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SXSW Film 2011 Cheat Sheet

SXSW Film 2011 Cheat Sheet (photo)

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…Or we should say “Cheat Sheets” since this year’s SXSW Film Festival boasts over 140 films, requiring more than just one page to cover every single one of the narrative and documentary features that will be playing in Austin from March 11th through 19th. While the festival has already provided a very helpful schedule to flip through and PDF of the screening grid online, consider this your quick hit guide to all the features at the festival – every title leads to its corresponding festival page in addition to links to trailers, official sites, filmmakers’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts so you can follow the action from the festival or from home.

Meanwhile, there will be plenty of action during these next two weeks on IFC.com where, in addition to our live video page, Matt Singer (@mattsinger) and I (@mfrushmore) will be filing reviews and interviews throughout the film festival. (You might’ve also heard there’s an Interactive fest, which Alex Blagg (@BajillionHits) will be covering, and a music fest, which Brandon Kim (@theforlorn) will be checking out.) With that in mind, here’s the rundown for the films gracing the Paramount, the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz and South Lamar and all the other theaters in Austin for the festival ahead.

[Headliners and Spotlight Premieres] [Festival Favorites] [Narrative and Documentary Competitions] [Emerging Visions and Lone Star States] [24 Beats Per Second and SX Global] [Midnighters and SX Fantastic]


03082011_13Assassins.jpg


Headliners

“13 Assassins” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Japanese trailer)
The Cast: Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yusuke Iseya, Goro Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, Mikijiro Hira, Hiroki Matsukata, Ikki Sawamura, Arata Furuta, Tsuyoshi Ihara
Director: Takashi Miike
Fest Cred: Venice, Toronto, Pusan, Sitges, London
Distributor Description: Cult director Takeshi Miike delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan’s feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war-torn future.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Before Takashi Miike makes his way to Austin for the film’s premiere, you can check out David Hudson’s roundup of reviews from Venice and Toronto.

“The Beaver” (IMDb, official site, trailer)
The Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Cherry Jones, Riley Thomas Stewart
Director: Jodie Foster
SXSW Description: Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award winner Mel Gibson in “The Beaver” – an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.

“Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop”
Director: Rodman Flender
SXSW Description: After a much-publicized separation with his former employers, did Conan O’Brien hit the road on a 32-City tour to connect with his fans or fill a void within himself? Filmmaker Rodman Flender followed O’Brien on his “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” and returned with an intimate portrait of an artist trained in improvisation, captured at the most improvisational time of his career.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Austin American-Statesman’s Dale Roe talks with director Rodman Flender.

03072011_KingofLuck.jpg“The King of Luck”
The Cast: Willie Nelson, Annie Nelson, Paula Nelson, Amy Nelson, Lana Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, Bobbie Nelson, Paul English, Bee Spears
Director: Billy Bob Thornton
SXSW Description: This is a documentary about Willie Nelson: the man, the songwriter, the friend, the father, legendary performer and champion of the family farmer. It goes further, however, as a film, it is about the end of the old west and how troubadours such as Willie Nelson keep the legend alive through storytelling.

“Paul” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, trailer)
The Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen (voice), Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, John Carroll Lynch, Sigourney Weaver
Director: Greg Mottola
SXSW Description: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (“Hot Fuzz,” “Shaun of the Dead”) reunite for Universal Pictures’ comedy-adventure “Paul” as two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage takes them to America’s UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Collider has five clips from the film and a glimpse of the exclusive poster Mondo has created for the festival.

“Source Code “ (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright
Director: Duncan Jones (“Moon”)
SXSW Description: When soldier Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he’s ever known, he learns he’s part of a government experiment called the “Source Code,” a computer program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last 8 minutes of his life.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: EW has a look at the exclusive posters created by Olly Moss for “Source Code” and “Moon” that will be sold at the festival. Badass Digest‘s Devin Faraci interviewed Jones about the film.

“Super” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Nathan Fillian, Andre Rovo, Sean Gunn, Stephen Blackehart
Director: James Gunn
Fest Cred: Toronto
SXSW Description: When sad-sack loser Frank (Rainn Wilson) sees his ex-addict wife (Liv Tyler) willingly snatched by a seductive drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), he finds himself bereft and wholly unable to cope. But soon he decides to fight back under the guise of a DIY superhero called Crimson Bolt. With a hand-made suit, a wrench, and a crazed sidekick named Boltie (Ellen Page), the Crimson Bolt beats his way through the mean streets of crime in hopes of saving his wife.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: My interview with Gunn from the Toronto Film Festival. Mubi‘s David Hudson’s roundup (third entry down) from Toronto is here.

