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Disc Covering: “Cornered!” In a Convenience Store With Steve Guttenberg

Disc Covering: “Cornered!” In a Convenience Store With Steve Guttenberg (photo)

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It only took four words to convince me to watch “Cornered!”: “Steve Guttenberg” and “slasher movie” (hopefully it takes more than four words to convince you, otherwise you stopped reading 15 words ago). As a child of the 1980s, I got to see Guttenberg — or “The Goot” as he likes to call himself — do many things: hang out with a wacky talking robot, get into trouble at a police academy, invent the Village People, get into more trouble at a police academy, help aliens find their buddies, and get into less trouble at a police academy. What I didn’t get to see was him in a slasher film about a bloodthirsty psychopath who likes to dress like a leather daddy.

Today, we correct that omission.

Directed by Daniel Maze

Tagline: Face the Evil

08102010_disccovering2.jpgTweetable Plot Synopsis: A cast of misfits gets trapped in a convenience store at the worst possible time: right when “The Convenience Store Killer” is on the loose.

Salable Elements: “Steve Guttenberg” “slasher movie” “leather fetishist.” Why haven’t you added this to your Netflix queue yet?

Biggest Success: A convenience store is a good choice of location for a survival horror movie. We all know them, we’ve all had terrible experiences there, and they present lots of opportunities for quirky, location-specific death scenes: the film makes good use, for instance, of the store’s ice cream freezer and its pointy, conic contents. Mind you, “Cornered!” does miss some opportunities: after the initial death by dairy, “The Convenience Store Killer” mostly sticks to cutting people with sharp stuff like stable saws or knives. Where’s the creativity? In my day, slasher killers took more pride in their work. A death by toxic convenience store bathroom odor should have been a no-brainer.

08102010_disccovering3.jpgBiggest Failure: I’m learning quickly that in DTV land, top billing does not necessarily equal main character. Here, Steve Guttenberg is the headliner, but he’s only onscreen for about five minutes in the beginning of the movie and about ten minutes at the end. Not exactly false advertising of Zaneian proportions, but not nearly as much Goot as promised.

Best Moment: Few things in this world fill me with as much pleasure as cheesy movie one-liners. Watching Steve Guttenberg say, “Clean up on aisle three!” in a convenience store slasher film was the best part of my week. But, again, that opens the door to so many untapped possibilities. “What about “These prices are about to get slashed!”? What about “And two cents is your change…and here’s my two cents: you’re gonna die!”? What about “Thank you, come again!”?

I Question… the story mechanics required to keep these people trapped inside this convenience store with the killer. A lot is made of the fact that the cast plans to spend the night locked inside this store, helping someone detox from heroin. But if they can’t get out, how does the slasher get in? And why do several characters who know they’re trapped buy the theory another guy floats that the first victim who vanishes simply got in a cab and left without saying goodbye? Because they’re morons, obviously.

Setting a horror film in a convenience store is a clever, fun idea, but it presents all kinds of logistical problems. It’s a tiny place, covered by half a dozen security cameras, but somehow a giant man in a leather mask manages to hide inside it for a half-hour without being spotted or noticed. While the rest of the characters are upstairs playing poker, he waits in the store and picks them off one by one as they come downstairs looking for snacks or a nice spot to get their head caught in something. How does no one hear someone getting bludgeoned to death right below them? How do they not see it on the cameras that are filming the entire store? Because they’re morons, obviously. “Cornered!”‘s commitment to its utterly implausible reality is so absolutely complete, it’s almost Orwellian. But too many distracting questions can be doubleplusungood for this kind of movie.

08102010_disccovering4.jpgSpecial Features… consist of a 15-minute behind the scenes featurette. If you want to hear The Goot explain why he wanted the role of Monty the Delivery Boy while trying his hardest not to pull a Steven Slater, this is the place to do it.

Worthy of a Theatrical Release? No, though I’ve seen worse straight-to-video horror movies. The whole trapped-in-a-store premise is so illogical that the filmmakers should have abandoned their pretense of actual suspense and followed their “Clean up on aisle two!” instincts into full-on camp mode. Still, at the very least, “Cornered!” has ensured that from now on when you type the words “Steve Guttenberg” and “horror film” into Google, your first result won’t be his Village People biopic “Can’t Stop the Music.”

For Further Reading… enjoy the New York Observer’s fascinating 2008 profile of The Goot. My favorite part is when he puts a borderline delusional positive spin on his career struggles. “You know, I’m an artist. I paint when I want to paint.”

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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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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.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

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

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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.

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