DID YOU READ

Matthew Lillard laments the lost “SLC Punk!” sequel, and how “Fat Kid Rules the World” is an unofficial homage

Matthew Lillard and Michael Goorjian in SLC Punk!

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UPDATED: October 8, 2012 – See below*

In his new movie “Fat Kid Rules the World,” director Matthew Lillard plays a high school guidance counselor to a chubby, suicidal student, a bullied, prototypical loser trying to find his own lot in life. The boy, Troy (Jacob Wysocki), is unexpectedly recruited to play drums in an upstart punk rock band, allowing the high schooler to break from his shell and advance towards a more popular, music-aided existence.

But this isn’t the first time Lillard has played champion to the voice of the oppressed. Back in 1998, the actor starred in the small-budget indie “SLC Punk!,” playing Stevo, a spikey-haired rocker fighting the system amongst Salt Lake City’s burgeoning underground scene. The role was a seminal one for both the actor and the underrepresented pool who found the film. Towards the end of the picture, it was assumed Stevo would head to law school to advance his cause from within. But will we ever know for sure which way the character went? If Lillard has his way, we’d be returning to Utah to find out.

“You know it’s funny,” Lillard told IFC of a potential sequel. “I pitched it and nobody bit. [Writer/director] James [Merendino] didn’t bite, and I don’t really know where James is right now. The last time anyone saw him he was in Colombia. But I pitched it to producers. Linkletter does that for ‘Before Sunrise,’ like every ten years he goes back and makes that movie again. I just think there’s such a great story to tell there.”

We may never know for sure where Stevo’s road took him, but if we look at “Fat Kid Rules the World,” we at least have an idea.

“The redband trailer [of ‘Fat Kid’] ends on me,” said Lillard. “I’m in the movie, and I put myself in the movie dressed up as Stevo at the end of ‘SLC Punk!’ And my name in the movie is Stevo Going. It was a little homage to ‘SLC Punk.’ In [‘SLC Punk!’] it says I’m going to law school to continue the fight and do more damage from inside the system than outside. So I have him as a high school counselor.”

According to the filmmaker, “Fat Kid,” based on KL Going’s novel, isn’t so much an unofficial sequel to “Punk!” as it is an homage. And, for a variety of reasons, Lillard sees a lot of his earlier role in his new film. At the end of the day, both characters exist to give voice to those who struggle to find their own.

“I think that they are related,” Lillard says of Stevo and Stevo Going. “And I know how much ‘SLC Punk!’ means to those kids who found that movie. I walk down the street and I have the benefit of running into kids all the time saying ‘I love that movie, we found that movie and we watched it a hundred times, it meant the world to me.’ So I know that you make a movie with respect about a demographic that nobody cares about, that they’ll support it and it’s a powerful thing. And hopefully we treat that scene with respect, and those people in that world find it and like that movie. The movie isn’t about a fat kid, it’s about people on the outside looking in.”

“Fat Kid Rules the World” opens in NY today, LA on October 12, with additional cities to follow, and will be available on VOD and iTunes beginning October 25.

*[UPDATE] “SLC Punk!” writer/director James Merendino tells IFC he is in New York City working on a sequel to his 1998 cult favorite. Stay tuned to IFC for more on this story.

Would you like to see an “SLC Punk!” sequel? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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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