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Put Julia Roberts On Hold: Seven Big-Name Movies That Have Yet to Reach Theaters or DVD

Put Julia Roberts On Hold: Seven Big-Name Movies That Have Yet to Reach Theaters or DVD (photo)

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Plenty of films don’t ever see a theatrical release, but it’s rare in this day and age for something not even get released on home video in the U.S., especially if it stars Julia Roberts or Jim Carrey. The latter, of course, has seen it happen with “I Love You Philip Morris,” the dark comedy from “Bad Santa” writer/directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra that premiered at Sundance in 2009. It can currently be enjoyed on transatlantic flights, but may never screen again Stateside thanks to legal issues.

With issues both economic and otherwise, there’s a growing collection of films gathering dust, the latest possibly being the leftovers at Overture, where chief executives Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett resigned amidst speculation the company would be sold. It’s made the fates of Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In,” the Edward Norton-Milla Jovovich prison drama “Stone” and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut “Jack Goes Boating” uncertain, to say the least.

There’s a good chance all will be released or find new homes, but whereas high-profile films were once immune from getting the cold shoulder, their relatively big price tags and limited appeal to niche audiences may mean they not even make it to Netflix. Here are a few that won’t be coming to a theater near you anytime soon.

07082010_MandyLaneFireflies.jpg“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” and “Fireflies in the Garden”

Last year’s Bret Easton Ellis adaptation “The Informers” was a disaster on many levels — its author hated it, as did most critics, and it made $300,000 on what was a fairly wide release for an indie film — close to 500 screens. But its major crime was being a big enough debacle to shut down its distributor Senator, one of those well-funded international production companies who wanted to try their hand at distribution and unfortunately backed the wrong horse for their first foray into the marketplace. Some of the films that would’ve followed, like “Brooklyn’s Finest” and the Carey Mulligan tearjerker “The Greatest,” ultimately found homes at other distributors and Music Box has come to the rescue of the two-part French crime epic “Mesrine” for an August release.

But don’t hold your breath for either “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” or the Julia Roberts drama “Fireflies in the Garden,” even on DVD. The latter received tepid reviews at its 2008 premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, after which it traveled to more countries than Roberts logs in the upcoming “Eat Pray Love” (with the notable exception of the U.S.), but it happens to boast a cast of notable names including Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson and Hayden Panettiere. It was liked enough by Roberts that she’s producing “Fireflies” director Dennis Lee’s next film “Jesus Henry Christ.” (Cinephiles would probably be curious just for the fact it was the last film of late, great editor Dede Allen.)

As for “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane,” feel free to fire up your Amazon UK account, where Brit distributor Optimum Releasing has already put out a DVD, but American audiences shouldn’t expect “The Wackness” director Jonathan Levine’s horror debut before his 2011 Seth Rogen dramedy “I’m With Cancer,” if ever, which is a considerable disappointment given its buzz on the festival circuit from 2007.

07082010_PoughkeepsieTapes.jpg“The Poughkeepsie Tapes”

You think “The Hobbit” and James Bond have it bad? John Erick Dowdle and his brother Drew have made two films — the “[REC]” remake “Quarantine” and the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan-produced “Devil” — while the one that likely got them the gigs, “The Poughkeepsie Tapes,” remains locked away in MGM’s vault. Although it’s unlikely the film would’ve achieved the success of “Paranormal Activity,” it was cut from similar cloth: a documentary-style chiller with unknown actors that revolved around the discovery of a collection of gruesome videotapes showing the many murders of a serial killer.

The film had its world premiere at Tribeca in 2007, eliciting mixed response, but enough good word to draw the interest of MGM, who at one point was excited enough about the film’s prospects to suggest to the Dowdles that they might have a franchise on their hands. (On the other hand, HitFix’s Drew McWeeny has long lamented when he introduced the film at the 2007 “Butt-Numb-a-Thon” in Austin as a real documentary, which led to a disastrous screening where the filmmakers left before they were scheduled to do a Q & A.)

Even though the “Poughkeepsie Tapes” MySpace page remains up (further evidence of its fossilizing), MGM hasn’t even hinted at dumping the film onto DVD, despite the fact that between all of the release date shuffling dating back to 2007, the film leaked online. Granted, MGM has other films with better commercial prospects on their shelves — like a remake of “Red Dawn” and the Joss Whedon-Drew Goddard horror flick “The Cabin in the Woods” — to deal with first, but there’s a chance if the studio’s financial situation isn’t resolved, someone could be inspired to make a “Poughkeepsie”-style documentary about the corpses in MGM’s vault.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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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.