‘Slayground’: The Hits and Misses of Peter Coyote

‘Slayground’: The Hits and Misses of Peter Coyote (photo)

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In Slayground (which airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET) Peter Coyote plays a thief on the run after a burglary turns into an accidental murder. While the movie never made many waves, it is a fitting milieu for Peter Coyote, who rather undeservedly has also not made that many waves, despite having been an actor for over twenty years.

He’s been in some great films, that should have catapulted him at least into the Ian McKellan or William H. Macy realm, but for some reason, Mr. Coyote seems stuck in the same orbit as Vincent D’Onofrio. In honor of Slayground airing on IFC, we’re taking a quick survey of the career of Peter Coyote.

E.T. was one of the most important films of its generation. It was in turns funny, scary and magical. And while Peter Coyote didn’t have a big role, the part should have been a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Or at least bigger and better Steven Spielberg movies.

Instead he went on to roles in Slayground, The Legend of Billie Jean (Helen Slater is another star with an inexplicable career path), and Jagged Edge, before eventually landing one of the leads in Bitter Moon. In that film, Peter Coyote got to work with acclaimed director (now, fugitive) Roman Polanski alongside Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, and French beauty Emmanuelle Seigner. This should have been his big break into Hollywood stardom, like it was for Hugh Grant:

Instead of catapulting him into the realms of stardom, he went onto play parts in not very exciting television shows (does anyone even remember Buffalo Girls?) and (gasp!) made for tv movies. Not to disparage an actor getting a paycheck, but in the words of Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, Peter Coyote coulda been a contender. Eventually Mr. Coyote got cast in Michael Crichton’s Sphere:

But the role of Capt. Harold C. Barnes lead to more tv movies and (sigh…) Patch Adams. Then there was another string of made-for-tv movies before he was cast in A Walk to Remember, which may have been a Mandy Moore vehicle based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, but was a big hit, which lead to his best role yet. Okay, not really, but as JJL Chief Bloomenbergensteinenthal in The Hebrew Hammer Peter Coyote explored his right to be silly and he managed it with the aplomb and dignity required for the role. Shabbat Shalom, MotherF@#kers!

Peter Coyote appears to have come into his own in television shows. After his role in The Hebrew Hammer, he got a part in the tragically abbreviated Deadwood. He has done excellent work in The 4400, Commander in Chief, and he was on Brothers & Sisters. After roles in almost every incarnation of Law & Order, now he has been cast as the slightly skeevy district attorney in Law & Order: Los Angeles. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Slayground airs on IFC at 8 p.m. ET

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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