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DID YOU READ

The top ten bar fights in movies (with video)

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Sometimes a situation can’t be handled by anything other than what a young man named Alex once described as a “bit of the old ultra-violence.” Grab a bottle and break it over the head of our list of great cinematic bar brawls.


“Mean Streets” (1973)

This early mini-classic from a young New Yorker by the name of Martin Scorsese (way, way pre-“Hugo”) features what might be the best bar fight of all time. “Mean Streets” is about small-time hoods, not trained assassins or martial arts experts, so there’s a raw, ragged clumsiness to their pool hall fight, as especially showcased in the extended (and rather amazing) steadicam shot that runs the perimeter of the entire room; these guys don’t know “how” to fight, but they’re fighting nonetheless. Robert De Niro has a terrific bit where he uses a pool cue as a club and takes on his attackers with a few swift kicks (that don’t really hit home, but it’s the thought that counts); the fight also ends as abruptly as it begins after the cops show up, with everyone calling a truce and having a drink — and then it almost starts back up again.


“Desperado” (1995)

Robert Rodriguez’s rowdy sequel/remake to his stunning DIY debut, El Mariachi features the super-suave Antonio Banderas as, well, El Mariachi, a rogue musician with a guitar case full of guns hellbent on revenge against the bandito who shot his hand and killed his girl. Rodriguez’s knack for energetic choreography and bait-and-switch editing is on full display here as Banderas makes short work of a tavern full of scumbags, including Cheech Marin, who would go on to become, like Banderas, a Rodriguez Regular (or is that “Regulator?”). We especially like the bit where the guy spins like a top due to the momentum of all the bullets hitting him in his pivot points — and, really, was there a cooler actor in 1995 than Antonio Banderas?


“Road House” (1989)

“Be nice…until it’s time… to not be nice.” “Road House” is the greatest movie ever made, so of course it’s going to feature not one but multiple awesome bar fights. Patrick Swayze rules as James Dalton, a professional “cooler” who’s also got a philosophy degree from NYU to fall back on if the whole bouncer thing doesn’t work out; for now, he’s off to tame the Double Deuce, a hellhole dive in a small Southern town ruled with an iron fist by the corrupt businessman (or something), Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara, oozing smarmy evil). Sam Elliott plays the Obi-Wan to Swayze’s Luke Skywalker, who’s called in as reinforcement when the Deuce ends up being too big and bad a gig for just one man. “Pain don’t hurt” is another bit of Dalton wisdom; “This movie’s awesome” is one of ours.


“From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)

More Robert Rodriguez, though Antonio Banderas sat this one out and George Clooney took center stage (and kicked ass) in his first major feature film role. The entire second act of this action-horror hybrid is one long extended bar fight featuring all sorts of bloody vampire mayhem, though one of our favorite moments is a brawl that almost breaks out. Sex Machine (Tom Savini) shows off some fancy mini-lasso work as he snags a dude’s drink, a trick which the thirsty fella doesn’t exactly appreciate; his unsheathed switchblade is countered with Sex Machine’s fully erect (and, we’re assuming, fully loaded) crotch-pistol, which convinces the would-be assailant to let one of the most celebrated special effects makeup artists in the industry just have his damn beer. Rodriguez completists will recognize this “codpiece gun” as a leftover prop from “Desperado.”


“The Boondock Saints” (1999)

The Brothers MacManus (Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery) answer to a higher power in this cult vigilante thriller, and there’s definitely a higher power at work in the bar fight; how else can you explain a guy being able to finish his insult to a giant Russian mobster (named Boris, notch) even though he gets punched in the face about halfway through telling him that his “pinko commie mother sucks so much dick, her face looks like an egg” (really, ADR department, what’s up with that)? We guess it’s only appropriate that the event in which the Brothers take the leap into becoming two-fisted (or, in this case, two-wine-bottled) ass-kickers for the Lord would have some supernatural elements to it; this free-for-all of Fightin’ Irish versus Russkie thugs also features an old coot behind the bar shadowboxing with enthusiasm as mayhem explodes all over the joint. Red devils, go home!

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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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.