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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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was written, produced, directed and narrated by Robert Evans. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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