DID YOU READ

“Jackass 3D,” Reviewed

“Jackass 3D,” Reviewed (photo)

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I love how I feel after a “Jackass” movie. My chest hurts from laughing too much, my throat is sore from screaming. It feels like you ran a marathon, albeit a marathon that involved a lot of exposed male genitalia. In a cinematic landscape littered with forgettable mediocrities, “Jackass 3D” is a reminder of what it is like to really feel something at the movies: happiness, or shock, or repulsion, or jubilation, or all of these things at once. Director Jeff Tremaine, producer Spike Jonze, star Johnny Knoxville, and the rest of the “Jackass” gang may be a lot of things: pranksters, morons, bad influences, debauchers, exhibitionists, geniuses. These are matters of opinion. But regardless of opinion, one fact remains inarguable: they are not boring.

As before, this latest “Jackass” is a collection of unconnected pranks, sketches, stunts, pratfalls, and weiner jokes. Unlike before, the decidedly low-tech “Jackass” aesthetic, born of ’90s skater videos and daredevil home movies, has been married to some extremely high-tech equipment, specifically the Phantom high-speed camera. It shoots 1,000 frames of film a second and turns images of dudes getting hit in the face with fish or shot in the gut with cannonballs into beautiful, slo-mo ballets of rippling flesh.

There is 3D, some of it refreshingly in-your-face — I, for one, will never look at a party noise maker the same way again — but the boys haven’t radically altered their approach to suit their newfangled equipment. There are still pranks on the unsuspecting public, most of them now done by Knoxville in old man makeup since he’s too recognizable otherwise. There are still impressive feat of daredevil stuntwork, like Ryan Dunn facing off against the exhaust pipe of a fighter jet. There are still quasi-scientific experiments on the pain threshold of the human body, as when “Danger Ehren” McGehey performs tooth extraction by speeding Lamborghini. And there are still enough exposed penises to send shivers down Carl Paladino’s spine. I think the first “Jackass” film is still the strongest, but all three are extremely well-assembled, and this latest collection of craziness is another worthy addition to the series’ canon. There’s never a dull moment.

Some hyperbolically compare the comedy of “Jackass” to the work of silent film comedians like Chaplin and Keaton and Lloyd. There are limits to the comparison: Knoxville and company lack their predecessor’s refinement, obviously, as well as their dexterity with narrative and character (the closest “Jackass 3D” comes to a story is Bam Margera’s ongoing quest to punch unsuspecting crew members in the face). But at its most basic, the pleasure of “Jackass” is the same pleasure of those silent greats: watching men put their lives on the line for the sake of their art and admiring the beauty of bodies in motion. A skit like “Duck Hunting,” where the cast line up in boats with paintball guns to shoot Steve-O and then Dunn as they plummet to the earth, epitomizes both. Watching Dunn cartwheel slowly through the sky 40-plus feet above the ground as his buds pelt him with paint filled capsules is a sight to behold.

Though every “Jackass” movie is guaranteed to receive an R-rating for language, nudity, and assorted other filth — you don’t see a lot of PG-13 rated movies with “poop volcanos” — there is a purity and even a bit of innocence to “Jackass.” In the age of irony, the Jackasses are the keepers of the flame of sincerity in comedy (their so-called “raunchy” comedy is also surprisingly sexless). Everything they do, they do with an earnestness and a purity of spirit. You think it’s easy to do a poop joke? Try to make one as good as that poop volcano. There is a reason these men have thrived for so long in a world where any moron with a Flip Video can hit their dad in the nuts and get on YouTube. They are simply the best at what they do. The most creative, the most innovative, the funniest, the most daringly stupid, and the most stupidly daring.

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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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