DID YOU READ

Whit Stillman Takes Los Angeles

Whit Stillman Takes Los Angeles (photo)

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Just slightly over a week ago, Hadrian Belove of the Cinefamily in Los Angeles introduced a screening of Tom Noonan’s “What Happened Was” by recalling the era it came out in which “a great movie was coming out every week.” That feeling is being recreated for the next month with the series “When Indies Rocked,” a veritable wonderland for fans of the ’90s boom that introduced the world to writer/directors like Alexander Payne, David O. Russell, Neil LaBute, and Todd Haynes, among others.

Throughout Fridays in February, Payne, Russell, “In the Soup” director Alexandre Rockwell and “One False Move” star Bill Paxton are all scheduled to stop by the theater on Fairfax to reflect on their early work, but a tone of celebration is being set early with a 20th anniversary screening of Whit Stillman’s “Metropolitan” this Sunday night. The ideal reminder of a time in cinema when dialogue often danced and low budget-inspired ingenuity led to a deeply-felt visual style, Stillman’s first film in what would become one of the finest runs of any writer/director during the era (including “Barcelona” and “The Last Days of Disco”) has the fizz of a cocktail and the satisfaction of a main course as it follows a group of upper-crust collegians as they attend one debutante ball after another in New York, told from the perspective of a man of more humble means (Edward Clements) looking in.

Any time the film is presented on the big screen can be considered a rare treat in and of itself, but though the writer/director’s fans know no bounds, “Metropolitan” hasn’t strayed far from its east coast setting for a special screening, save for an gala in its honor at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. So it is with much-deserved pomp and circumstance that Stillman will accompany the film out to California for the first time and while he was in the editing bay for his next film “Damsels in Distress” – words the writer/director’s fans have been dying to see in print for over a decade – he took the time to share some thoughts via e-mail on the series and how this screening came together.

How did the Cinefamily screening come about?

The Sundance Film Festival paid for a new 35mm print for last year’s festival – which was fortunate as our lab, DuArt, has since halted film printing. With the Sundance print heading to the UCLA archive, Hadrian Belove of Cinefamily saw a chance for a screening. Meanwhile, we delayed our plan for a small anniversary re-release of “Metropolitan” as backing for our new film came together just after Sundance; but we hope it will go forward close to the new film’s release.

Does it really feel like 20 years has passed?

No, it doesn’t – or it feels like 21 years: “Metropolitan” had its first public screening at Sundance, late January 1990, but the theatrical release ran through March 1991 — in those days releases could last much longer: ours was August through March.

After the theatrical run, have you ever shown the film on the west coast? If you’ve seen it with an audience here, is it much different than with the hometown crowd in New York?

“Metropolitan” really played as a hometown film – one-third of its theatrical gross came out of Manhattan. I’ve only seen it with audiences in New York and at festivals and premieres – the worst were those at a Brussels disco with a very noisy and at the Hof festival in Germany where almost everyone walked out.

The series is called “When Indies Rocked” – and Hadrian of Cinefamily said at the earlier screening of “What Happened Was” that he recalls the ’90s as a time when a great movie was coming out every week. As someone who was in the thick of it, is that looking at it with rose-colored glasses or was there something genuinely special going on?

Generally, that’s right — but film history doesn’t strictly respect decade divides. I’d put the early “golden age” as the ten years from 1984 – for a lot of us, the artistic and commercial success of Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger than Paradise” was the big inspiration, followed by Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It.” My only film school was his account of putting together that film. As the ’90s wore on, the indie films became a business, a bubble and then a bust. Roberto Rossellini said that in cinema, money is the root of all evil; if that’s true, there’s a lot less evil around now.

Tickets are still available for “Metropolitan” on January 30th and the series as a whole. Details can be found here.

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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

via GIPHY

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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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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