DID YOU READ

The five best rain scenes in movies

Spider-Man

Posted by on

There’s just something special about watching Gene Kelly gleefully dance and sing his way through what is, arguably, the most iconic rain scene ever laid to celluloid in 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain.” It’s an instant feel-good moment in an endlessly fun movie that made its Blu-ray debut on July 17 (the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” even comes with a real umbrella). Starring Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, the film has never looked better and its release gave us a great excuse to run down some of the most awesomely rain-soaked scenes in cinematic history. Grab your raincoat and galoshes. It’s about to get very slippery in here.


“Jurassic Park” (1993)

Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park” might not have been the first time the legendary director changed the face of modern cinema (and it certainly wouldn’t be the last time), but the film’s stunning use of computer-generated imagery set the bar for visual effects higher than anyone imagined it could go. Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, and starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough, “Jurassic Park” went on to make an obscene amount of money at the box office while also thrilling audiences young and old alike.

And there may be no more thrilling scene than the memorable one that takes place in the pouring rain. With power to the electric fences out and their park-guided touring SUVs stalled outside the dinosaur enclosure. The scene is punctuated by the iconic shot of a glass of water vibrating from the thundering boom of a T. rex’s footsteps. From there on, we’re treated to one of the most suspenseful and breathtaking animal attack scenes ever created. I don’t need to tell you what happens. You’ve probably seen it numerous times. It’s a nearly perfect scene that’s only made more frightening and claustrophobic by the seemingly endless rain pouring down. It’s enough to give you chills.


“The Matrix Revolutions” (2003)

It’s a shame “The Matrix Revolutions” is mostly a terrible movie because its rain scene is an absolute classic. Neo and Smith finally go hand-to-hand in a completely drenched street, clomping through at least an inch of the wet stuff en route to punching each other in the face. What makes the scene so great, however, isn’t just the fact that it’s a well-orchestrated, exciting fight scene (it is, in fact, all those things), but it’s also the way the Wachowski’s employ their patented brand of “bullet time” slow-motion and signature color palette. The visuals liven up any semblance of frustration viewers may have had throughout most of the film (at least for this very brief respite) and gives “Matrix” fans something to cheer about for the first time since… well… really the end of the first film. It’s a great rain scene that deserves a better movie around it.


“Poltergeist” (1982)

So Carol Anne’s been dragged into that damned TV several times already by the end of the film and, when the rain starts pouring, things are really about to go berserk. The Freelings have been through hell, learned how to throw a tennis ball through an alternate plane of existence (where everything seems to come out covered in a red, goopy mess), and watched tiny Tangina Barrons tell them that their house is “clean.” Little did they know that, before long, JoBeth Williams would be slipping into a muddy mess of a pool hole and screaming for her life as skeletons began to rise up around her.

The rain scene in Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist” is not only absolutely terrifying, but it’s also a major plot point, in that it reveals one of the major things that’s been causing all the paranormal activity in the Freeling’s house. You see, those skeletons that Diane Freeling ends up swimming with near the end of the film are from the Indian burial ground that lies underneath their home in Cuesta Verde. And those spirits, my friend, are mighty pissed off. All of which eventually prompts Craig T. Nelson to utter one of cinema’s all-time finest lines: “You moved the headstones, but you forgot to move the bodies!” Talk about a serious oversight.


“Spider-Man” (2002)

It’s hard to believe that Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” is now ten years old. The film that helped launch the latest superhero film craze still stands as one of the genre’s best efforts (even if Raimi slightly outdid himself with his “Spider-Man 2” follow-up). It’s nearly as rousing and fun today as it was ten years ago and, despite what the naysayers will tell you (especially after the “Spider-Man 3” debacle), Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst have some serious chemistry.

Take, for instance, the very rain scene that’s become a pop culture staple over the past decade. After Spider-Man helps vanquish a few thugs that have been bothering Mary-Jane, all in the midst of a steady pouring rain, the webslinger hangs upside down and waits as Mary-Jane moves in to… how shall we put this… say thanks. Dripping wet from head to toe, Mary-Jane moves in, pulls down Spider-Man’s mask just enough to plant a big sloppy kiss on our hero. It’s a passionate, heartfelt, and downright sexy kiss that’s a true payoff. It’s also one that movie fans have seen endless times in the past ten years, and will probably continue to see for a very long time.


“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

Is there a more uplifting movie on the planet than “The Shawshank Redemption?” If so, I dare you to find it. Sure, there are plenty of feel-good movies out there, but there’s just something about Frank Darabont’s masterpiece that could take someone on the bring of a depressive breakdown and turn them into a shining beacon of hope. It might not appear that way throughout its two hour twenty minute runtime but, by the end of the film, if you’re not getting “busy living,” then there’s something wrong with you.

And there’s maybe no other rain scene in the history of movies that so embodies everything about the character caught in the middle of it. When Andy Dufresne finally found his way to freedom (“through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can’t even imagine,” in the words of Morgan Freeman’s “Red”), he’s greeted by a rain so hard and strong, you’d think it was delivered God himself directly to Dufresne to cleanse himself of not only the physical grossness he just experienced, but also the emotional filth he’d been wallowing in for years behind the walls of Shawshank Prison. Dufresne rips off his shirt, closes his eyes, and raises his hands to the sky as if to say “thank you” for the most beautiful, refreshing, and powerful rain he’d ever felt. It’s an absolutely glorious moment for one of cinema’s greatest characters, and easily one of the best rain scenes of all time.


