DID YOU READ

As you prepare for Trapped in the Closet, here are ten great sing-along flicks

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When you think about musical movies, your mind generally tends to gravitate towards Disney cartoons and Peabo Bryson – or at least mine does – but musical doesn’t have to mean the films that glaze your eyes over because children want to watch them over and over and over again. In fact, they can be crazy, twisted affairs with hookers, transvestites, race cars, demons, murder, and man-eating monsters. So let’s take a look at ten great sing-along movies that don’t necessarily cater to the kiddies.

And when you’re finished reading, don’t forget to mark your calendars for this Friday at 9/8c, when IFC is airing all-new chapters from R. Kelly’s legendary hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet.


1. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Of course, we have to start here, with the gloriously schlocky and deviant 1975 classic that boasts the longest theatrical run in history that endures to this day. From “Science Fiction Double Feature” to “Sweet Transvestite,” it remains the epitome of the midnight movie, and has a unique element of audience participation that’s been the key to its longevity. What other show can you go to that encourages you to throw toast and toilet paper around the room? That, and Tim Curry’s there’s-no-other-word-for-it-but-delicious performance as Dr. Frank N. Furter, the glamorously mad scientist determined to create himself a beautifully sexy Charles Atlas kind of man for carnal pleasures, much to the chagrin of the straight-laced Brad Majors and Janet Weiss. (See also: The First Nudie Musical)


2. “Grease”

You can’t leave this 1978 staple film about 1950s Americana out, either. John Travolta’s Danny Zuko and Olivia Newton-John’s Sandy Olsen gave us chills and were electrifyin’, and you have to love any movie where the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t be afraid to slut it up a bit to prove your love to a guy who’s been squarin’ it up for you. Then there’s the whole Kenickie/Rizzo knock-up scare that puts this firmly into reasonably-mature audience territory – although, truth be told, “Greased Lightning” is where some of us first learned a goodly number of dirty words. (See also: Hairspray and, if you must, Grease 2)


3. “The Muppet Movie”

Hey, there are certainly monsters and weirdos here! Well, okay, you can argue that Jim Henson’s wonderful 1979 film was indeed geared towards kids, but the appeal of The Muppets goes far beyond that, especially when you consider how underrated Henson was as a songwriter. Whether it’s Kermit and Fozzie driving cross country and singing the infectious “Movin’ Right Along,” or Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem busting out “Can You Picture That?” – you can’t help but get a bouncy little feeling of joy and laughter in your soul. And I defy you to not have feelings upon feelings whenever you listen to that quiet banjo accompanying the ballad of a frog with big dreams and bigger questions called “Rainbow Connection.” (See also: The Muppets)


4. “Little Shop of Horrors”

This one’s wild – Frank Oz of Muppet fame directing a 1986 film based on a 1982 musical based on a 1960 Roger Corman movie that featured one of Jack Nicholson’s earliest roles (one that would be filled by Bill Murray in Oz’s version). That Muppet pedigree was certainly necessary when creating a massive man-eating plant that can sing and dance while Rick Moranis’ put-upon Seymour Krelborn tries to find a way to feed its gruesome appetites. The love of his life, Ellen Greene’s Audrey, is mixed up with a nasty piece of dental work played brilliantly by Steve Martin, and his masochistic cruelty makes him the perfect victim for Audrey II, the Mean Green Mother From Outer Space.


5. “Repo: The Genetic Opera”

There are elements of both Rocky Horror and Little Shop in this 2008 goth-rock opera, but it’s got a much darker tone than either of those films. Darren Smith and Terry Zdunich composed and wrote the play the movie sprang from, and Zdunich appears as the GraveRobber – our pseudo-narrator through this futuristic world where Anthony Head is a repossessor of organs (an idea that would be ripped off in the 2010 dud Repo Men) who is trying to protect his daughter (Alexa Vega) from the harsh realities of the world in twisted ways. This underseen effort also absolutely qualifies as the most interesting thing Paris Hilton has ever done in her life. (See also: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and, for more Head, “Once More, With Feeling,” the Buffy The Vampire Slayer musical episode – and, while we’re at it, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog)

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Say Hello to Our Scarface Quiz

Play along with movie trivia during "Scarface" tonight at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Tony Montana is all about money, power and respect. And while we can’t promise you’ll get money or power by taking our Scarface quiz below, you will get respect if you get a perfect score. One out of three ain’t bad. Click below to take the quiz, and catch Scarface this month on IFC.

