In most movies, last billing is reserved for big actors making a small contribution to a film — “Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie… And Guy Pearce” in “The Hurt Locker.” In “Beginners,” last billing goes to Cosmo, the small Jack Russell terrier who makes a big impact on Oliver (Ewan McGregor) after he inherits him from his dead father. As Oliver struggles with his grief over his father’s death, he also struggles with this new companion, who constantly stares at him through intense, soulful eyes.
As most people do when they’re alone with a dog, Oliver starts to have conversations with Arthur. As few dogs do when they’re spoken to by a human, Arthur speaks back via very articulate subtitles (i.e. “Tell her the darkness is about to drown us unless something drastic happens right now.”). They’re funny at first and then actually kind of moving, in part because of the amazing performance from little Cosmo. During my interview with Ewan McGregor last week at the “Beginners” junket, I asked him about Cosmo’s performance and the secrets to acting opposite a canine (spoiler alert: multiple dogs!):
Who’s the greatest dog actor of all time? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!
Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is out on shelves both physical and digital, and the book tour kicked off with a Q&A session for fans at the metal bar Saint Vitus in Brooklyn. Questlove from The Roots and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon joined the Portlandia star on stage to moderate a conversation before a huddled crowd holding their plastic cups filled with draft IPA. “It’s familiar to both of us,” Brownstein joked. “There’s no bathroom backstage…it’s very humbling.”
From Madonna to Portlandia, check out some highlights from the Brownstein-Questlove extravaganza.
1. Carrie and Questlove Are Now BFFs
After the Portlandia funny gal read a passage from the book, which follows her life in music with the band Sleater-Kinney, Questlove remarked how surprised he was to hear he would be accompanying her for this event. “I don’t know if growing up we’d be best friends, but I know that we’re the same person,” he said. As proof that they would totally be Bffs, Brownstein continued to say how the first thing they bonded over backstage was the TV series The Affair, which she said is so unrealistic because both stars are British. “Half of The Wire is British,” Questlove said.
2. She Has a Major Madonna Obsession
Some of the topics discussed were Brownstein’s band experience, absorbing feminism through punk rock, taping pictures of Dennis Quaid and Mel Gibson to her wall, and — more impactful — her obsession with Madonna. “I remember sitting on my bed and crying because I’d never be friends with Madonna,” she said of her 10-year-old self. Brownstein still hasn’t met her, though Questlove only hesitated a moment before bragging about how the “Material Girl” is “kinda” his manager. Guess we know what to get Carrie for her birthday.
3. She Went Incognito at Traffic Class
You know that traffic class you have to take after you get a ticket? No? Well, Brownstein does, because she had to take one. Not only that, but she took it just after the season 2 premiere of Portlandia. As she said, this wasn’t even season 1 when most people didn’t know her name. She was quite recognizable at this point, so to ward off unwanted attention at driver’s ed she tried to disguise herself as best she could.
4. Music Is Her Lifeline
Things got a bit real when Questlove asked Brownstein whether she would be okay with the possibility of her acting career overshadowing her musical endeavors. He likened the subject to how most people recognize him as “Jimmy Fallon’s drummer” instead of everything else he does with The Roots or his writing. The short answer is yes. She said she wouldn’t do anything creative — music or otherwise — if she didn’t want her named associated with it. That said, music has and always will be her “lifeline.”
5. Shocker! She’s Not a Ben Carson Fan
Things got even more real when a fan asked a question about politics. Brownstein said that the fact that Ben Carson, and many other presidential candidates, came out against abortion and Planned Parenthood is “madness” and also shared her thoughts on racism and police brutality. She also noted “a collective voice of dissent” and “people starting to be more connected,” especially on social media. To lighten the mood, Carrie then joked, “Let’s have another clothing question.”
Let’s face it: sex is innately funny. Body parts squishing together is always a recipe for potential awkwardness. So it’s only natural that Hollywood has mined the beast with two backs for comedy since the mid-1950s. With Gigi getting her groove back on this week’s Gigi Does It, we thought we’d spotlight the 10 most hilariously awkward sex comedies ever lensed, from scifi parodies to touching teen romances.
Set in the 1950s, Bob Clark’s 1981 hit comedy follows a group of high school kids who want to lose their virginity, and travel to a nightclub in the Florida Everglades to do it. This kicks off a string of comical events that includes a “peeping on the girls locker room” scene that has been endlessly homaged and parodied. Porky’s was a massive critical flop on release, but thanks to VHS and cable airings it became a sweaty ’80s classic.
