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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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.
Die Hard restroom

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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