DID YOU READ

Five favorites scores by James Horner

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When you tune in to to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” today at 1:15 p.m. ET, we want you to try something: Close your eyes. We know it will be hard to turn away from the action as the crew of the Starship Enterprise battle one of their most hated villains: Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban), a genetically engineered tyrant (and former ruler of much of the Earth during the 1990s) who emerges from his 15-year exile on a mission of revenge against Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner), whom he blames for the death of his wife. Khan has his sights on the Genesis Device, which can reorganize matter to create habitable worlds – or destroy them utterly. So yeah, we get that it will be hard to close your eyes, but we guarantee that it will be worth it. Because once you shut out the visual action you can focus on the brilliant score that accompanies the film.

Composed by James Horner, the score to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” narrates the action, builds tension and enhances the drama, which is just what a good score is supposed to do. It’s no surprise that the score is so successful, because Horner is a master of his craft. Horner has been nominated for ten Academy Awards for his work, winning Best Original Dramatic Score for “Titanic” and Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On” in 1998. He has also won two Golden Globe Awards, three Satellite Awards, three Saturn Awards, and has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards and his contributions to the craft have been honored by the American Film Institute. So even though it’s hard, close your eyes during “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and listen to a master at work.

Here are five of our favorite scores by James Horner.

5. “Field of Dreams”

4. “The Amazing Spiderman”

3. “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”

2. “Avatar”

1. “Aliens”

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“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” airs today at 1:15 p.m. ET; Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 2:30 AM ET; and Saturday, Nov. 24 at 2:00 AM ET

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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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 reboots that worked, in honor of “The Amazing Spider-Man” on Blu-ray

Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man

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The “reboot” has become the new go-to term for Hollywood to use when they decide to remake a film that’s either not really that old or they want audiences to believe they’re taking a fresh take on the material. Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes it’s spin. Either way, movie fans have seen a whole slew of reboots in recent years as the number of wholly original films coming out of the dream factory gets smaller every year.

Perhaps this year’s most high-profile reboot is Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, a “fresh take” on the character and the films Sam Raimi established as canon only a few years back. While it’s certainly debatable that The Amazing Spider-Man actually “worked” as a reboot, it’s undeniable that the film includes some stunning visuals, a fantastic bit of chemistry between leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and a bend on Spidey’s origin that audiences hadn’t seen before. It also boasts a pretty astonishing Blu-ray (in stores now) with an exhaustive documentary crafted by Charles de Lauzirika. It’s a must-buy for any fan of the webslinger.

Feel free to argue yourself into oblivion about how well Webb’s film actually holds up but, if anything, it gives us the chance to delve into five reboots that did work. It’s like déjà vu all over again.


“Dawn of the Dead” (2004)

George A. Romero fans (myself included) are rabidly protective of the man’s work, and for good reason: he’s the Godfather of the modern zombie film. If it weren’t for Romero’s 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead” you probably wouldn’t be seeing the type of popularity that zombies are enjoying now. Things like “The Walking Dead” probably wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Romero’s work.

So fans were skeptical at best when they heard that Zack Snyder was planning to remake one of the master’s most loved films: “Dawn of the Dead.” Not only that, but he planned to employ fast-moving zombies. What? Yes, that’s right. Snyder’s zombies are quick little buggers hell-bent on eating brains and tearing flesh. It was a major change that hardcore zombie fans had a very hard time coming to grips with. Yet, despite all the misgivings and nervous Romero ‘shippers out there, Snyder’s 2004 “Dawn of the Dead” actually works. It’s certainly not the original, and it’s a wholly new take on the film’s zombies-in-a-mall concept where the social satire doesn’t quite hit as strongly as Romero’s take, but it’s a hell of an entertaining film and still stands up as one of the best zombie flicks of the last decade. Packed with a quality cast, tightly directed, and jammed with plenty of winks to Romero’s original, “Dawn of the Dead” is one reboot for which I’m happy to be a fan.


“21 Jump Street” (2012)

Nobody, and I mean nobody, except for the folks making 2012’s “21 Jump Street” thought this reboot was going to work. And I don’t blame them. The odds were certainly stacked against the film. The original TV series that it’s based on really wasn’t very good (aside from giving the world a glimpse into the mind of a very young Johnny Depp), the casting seemed off (who knew Channing Tatum could pull off comedy, right?), and concept itself seemed to be reaching. The final product, however, is completely badass and hilarious. Fans began to have hope when that first poster came out with the hilarious tagline (which I won’t repeat here) and early trailers backed up their suspicions that “21 Jump Street” just might have a chance at working. And work it does. The team of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is way funnier than anyone expected, the fresh take on the concept is surprisingly adept, and the clever cameos and inside jokes turn “21 Jump Street” into one of the year’s best comedies and one that I’ll watch again on Blu-ray plenty of times. Who knew?


