DID YOU READ

We wash our hands of the “Contagion” of spoiler trailers

We wash our hands of the “Contagion” of spoiler trailers (photo)

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On behalf of germophobes everywhere, I’d like to give a big Bronx cheer to Steven Soderbergh for his upcoming film “Contagion,” an all-too-convincing disease thriller about a highly contagious flu that threatens to destroy all of human civilization. Looks like I won’t be sleeping ever again, thanks Steven.

Before you lather up with Purel and dive in though, a word of warning: this trailer contains what some would qualify as a pretty big SPOILER, in that it contains the death of what one would assume to be a major character in the story. We’ll discuss that fact after the trailer, but like a man who touches a doorknob right after a guy with a cold you should proceed from here at your own risk.

So, yes, the big SPOILER is that Gwyneth Paltrow bites the big one. Or is it a spoiler at all? Even people who are extremely sensitive to spoilers typically acknowledge that anything contained in a movie’s trailer is fair game for discussion. By that definition, Paltrow’s passing in the trailer cannot be a spoiler.

Still, it’s a pretty unusual move to reveal a movie star’s death in a trailer. Sometimes studios go to great lengths to disguise the fact that a big-name actor dies early in a film. Charlize Theron’s character in “The Road” — SPOILER ALERT — kills herself before the events of the movie really begin, and she’s only seen in occasional flashbacks. But that film’s trailer uses some sneaky editing to make it seem like she is a part of the core group of characters throughout the entire narrative. Take a look:

The trailer for “Executive Decision” — SPOILER ALERT — basically shows you the moment where Steven Seagal’s character dies shockingly early in the film, but it’s portrayed as just another dramatic action beat. It doesn’t really qualify as a spoiler until you actually see the film.

The degree to which a trailer should or should not reveal the story of a film is an ongoing debate amongst filmmakers and critics. Some — like director Robert Zemeckis — believe that audiences are actually more interested in films when they know the ending, so trailers for his films (like “Cast Away” and “What Lies Beneath”) routinely reveal exactly where the story goes. I’ve always hated that attitude; why pay for the cow if I’ve already had the milk for free? On the other hand, marketing like “The Road” trailer is borderline deceptive, no? What if you knew nothing about the film except what the trailer told you and you went to see it only because you love Charlize Theron? You might be pretty disappointed.

It is a bummer that the “Contagion” trailer does kind of a ruin this major plot point of the film. I assume that Paltrow must die relatively early on (in the trailer, she looks like the first identified victim of the new disease) and Warner Brothers decided in this case to sacrifice surprise for suspense. They’re telling you Paltrow dies not to ruin that story beat but to suggest that no one is safe in this movie. If Soderbergh’ll bump off Goop, he’ll bump off anyone. Maybe even everyone, from the look of that trailer.

Do you think you-know-who’s death in the trailer of “Contagion” is a spoiler? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

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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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GIFS via Giphy

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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