“Win Win” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, trailer)
The Cast: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young, Melanie Lynskey, Alex Schaffer, Margo Martindale Director: Tom McCarthy (“The Station Agent,” “The Visitor”)
Fest Cred: Sundance
SXSW Description: Tom McCarthy once again explores the depths and nuances of human relationships in his new film about the allegiances and bonds between unlikely characters. Disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty, who volunteers as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy’s mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. McCarthy’s deft touch with balancing drama and comedy, broken hearts and poignant humanity is at play in “Win Win.”
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: SlashFilm has two clips and a featurette from the film. The L.A. Times’ interview with McCarthy from Sundance. Filmmaker‘s Jamie Stuart also has an interview.

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Spotlight Premieres

“A Bag of Hammers” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Jason Ritter, Jake Sandvig, Chandler Canterbury, Rebecca Hall, Carrie Preston, Todd Louiso, Gabriel Macht, Johnny Simmons
Director: Brian Crano
SXSW Description: An offbeat comedy about two misfit best friends incapable of growing up, whose direction is tested by an abandoned child, worn beyond his years; together they invent the family they’ve always needed.

“Becoming Santa” (IMDb, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Jack Sanderson, Susen Mesco, Dee Sinclair, Carol Myers, Ernest Berger
Director: Jeff Myers
SXSW Description: “Becoming Santa” is the story of one man entering the culture and character of Santa Claus for a single season. We follow Jack as he bleaches his hair, goes to Santa School and tries to do everything that Santa is asked to do. He works as a sidewalk Santa, does home visits, a Polar Express Train and a parade. Along the way, Jack collects children’s wishes, learns about the benefits of belief, the history and origin of Santa and the ordinary people keeping the Santa spirit alive.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: The blog Pearl Snap Discount has an e-mail interview with Myers.

“Beginners” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, trailer)
The Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic
Director: Mike Mills (“Thumbsucker”)
Fest Cred: Toronto
SXSW Description: “Beginners” imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Ewan McGregor). Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna (Mélanie Laurent of “Inglourious Basterds”) only months after his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) has passed away. This new love floods Oliver with memories of his father who – following 44 years of marriage – came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life. Now Oliver endeavors to love Anna with all the bravery, humor, and hope that his father taught him.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: David Hudson’s roundup of reviews and interviews from Toronto.

“Bob and the Monster” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Director: Keirda Bahruth
SXSW Description: Six years in the making, this documentary film follows outspoken indie-rock hero Bob Forrest, through his life-threatening struggle with addiction, to his transformation into one of the most influential and controversial drug counselors in the US today. “Bob and the Monster” crafts contemporary footage, animation and compelling interviews with archival performances and personal videos from Bob’s past to reveal the complex layers of this troubled, but hopeful soul. Testimony from his peers, including Courtney Love, Anthony Kiedis and Flea add texture, but it’s the depth of Bob’s music, interwoven throughout the film, that illuminates this unforgettable and inspirational story.

03072011_Detention.jpg“Detention” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke, Aaron David Johnson, Walter Perez, Erica Shaffer, Parker Bagley, Alison Woods
Director: Joseph Kahn (“Torque”)
SXSW Description: “Detention” is a teen horror-comedy where the local students of Grizzly Lake must survive their final year of high school. Standing in their way is a slasher movie killer who has seemingly come to life. It becomes a race against time to stop the killer and save the world – if only they can get out of detention. The Detention cuts through prom. Most of them don’t have dates anyway.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Dread Central has new stills and a one-sheet for the film.

“Elevate” (IMDb, official site, Facebook)
The Cast: Amadou Gallo Fall
Director: Anne Buford
SXSW Description: Filmed over four years, from the dilapidated cement courts of Senegal to upscale American prep schools, “Elevate” documents the extraordinary personal journeys of four particularly tall West African Muslim teenagers. Recruited for both their physical and academic skills they accept basketball scholarships to schools in the United States–and face the daunting challenges of alienation, a foreign language, American-style basketball and an unfamiliar American culture rife with African stereotypes. But with courage, humor, and remarkable resilience, they relentlessly pursue their dreams–to obtain an education and a shot at the NBA.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Austin American-Statesman interview with Buford.

“Fambul Tok” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Director: Sara Terry
SXSW Description: Victims and perpetrators of Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war come together for the first time in an unprecedented program of tradition-based truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies. Through reviving their ancient practice of fambul tok (family talk), Sierra Leoneans are building sustainable peace at the grass-roots level — succeeding where the international community’s post-conflict efforts failed. Filled with lessons for the West, this film explores the depths of a culture that believes that true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals — and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.

“Fubar: Balls to the Wall” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Paul Spence, David Lawrence
Director: Michael Dowse
Fest Cred: Toronto, Edmonton
SXSW Description: Headbanger relics, Terry and Dean, are tired of trying to give’r while barely scraping by, so they head up North to make sweet cash working on the pipelines. Flush with money and confidence, Terry starts dating Trish, a local waitress, and things get serious in a hurry. Meanwhile, Dean is playing up the part of ‘cancer survivor’, and upon hearing about the glories of Worker’s Compensation, purposely bungs up his leg in an attempt to qualify.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Shortly after it was announced the film would play SXSW, Screen Media Films picked up the North American rights for a VOD/video release on April 19th.

