DID YOU READ

The Best Double Features of 2010 (Updated With Reader Suggestions)

The Best Double Features of 2010 (Updated With Reader Suggestions) (photo)

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The double feature is the moviegoing ritual most deserving of a comeback. It’s the stuff of movie palaces, drive-ins, and getting more bang for your entertainment buck. The double feature is that magic that happens when two totally separate movies get juxtaposed together and begin talking to one another in strange and exciting ways. As part of IFC.com’s year-end hullabaloo, I decided to list the five most interesting hypothetical double features of 2010, along with five more runners-up. In no particular order, they are:

12072010_fighttown1.jpgMoney, Family, and Escape in Modern Boston
“The Town”
Directed by Ben Affleck
with “The Fighter”
Directed by David O. Russell

Though these films are from totally different genres — one a classic one-last-job heist movie, the other an inspirational boxing film — they share a common theme at their respective cores: a working-class man’s obligation to his friends and family and his realization of his need to escape its stifling grip. Both feature exceptional use of real New England locations, both come fand both feature enormously talented ensembles. Plus if you’re a stickler for bad Boston accents, you’ll appreciate Affleck and “Fighter” star Mark Wahlberg’s ah-ganic ah-thenticity.

The Monsters are US!
“The Crazies”
Directed by Breck Eisner
“Monsters”
Directed by Gareth Edwards

Pairing these two films together certainly makes thematic sense: both movies tell stories about Americas blighted by horrifying creatures and even more horrifying governments. But each film also exposes the strengths and weaknesses of the other: “The Crazies” could use more of “Monsters”‘ elegiac imagery and naturalistic cinematography while “Monsters” would benefit from performances as good as Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell’s and a bit more oomph in the scare department. Each movie is good but flawed. Together, they’re a damn good night of spooky scares and military paranoia.

Banks Suck
“Inside Job”
Directed by Charles Ferguson
with “The Other Guys”
Directed by Adam McKay

We’ve all been affected by the financial crisis. We all want to understand how it happened and why, and what we can do to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Charles Ferguson’s documentary about corruption and greed inside the banking industry may provide the answers, but it might also leave you a tad enraged in the process. So what better way to vicariously relieve some of that anger than by pairing the film with “The Other Guys,” the underrated Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg buddy cop comedy set against the backdrop of corruption and greed inside the banking industry. The two films mesh pretty well; Steve Coogan’s oily CEO could have appeared as a talking head in Ferguson’s doc saying “I don’t believe I have to discuss that with you,” and “The Other Guys”‘ chart-laden closing credits sequence that takes us right back inside the horrifying details of our economic collapse. But at least now the absurdity of it all has you smiling about it. (Note: weirdly, both films were released by divisions of Sony.)

12072010_dragonwolf1.jpgSupernatural Fathers and Sons
“How to Train Your Dragon”
Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
with “The Wolfman”
Directed by Joe Johnston

It’s a classic story: the father who can’t bear the son who he sees as a disappointment; the son who forever tries to impress a father for whom nothing will ever be good enough. Two movies this year took that archetypal framework and added layers of supernatural surprise and suspense. “How to Train Your Dragon” went light while “The Wolfman” went dark, but both explored very similar narratives: a father and son bonding and feuding as they come to understand the monsters that threaten their isolated community, whether they’re Vikings or Brits (were they Brits? With Benicio Del Toro’s accent(s), it’s hard to tell). The two films also offer a study of the highs and lows of the modern studio system. When CGI animated films like “How to Train Your Dragon” work, they represent the factory model of filmmaking at its best: creators and executives at the top commanding enormous brigades of artists and craftsman all working together to execute a single vision. When big budget remakes of old properties like “The Wolfman” don’t work they represent the factory model of filmmaking its worst: shoddy goods cobbled together from shabby raw materials assembled by a workforce with a severe disconnect between management and labor.

(Kind Of) Playing Yourself Onscreen
“I’m Still Here”
Directed by Casey Affleck
with “Alamar”
Directed by Pedro González-Rubio

The line between fiction and documentary got awful blurry in 2010, never more so than during these two films. One got a lot of attention, one went almost unnoticed but both employed nearly identical stylistic techniques: real people playing fictionalized versions of themselves in the hope of reaching some Herzogian ecstatic truth about the worlds in which they are set: Hollywood and celebrity culture in the case of “I’m Not There,” a simple fishing village on the Chinchorro Reef in the case of “Alamar.” The most interesting contrast here is the outrage that greeted the former and the indifference that met the latter, even though all the charges leveled against one could just as easily be applied to the other. Apparently, famous people can never play pretend or experiment with their own lives, a fact that may have been Affleck’s point all along.

Five Additional Possibilities:
Reality and The Documentary: “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “Catfish”
Repression and Repulsion: “Black Swan” and “Dogtooth”
Celebrating And Ridiculing 80s Action Nostalgia: “The A-Team” and “MacGruber”
Craven Filmmaking: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “My Soul to Take”
Angelina Jolie Mistaken Identity Thrillers: “Salt” and “The Tourist”

Great Reader Suggestions
Lonely, Tech-Savvy Nerds: “The Social Network” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (from @EAKEN)
The World is a Video Game: “Inception” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (from @jeuneski)
Heroic Animated Villains: “Megamind” and “Despicable Me” (from @returnofsmith)
The Beginning, Middle, and End: “Babies” and “The Human Centipede: First Sequence” (from @neoprag)
“Send Help Please” Triple Feature: “Frozen,” “Buried,” and “127 Hours” (from @fisackerly)

Have your own favorite possible double feature from 2010? Share it with me on Twitter and I’ll add it to this list.

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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.

geowash_flat

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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