9. The Virginity Hit
The 2010 comedy The Virginity Hit takes the found footage approach from flicks like Paranormal Activity and transplants it into the much scarier world of high school sex and YouTube humiliation. This underrated movie laid the groundwork for a potential “third wave” of sex comedies.
8. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
Woody Allen took a bestselling advice book and transformed it into this episodic comedy that cast a baleful eye on sex in the Free Love decade. The stellar cast (Gene Wilder! Burt Reynolds! Lynn Redgrave!) deliver some of the bits that rank among the best in Allen’s career. The rapid-fire pace lets The Woodman touch on all manner of sexual deviancy, and the movie’s climax — in which the director plays a sperm getting ready to blast off into the throes of orgasm – is one of cinema’s most iconic moments.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have never shied away from getting explicit, and their NC-17 sex comedy was an early taste of the duo’s outrageous humor. A young Mormon missionary comes to Los Angeles to try and save souls and winds up getting hired to star in a superhero-themed porno. When his costar invents a ray gun that gives people orgasms, all Hell (and hilarity) breaks loose.
This Judd Apatow-produced hit brought teen comedies into the age of the overshare with its mix of teenage awkwardness, uproarious gags and a healthy bromance between leads Michael Cera and Jonah Hill.
5. American Pie
The second great era of sex comedies kicked off in 1999 with this remarkably ribald ensenble flick about a quartet of friends trying to lose their virginity before they graduate high school. American Pie takes its name from the scene where Jason Biggs gets caught in a compromising position with some pastry, but the movie has multiple unforgettable bits, particularly Alyson Hannigan’s reverie about band camp.
4. There’s Something About Mary
The Farrelly Brothers cemented their position as a comedic powerhouse with this still hilarious Ben Stiller/Cameron Diaz rom com. Rarely has a film that involves testicular injury and unfortunate choices in hair gel been so sweet.
3. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Judd Apatow proved that sex comedies aren’t just for teens with his breakthrough big screen comedy which cast Steve Carell as the titular middle-aged virgin. Although there’s plenty of erotic tomfoolery in this flick, it’s the real sense of heart and emotional consequence that makes it a classic.
2. The Girl Next Door
The normalization of pornography has drastically changed the way we think about sex, and 2004’s The Girl Next Door wrings tons of laughs from what happens when dirty movies hit a little too close to home. Elisha Cuthbert is the not-so-innocent girl next door who helps Emile Hirsch find new purpose in his life. A surprisingly dark and high-quality outing for a film that was marketed as “American Porn.”
1. The Graduate
Single-handedly responsible for introducing the concept of the “MILF” to American culture, Mike Nichols’ 1967 comedy features genre-defining performances from Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft as a recent college graduate and the older woman he hooks up with. Sex is integral to The Graduate‘s plot and premise — it’s the fulcrum of the emotional conflict, not just thrown in for titillation, making for one of the best comedies of all time.
Catch a Resident Evil movie marathon Saturday, November 28th during IFC's Sweatsgiving.
Posted by Luke McKinney on Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection
Resident Evil is the sort of action franchise that’ll crash a motorbike through a stained glass window just to explode some zombies in awesome fashion. But how well do you know Alice’s adventures against the undead? Before you catch IFC’s Resident Evil Sweatsgiving Marathon, take the quiz below and prove once and for all that you’re the ultimate Resident Evil movie fan.
Writer/actor/rocker Carrie Brownstein recently added another credit to her poly-hyphenated resume: autobiographer. The Portlandia star and Sleater-Kinney musician penned Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, a memoir covering her years playing gigs, writing comedy, and producing a sketch show with cohort Fred Armisen.
Brownstein shared an excerpt from her memoir with The New Yorker that details her complicated relationship with her father, his coming to terms with his homosexuality, and how it led up to him coming out to Brownstein in 1988. A compelling and moving read, the essay is highlighted by the final passage wherein her father opened up to her grandmother and the life lesson Brownstein learned by her tragic response.
When my father came out to his mom, my grandmother said, “You waited for your father to die, why couldn’t you have waited for me to die?” I knew then that I never want to contribute to the corrosiveness of wanting someone to stay hidden. Despite all my initial conflicts about trying to reconcile the father I had as a child to the one I have now, I am thankful that he is happy, that he did not waste another second. Now there is someone to know.