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“Spanking The Monkey” And Other Movies Not To Watch With Your Mom

“Spanking The Monkey” And Other Movies Not To Watch With Your Mom (photo)

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Tonight at 12:15 p.m. ET we are showing the brilliantly twisted or, shall we say, slightly off, comedy “Spanking the Monkey”. Directed by David O. Russell and starring Jeremy Davies (of “Lost” and “Justified” fame) the movie tells the tale of a very close relationship between an invalid mother and her son who is home from college to help while she recuperates. Locked in the house things take a turn for the uncomfortable that has the audience squirming. Woe be the child watching this movie with mom and dad. This got us thinking about those films that take a normal night at the movies and elevates it to traumatizing by virtue of being viewed in front of your parents, or worse, grandparents. Here is a list of movies to avoid watching when home for the holidays:

First up, “Spanking the Monkey” (dir. David O. Russell):

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (dir. Nicholas Stoller): We love our patron saint Judd Apatow, but would we want to sit next to our parents while watching full frontal Jason Segel? No we would not.

“Happiness” (dir. Todd Solondz): With a name like “Happiness” how could this not be a sweet family film? In short, it’s not. Ranging from divorce to misery to sexual abuse to budding sexuality this black comedy is a brilliant film that should be watched a minimum of two states away from your parents:

“Borat” (dir. Larry Charles): A Khazakstani film about life in America? Sounds like a funny way to spend an afternoon with the ‘rents, right? All depends on how funny they find naked male wrestling:

“Jerry Maguire” (dir. Cameron Crowe): You think it’s a nice movie about a sports agent perfect for a Sunday afternoon with your dad …and then comes a 15 minute sex scene. You’ve been warned.

“Black Swan” (dir. Darren Aronofsky): Thinking about taking your mom to see an Oscar-winning film starring that nice Natalie Portman? Think again. From severe mommy issues to NSFW scenes, this movie will have you squirming in your seat for more reasons than just the dramatic tension if you’re sitting next to mom.

“Kids” (dir. Larry Clark): What could sound more family friendly than a movie called “Kids”? The title makes it seem like a lesser known Pixar production perfect for family movie night. The story of these city kids will fill your parents’ hearts with horror and make them start questioning what you did during that last year of high school and demand to know when you took your last HIV test.

“Eyes Wide Shut” (dir. Stanley Kubrick): There is no good reason you would ever stumble into this movie with your parents. It’s Kubrick for crying out loud! Not exactly known for his family friendly fare, but maybe you walked in the wrong theater or the wrong disc came from Netflix and you decide to go for it? Don’t. Grandma will cut you out of the will if you show her anonymous, culty sex scenes.

“Spanking the Monkey” airs on IFC at 12:15 a.m. ET

Photo via Creative Commons by daveynin. Thanks!

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

What to Watch on IFC: April 11 – 17

What to Watch on IFC: April 11 – 17 (photo)

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April showers are the perfect excuse to stay inside and watch more television.

Here’s what to watch this week on IFC:

Monday

Watch Guy Pearce in John Hillcoat’s cinematic adaptation of rockstar and novelist Nick Cave’s screenplay, “The Proposition” at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Tuesday

Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! Freaks and Geeks! At 10 p.m. ET

Wednesday

Rob Zombie’s “The Devil Rejects” airs at 7:45 p.m. ET so you can watch with your kids. Ha ha, don’t do that unless you have lots of money to spend on therapy. Seriously, don’t.

Thursday

It’s family movie night when David O. Russell’s “Spanking the Monkey” airs at 12:15 a.m. ET. If the whole family can’t make it, make sure to at least watch with your mom.

Friday

Clear your schedule, cancel your plans, because at 10:30 p.m. ET it is the much-anticipated return of the Whitest Kids U’Know for their fifth and final season. This season promises to be a wacky wacky fun fest where the guys get so wild they even take a trip to the old folks home:

Saturday

Have you watched “The Heroic Trio” yet? It’s on at 6 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. so it can either wrap up your night or nurse your hangover. You have no excuse! Go watch.

Sunday

Spend Sunday with “The Aviator” at 7:30 p.m. ET. Martin Scorsese’s cinematic depiction of Howard Hughes features Leonardo DiCaprio as the millionaire with a dream along with a star-studded cast of John C. Reilly, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Ian Holm, Frances Conroy and Gwen Stefani.

