Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris on the lost years between “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Ruby Sparks”

Ruby Sparks

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By Jennifer Vineyard

“Ruby Sparks” is the first film from husband-and-wife director team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris since “Little Miss Sunshine” — so what gives? It’s not for lack of effort that the pair haven’t had another outing in the six years that followed their spectacular Oscar-winning debut, they told IFC, but getting a quality film off the ground is harder than they expected.

“We’ve been trying!” Faris said. “It’s not like we’ve been on an island vacation this whole time. Do we look like we’ve just been tanning and relaxing?”

“I wish!” Dayton laughed.

The directors have had a “steady stream” of offers and projects since “Sunshine,” Dayton said, but they were wary of the prospect of a second effort not coming out right. “The idea of coming out with a bad movie was so frightening for us,” he said. “We didn’t want a flop,” Faris said.

But even before “Sunshine,” the pair were notoriously picky, and turned down opportunities to direct “The Mod Squad” (which bombed) and “Bad Boys II” (which then went to Michael Bay). Post-“Sunshine,” they considered a number of better quality pictures, several of which would have reunited them with their number one Proust scholar, Steve Carell. These included the adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s “The Abstinence Teacher” (which at one point was to star Carell and Sandra Bullock; it’s now to be directed by Lisa Cholodenko); “Mail Order Groom” (which was to re-team Carell with Tina Fey post-“Date Night”; “Will” (which had Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis attached); and “Used Guys,” (which had Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, Reese Witherspoon, and Danny McBride attached). All of these proved to be false starts, and the couple continued to make their living by directing commercials in the meantime.

“There were all these things that we really loved about each of those,” Faris said. “But there was always something that wasn’t quite finished or wasn’t coming together. It’s hard to get the right elements together, get the right cast, get them at the time you need them, get the script completely there, and get the right budget.”

“Used Guys,” which would feature a futuristic world ruled by women, is one that might still happen. “It’s a fun project and it could come back,” she said. “We spent a year developing it, and the visual language of that movie. It’s a great concept.” And just as readers found in the graphic novel series “Y: The Last Man,” a world ruled by women wasn’t “all Kumbaya,” Faris said. “This actually had something to say. It was going to be entertaining and deliver some interesting questions to think about as you leave the theater. It’s the biggest movie we ever considered doing.”

But like many of the above projects, the bigger the vehicle, the more “we weren’t going to be the one people driving the ship,” Faris said. “It’s tricky when you have a lot of powerful players involved.” As self-admitted control freaks, Faris and Dayton also had some trouble surrendering control in a big budget project. “We didn’t want it to go just purely broad,” Faris said.

“We haven’t fully given up on that one,” Dayton said. “But it’s a perfect example of why it took us so long” to find a film like ‘Ruby Sparks.'”

“It’s disheartening to us that the kind of character-driven stories we like to do are the hardest ones to get made,” Faris said. “We’re hoping that it won’t take six years for the next one.”

“Ruby Sparks” is now playing in limited release.

Will you be seeing “Ruby Sparks” this weekend? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Brock Hard

Brockmire’s Guide To Grabbing Life By The D***

Catch up on the full season of Brockmire now.

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“Lucy, put supper on the stove, my dear, because this ballgame is over!”

Brockmire has officially closed out its rookie season. Miss the finale episode? A handful of episodes? The whole blessed season?? You can see it all from the beginning, starting right here.

And you should get started, because every minute you spend otherwise will be a minute spent not living your best life. That’s right, there are very important life lessons that Brockmire hid in plain sight—lessons that, when applied thoughtfully, can improve every aspect of your awesome existence. Let’s dive into some sage nuggets from what we call the Book of Jim.

Life Should Be Spiked, Not Watered Down.

That’s not just a fancy metaphor. As Brockmire points out, water tastes “awful. 70% of the water is made up of that shit?” Life is short, water sucks, live like you mean it.

There Are Only Three Types of People

“Poor people, rich people and famous people. Rich people are just poor people with money, so the only worthwhile thing is being famous.” So next time your rich friends act all high and mighty, politely remind them that they’re worthless in the eyes of even the most minor celebrities.