“Girl Walks Into a Bar” (IMDb, Facebook, trailer)
The Cast: Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Josh Hartnett, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Robert Forster, Aaron Tveit, Alexis Bledel
Director: Sebastian Gutierrez
The Gist: Perhaps the only time it will be shown in theaters, “Women in Trouble” and “Elektra Luxx” director Sebastian Gutierrez returns to SXSW with another all-star cast in tow for this comedy divided into 10 vignettes spread across 10 speakeasys in Los Angeles over the course of a single night involving a dentist plotting his wife’s murder and the wild aftermath that follows. The film will debut the same day as its SXSW premiere on YouTube for all to see.

03072011_TheInnkeepers.jpg“The Innkeepers” (IMDb, Twitter)
The Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis
Director: Ti West
SXSW Description: After over one hundred years of service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees – Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy)- are determined to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England’s most haunted hotels. As the Inn’s final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of minimum wage “ghost hunters” begin to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the hotel’s long unexplained history.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Fangoria has the film’s poster. TwitchFilm visited West on the set.

“It’s About You” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett
Director: Kurt Markus and Ian Markus
SXSW Description: This is a personal journey film about singer/songwriter John Mellencamp. It was made during his summer 2009 tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson; Mellencamp also recorded his new album in three historical locations during the month and a half tour. The story is told through the eyes of the father/son film making team of Kurt and Ian Markus, neither of whom had ever made a film before. The entire 90-minute film is shot on super8, to stunning effect. This is not a retrospective film with interviews. It is of the moment.

“LBF” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Toby Schmitz, Bianca Chiminello, Gracie Otto, Septimus Caton, April Rose Pengilly, Iren Skaarnes
Director: Alex Munt
SXSW Description: A pop-art film based on the novel ‘Living Between Fucks’ by Cry Bloxsome. Goodchild, a young writer, lands back home, direct from Paris, to attend his ex-girlfriend’s funeral, The Dead Girl. At an afternoon motel party he encounters The Beautiful Financial Backer who works in advertising. At the wake she commissions him to write ‘The Love Enterprise’. The past and present collide as Goodchild slides through a hot Australian summer. Haunted by the twin ghosts of love and death, he is pushed to his very limits. LBF is a modern story of love, loss and desperation.

“The Other F Word” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, movie clips)
The Cast: Jim Lindberg, Flea, Mark Hoppus, Tim McIlrath, Tony Hawk, Lars Fredrikson, Duane Peters, Fat Mike, Art Alexakis, Ron Reyes
Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
SXSW Description: What happens when a generation’s ultimate anti-authoritarians — punk rockers — become society’s ultimate authorities — dads? With a large chorus of Punk Rock’s leading men — Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus, Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath – “The Other F Word follows Jim Lindberg, 20 year veteran of skate punk band, Pennywise, on his hysterical and moving journey from belting out his band’s anthem, “Fuck Authority”, to embracing his ultimately pivotal authoritarian role in mid-life, fatherhood.

“PressPausePlay” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Moby, Hank Shocklee, Seth Godin, Olafur Arnolds, Robyn, Hot Chip, Lena Dunham, Andrew Keen, Zach Hancock, Keith Harris
Director: David Dworsky and Victor Köhler
SXSW Description: The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art, film, music and literature or is true talent instead flooded and drowned in the vast digital ocean of mass culture? Is it cultural democracy or mediocrity? This is the question addressed by “PressPausePlay,” a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era.

03072011_SomethingVentured.jpg“Something Ventured” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter)
The Cast: Po Bronson (narrator), Tom Perkins, Arthur Rock, Don Valentine, Dick Kramlich, Nolan Bushnell, Gordon Moore, Jimmy Treybig, Herbert Boyer, Mike Markkula
Director: Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine
SXSW Description: Apple. Intel. Genentech. Atari. Cisco. Behind these revolutionary technology companies are a handful of men who saw opportunity where others did not: these are the original venture capitalists. All were backing and building companies before the term ‘venture capital’ had been coined: companies that led to the birth of biotechnology, microprocessors, personal computers and the internet. “Something Ventured” uncovers the dramatic ups and downs of how these companies came to be, and the hidden dramas behind some of the most famous names in business.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Zeitgeist Films snapped up the film’s distribution rights in late February, presumably for release later this year.

“Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Director: Billy Corben (“Cocaine Cowboys”)
SXSW Description: In 1979, the US Customs Service reported that 87% of all domestic marijuana seizures were made in the South Florida area. Due to the region’s 5,000 miles of coast and coastal waterways and close proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America, South Florida was a pot smuggler’s paradise. In sharp contrast to the brazenly violent cocaine cowboys, Miami’s marijuana smugglers were cooler, calmer, and for the most part, nonviolent. “Square Grouper” paints a vivid portrait of Miami’s pot smuggling culture in the 1970s and 1980s through three of the city’s most colorful stories.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Magnolia bought the doc with plans for a 40-city college tour following SXSW.

“Undefeated” (official site)
Director: Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin
SXSW Description: Set against the backdrop of a football season, “Undefeated” is a coming-of-age vérité documentary centering on three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis and an unexpected volunteer coach who struggles to provide them with the discipline, resources and inspiration they’ll need to not only overcome their bleak surroundings, but also to win the first playoff game in the high school’s 110-year history.

“Yelling to the Sky” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Zoe Kravitz, Jason Clarke, Antonique Smith, Gabourey Sidibe, Tim Blake Nelson
Director: Victoria Mahoney
Fest Cred: Berlinale
SXSW Description: As her family falls apart, seventeen year old Sweetness O’Hara’s future feels uncertain. At the abusive hands of her father, her mother and sister take off, leaving Sweetness to fend for herself. Determined to correct the mistakes of the past, Sweetness takes control of her life.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: David Hudson rounds up reviews out of Berlinale (under the second photo).

“You Instead” (IMDb, Facebook, Twitter)
The Cast: Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Sophie Wu, Ruta Gedmintas, Kari Corbett
Director: David Mackenzie (“Young Adam,” “Spread”)
Fest Cred: Glasgow
SXSW Description: Shot on location at the world famous music festival ‘T in the Park,’ American pop star, Adam, and minor British rock chick, Morello, are playing at the same festival. The only other thing they have in common is their mastery of sarcastic wisecracks. As their childish spat escalates, a mischievous preacher handcuffs them together as punishment, before disappearing in to the crowd with the only key. All attempts to break free are thwarted. Respective band mates and romantic partners are caught in the crossfire but can only look on as Adam and Morello begin to realize there is no escape.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Positive notice from Variety‘s Leslie Felperin out of Berlin.

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Special Events

“Bridesmaids” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, trailer)
The Cast: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Matt Lucas, Jill Clayburgh, Rebel Wilson, Michael Hitchcock
Director: Paul Feig
The Gist: Billed as a “work in progress” screening since it doesn’t come out until May, this Judd Apatow-produced comedy was penned by Kristen Wiig (and friend Annie Mumulo) to star in as a maid of honor trying to help her friend (Maya Rudolph) make her way down the aisle while trying to control her wild group of friends and relatives (Rose Byrne, “Reno 911″‘s Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper and Melissa McCarthy). “Freaks and Geeks” co-creator Paul Feig captures the chaos.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Set visits with Vanity Fair, Moviefone and HitFix.

“Red Riding Hood” (IMDb, official site, Facebook, trailer)
The Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
SXSW Description: For years, the village of Daggerhorn has maintained an uneasy truce with a ferocious werewolf that prowls outside their village. But under a blood red moon, the wolf ups the stakes, taking the life of one of their own. Hungry for revenge, the people call on werewolf hunter Father Solomon to help them kill the beast. But Solomon arrives with a warning: the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As suspicion and panic grips the town, a beautiful young woman discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast–one that makes her both suspect…and bait.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: ComingSoon.net has an interview with Hardwicke. Collider has seven clips from the film.

“The Rime of the Modern Mariner” (official site, trailer)
The Cast: Mark Donne, Carl Barat, Anthony Rossomando
Director: Mark Donne
Fest Cred: East End
SXSW Description: A journey out through the husks of the ancient London Docks, through sea-faring mythology, magic and superstition and back home via North Africa to discover the heart of the Modern Mariner in a globalized world.
Pre-Festival Buzz Bin: Vice has an extensive interview with Donne and Rossomando.

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Hail to the Clark

10 Reasons Clark Griswold Would Make A Great President

Hit the holiday road with National Lampoon's Vacation during IFC's '80s Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros./Everett Collection

It’s an important election year, with candidates deemed controversial and polarizing. Our country is at a crossroads, with global uncertainty and domestic difficulties aplenty. America needs a true leader. Someone with a strong moral compass and great values. Someone with the guts to make the difficult decisions yet sensitive enough to care for our citizens like they were members of his own family. Someone who knows that in our search for finding our way again maybe what we need most of all…is a quest for fun.

That’s right, none other than Clark W. Griswold would get our vote for President this year. The wild, wacky and well-traveled patriarch of the Griswold clan can make America great again. He’s got all the qualities we as a nation need desperately from our commander-in-chief. Don’t believe us? You can see for yourself in National Lampoon’s Vacation, airing during ’80s Weekend on IFC. In the meantime, we’ll give you a few reasons why we’re stumping for Griswold come November.

