DID YOU READ

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver Separate

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver Separate (photo)

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All right, let’s get all the lame jokes out of the way first. No, they might not be back. Yes, we can consider that a divorce. Jeez, I thought that Sad Arnold site was just a clever goof. Did the guy who built it have some insider info or something?

The Los Angeles Times reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have separated after 25 years of marriage. In a statement the coupled provided to The Times, they said:

“This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us. After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship. We are continuing to parent our four children together. They are the light and the center of both of our lives. We consider this a private matter and neither we nor any of our friends or family will have further comment. We ask for compassion and respect from the media and the public.”

Normally, I wouldn’t post something about a story like this, even with my well-established obsession with all things Arnold. But this is a major development in Schwarzenegger’s dramatic return to Hollywood. After the couple married in 1986, Schwarzenegger credited Shriver with helping him broaden his acting choices beyond the so-called “genocide-flicks” that were his bread and butter through the mid-1980s. In 1990, right around the time Shriver’s influence was becoming evident in movies like “Kindergarten Cop,” Schwarzenegger told Time‘s Richard Corliss, “Maria has very good instincts. She reads fast, she analyzes and — boom! — she has notes. Like an agent.” In fact, the “Kindergaten Cop” script was a Shriver discovery. According to Schwarzenegger on the film’s press tour, “[Maria] is instrumental in everything that I do… the script came to my home when I was in Mexico filming “Total Recall.” She told me that she loved it and that it would be the perfect family film for me to make. I agreed.”

Schwarzenegger’s marriage to Shriver, and the birth of their first daughter Katherine in 1989, had a major impact on his career. All of the action films he made before that time were about men separated from their families, a reflection of a personal filmmaking ethos that Schwarzenegger summed up in Playboy in 1988 by saying “In most action movies, women are in the way.” So Schwarzenegger played guys like “Raw Deal”‘s Mark Kaminsky, who fakes his death to get away from his drunken wife and go undercover in the mob, or “Commando”‘s John Matrix, who only goes on a kill spree after his daughter is kidnapped. Sometimes his characters had no private lives whatsoever, and their films were set far away from so-called civilized society in jungles, private islands, and futuristic prisons (where women couldn’t get in the way, you see).

After one last bachelor’s hurrah with “Total Recall” — a sci-fi fantasy in which a man remembers a past life as a secret agent, saves the world, and kills his wife so he can live happily ever after with a foxy prostitute — things changed quickly. “Kindergarten Cop,” “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” “Last Action Hero,” and “True Lies” all came between 1990 and 1994. Now the guy who once said “I have a love interest in every one of my films: a gun,” was playing opposite stronger female leads like Penelope Ann Miller, a newly buff Linda Hamilton, and especially Jamie Lee Curtis in “True Lies.” These women weren’t in the way: they were kicking ass right alongside their man.

These movies were mainstream entertainments, but for Schwarzenegger they were also deeply personal and oftentimes ambivalent reflections on his transition from killing machine to family man. The physical and emotional transformation Schwarzenegger’s John Kimble undergoes in “Kindergarten Cop,” from gun fetishizing supercop to warmhearted kindergarten teacher, was essentially the same transformation the star was undergoing in his private life. The fact that the transition wasn’t always easy — in many ways “True Lies” is a film about guy who is reluctant to let women in the homosocial world of superspies — is a big part of what made those movies so interesting.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver’s separation suggests that crucial voice guiding his choices and expanding his horizons is gone, at least for now. Does that mean he’ll go back to “genocide-flicks?” Maybe, although his first confirmed movie, “Cry Macho,” sounds like a project Shriver would have approved. Today’s news is an unfortunate development for the couple and their family, and a fascinating one for the actor’s fans. Because Schwarzenegger will be back in Hollywood. But the question still remains how exactly he’ll do it.

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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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