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Five more movie nightclubs we’d like to visit

Five more movie nightclubs we’d like to visit (photo)

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Last week, we told you about Silencio, David Lynch‘s new nightclub in Paris, based on a spot first featured in his 2001 film “Mulholland Drive.” Our excitement over this new venue got us thinking: what other fictional nightclubs deserve to be converted to real working establishments? Fertile ground for a list, says I.

So here we go. The list is entirely subjective and based on only one rule: no real places. Since this all started with a director taking a fantasy and making it a reality, this piece had to work the same way. Picking places that really existed would be cheating. Hence you won’t find 2001 Odyssey Disco from “Saturday Night Fever” below; it was an actual Brooklyn dance club (at 802 64th Street) spruced up with a little movie magic (the production brought in the signature light-up floor).

In one case, someone already has granted our wish and made one of these places. But it’s in Morocco, so for the time being, it’s going to remain a pipe dream. But that’s fine. If reality was exotic and exciting as the worlds depicted in these movies, we wouldn’t need to go to the movies in the first place. And now raise your glasses, for a toast to these great movie nightclubs.


Club Obi Wan
From “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)
Directed by Steven Spielberg

I love that this is a movie nightclub that operates entirely on movie logic. Kate Capshaw’s Willie Scott is doing her show in 1935 Shanghai, and then she steps inside that dragon’s mouth and suddenly we’re transported into “Gold Diggers of Indiana Jones.” Dozens of tap dancers on an enormous set of stairs, all performing inside this tiny dragon head, in a space that none of the audience in the nightclub can see. Truly, this is a place where anything goes. Plus, show up on the right night at Club Obi Wan (yes, we all get the reference George Lucas, thank you) and you might get to sit at the table over from Indy himself; maybe you could invite him over and then give him something very exciting on the Lazy Susan.


The Silver Sandal
From “Swing Time” (1936)
Directed by George Stevens

Here’s another hotspot from the 1930s, which was clearly the Golden Age of Movie Nightclubs. With America suffocating under the Great Depression, movies lured audiences with tales of decadent escapism, replete with impossibly opulent nightclubs. These places look so expensive you wonder if the star could even afford to drink there. There are a lot of super-cool 1930s movie nightclubs — “Hot Voodoo,” anyone? — but if I’ve got to pick just one, I give the nod to The Silver Sandal from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ “Swing Time.” It’s just so grand with that cavernous ballroom, enormous dance floor, swooping staircases, and iconic art deco design elements. Boozing it up in a tuxedo while you take in an evening’s entertainment by Astaire and Rogers? There isn’t a single way that’s not awesome.


The Cell Block
From “Cocktail” (1988)
Directed by Roger Donaldson

See, this one could only exist in the movies too. The Cell Block, a jail-themed dance hall where people pay a massive cover to… stand around quietly and listen to the bartender recite poetry? Hooooookay Hollywood screenwriters, whatever you say. Of course, the guy serving the verses and vodka is none other than Tom Cruise, and let’s face it: if you heard Cruise was tending bar in town, you’d show up. Plus, Cruise and Bryan Brown’s mixology floor show, complete with bottle tossing, hip shaking, terrible-looking Turquoise Blue drinks, is super cool. (admit it: you’ve tried to copy their moves at least once. C’mon, just fess up. We all have.) Of course it takes Cruise and Brown about ten minutes to make one drink, and they seem to be the only two bartenders serving a club with hundreds of customers. Wait, why do I want to go to this place again?


Rick’s Cafe Americain
From “Casablanca” (1942)
Directed by Michael Curtiz

Obvious? Yes. But how can I leave off the most famous gin joint in all the world?
Granted, having to share the space at the bar with Nazi officers is a major downside. But Rick’s Cafe Americain is the site for one of romantic movies ever made, and everyone, man or woman, who’s ever seen the film has fantasized about going there in 1942 and falling in love at the roulette wheel while Dooley Wilson’s Sam sings “As Time Goes By.” How many “beautiful friendships” have blossomed metaphorically at Rick’s, over date nights at the local repertory house? More than I can imagine; it is one of the signature locations in all of the movies. And, hey, if you do happen to find yourself in Morocco, be sure to visit Rick’s Cafe Casablanca, built in 2004 as a monument to Humphrey Bogart’s joint. It’s got a bar, a full menu, and, of course, a piano player. He takes requests.


Hot Traxx
From “Boogie Nights” (1997)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

It’s no 2001 Odyssey Disco, but it’ll do. Plus it has porn stars. Hot Traxx is the Odyssey-esque club that serves as the setting for the amazing opening to Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights.” Maybe it’s just the vibe bleeding off the endless long take that Anderson uses to capture the scene, but the place looks so freaking cool; the lighted floor, the stage, the Christmas lights hung throughout. Clearly Maurice (Luis Guzmán) has excellent taste, which is why folks like Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) like to hang out there. And since Rollergirl (Heather Graham) can wear her skates in there, you know their dress code policy is lax. Good atmosphere, good tunes, and you could do the hustle with John C. Reilly’s Reed Rothchild while Mark Wahlberg buses your dirty dishes. Sign me up.

What movie nightclub would you like to visit? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.