1. A Natural Leader

Clark Griswold Natural Leader
Warner Bros.

Look at any list of the signs that indicate natural leadership and you’ll feel like you’re reading the resume of Clark Griswold. People gravitate naturally to him. His children respect and admire him. (Most of the time.) His wife loves her man — her “Sparky,” if you will. And other women (particularly ones who look like Christie Brinkley) find him irresistible, too. Confident, likable, relatable and above all trustworthy, Griswold’s optimism towards life and his many adventures make him the perfect person to lead us on our next proverbial four year trek to the promised land/an amusement park. When things are at their darkest we need someone who can see the light and lead us to a brighter day.


2. Strong Family Values

Clark Griswold Natural Leader
Warner Bros.

Many critics believe that a return to core family values will help to right the ship for our country, that a strong home builds a strong America. Clark Griswold is a family man, plain and simple. Keeping his family unit tight with simple #squadgoals of spending quality bonding time together and having fun indicates he’s the kind of throwback dad with a sense of purpose…and adventure! No matter the circumstances, road blocks, dead pets, closed parks or jelly of the month club memberships, Clark is there for his family the way he’d be there for the American people. The kind of president everyone would want to have a good father/son chat with.


3. Financially Compassionate

Part of being President is understanding who needs financial aid, when to give it and how much to give…something Griswold has plenty of experience with. When his wife’s cousin Eddie needed a loan due to some uniquely unfortunate circumstances, who was the first to reach for his wallet? That’s right, the same man funding his family’s cross-country vacation after having just purchased a brand-new car. One would imagine no family member too big, or weird, would fail with Griswold in office.


4. A “Win at all costs” attitude

When the moose told Clark that Wally World was closed, did he just pack it up and turn around? When he took his family to Europe, did he let a little roundabout get in the way of seeing the sights? When everything goes wrong just before the holidays does Clark let the situation get the best of him, resulting in a profanity-laden outburst in front of his family? Well, maybe. But still Griswold makes the best of every situation possible. And he’s resourceful enough to turn a loss into a win. Or do what it takes to make the best situation for those closest to him.


5. He knows our land from sea to shining sea

Clark Griswold Natural Leader
Warner Bros.

Clark Griswold knows to lead effectively you need to know the land. He has that explorer’s spirit and understands the value of a road trip, “because getting there is half the fun.” Why fly to California from Chicago when you can take a great American road trip and see the country? A country with so much beauty, so much to offer. America is a land of opportunity, and the only way to know it is to travel down that great “Holiday Road” and see it for yourself. Sometimes you have to get lost to find your way again, right?


6. Negotiator Extraordinaire

Just because he looks the part of an average man doesn’t mean you can just pull a fast one on ol’ Clark Griswold. No sir, this guy won’t get bullied or hoodwinked — he knows the art of the deal and is a fair negotiator. He won’t get taken advantage of, and certainly isn’t the type to settle for less. With complicated foreign relations and increasing debt, a vote for Griswold is a vote for stability where it matters most. From rural America to the most challenging of urban environments, Clark has street smarts to spare.


7. Diplomacy Skills, Both Foreign and Domestic

Why build a wall when you can elect a president who’s an ace at mending fences? Clark Griswold is a uniter, not a divider. Because of his real life experience visiting famous European locales, he can relate to and deal with all kinds of people in our evolving, ever-changing world. He might not know that the snooty French waiter is insulting him, but he’ll still order from the menu with pride.


8. Experience Dealing with Refugees

Merry Christmas
Warner Bros.

When Clark’s hapless Aunt Edna is thrust upon him during his family’s cross-country trip does he refuse her a seat? Of course not. When Cousin Eddie and his family show up, unannounced, for a Christmas vacation with the Griswolds, Clark opens his family’s home and heart to them, no questions asked. Eddie even parks his RV in front of Clark’s home, obscuring his holiday decorations and emptying his “sh—er” on the front lawn for the neighbors to see. But no matter to Clark, who knows taking in those less fortunate, accepting your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to find a good sewer for their RV waste, is how America became so diverse.


9. He gives great quotes

Christmas Clark Griswold
Warner Bros.

Seriously, the man is a quote machine. Time and again he seems to have the right words for the right situation, giving the kinds of epic speeches that summarize any situation, no matter how outrageous or dire. The job of POTUS is extremely stressful, but voters can rest assured that Griswold will know what to say. You have to admit, under duress he does have a way with words.


10. He’s tech savvy

Clark just has a natural feel for machines. And as we become more attached to our devices we’ll need someone who’s gadget friendly and can continue to help our country evolve technologically. Plus, with a growing population there’ll be a greater strain on the energy supply. And while no one will confuse him with Elon Musk any time soon, someone like Clark Griswold who can work green with an eye toward reducing our energy consumption would be ideal.

Watch National Lampoon’s Vacation this weekend on IFC.

