DID YOU READ

Top Five Time Travel Movies, from Arnold to Willis

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Looper, which opened at an over $20 million box office take on its opening weekend, is already being hailed as one of the great time travel movies of all time. Time – pun intended – will tell.

What about time travel? The time travel film genre is quite broad, often involving travel to the past and sometimes, especially in action films, involving jumping forward into the future. In both instances, films under the influence of time travel almost always exhibit over-the-top art direction buttressed with convoluted storylines involving conundrums of the time-space continuum. Time travel films are a wonderful excuse to be bombastic and smart to the point of confusing at the same time. Here is my short list for fantastic time travel films:


1. The Terminator

Talk about convoluted storylines! The Terminator involves both the past and the future — futuristic technology, to be exact, leaping backwards in time. James Cameron defined the bombastic and smart combination in this time travel film, heavy on action, but with a script interesting enough to attract people who are into well-written movies. And Arnold – pre- (and, evidently, post) 60 Minutes revelations – embodied every bit the unfeeling cyborg assassin. The original film launched three sequels, a brief television series and the career of James Cameron. The film also significantly raised the expectations forever afterwards for big box office action films.


2. Army of Darkness

Army of Darkness, one of the greatest of cult films, is the final installment of the ingenious Evil Dead trilogy. Written and directed by the great Sam Raimi, Army of Darkness works primarily because of the complicated story, equally, at times, funny and suspenseful, as well as the innovative art direction. The film travels backwards – to 1300 AD – but it is an unrecognizable, thoroughly dark magical Raimi-ish look into the past. The story, quite innovative for its time, is at the forefront of this unforgettable film.


3. 12 Monkeys

Terry Gilliam, like Sam Raimi, can do no wrong. The most important element of a time travel movie is the story and, after that, the direction. In both of these, Terry Gilliam excels.  Acting, in many ways, is secondary to the special effects in this genre. How the director conveys the time shift (the art direction) – as well the story are what make a great time travel film. In this film, however, the performances of Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis as they dance around the question of possible madness, is as important an ingredient to the success of this film as the special effects and the story. The great special effects, in this case, are lagniappe.


4. Donnie Darko

This DVD cult hit may just be the strangest movie ever made. Donnie Darko makes Army of Darkness look like a traditional Hollywood film. And yet … it is impossible to look away. To call Donnie Darko just a time travel movie is like calling The Terminator just a romance. But time travel is certainly the central theme running throughout the whole film holding it together. It is a time travel film that doesn’t really involve time travel. Netflix it if you haven’t already.


5. Groundhog Day

Is there any time travel movie that is only just a time travel movie? It seems to me that the time travel genre is the ground-of-being for other, more established genres – action, romance, suspense, comedy and/or thriller. And Groundhog Day, heavy on the romance and comedy angles, is, hands down my favorite time travel movie. Groundhog Day contains Bill Murray – and isn’t that really enough reason to love it? – trying to solve one of the oddest time continuum problems of them all. How does one move forward when one cannot? Murray, literally, keeps repeating February the second. Murray, metaphorically in this film, is timeless.


Honorable Mention: Time After Time

This 1979 film is a must-see of fans of the time travel genre. The special effects, by today’s Looper standards, are here thin. But the story is razor sharp. This film involves a jump into the future – Jack the Ripper’s jump into the future, to be precise, after stealing HG Wells’ Time Machine. The suspenseful film involves a century-long chase between HG Wells and Jack-the-Ripper (played, with icy precision, by A Clockwork Orange’s Malcolm McDowell) over a beautiful young woman. More Honorable Mentions: The Time Machine (1960), Back to the Future and Planet of the Apes.


What is your favorite time travel movie? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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