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Happy Hanukkah: Eight Movies That Make Us Say ‘L’Chaim!’

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Grab your matches and slap on your yamaka, because as of last night Hanukkah is officially in full swing. In our opinion, there’s nothing better to do after you light the menorah, eat your share of latkes and open countless presents than to sit down in front of the TV and watching a great movie with whoever you’re sharing the holiday with.

Sure, there are probably countless lists out there spouting out the best Christmas movies for the season, but we here at IFC wanted to help you celebrate the great miracle of Hanukkah and the story of Judah Maccabee with all the Jews in your life. We’ve compiled a list of eight of our favorite movies that we feel honor the spirit of Hanukkah, albeit some in more convoluted ways than others. L’chaim!


“The Hebrew Hammer”

Without a doubt, the Hebrew Hammer is the best Jewish crime fighter to ever get his own Comedy Central movie. The Blaxploitation parody tells the story of Hammer (Adam Goldberg) as he fights to save Hanukkah from the evil son of Santa Claus (Andy Dick). And how does Damian Claus plan on corrupting the young, unsuspecting Jewish children? By brainwashing them through bootleg copies of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” of course. Because why not?


“A Serious Man”

Somehow we doubt that “l’chaim!” were the words Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) was thinking as “A Serious Man” came to a close, but we’ll include his darkly hilarious story here anyways. The 2009 Coen brothers film follows a Jewish physics professor as his life progressively gets worse and worse and worse. And yet somehow we keep watching. I guess this makes us schmucks?


“Independence Day”

There’s no one we would like to celebrate Chanukah with during an alien invasion more than David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and his father Julius (Judd Hirsch). So what if “Independence Day” took place over the Fourth of July? Julius managed to get in some of the most hilarious Jewish digs we’ve ever heard over the course of this movie, and to that we toast him with our glass of Manischewitz and include him on this list.


“Eight Crazy Nights”

Adam Sandler managed to create the most popular Chanukah song since “Dreidel, Dreidel” when he first released “The Chanukah Song” in 1994. After that, he became the poster boy for the holiday, and subsequently released a film slightly inspired by the song in 2002 called “Eight Crazy Nights.” Sure, the way the film uses a single thumbtack puncturing eight tires on a bus to remind its main character of the miracle of Chanukah isn’t the most religious thing we’ve ever head of, but the movie gets the general gist of the holiday across with some good laughs along the way.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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