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Shut Up and Dance

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Footloose

Get on the dance floor with Footloose during IFC's '80s Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection

The 1984 classic Footloose gave us a tale of disgruntled teenagers, a Kenny Loggins powerhouse hit and kicked off the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. We all remember Bacon’s moves and the soundtrack, rife with karaoke power ballads, but as you tune in to Footloose during IFC’s ’80s Weekend, here’s a few fun things you might not have known.

1. It Was Based on a True Story.

Footloose cast
Paramount Pictures

Footloose‘s Bomont is loosely based on Elmore City, a town in Oklahoma known for the saying “If the South is the Bible belt, then we are the buckle.” Dancing really was outlawed, until the juniors at the local high school asked to allow dancing at their prom. Kevin Bacon’s character Ren McCormack was based on Leonard Coffee and Rex Kennedy, leaders in the pro-dance movement. Though they were probably less dreamy and “footloose.”


2. The Real Town Reverend Also Hated Dancing.

Footloose Dance Your Ass Off
Paramount Pictures

Though the high schoolers were very polite in their request, they were met with some stern disapproval. The town reverend F.R. Johnson said “No good has ever come from a dance,” and that it would cause a “surge in pregnancies at the school.” One citizen was fearful “because when boys and girls breathe in each other’s ears, that’s the next step.” Whatever dance that involves heavy breathing into your partner’s ears should stay outlawed.


3. Footloose and Fame have a connection.

Footloose Dance
Paramount Pictures

Dean Pitchford wrote the lyrics to Fame and won an Oscar for his efforts. When Pitchford heard the story of Elmore, he knew he had to do bring it to the big screen. The fact that he only wrote lyrics and had never written a screenplay was no impediment. He even traveled to Elmore to get the feel of the locals, which was easy once he found the town. It was so small, he actually drove through it without realizing he’d passed it until he got to a “You’re Now Leaving Elmore” sign.


4. The Tractor Chicken Scene Was Pure Fiction.

Footloose Tractor
Paramount Pictures

Generally, residents of Elmore found the movie to be fairly accurate, though with a little Hollywood exaggeration. When asked if they ever played chicken with tractors Mary Ann Temple-Lee, the inspiration for Ariel, said “You’ve got to be kidding. Our dads would’ve killed us. The tractors are like $100,000 and a major part of the family income!” The scene is less fun knowing that $200,000 of equipment and a poor farmers livelihood are being thrown away for an overblown penis measuring contest.


5. Tom Cruise Almost Played Ren.

Risky Business
Warner Bros.

Tom’s famouse underwear dance scene scored him consideration for the Footloose lead. But Kevin Bacon can thank All the Right Moves for helping him score the role of Ren, since Cruise had to pass on Footloose to film the football flick.


6. Kevin Bacon had four dance doubles.

Footloose Kevin Bacon
Paramount Pictures

Bacon told People that he was “furious” about having gymnastics and dance doubles perform the tricky flips and other moves during his famous dance sequence. While most of the moves are pure Bacon, the actor remembers, “I had a stunt double, a dance double and two gymnastics doubles. There were five of us in the f—ing outfit, and I felt horrible.”


7. It Spawned a Successful Broadway Musical.

Footloose Musical
Richard Rodgers Theater

Footloose opened on Broadway in 1998 and ran for two years, with many national tours and UK productions. Dean Pitchford wrote the book and lyrics of the show which featured all the pop hits of the soundtrack with a few originals. If you’re dying to see Footloose on stage, you don’t need to go to Broadway — it’s in the top 20 most produced high school musicals. So, run down to your local school to watch two teenagers awkwardly sing “Almost Paradise.”


8. Chris Penn Really Couldn’t Dance.

The montage where Ren teaches Willard Hewitt (Chris Penn) to dance was added because Chris Penn really, as the Genesis song goes, could not dance at all. Penn had such a hard time, the crew started to describe dance moves in wrestling terms. Being a former wrestler, he eventually caught on.


9. The Parents Were Barely Older than the Kids.

Footloose Dianne Wiest
Paramount Pictures

Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow play Ariel’s extremely strict, old-fashioned parents. In reality, Dianne Wiest was only nine years older than Ariel (Lori Singer) at the time and John Lithgow was 12 years older. Somehow it’s not hard to imagine a 12-year-old Lithgow as a pretty intimidating figure, so it all works out.


10. Daryl Hannah Almost Played Ariel.

Daryl Hannah Splash
Touchstone Pictures

Jennifer Jason Leigh, Melanie Griffith, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Ryan and pretty much every other actress in Hollywood during the ’80s were considered for the role of Ariel. Daryl Hannah was offered the part, but turned it down to star opposite Tom Hanks in Splash. In hindsight it’s pretty odd that she turned down the part that shares a name with a mermaid to play a mermaid.