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Hank Azaria’s Simpsons Advice For Grads, Questionable Shark Facts and More of This Week’s Funniest Videos

This week we're laughing at Hank's Tufts commencement speech, Jason Alexander's shark facts and more.

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Photo Credit: YouTube/Tufts University

We’ve made it! Memorial Day weekend! But before we can complain that it’s over too quickly, take a moment to bask in the pre-break lack of productivity and enjoy some lighthearted videos.

From Hank Azaria channeling Chief Wiggum and other Simpsons characters while talking to college grads to “Shark-spert” Jason Alexander sharing questionable shark facts, here are five funny things from this week you need to watch.

1. Kermit Informs Fozzie Bear That They’ve Been Canceled

It’s never easy to see someone receive bad news, much less a Muppet. But if anything, Kermit’s poise and acceptance during a time of crisis is impressive, admirable even. Fozzie Bear, on the other hand, reacts with greater similarity to how we would: with baseless anger and utter despair.


2. Jason Alexander Offers Shark “Fin Facts”

Memorial Day weekend means the start of beach season, aka Shark Feeding Season. As part of IFC’s Shark Half-A-Day Memorial Day marathon, “sharks-pert” Jason Alexander offers up some interesting “fin facts” about our sharp-toothed friends from the deep. You can also check out Jason’s beach tips, and catch the Jaws movies with more “fin facts” from Jason this Memorial Day on IFC.


3. Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke Confirms Dothraki Is a Real Language

With eyes still dewy from the climax of this past Sunday’s Game of Thrones (Hold the door!), the Mother of Dragons herself Emilia Clarke dropped by Late Night with Seth Meyers to throw the diehard fans a reason to smile: Yes, Dothraki is a real language. Watch Clarke discuss the phonetics and grammar involved with vying for Westeros rule.


4. Hank Azaria Gives Advice Through Simpsons Characters

Hank Azaria — star of The Simpsons, The Birdcage, and Brockmire, premiering in 2017 on IFC — gave the commencement speech at his alma mater Tufts University. In the hilarious speech, Azaria discusses how he got through college, recounts his early career struggles, and offers up life advice via fan favorite Simpsons characters like Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy.


5. X-Men: The Animated Series Gets Honest

Screen Junkies are back this week with another round of Honest Trailers. This entry focuses on the cartoon mutants that comprise X-Men: The Animated Series — an ultra-’90s Marvel property that predates the comic book adaptation boom of the 21st Century. But looking back at the decade of Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane, this video finds much to mock.

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Weird Al Comedy Bang Bang Season 5

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“Weird Al” Talks Comedy Bang! Bang!, His Upcoming Tour, Favorite Videos and More

Weird Al comes to Comedy Bang! Bang! starting June 3rd at 11P on IFC.

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With a career spanning five decades, “Weird Al” Yankovic has defined the song parody genre and become a beloved pop culture icon. Starting June 3rd, you’ll be able to catch him as the brand new Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader Fridays at 11P on IFC.

We recently chatted with Al about joining Scott Aukerman on the new season, his upcoming tour, favorite CB!B! characters and his future dream projects. (Hint: it might involve actors spontaneously breaking into song.)

The Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader gig seems like a natural fit for you. Did it take any time to get acclimated?

Weird Al: Yeah. It’s a slightly different skill set. The accordion is my main act, but I don’t use it on the show at all. It’s a keyboard setup. The actual setup is a little bit of a combination of what Reggie [Watts] had and [Kid] Cudi had. And a few extra things thrown in. So I’m trying to do my own version of what they brought to the show.

You’ve been on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast and the show many times. Do you have a favorite CB!B! character?

Weird Al: I’d probably have to say Doctor Time. Every time Scott wants me to do an evil character, he’s always got a bad English accent. [Laughs] Any time my character goes evil, he becomes sort of British.

Any favorite guests you’ve worked with?

Weird Al: Gosh, I love them all. Paul F. Tompkins is always fun. His Andrew Lloyd Webber character, Cake Boss, everything he does. And Andy Daly as well. They’re so versatile and so amazing at improv. That’s the one thing I was a little nervous about because I’ve never been super confident with my improv skills. But Comedy Bang! Bang!, particularly the TV version, is good for that because it’s all heavily edited. So it kind of gives me permission to try out whatever comes to my mind, so if it really sucks, they’re not gonna use it. [Laughs]

Scott Aukerman Weird Al

Your upcoming tour is a continuation of your Mandatory Fun tour from last year. Any new elements to the show?

