DID YOU READ

“Like Crazy,” reviewed

“Like Crazy,” reviewed (photo)

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I don’t know anything about Drake Doremus, the co-writer and director of the new movie “Like Crazy,” but based on this film I have to assume he has some first-hand knowledge of long-distance relationships. That’s because I have some first-hand knowledge of long-distance relationships and I can tell you that for the most part this movie’s portrait of one is dead-on. This movie is so good and so true it’s almost too painful to watch. We fall in love with its characters as they fall in love with each other, and then we have to sit there helplessly as they suffer. This thing is like a romantic drama for torture porn fans.

Its victims are two charming and beautiful young people, an American named Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and a Brit named Anna (Felicity Jones). They meet in a class at a college somewhere in Los Angeles; he’s studying to be a furniture designer, she wants to be a journalist. In a flash, Jacob and Anna are inseparable, but school’s almost over, which means Anna’s visa is going to expire. The night before she’s supposed to leave, the couple exchange gifts: she gives him a handmade book about their relationship, he gives her a bracelet engraved with the word “patience.” Anna should have listened to her jewelry; instead, she impulsively violates her visa and spends the summer with Jacob. But when she has to return to England for a wedding, the Department of Homeland Security won’t let her back into the U.S. Now she’s stuck across the pond and these two sweet, innocent people who want nothing more than to be together are separated by thousands of miles and one effed-up bureaucracy.

This part of the film, where Jacob and Anna reluctantly adjust to life apart, particularly struck me with its attention to lived-in detail: the passion of first kisses after a long journey, the awkward silences after someone accidentally brings up the untenable nature of the relationship, and the way a visiting lover becomes the odd man or woman out in awkward social situations. Eventually, Jacob and Anna’s story diverges from my own (thank God), but even with less to relate to on a personal level, I never lost my personal investment in the characters. Credit Yelchin and Jones for their effortless chemistry, which shines through even when they’re acting with an ocean between them.

Credit too to Doremus, for making a love story that is somehow heart-warming and brutally unsentimental all at once. He conveys an awful lot of information in this movie with very little dialogue, and he gets that young love is all about nonverbal communication, something that’s translated directly to the style of the film. Notice the way the passage of time is marked not by title cards but by the evolution of the couple’s cell phones, from old school flip models to modern iPhones. Doremus’ visual and editorial choices are sometimes flashy but they’re always informative. Anna and Jacob’s post-college summer zooms by in a peppy montage of still photographs, the perfect way to convey how the best of times seem to slip away quicker than the rest.

“Like Crazy” won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and it’s easy to see why. Good acting, good filmmaking, plus something elusive that most Sundance movies about romance lack: sincerity. Doremus doesn’t couch his love story in ironic detachment or hipster quirk, nor does he burden it with contrived villains or subplots. Anyone who’s been in a long-distance relationship can tell you that was the right decision; long-distance relationships are dramatic enough on their own without that stuff.

“Like Crazy” opens in limited release on Friday. If you see it, let us know what you think. Leave us a comment below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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