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Friday the 13th Part VII The New Blood

Friday Night Frights

Every Friday the 13th Movie Ranked

Catch a Friday the 13th movie marathon to kick off IFC's '80s Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection

The Friday the 13th movies have been a part of pop culture for as long as many of us have been alive. And yet, how many can really distinguish the movies themselves from each other? More than any other franchise, the Jason flicks all seem to blur together into a bloody stew of decapitated heads and cavorting teens. Still, there are some gems among the carnage. To celebrate IFC’s Friday the 13th marathon kicking off ’80s Weekend, we thought we’d take a look back at the franchise as a whole, and rank which ones warrant a repeat viewing, and which should get the sharp end of a machete.

12. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th Part III
Paramount Pictures

First, let’s address the 3D elephant in the room. The powers that be behind Friday the 13th Part III knew they needed something big to lure audiences back to Crystal Lake, and so, as was seemingly required of threequels back in the ’80s, the filmmakers slapped some cheap looking 3D effects up on the screen and hoped for the best.

The thing is, while the 3D is hokey, it’s probably the best thing about this tired third outing. Director Steve Miner had brought a fresh take to the previous film in the franchise, the aptly named Friday the 13th Part II, but he seems to have hit a wall here, simply rehashing the same style and story from his last outing. The best moments, in fact, are the bananas 3D kills, like Jason squeezing a victim’s head until his eyeball pops out.

But most of the effects are cheap to the point of laughable. We’re talking visible strings, people. If there’s one word to describe this third entry in the franchise, it’s bland, and that isn’t going to fly in a series defined by over-the-top gore. If it weren’t for the fact that Jason’s iconic hockey mask made its debut here, this would be a completely forgettable outing from start to finish.


11. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Jason Goes to Hell
New Line Cinema

Friday flicks have the bad habit of billing themselves as the “final” chapter, only to return a year later with a cheaper budget, and a goofier premise. Still, this “Final Friday” stands out as the weakest of the lot, mainly because Jason barely appears in it. Instead, his spirit hops from body to body, like Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap, but with some serious bloodlust.

The rules never make sense, even by the loose standards of this franchise, so we’re left with a confusing journey full of magical daggers and family prophecies. Throw in a cheap Halloween nod (or yet another rip-off), when we learn that the final would-be victim also happens to be Jason’s long lost sister, and you’ve got a franchise running of fumes. When the best moment of the movie happens in the final seconds, as Freddy Krueger’s claw bursts from the ground and drag’s Jason’s mask to Hell (setting up a Freddy Vs. Jason crossover that took a decade to actually happen), you know you have a movie that’s just treading bloody water.


10. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Jason Manhattan
Paramount Pictures

When you bill a movie as Jason in the Big Apple, only to spend the majority of the runtime cruising down a presumably much cheaper to shoot on river, the audience is going feel like it was taken for a ride, literally and figuratively. Still, while Jason Takes Manhattan is often thought of as the worst Friday movie, it has some goofy thrills that at least make it good for a laugh.

A rooftop fight scene, where a boxer tries to take the fight to our campground killer, is hilarious, thanks to a head spinning climax. And the laughably poor New York sets, that seem to compromise one city block and a few Canadian actors, make for a fun “Midnight Movie” vibe. This is an awful movie, from start to finish, but at least it isn’t boring.


9. Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th reboot
New Line Cinema

The early ’00s saw a rash of horror remakes from the good people at Platinum Dunes. Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and, of course, Friday the 13th. None worked particularly well, but at least Nightmare and Halloween tried to establish their own voice. Friday was just a bland rehash, with a slightly higher production value than the bare bones effort of the ’80s and ’90s. There are some fun kills to be sure. Veronica Mars and Party Down star Ryan Hansen gets a particularly absurd death that almost warrants one more entry in the franchise. Almost.


8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

Friday the 13th New Beginning
Paramount Pictures

Yet another Friday the 13th movie that forgets to, you know, have Jason in it, the big twist here is that the grieving father of a murdered boy is the one doing the killing. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that was the plot of the first Friday the 13th. Not only does this movie skimp on the supernatural slaughter from that Voorhees fella, it also manages to rip off its own franchise in the process.

Yes, there are some fun kills, and loads of wacky sex comedy (hey, it was the mid-’80s), but the feeble attempt to set up a new killer — first with that deadly daddy, and then with Tommy Jarvis, an adult version of the Corey Feldman character introduced in the previous entry — falls flat twice.


7. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Friday the 13th New Blood
Paramount Pictures

New Blood is notable for one very special (and very ridiculous) reason. Instead of the typical bevy of nubile teens that are usually served up for Jason’s machete, this movie introduces a telekinetic girl with a serious chip on her shoulder. The plot is confusing, the super-powered storyline self-serious, and the final showdown not as epic as it should have been. But still…telekinesis!

