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Call-In Commentary: Watch the “Starlet” trailer with writer-director Sean Baker

Dree Hemingway in Starlet

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In Sean Baker’s new indie “Starlet,” a young Californian (played by Dree Hemingway — Ernest’s granddaughter — in her feature film debut) crosses paths with an elderly widow (Besedka Johnson) at a yard sale, where she finds a stash of cash from the older woman’s past. The resulting relationship, as these two cross-generational characters begin spending time together, is the focal point of the movie which has been hailed at such festivals as SXSW.

To get the inside take on the picture, we asked Sean to participate in our Call-In Commentary series, where filmmakers provide narration to their trailers. In the video below, the director takes you through the movie, introducing his leads and swearing there are no spoilers. Check it out, and catch “Starlet” in theaters November 9th.

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MORE CALL-IN COMMENTARIES:

Watch the “Fat Kid Rules the World” trailer with director Matthew Lillard
Watch the “House at the End of the Street” trailer with director Mark Tonderai
Watch the “Looper” trailer with writer-director Rian Johnson
Watch the “For a Good Time, Call…” trailer with writer-director Jamie Travis
Watch “The Babymakers” trailer with director Jay Chandrasekhar of Broken Lizard
Watch the “Robot & Frank” trailer with director Jake Schreier

View more Call-In Commentaries…

Will you be checking out “Starlet”? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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.

Call-In Commentary: Watch the “Fat Kid Rules the World” trailer with director Matthew Lillard

Jacob Wysocki in Fat Kid Rules the World

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Best known for acting roles in films like “SLC Punk!” and the Scooby-Doo franchise, Matthew Lillard takes his first turn in the director’s chair for “Fat Kid Rules the World,” an ultra-indie that launched its theatrical run on the back of a Kickstarter campaign. The movie follows Troy (Jacob Wysocki), a bullied, overweight high school student whose chance encounter after a failed suicide attempt leads him into the arms of a punk rock band. The film has received raves as of late, paving the way for a limited screen debut ahead of an October 25 VOD and iTunes bow.

To get a deeper dive into “Fat Kid,” we recruited Lillard for IFC’s Call-In Commentary series, where directors provide narration to their trailer. In the video below, learn how Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready handled music duties for the project, what Lillard tried to keep out of the trailer and more. Check it out.

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MORE CALL-IN COMMENTARIES:

Watch the “House at the End of the Street” trailer with director Mark Tonderai
Watch the “Looper” trailer with writer-director Rian Johnson
Watch the “For a Good Time, Call…” trailer with writer-director Jamie Travis
Watch “The Babymakers” trailer with director Jay Chandrasekhar of Broken Lizard
Watch the “Robot & Frank” trailer with director Jake Schreier
Watch the “Iron Sky” trailer with director Timo Vuorensola

View more Call-In Commentaries…

Will you be checking out “Fat Kid Rules the World”? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Call-In Commentary: Watch the “Looper” trailer with writer-director Rian Johnson

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper

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One of the most underrated talents in Hollywood, Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “The Lookout”) finally makes his major studio debut with “Looper,” a taut sci-fi mindbender starring frequent collaborator Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. The film takes place in a grit-filled near-future where time travel has yet to be invented, but will be in the even farther future. In that more distant time, killing folks is near-impossible so the leading crime syndicate zaps their would-be victims back into the past where loopers wait for their prey, and then blast them as soon as they arrive at a meticulously coordinated time.

Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, one of the youngest loopers whose life comes to a crossroads when the intended victim sent back is…himself, 30 years removed. When the older version of him manages to escape, it sets in motion one of the most exciting and intelligent movies of the year.

That’s exactly why we were thrilled to enlist Johnson for our Call-In Commentary series, where filmmakers provide narration to their movie trailer. In the video below, Johnson takes you through his picture, laying out behind-the-scenes anecdotes and interesting factoids, such as how one diner scene used more film than the entire making of “Brick.” Check it out below; “Looper” opens nationwide this Friday.

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MORE CALL-IN COMMENTARIES:

Watch the “For a Good Time, Call…” trailer with writer-director Jamie Travis
Watch “The Babymakers” trailer with director Jay Chandrasekhar of Broken Lizard
Watch the “Robot & Frank” trailer with director Jake Schreier
Watch the “Iron Sky” trailer with director Timo Vuorensola
Watch “The Imposter” trailer with director Bart Layton
Watch the “Dark Horse” trailer with writer-director Todd Solondz

View more Call-In Commentaries…

Will you be checking out “Looper”? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Exclusive Premiere: Balmorhea “Writing Masollan”

balmorhea-writing-masollan-constellations

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There are few bands like Balmorhea. It’s fitting that the group named themselves after a tiny town in their home state of Texas. Their music is evocative of West Texas and its wide open spaces and time spent wondering in nature. The band is on the frontier of indie rock, crafting music that is haunting and hypnotic, but never droning. It’s introspective, but never falls into the background music of shoe-gaze. It’s full of emotion without being ponderous. Instead it’s anthemic, emotional, and challenging, filled with swelling melodies, lilting rhythms, and dense textures. The music is heavily influenced by classical music, but is undoubtedly post-rock. Like we said, there are few bands like Balmorhea.

Which is why it’s not especially surprising that when it came time to make a music video, they took their own path. The result is something that’s not a traditional music video, and not a traditional making of video. Instead, it’s shots of the group, including founders Rob Lowe and Michael Muller, writing, rehearsing, and playing their song live as they craft the song that became “Masollan.” The track is off their forthcoming album “Stranger,” which will be released in the United States in October 2012.

Watch Balmorhea “Writing Masollan”:

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Exclusive premiere: Careful “Quite”

091912_Careful

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“It’s my garage, my gas, my car, my time,” Careful’s Eric Lindley sings, from the perspective of a middle aged man trying to kill himself in his garage. It plays like a homage to the libertarian who, after securing some material part of the American dream for himself, is left wanting. As David Byrne once posed, after letting the days go by, “And you may say to yourself; My God!… what have I done?!”

Director Miwa Matreyek’s animated video (which she titles “Lumerance”) doesn’t seem to adhere to that particular reading of the song, and of course it doesn’t have to either. But what’s brilliant is how this song about a small-minded enclosure is launched it into a cosmic perspective. While Lindley sings on about the most desperate, and lonely act, Matreyek depicts it’s antithetical action, the human urge to connect — to others, to the earth, the moon, to the universe.

 

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There’s also a great counter reference to the climate change “debate” hidden within this, though I cannot imagine it was necessarily intended, the fact that it sparked in my mind from watching this speaks of the artistic power of this collaboration: For anyone who doesn’t believe our choices impact our world, that human behavior does not affect it, go sit in your garage with your car running for a while. Your garage is only a microcosm of our shared macrocosmic enclosure, that many of us would love to reach out from.

“Because I Am Always Talking” the third release by Lindley under his Careful moniker, is out now. Apart from animating this video, Matreyek can be found harmonizing with Careful on the track “I Had A Kid.”

All together, or all alone? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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