Bill Maher Finds Religion in “Religulous”

Bill Maher Finds Religion in “Religulous” (photo)

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Comedians will argue about anything: Nuts on sundaes, dogs on leashes, people riding the bus, dermatologists. But there is no arguing with faith, right? Wrong! From Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” to Louis CK to Mel Brooks and countless comics in between, faith has been the cornerstone of many a routine, much to the chagrin of the church and the faithful. Now comes the comedian and outspoken nonbeliever, Bill Maher, who has made a name for himself ticking people off while making them laugh on “Politically Incorrect.” In “Religulous”, Bill Maher travels the globe interviewing various subjects about God and religion. Directed by “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” director Larry Charles, Maher travels the world, interviewing Christians, Jews and Muslims in this irreverently funny documentary. The film airs on Sunday (of course) at 8:45 p.m. ET. Tune in and decide for yourself whether you are willing to laugh about religion, or just leave it to the professionals.

“Religulous” airs on Sunday at 8:45 p.m. ET

A Spirited Q & A With “Life During Wartime” Actress Allison Janney

A Spirited Q & A With “Life During Wartime” Actress Allison Janney (photo)

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As a way of celebrating this year’s nominees for the Spirit Awards in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, we reached out to as many as we could in an effort to better understand what went into their films, what they’ve gotten out of the experience, and where they’ve found their inspiration, both in regards to their work and other works of art that might’ve inspired them from the past year. Their answers will be published on a daily basis throughout February.

“You know what I like about you? You’re so normal!” Allison Janney exclaims in her first line in “Life During Wartime.” It’s a funny line on many levels, first because it appears in a Todd Solondz film where questioning what normal is merely is par for the course — after all, if things were normal, there wouldn’t be much of a film — and then as uttered by Janney’s Trish in front of her soon-to-be-husband (Michael Lerner) for lunch, it takes on that breezy, yet clearly exasperated tone that makes you instantly empathize with her, even if it suggests she’s clearly in over her head.

With that rare ability for toeing the line between drama and comedy, it’s a wonder why it took so long for Janney and Solondz to work together, but it’s clear that Solondz relished the opportunity to work with her since he expands the same role occupied by Cynthia Stevenson in “Happiness” to arguably serve as the film’s central character. If you were to argue otherwise, you could simply say Janney pulls everyone else into her orbit as Trish, the harried housewife whose husband turned out to be a pedophile and projects a sunny disposition for her son to avoid confusion on his part but ultimately brings it upon herself.

It’s a considerably tricky role, even if it didn’t involve unbridled and unwieldy scene of simulated lovemaking or another scene in which she’s forced to confront her young son when he calls her a “bitch” after he discovers his father isn’t dead as Trish has told him. And Janney rises to the challenge with one of her finest performances to date, which is saying something, that is every bit as emotionally complex as Solondz’s largely ambiguous work demands. Indeed, “Life During Wartime” can indeed be hell, but watching Janney’s beatific expressions as Trish wrestles with the possibility of hope after years of dissatisfaction and disappointment is pure heaven.

Why did you want to make this film?

I have always admired Todd Solondz’s work and I’ve tried to work with him for many years. Finally for “Life During Wartime,” the timing was right and I jumped at the chance. I am a huge fan of the film “Happiness” and thought the idea of continuing the story with different actors was an interesting challenge; one that I was gladly up for.

What was the toughest thing to overcome, whether it applies to a particular scene or the film as a whole?

Hmm….negotiating the choreography of the sex scene.

What’s been the most gratifying thing to come out of this film for you personally?

It certainly feels great to be recognized by festivals and groups around the world including Film Independent for this film. It is gratifying to be received so kindly…to know that you’ve put in the hard work, the emotional effort and that someone appreciates that effort.

Your favorite film, book or album from the past year?

My favorite books have been “The Millennium Trilogy” – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” As for films, there were some terrific performances in “The Fighter” and “The King’s Speech” that I am excited about right now.

“Life During Wartime” is currently unavailable on DVD, but airing on Showtime and The Movie Channel. The Spirit Awards will air on IFC on February 26th.

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