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Music On The Silver Screen: Three Rock Docs To Watch

Music On The Silver Screen: Three Rock Docs To Watch (photo)

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While some songs suggests they’d “like to teach the world to sing”, the sad truth is that much of the world is tone deaf. We couldn’t write hit songs if our lives depended on it. We may not be able to even hum “It’s A Grand Old Flag” in key, let alone sing karaoke without humiliating ourselves. So instead of damaging the eardrums of those around us, we buy records and idolize musicians. However, save for autograph signings, impersonal if awesome videos, and concerts, there aren’t that many opportunities to get up close and personal with our idols. Then every few years comes a great documentary that shows our favorite bands in a unique light and makes us want to go buy their entire discography. Again. Currently there are some great documentaries available that give a peek into the lives of the musicians we love. Here are three to watch:

“Take One: Swedish House Mafia”

The world of superstar DJs is not something to which most of us have access. Luckily there are documentaries to introduce us civilians to the wonderfully strange world of wildly successful DJs who travel the world in private planes with half-dressed female fans thrown in their paths, exotic car collections, and stadium gigs filled to the rafters with avid fist-pumping crowds. “Take One” follows a trio of Swedish DJs Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell– collectively known as the Swedish House Mafia — as they live the dance music dream. One of the most interesting parts of the film comes when the audience can see the DJs in action, creating the hook for their track with Pharrell, “One (Your Name)”. Directed by Christian Larson, who shot the doc in black and white, the 45-minute film is a fascinating look at a career that was definitely not mentioned in my version of “What Color Is Your Parachute.”

The film is available for purchase on iTunes.

“Color Me Obsessed”

Directed by Gorman Bechard this documentary looks at what the director considers the last best band, The Replacements. Bechard is not alone in this belief, and he gathered fans from near and far, including The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, Craig Finn from The Hold Steady, Dave Foley, Lori Barbero of Babes In Toyland, critic Robert Christgau, producer Steve Albini, Grant Hart and Greg Norton from Hüsker Dü, and even this writer (yeah, me) to prove his point that The Replacements are often overlooked, underappreciated, and wildly influential. While at first it seems odd (or infuriating) that the movie doesn’t interview any of the members of The Replacements or feature any of the band’s songs, you soon get swept into the world of the fans. It’s like you wandered into a bar filled with Mats devotees and proceed to have the most sincere conversation about music, fandom, and the most lovable rock and roll fuckups ever.

The movie is in the festival circuit right now (head to ColorMeObsessed.com for details). Fingers crossed that it gets a distributor soon.

“New Garage Explosion: In Love With These Times”

From the filmmakers at Vice comes a look at the gritty, grungy world of garage rock. The documentary, made by VBS directors Joseph Patel and Aaron Brown with producer/journalist Mike McGonigal, kicks off with a look at the humble beginnings of the genre among kids in Detroit in the 1960s. The film then does a quick survey of the lasting influence of garage rock on ’80s punk, but the main thrust is the modern day scene. And what a scene it is: Notable acts included in the film are the late Jay Reatard, Black Lips, The Gories, The Clean, The Dirtbombs, Magic Kids, Golden Triangle, Smith Westerns, Vivian Girls and more. The documentary offers up intimate profiles of the artists working their asses off to make the garage scene and is a must see for music fans of any genre.

While this look at garage rock has been out since November, and available on YouTube for at least a month, the show has hit the road and is doing screenings in actual movie theaters. A movie this good deserves better than watching concurrent parts on YouTube, so head here for screening info

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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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