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DID YOU READ

The 12 best movie footwear, from “Back to the Future” to “Spinal Tap”

The 12 best movie footwear, from “Back to the Future” to “Spinal Tap” (photo)

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Marty McFly’s shoes from “Back to the Future Part II” actually exist! Well, sort of, anyway. Regardless of the circumstances or limitations, the release of the light-up (if not self-tying) Nike Mags (which can be yours for around $5,000), means THE FUTURE IS NOW, so let’s go back to the past and take a look at some of the best movie footwear from yesteryears.

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vandamme.jpg1. “Knock Off” (the knock-off shoes)

One of Jean Claude Van Damme’s most underrated films, “Knock Off” features director Tsui Hark’s trademark hyperactive and wildly imaginative camera work. We’re especially fond of the picture-on-picture that comes up (for no particular reason) when Van Damme reaches into a box and pulls out a watch, but our favorite random flourish has to be when we enter a shoe from the point of view of Van Damme’s foot as he prepares to participate in a street race where he has to drag Rob Schneider in a cart behind him as the little man whips his butt with a belt (don’t ask). Too bad these shoes are, indeed, knock-offs — later, Hark swoops us into the heel of the shoe, where we see the materials shred and tear, leaving Van Damme to finish the race more or less sans footwear. A great movie with a great closing credits song by Sparks.


getsmart.jpg2. “Get Smart” (shoe phone)

Maxwell Smart, aka Agent 86, had plenty of sweet spy gadgets on the “Get Smart” television show of the ’60s, and many of these wonderful toys made it into the not-bad 2008 film adaptation starring Steve Carell. Even though it’s been rendered pretty much obsolete by things like, you know, cell phones, the shoe phone still proves to be a rather handy device for the bumbling secret agent. If nothing else, it makes for a swell visual gag — the sight of Carell looking ridiculously proud and suave as he displays a shoe phone as if it’s the most elegant of wristwatches or something is actually quite amusing. Anyway, if you can get a direct line to Anne Hathaway with one of those things, we want one.


wizardofoz.jpg3. “The Wizard of Oz” (ruby slippers)

The ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” are now among the most treasured and valuable of film memorabilia. Why? Hey, who wouldn’t want to own a pair of shoes that can whoosh you off to Kansas with but a few clicks of the heels? They can also give wicked witches one heck of a shock when they try to take them off the feet of their squashed sister. The ruby slippers represent everything the film industry was embracing at the end of the ’30s when “The Wizard of Oz” debuted in theaters: glitter, glamour, color and magic. It’s too bad Dorothy couldn’t take these back to the farm with her.


boogienights.jpg4. “Boogie Nights” (Rollergirl’s roller skates)

Correct us if we’re wrong, but we don’t think there’s one scene in Paul Thomas Anderson’s bittersweet valentine to the world of adult entertainment where Rollergirl (Heather Graham) isn’t wearing her rollerskates. She’s even wearing them when she skips out on her high school exam in the film’s first act, officially dropping out of school to embrace life as a full-time porn actress. Rollergirl’s footwear of choice also comes in handy as a weapon when she uses her skates to smash in the face of some frat boy douchebag who dares “disrespect” her and her surrogate father, Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). The wheels bring the pleasure… and the pain!


diehard.jpg5. “Die Hard” (the terrorist with feet smaller than John McClane’s sister’s)

“After you get where you’re going, you take off your shoes and your socks then you walk around on the rug barefoot and make fists with your toes.” Maybe if John McClane hadn’t taken this advice, he wouldn’t have spent most of “Die Hard” without footwear. It’s not like he didn’t try to snag a pair of shoes at some point along the way — unfortunately, the first terrorist he killed had feet that were “smaller than his sister’s.” Ah, well — if McClane had worn shoes, he wouldn’t have gotten shards of glass stuck in his feet, which means we wouldn’t have had the scene where he pulls out the shards whilst tearfully talking about his wife, which is still some of the best acting Bruce Willis has ever done. Anyway, for all the snarky self-conscious wretchedness of “Die Hard 2,” we’re surprised McClane never exclaimed, “Hey, at least I’m not barefoot this time!” Yeah, yeah.


spinaltap.jpg6. “This is Spinal Tap” (St. Hubbins)

Marty DiBergi: David St. Hubbins… I must admit I’ve never heard anybody with that name.
David St. Hubbins: It’s an unusual name. Well, he was an unusual saint, he’s not a very well-known saint…
Marty DiBergi: Oh, there actually is, uh… there was a “Saint Hubbins?”
David St. Hubbins: That’s right, yes.
Marty DiBergi: What was he the saint of?
David St. Hubbins: He was the Patron Saint of Quality Footwear.

Hey, someone’s got to be the saint of such a thing, right?


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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.