DID YOU READ

Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Pierre discusses moviemaking and their single-take “True Romance” video

Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack

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By Chris Harris

Justin Pierre’s career path nearly took a totally different turn some 15 years ago.

Before a friend called him and asked him to join Minnesota-based pop punk sensations Motion City Soundtrack, Pierre — the band’s frontman — actually had his sights set on Hollywood…and a career as a filmmaker.

“I have always loved movies and TV,” says Pierre from a truck stop in Kansas.

Motion City Soundtrack just released a new record — their fifth — called “Go,” and have been on tour in the states with The Front Bottoms and Henry Clay People.

“The first thing that really blew my mind, where I was like, ‘Oh my God, I want to be involved in this’ was when I was a kid and saw ‘Twin Peaks,’” Pierre recalls. “I think I was 13. I watched it when it was on television and I was blown away. I thought, ‘I want to do this.’”

As a teen, Pierre says he started writing “stupid little films” he’d would then enlist his bored friends to star in. He’d shanghai his parents’ camcorder, and bring his short stories to life.

Pierre was serious about leaving his stamp on film.

“When I was 19, I bummed around and worked at a video rental place for a couple of years,” says Pierre. “I would make tons of copies of movies, and just watch them over and over and over. Later, I worked as a [production assistant] on several small films in Minneapolis.”

One was a movie by filmmaker Eric Tretbar called “Snow.”

“I was working on that when someone told me about a film school called Minneapolis Community Technical College; I enrolled, but didn’t finish, and was learning all about screenwriting and film making. That’s when [guitarist] Josh [Caine] approached me to make music with him.”

The rest, of course, is history and Motion City Soundtrack have since left their mark on the musical world — and on the medium of music video.

Pierre admits he still dabbles with film when he has time.

“I once made four short films and maxed out my credit cards, which was a terrible idea because I don’t think anyone’s ever going to see these movies — but it was a lot of fun,” Pierre says.

Pierre and the band also had fun making their new video for the track “True Romance;” Josh’s brother, Jesse Caine, directed the single-take clip.

“We are all fans of the one-take video,” Pierre says. “With ‘True Romance,’ at times, there’s upwards of 30 people behind the scenes, running up and down the street, stopping traffic, moving cars, running around…even the band members all had jobs. And it was because this video is really involved.”

The band did 15 complete takes to get just the right one.

“Growing up in the 1990s, with guys like Spike Jonze always doing these one-take video, it’s just always been fun to watch,” Pierre adds. “If you do it well, no one notices how much work goes into it.”

Pierre says he’s excited to see “The Dark Knight RIses” this summer, and has enjoyed two movies this box-office season: “The Avengers” and “2 Days in New York.”

“It’s amazing,” he says of the Julie Delpy-directed flick. “When it comes to my all-time favorite films, I’d have to say its a toss up between ‘Stranger Than Paradise’ by Jim Jarmusch or ‘Faces’ by John Cassevetes. Those are my two go-to films of all time.”

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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