There’s Always A Reason To Get Out Of Bed

And 99% of the time that reason is the urge to pee. It’s nature’s way of saying “seize the day.”

There’s More To Life Than Playing Games

“Baseball can’t compete with p0rnography. Nothing can.” Nothing you do or ever will do can be more important to people than p0rn. Get off your high horse.

A Little Empathy Goes A Long Way

Especially if you’ve taken someone else’s Plan B by mistake.

Our Weaknesses Can Be Our Greatest Strengths

Tyrion Lannister said something similar. Hard to tell who said it with more colorful profanity. Wise sentiments all around.

Big Things Come To Those Who Wait

When you’re looking for a sign, the universe will drop you a big one. You’re the sh*t, universe.

And Of Course…

Need more life lessons from the Book of Jim? Catch up on Brockmire on the IFC App.

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Oh Mama

Mommie May I?

Mommie Dearest Is On Repeat All Mothers Day Long On IFC

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The cult-classic movie Mommie Dearest is a game-changer. If you’ve seen it even just once (but come on, who sees it just once?), then you already know what we’re talking about.

But if you haven’t seen it, then let us break it down for you. Really quick, we promise, we’ll even list things out to spare you the reading of a paragraph:

1. It’s the 1981 biopic based on the memoir of Christina Crawford, Hollywood icon Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter.
2. Faye Dunaway plays Joan. And boy does she play her. Loud and over-reactive.
3. It was intended as a drama, but…
4. Waaaaaay over-the-top performances and bargain-basement dialogue rendered it an accidental comedy.
5. It’s a cult classic, and you’re the last person to see it.

Not sold? Don’t believe it’s going to change your life? Ok, maybe over-the-top acting isn’t your thing, or perhaps you don’t like the lingering electricity of a good primal scream, or Joan Crawford is your personal icon and you can’t bear to see her cast in such a creepy light.

But none of that matters.

What’s important is that seeing this movie gives you permission to react to minor repeat annoyances with unrestrained histrionics.

That there is a key moment. Is she crazy? Yeah. But she’s also right. Shoulder nipples are horrible, wire hangers are the worst, and yelling about it feels strangely justified. She did it, we can do it. Precedent set. You’re welcome.

So what else can we yell about? Channel your inner Joan and consider the following list offenses when choosing your next meltdown.

Improperly Hung Toilet Paper

Misplaced Apostrophes

Coldplay at Karaoke

Dad Jokes

Gluten Free Pizza

James Franco

The list of potential pedestrian grievances is actually quite daunting, but when IFC airs Mommie Dearest non-stop for a full day, you’ll have 24 bonus hours to mull it over. 24 bonus hours to nail that lunatic shriek. 24 bonus hours to remember that, really, your mom is comparatively the best.

So please, celebrate Mother’s Day with Mommie Dearest on IFC and at IFC.com. And for the love of god—NO WIRE HANGERS EVER.

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Breaking News

From Canada With Love

Baroness von Sketch Show comes to IFC.

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Breaking news that (finally) isn’t apocalyptic!

IFC announced today that it acquired acclaimed Canadian comedy series Baroness von Sketch Show, slated to make its US of A premiere this summer. And yes, it’s important to note that it’s a Canadian sketch comedy series, because Canada is currently a shining beacon of civilization in the western hemisphere, and Baroness von Sketch Show reflects that light in every way possible.

The series is fronted entirely by women, which isn’t unusual in the sketch comedy world but is quite rare in the televised sketch comedy world. Punchy, smart, and provocative, each episode of Baroness von Sketch Show touches upon outrageous-yet-relatable real world subjects in ways both unexpected and deeply satisfying: soccer moms, awkward office birthday parties, being over 40 in a gym locker room…dry shampoo…

Indiewire called it “The Best Comedy You’ve Never Seen” and The National Post said that it’s “the funniest thing on Canadian television since Kids In The Hall.” And that’s saying a lot, because Canadians are goddamn hilarious.

Get a good taste of BVSS in the following sketch, which envisions a future Global Summit run entirely by women. It’s a future we’re personally ready for.

Baroness Von Sketch Show premieres later this summer on IFC.

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