Weird Al: Well, it is the same tour, so it’s not that much different. I might freshen some video a little bit. I’m hoping to use a bit or two from the current season of Comedy Bang! Bang! and slip that into the show somewhere.

The tour starts June 3rd in St. Petersburg, Florida and ends September 24th at Radio City Music Hall. How do you keep up the pace? 

Weird Al: It’s just a mindset. I’m really only working for two hours a day, so I basically just save up my energy for the show. I relax, surf online, watch satellite TV, read a book, rest my voice, and then give it all I got when I’m onstage.

Looking back at your vast song catalog, was there ever a parody that came to you immediately upon hearing the song?

Weird Al: Yeah, that’s happened a few times. More often than not, I have to think about it and analytically work out all the variations on a theme that I can and pick out the one with the most potential. But there’s been a few times where the idea came to me spontaneously. I think the first time I saw Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video, before it was even over, I thought, “Oh! I gotta do ‘Fat’! Super-plus-sized actors trying to get through a turnstile on a subway! I gotta do that!”

Do you have a favorite of your many hilarious videos?

Weird Al: Oh boy, it’s hard to say. “White and Nerdy” has been my biggest hit and that was a really fun video to do. But in terms of making a video, “Tacky” was really fun to do because it was so easy and I got to work with amazing people like Jack Black, Margaret Cho, Kristen Schaal, Eric Stonestreet, and Aisha Tyler. And we knocked it out in a couple of hours. We were having so much fun while making it, I kinda wish we weren’t so efficient and professional. [Laughs] I could’ve done that all night.

Was it filmed all in one take or was it stitched together?

Weird Al: That was all one take. Some people say, “Oh, I see where the edit is,” but it was all one shot. We did a total of six takes, and I think four of those takes were usable, but the last one was the best.

And you were directing while performing?

Weird Al: I directed that one, yeah. We location scouted and found a building in downtown LA that I thought was good for the shoot. I’ve since seen that building in a lot of other movies and TV shows — I think it was used in The Big Lebowski and a few others. It was difficult because I start the video in one set of clothes and I also end the video in a completely different set of clothes. So while the cameras were off me, because there’s only one elevator in the building, I had to run down five flights of stairs, quickly change my clothes, and hit my mark for the end. And after the take, we’d all just watch what we did, and say, “OK, let’s do it again.”

Is there a director you’d love to work with in the future?

Weird Al: Oh gosh, yeah, but I mean, music videos are notoriously low-budget so that’s why I end up directing them myself. [Laughs] But I’d love to be in a movie codirected by Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

Do you have a particular genre of music that you love parodying the most? Or is it more of the moment and different for each song?

Weird Al: It doesn’t necessarily revolve around personal taste so much. It really depends more on the song than the genre. But I found rap songs tend to lend themselves to parody, mostly because there’s a lot of words to play with. A lot of pop songs are repetitive, and that’s sometimes been an issue. With rap, there’s no shortage of syllables to mess around with.

Given that you’ve been so prolific and done so much, is there any type of art left that you’d like to dip your toe in? Dramatic acting, perhaps?

Weird Al: Well, if Spielberg and Tarantino want me for their film, I wouldn’t want to turn them down. But there’s no burning desire to do drama. I love doing comedy and feel comfortable doing that. Writing a musical might be something I do down the line. I don’t know when but I might take a shot at something in that area. Other than that, I’ve done pretty much all I wanted to do in my life so far. A lot of it not successfully. [Laughs] But I took a stab at it and feel gratified by that.

You’ve had such a eclectic career in music and comedy. What do you attribute your longevity to?

Weird Al: [Laughs] I don’t know what I’d attribute the longevity to. There’s a modicum of talent, but it’s mostly because I surround myself with very talented people. I’ve got a great support group, I’ve got the same band since the early ’80s, and I’ve worked with the same people for decades. And I got a very loyal fan base and I love what I do. And somehow I’ve been very lucky and it’s worked out so far.

Watch “Weird Al” in an episode from the new season of Comedy Bang! Bang! right now, before the season premiere on Friday June 3rd at 11P.

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