DID YOU READ

Hollywood’s top 10 maverick directors

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Hollywood demands plenty from directors. In a forest of remade classics, “Chipmunks” sequels and other safe, dependable investments, studios want bankable reasons to invest in innovation. Indie filmdom has long been a launchpad for Hollywood careers, but only a select few filmmakers can claim to have gone against the grain with enough force to change long-term trends.

From Spike Lee and Woody Allen’s takes on New York life to Stanley Kubrick and James Cameron’s new experiments with special effects, these ten directors topped our list of wave-makers and game-changers. Each of them showed the establishment how approach movies from new perspectives, and each one deserves to be called a maverick.

Some of these towering figures are no longer with us, and a few are still making their marks, but we have them all to thank for heading into new territory and ensuring that other creators down the line would be inspired to think differently as well.

For more on today’s maverick filmmakers, tune in to the 2012 Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25 at 10/9c on IFC. And while you’re watching, don’t forget to log into IFC.com chat with our movie experts LIVE via IFC Sync, presented by Capital One.


10. Amy Heckerling

Career highlights: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” ”European Vacation,” “Clueless”
Paved the way for: Judd Apatow, Kevin Smith and John Hughes

Heckerling gained a cult foothold in an overwhelmingly male-dominated class of directors when her film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” debuted in 1982. “European Vacation” and “Look Who’s Talking” cemented her place in ‘80s comedy, but they also proved her ability to score big rankings and dollars at the box office.


9. Robert Redford

Career highlights: “Ordinary People,” “Quiz Show”
Paved the way for: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh and Darren Aronofsky

It is difficult to understate the importance of Redford’s career and the extent of his impact on film both inside and outside of Hollywood. After building a formidable acting career (which already included an Oscar nomination for “The Sting”), he earned a directing win right out of the gate for 1980’s “Ordinary People.” His honorary Oscar in 2002 speaks for his career as a whole, though, as well as the importance of the Sundance Institute, which has opened big doors for countless directors and independent projects.


8. Kathryn Bigelow

Career highlights: “Near Dark,” “Point Break,” “The Hurt Locker”
Paved the way for: The Wachowskis and Mary Harron

A diehard indie filmmaker throughout her career, Bigelow made history with her 2009 Best Director Oscar for “The Hurt Locker.” She was the first woman to win in the category, but it only marks the tip of her iceberg-sized career. Few resumes come with credits as diverse and awesome as her jarring Best Picture-winner, “Point Break” and “Near Dark”—regardless of gender. When it comes to directors, her creative brilliance and scope are in a class of their own.


7. Spike Lee

Career highlights: “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and “Bamboozled”
Paved the way for: Lee Daniels, John Singleton and Dee Rees

Lee may be a magnet for controversy, but the fact of the matter is that the guy knows how to direct a well-crafted film, even when the project doesn’t translate to a ticket-sales jackpot. “Bamboozled” and “Miracle at St. Anna” have suffered their fair shares of critical attacks, but even when they were getting picked apart, they still introduced discourses on race at the movies that all too often stay clear of the spotlight.


6. Woody Allen

Career highlights: “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan” and “Midnight in Paris”
Paved the way for: Zach Braff, Jon Favreau and Christopher Guest

Woody Allen staked out his own genre of nakedly up-front narrators and navel-gazing New Yorkers, but his larger body of work has been a titanic beacon for aspiring filmmakers of all types. His movies make big budgets and big casts seem absolutely unnecessary, and his use of simple documentary techniques in his comedies paved the way for countless mockumentaries and narrator-driven flicks that have sprouted up in recent decades.

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.