DID YOU READ

10 reasons to love Michael Keaton

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Why isn’t Michael Keaton in everything? That’s the question I often ask myself whenever I do manage to catch a glimpse of one of the most amusing and talented actors of this or any generation. That guy makes everything better. His sheer presence is a delight that spreads joy and good feelings to all who have the good fortune to experience it. He’s funny, he’s charming, he’s weird, and he’s not nearly in enough stuff these days. So here, for public record, are 10 reasons to love Michael Keaton and to start putting him in more movies again.


1. Stand Up Comedy

Before you ever heard of him, Michael Keaton was working the stand-up circuit, and if you pay attention to this excerpt of his act (which includes an amusing dramatic reading of Bazooka Joe comics), you can definitely hear the vocal stylings that would eventually form the core of the title character of a gangster move he’d do – you know, that guy whose last name is an adverb.


2. “Night Shift”

Keaton’s first big movie role came with this 1982 Ron Howard comedy. The former Richie Cunningham cast the former Fonz, Henry Winkler, as a put-upon mortician who Keaton convinces to start running a brothel out of the morgue, with the help of hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Shelley Long. Much like our equally beloved national treasure Tom Hanks, Keaton started as a manic comedy machine before settling down into future dramatic roles, and that early energy is on full display in this hilarious film. Observe his stunning powers of bullshit here.


3. “Johnny Dangerously”

Yes, his last name is an adverb. Keaton shined in this ridiculous Amy Heckerling gangster farce that may also be the best thing Joe Piscopo ever accomplished. Using a lot of that James Cagney movie charm in service of a lot of zany slapstick schtick, Keaton’s Johnny is the coolest, smoothest and friendliest gangster in town, never tryin’ to hurt nobody, torn over the fact that his brother (Griffin Dunne) is a straight-laced anti-crime crusader.


4. “Mr. Mom”

In 1983, the concept of the stay-at-home dad was still pretty novel, and thus Keaton was able to make great hay out of a playing a guy who got laid off trying to make a go of it as the househusband and being constantly frazzled at every turn in his John Hughes-scripted comedy. With every mundane task seeming like a huge ordeal, Jack Butler was inevitably driven crazy by the pressure of it all, and nobody makes crazy as fun as Michael Keaton does.


5. “Beetlejuice”

Speaking of crazy – teaming Keaton up with Tim Burton for this story about a completely bonkers ghost named Betelgeuse showcases him at his absolute craziest – not to mention the perviest, too. Summoned by a pair of nice ghosts (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) to get rid of some annoying living people in their home, the maniac becomes an even bigger problem than young Winona Ryder’s family ever could’ve been. Keaton’s a tour-de-force in this one, showing us the frayed edges of sanity that he’s so good at harnessing – and he’s doing it at a mile a minute.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney To Host Spirit Awards

The Spirit Awards Air February 25 LIVE on IFC.

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The 2017 Spirit Awards have finally found their frontmen: Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. And it’s no wonder. Just marvel in their splendid chemistry back when they appeared on Comedy Bang! Bang!:

The pair are prolific within the performing arts community: television (Kroll in The League and The Kroll Show, Mulaney as a writer of IFC’s own Documentary Now!), theater (including Broadway’s current Oh Hello Show), and stand-up comedy. In fact, it’s entirely possible that emceeing an awards show is one of the few remaining line items on their professional bucket lists.

It’s important to caveat this announcement, however. Unlike the bigger and more ubiquitously known awards shows, the Spirit Awards are not, well…boring. (We’re talking to you, Oscar.)

They’re funny. They’re honest. They have quality to match the red-carpet fanfare. And that’s alarmingly special. Last year’s show included some legitimately historic moments, like when transgender actress Mya Taylor won best supporting female, or Kate McKinnon’s hilarious and timely parody of Carol. See more highlights here to get the flavor of the Spirit Awards and read all about Film Independent to dig deeper.

The 2017 Spirit Awards air live February 25 at 5P ET exclusively on IFC.

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