“The Fly” (1986)

When the master of flesh-based horror, David Cronenberg, decided to remake the 1958 Vincent Price-starring film of the same name he not only made the decision to reboot the original concept, but he actually took the film’s basic premise of a scientist merging with a housefly and blew it up in only the way Cronenberg knows how. The results are not only better than the original film, but they’re also astonishingly original, completely horrific, and totally Cronenberg. “The Fly” is often regarded as the director’s best film, but even that might be selling it short. Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis both deliver career-best performances, the effects are just as effective two decades after the film’s release, and the subtext of “The Fly” holds up extremely well. If you’re looking for the definition of a true “reboot” look no further than Cronenberg’s film. Not only is it absolutely creeptastic, but it’s also smart, well made, and wholly original. Oh, and it’s also often pretty damn gross.


“Disturbia” (2007)

Now’s the time when all the Shia LaBeouf haters will take out their pitchforks and come running after me. Go ahead, folks. Bring it because I still watch “Disturbia” to this day and I still get a hell of a kick out of it every time. Based on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Rear Window,” D.J. Caruso’s 2007 film might not be a true, full-on “reboot,” but it definitely has enough elements of the original film to call it one. There’s a guy (in this case LaBeouf) holed up inside his house and he can’t stop staring out the window watching life happen outside. Then he sees what he believes to be a murder occurring. From there, “Disturbia” strays quite a bit from Hitchcock’s film, but it’s the same basic premise with similar results. The film is clearly no “Rear Window” but it is a damn fine film with some truly suspenseful moments and excellent performances from Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer. “Disturbia” is one of those films that, if it pops up on TV, it’s nearly impossible to turn it off. That alone, in my opinion, is enough to call it a reboot that works.


“The Thing” (1982)

John Carpenter’s 1982 classic “The Thing” just might be the greatest reboot of all time. Based on the 1951 Howard Hawks-Christian Nyby film “The Thing from Another World” (and possibly more so John W. Campbell Jr.’s novella “Who Goes There?”), Carpenter’s film is an ice-cold slice of paranoid perfection. Similar to what Cronenberg does with “The Fly,” Carpenter takes the original premise and blows it up to create a wholly new film in the director’s signature style. Starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Donald Moffat, and Charles Hallahan, “The Thing” is exactly what you’d expect it to be… until it isn’t. It’s a film that will have you questioning who you trust and why, who your friends and enemies really are, and just what might lurk under the surface of every conversation, action, and moment of solidarity. It’s also, arguably, Carpenter’s greatest film and that’s saying a whole lot. If you’ve only seen the 2011 prequel version of “The Thing” get your butt over to Amazon now and pick up the excellent Blu-ray version of Carpenter’s film. You won’t regret it. Trust me.

Get ready Trekkies: Introducing Star Trek week

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away ….wait. That’s not right. We’re not showing that Disney film! We’re showing “Star Trek.” This Saturday we are kicking off a whole week’s worth of awesome with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” at 8/7c. In the first foray of the popular television show onto the silver screen, Adm. Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and crew embark in the overhauled Enterprise to find an intelligent entity called VGER.

Then on Sunday we’re re-airing “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” at 5:15 p.m. ET followed by “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” at 8/7c where Ricardo Montalban stars as the ultimate evil villain Khan, who may or may not be Chaka Khan’s cousin. While you should definitely watch, whatever you do, don’t let him near your ears.

Starting Monday we’ll be throwing “Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock” into the mix starting at 8/7c. In the third installment, Captain Kirk and the crew steal the old Enterprise and head for Vulcan to reunite the mind and body of Mr. Spock. Why? It may not be logical, but it’s the right thing to do.

After you vote, tune in on Tuesday at 8/7c for “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” where Spock, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise time-travel to modern-day San Francisco to bring humpback whales to the 23rd century. That’s right: Whales, motherfucker! So much better than watching election results.

On Wednesday, who ever is the new President of the United States, we will be watching “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” at 8/7c. This time a renegade Vulcan makes Kirk, Spock, McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and the Enterprise go to a planet at the center of the galaxy.

While “Star Trek V” was called “The Final Frontier,” fear not, because we have another installment of the film franchise on Thursday: “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” kicks off at 8/7c. This time Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the Enterprise encounter sabotage on the way to peace talks with the Klingon Federation.

Capping off the week we have a surplus of Captains. In “Star Trek Generations,” Capt. Kirk and Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) team up to thwart mad Dr. Soran’s (Malcolm McDowell) quest for the Nexus of joy. Fans of the old school and new school Star Trek can hold hands and tune in together at 8/7c.

But that’s not all folks! On Saturday, we inaugurate Star Trek: The Next Generation as commander of the film franchise. AT 8/7c we’re showing “Star Trek: First Contact” with Captain Jean-Luc Picard at the helm with William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) at his side. They and their crew set off to stop the half-robot Borg from sabotaging a historic rocket flight in 2063.

Finally, on Sunday, we’re showing “Star Trek: Insurrection” at 8/7c. In the final Star Trek: The Next Generation film, to uphold the principles of his Starfleet oath and save an alien race, Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) defies Federation orders.

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“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” airs Sunday at 8/7c; “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” airs Sunday at 8/7c; “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” airs Monday at 8/7c”; “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” airs Tuesday at 8/7c; “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” airs Wednesday at 8/7c; “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” airs Thursday at 8/7c; “Star Trek Generations” airs Friday at 8/7c; “Star Trek: First Contact” airs Saturday at 8/7c; “Star Trek: Insurrection” at 8/7c

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