This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


“The sweetest, most gentle demented stalker film ever made”: “Chuck & Buck” Turns Ten

“The sweetest, most gentle demented stalker film ever made”: “Chuck & Buck” Turns Ten (photo)

Posted by on

It’s always seems like something of a miracle that Mike White’s pitch-black comedy “Chuck & Buck” exists, but there was extra reason for celebration over the weekend as the film celebrated its tenth anniversary at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles. With cases of Stella Artois and Corona tucked under his arms, director Miguel Arteta handed out bottles to friends from the cast and crew like a proud father.

“That is definitely the sweetest, most gentle demented stalker film ever made,” said Cinefamily owner Hadrian Belove, who, in spite of planning the screening, still seemed surprised when he looked to his left after the film ended. “There are so many people here I don’t even know where to start.”

Sitting beside him was star/writer White, Arteta, co-stars Lupe Ontiveros and Paul and Chris Weitz, and producer Matthew Greenfield, an impressive enough group even without those who got their starts on the film like a pre-“SNL” Maya Rudolph and “Zombieland” director Ruben Fleischer, who was Arteta’s assistant at the time. (Heck, “The Expendables”‘ Terry Crews worked security on the film, getting a big laugh from the audience when his name appeared in the credits.)

Since “Chuck & Buck” came out to considerable acclaim and each of its filmmakers has made their own mark in the years since its release, it’s easy to forget what a risky and daring film it was at the time. White recounted how he was irritated by films of the era that had a “nostalgia for childhood” when he felt “kids are also a little twisted.” The result was the story of a social misfit named Buck (White) who becomes fixated on his childhood friend Chuck (Chris Weitz) after his mother’s death, their games as children far less innocent than hide-and-seek, and follows Chuck out to Los Angeles where he recreates their youth with a disturbing play.

08172010_ChuckBuck2.jpg“I asked [White] why he wanted me to do it and he said, ‘well, you seem a little bit down, a little crazy,'” Arteta recalled when his Weselyan pal handed him the screenplay when he was struggling to direct his first film. “‘You might be able to relate.'”

Of course, the audience tittered when Arteta mentioned this since “Chuck & Buck” remains, on its surface, a largely inscrutable coming-of-age story, yet it “haunted” Arteta, who spoke of how he backed out of his promise to make the film, only to decide two years later after having an operation he needed to keep his word.

“I had a fever and all night long, I didn’t sleep, thinking about Buck,” said Arteta. “I woke up and I told Matthew [Greenfield], “You know what? Fuck it. Don’t think about making any other movies. It’s got to be ‘Chuck & Buck.'”

After what he called a “challenging experience” on what would be Arteta’s first feature (1997’s “Star Maps”), Greenfield said the duo wanted to make a film with friends, which led to casting the Weitzes, who were on the verge of becoming A-List writer/directors with “American Pie,” as Buck’s old and new pals in Los Angeles. Chris recalled accepting the role without actually reading the script, specifically that he left a message on Arteta’s voicemail that joked, “As long as it doesn’t involve anal sex, I’m your man.”

“Then I got to page 72 [of the script],” he deadpanned. “I had a feverish night [too] where I thought I don’t know if I can do this and I thought well, you’re such a pinko lefty and now you’re finally faced with living up to your convictions.”

Ontiveros also signed on without reading the script, as soon as Arteta told her she would be playing a character named Beverly, which clearly wasn’t the “stereotype shit for Latino women” she was used to.

08172010_ChuckBuck4.jpgShe reveled in telling the story of how White called her in tears when she won a National Board of Review Award for best supporting actress in 2001, “an honest to goodness fucking award.” And Paul Weitz shared how for the part of the dim bulb New Jerseyan actor Sam, he had Pompton Plains’ very own Jason Biggs read the “Chuck and Buck” script for him, “just to get the cadence.”

A decade on, Chris Weitz and Arteta both marveled at how the film held up, with Weitz commenting on Arteta’s command of deep focus as he shot on video, and how “Chuck & Buck” is “like a horror movie, except it doesn’t scare you. It just makes you deeply, deeply uncomfortable… but in kind of an enjoyable way.”

White remembered that feeling from shortly after the film premiered at Sundance in 2000. Standing in a men’s room in Los Angeles upon coming back from Park City, White recalled, “Some guy was in the urinal next to me, [and] he’s like ‘I feel really uncomfortable standing next to you.'” White paused. “And I think it was because he recognized me from the movie.”

Watch More

WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

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

Watch More

Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

Posted by on
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.


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.

Watch More

G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

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….


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.


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.

Watch More