What’s your favorite cinematic rain scene? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

maryhartman

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

fresno

When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

soap

Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

cooks2

Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

attitudes

Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

peaks

Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

stomach

The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

joey

Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

acorn

First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

pointplace

In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

spoils

Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

spoilsdying


15. All My Children Finale, SNL

allmychildren

SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Five reasons to watch Elizabeth Banks on Comedy Bang! Bang!

cbb-episode-8

Posted by on

30 Rock star Elizabeth Banks is coming to Comedy Bang! Bang! on Friday. That’s it. Go ahead and go about your day and pretend to be able to concentrate on anything else until you are firmly ensconced on your couch on Friday at 10/9c. What you want to hear more? You need to find out all the details of her visit? Well we aren’t going to give away all our secrets, but Elizabeth might. During the taping of the show she used the secret word. Scott Aukerman had no choice but to take action. Tune in on Friday to see exactly what that means.

You still want more? Okay fine, here are five reasons to watch Elizabeth Banks on Comedy Bang! Bang! on Friday:

1. She made a porno

2. She may actually be Chelsea Handler

3. She turned down the chance to re-marry Alec Baldwin

4. She knows Spiderman

5. She may be able to score “Hunger Games” tickets for you:

Want the latest news from Comedy Bang! Bang!? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@comedybangbang and use the hashtag #cbbtv.

Comedy Bang! Bang! airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

The 10 funniest superheroes (with video)

Iron Man movie image Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

Posted by on

“The Avengers” is going to be the big hit of the whole year, certainly, but while it has its fair share of funny moments, there are actually superheroes whose stock in trade is comedy. One of the most glaring omissions from the otherwise solid Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” films are the crucial element of Peter Parker’s wiseacre nature. In the comic books, he’s always got some snappy patter going to distract his enemies in the midst of a fight – and sadly, “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot doesn’t look to be going in that direction, either. So, in the interest of four-color funny, here’s a rundown of ten superheroes known for their comedy stylings.


1. The Tick

Gloriously insane and gleefully dorky, Ben Edlund’s lumbering blue lummox of a superhero lived in a weird world where all the goofiest superheroes ever ran about The City and fought criminals like Chairface Chippendale (a criminal mastermind with a chair for a head), El Seed (a talking flower man), and The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight. With his neurotic moth-themed sidekick Arthur, he bellowed his mighty battle cry of “Spoon!” before tossing his nigh-invulnerable self into the midst of chicanery everywhere. Spoofing the superhero genre while reveling in it, it’s hard to get any funnier than this.


2. Batman (Adam West)

Now that the perception of comic book adaptations is a vastly different beast than it was in the decades immediately following the 1960s “Batman” series, nerds everywhere can unclench about good old Adam West and Burt Ward fighting crime in a cheeky, campy and ridiculously stylized version of Gotham City. For years, no one wanted to take comics seriously enough to make a good movie, and folks blamed this show. These days, however, it’s a golden oldie that’s so over-the-top that you can’t tear your eyes from it. Burgess Meredith’s Penguin lives on as everybody’s Dick Cheney impression, Cesar Romero’s Joker and Frank Gorshin’s Riddler are unfortgettable, and every punch lands with a thunderous zowie! And no one can forget the Shark-Repellent Bat-Spray.


3. Spider-Man

As previously stated, the wall-crawler has always had a sterling wit, but you wouldn’t know that by watching Tobey Maguire sling the webs. Even most of his animated adventures are more corny and painful with the quips than they are funny. The current comic books are pretty sharp, however, and the recent “Spectacular Spider-Man” cartoon and the new “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series bring a really modern comic sensibility to the adventures of Peter Parker and his high school buddies. This current one is big on cutaways to wacky sequences underscoring the goof of the moment. It may be a little hard to take at times, but hey, it’s for kids!


4. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)

Tony Stark was a smooth ladies man, but he was never quite the quipster he is today until Robert Downey Jr. stepped into the role of the Armored Avenger for the 2008 film that made all the Marvel films which followed possible. Is it essentially Downey playing himself and forcing the established comics character to follow suit? Well, yeah, probably, but it works. It works so damn well that it managed to hold its own and vie with “The Dark Knight” as the best comic book movie ever – certainly of that year – thanks in no small part to Downey’s unstoppable quipping and relentlessly charming bastardry. You never know what’s going to come out of this guy’s mouth, and we love it that way. It’s all RDJ’s doing that Tony Stark is now a household name.


5. Deadpool

Wait, didn’t we just do Spider-Man? Ha ha, no, this guy is much more of an antihero than anything else. Fabien Nicieza took a half-assed Rob Liefeld sketch of what was essentially DC’s Deathstroke, gave him Spider-Man’s sense of humor but with a broken bad-guy edge, and thus Wade Wilson was born. It wasn’t until Joe Kelly gave him his first solo series that The Merc With A Mouth really began to flourish into the manic maniac he’s come to be known and loved as. That series bounced back and forth between fourth-wall-breaking craziness and dark and twisted melodrama with stunning ease, and made him into the unluckiest guy in the world despite his unbelievable regenerative abilities. Every time he tries to be a hero, it blows up in his ugly, scarred face, and that just makes him crazier and crazier. Forget what you saw with Ryan Reynolds in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The best animated appearance was in the feature “Hulk Vs.,” which you can see here to get a sense of how nuts this guy is.

Powered by ZergNet