Unfortunately, this movie has some of the weakest kills in the series, thanks to a last minute decision to cut down the gore to secure a R-rating. In a series based on gratuitous violence, skipping over the bloody bits is like trying to slice and dice a couple having sex with one arm tied behind your back.


6. Jason X (2001)

Friday the 13th Jason X
New Line Cinema

After the confusing misfire that was Jason Goes to Hell, it was only natural that a franchise largely centered around the murderous shenanigans of a particular summer camp would jump hundreds of years in the future, and into outer space. Wait, what?

Trying desperately for a fresh spin on a tired formula, the filmmakers behind Jason X made a truly awful movie, which is incredibly entertaining in spite of itself. Essentially a riff on Alien by a group of filmmakers who have never seen Alien, the story centers around a rugged crew trapped on a spaceship with none other than Jason Voorhees.

There are some truly head scratching choices here, like an android whose nipple falls off and a futuristic update on Jason’s iconic hockey mask that makes him look like he’s auditioning for a Shaquille O’Neal movie. Still, this entry ends up being incredibly watchable thanks to its idiotic premise, and some laugh-out-loud nonsense, like a holodeck scene that sees our favorite camp killer beating the living hell out of two holographic topless campers. Gotta get the T&A in somehow.


5. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Friday the 13th Jason Lives
Paramount Pictures

A surprisingly effective entry in the aging franchise, Jason Lives seems to know what it is, and how to just have fun with it. The jokes fly, and are often funny. The movie finds Jason punching through a man’s heart, hiding in a Winnebago bathroom, and bringing a machete to a paint ball fight in a scene that devolves into straight up slapstick.

True blue horror fans might shun this Friday entry for its comedy chops, but this is one of the few movies in the series to have a purposeful tone, and achieve it. If only the filmmakers hadn’t, for some inexplicable reason, ditched the nudity that is a cornerstone of the series, this movie might be much higher up on the list. Let’s be honest, a Friday the 13th movie without gratuitous boobage is not a Friday the 13th movie we can fully endorse.


4. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Freddy V Jason
New Line Cinema

After the fan freak-out inducing final image of Jason Goes To Hell, it took another 10 years of development hell before we finally got to see Freddy and Jason face off on the big screen. And while this movie tends to veer more towards the Nightmare side of things, Jason gets his licks in too.

While, yet again, you can’t call this a good movie per se, it is one of the most entertaining flicks Jason’s ever appeared in. Freddy gets to deliver the one liners, dream logic shakes up the tired Friday formula, and Jason gets to be Jason without having to carry an entire movie on his weary shoulders.


3. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Friday the 13th The Final Chapter
Paramount Pictures

Corey Feldman as a creepy kid! Crispin Glover in the weirdest dance number this side of Can’t Buy Me Love! This movie couldn’t be more ’80s if Debbie Gibson did the soundtrack.

Probably the best directed entry of the original movies, this is a solid Friday the 13th movie from start to finish. It has decent performances, fun kills and an actual story arc for young Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), who’s slowly driven mad by his run-ins with the hockey mask wearing killer.

Sure, even this well made sequel can’t escape the schlocky charms of the franchise. There are flashbacks galore here, including an unprecedented flashback within a flashback, that seem more a result of lazy writing than an actual coherent vision. But all in all, this is a solid horror flick, even if it would lead to two inferior entries in the “Tommy Jarvis” trilogy that plagued the middle of the franchise.


2. Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th
Paramount Pictures

The first, and nearly the best, the original Friday the 13th somehow manages to be a classic without a single hockey mask in its runtime. While the movie centers on the usual slaughter of randy teens down at Crystal Lake, the twist here is that it’s Jason’s mother, a vengeful matriarch getting even for her son’s death, who’s doing all the killing. With some iconic deaths, none more so than a young, naked Kevin Bacon taking an arrow through the throat, this movie set the sturdy foundation that the franchise was built upon.


1. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 2
Paramount Pictures

The Friday the 13th movies were guilty pleasures for many of us growing up. They were the movies we weren’t allowed to watch. The ones that gave us nightmares long after we’d forgotten which one was which. Still, when you look at the franchise as a whole, there aren’t a lot of high points. Compared to the sarcastic lunacy of the Nightmare movies, or the stripped down terror of the Halloween franchise, the Friday the 13th movies feel like a mishmash of boobs and blood in search of a compelling story.

The second film in the franchise, which established Jason as a monstrous murderer behind a mask, is probably the most coherent film in the series. It has leads with actual points of view, and a spooky final act in which one of them is forced to play house with Jason, pretending to be his long dead mother. Sure, the filmmakers here knocked off the Halloween franchise pretty blatantly in an attempt to find a formula they could repeat after killing the main bad gal of the first film, but it somehow works, making for an entertaining bit of blood soaked fluff.

Kick off ’80s weekend with a Friday the 13th movie marathon on IFC.

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