DID YOU READ

“Everything Must Go,” Reviewed

“Everything Must Go,” Reviewed (photo)

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There is a scene in every Will Ferrell movie where Ferrell’s character hits rock bottom and all the puffed-up narcissism gets stripped away to reveal the pathetic loser underneath. Ron Burgundy gets fired, grows a beard, and drinks milk in the hot San Diego sun. Ricky Bobby loses his wife to his best friend, becomes terrified of his race car, and watches a French driver replace him as NASCAR’s hottest star. Brennan Huff is forced to get a job, wear a tie, and plan the largest helicopter leasing event in the Western hemisphere. Ferrell’s new movie, “Everything Must Go,” is that scene stretched out to feature length. In one terrible day, Ferrell’s Nick Halsey gets fired from his job, left by his wife, and locked out of his house. With no money — his wife has cancelled his credit cards and frozen their joint bank account — and nowhere to go, he reacquaints himself with his alcoholism and hangs out on his lawn, where his wife has dumped all his earthly possessions.

All the earlier Ferrell movies I mentioned above were comedies. “Everything Must Go” is certainly funny, but it’s more a sensitive drama with the occasional jolt of humor by Ferrell, who’s playing a man a lot closer to the “I drive a Dodge Stratus!” dude than Robert Goulet. The biggest joke in the movie isn’t a joke at all, it’s a simple, wordless look Ferrell gives to another man after he’s been caught with his pants down. That single look really sums up what sort of film “Everything Must Go” is in a nutshell: quiet and knowing.

I do not subscribe to the theory that drama is more valuable than comedy, or that quote-unquote serious actors are more important than comedic ones. As a well-established Ferrell apologist, I would be quite content to watch him do bread-and-butter broad comedies until the end of time, and to be perfectly honest if he’s going to make me cry, I’d rather he was doing it by making me laugh so hard that I can’t breathe. But nevertheless, Ferrell gives a very good performance here, sad without being saccharine and never showy in that “Look at me! I’m an actor now!” sort of way. I hope we don’t lose Papa Burgundy. But I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Nick Halsey occasionally as well.

Halsey’s neighbors aren’t too keen to watch a guy drink himself into oblivion on his front lawn, but fortunately for Nick his AA sponsor Frank (Michael Peña) works for the local police department. He finds a loophole in the law that says anyone can operate a yard sale for five straight days before the police can shut them down. Which means Nick now has five days to get rid of the crap on his lawn, get himself together, and find something to do with his life. With no car, no phone, and no house that won’t be easy.

Besides Frank, Nick’s only human connections are two other lonely members of the Phoenix suburbs. There’s Samantha (Rebecca Hall), a pregnant woman who’s moved out West without her husband to get their house in order while he finishes up some business back in New York City. And then there’s Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace, son of the Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans), who’s alone all day while his mother works as a nurse. You might think you know what to expect from these relationships, but the screenplay by first-time director Dan Rush from a short story by Raymond Carver, might surprise you.

There are some exchanges in “Everything Must Go” that are big and dramatic in a way that feels more like beats from a screenwriting manual than conversations pulled from real life; we definitely didn’t need to hear Nick scream “I’m no different than any of you, I just don’t hide in my house!” to his neighbors, for example. The movie works much better in minor keys, letting Ferrell plaintively riff on his established persona while bouncing off his fine supporting cast. The finest sequence is perhaps the least consequential to the narrative. Nick finds a sweet dedication in his high school yearbook and seeks out the woman who wrote it. The friend, a single mother who lives nearby, is played wonderfully by Laura Dern. Their scene, about life’s adventures and disappointments, is awkward and tender and beautifully melancholy.

Dern’s character says that good without bad ain’t no good at all. So perhaps “Everything Must Go”‘s minor flaws serve to accentuate just how precise and moving the rest of it is. It begins where most Will Ferrell movies end. It could be the beginning of a whole new phase of his career.

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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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