scenes and repackaged it as a thriller? It would explain a lot.

Worthy of a Theatrical Release? No.

For Further Viewing: watch the trailer for “Airline Disaster.” Note that it advertises the appearance of two Emmy nominees: Baxter and McKeon. Note also that it doesn’t mention that McKeon was nominated for a Daytime Emmy.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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…


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.



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 and the IFC app.

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