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Kelly McGillis looks back at the legacy of “Top Gun”

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“Top Gun” might be getting old, but Paramount Picture is making sure the movie looks better than ever. On February 19, a newly remastered 3D Blu-ray re-release of the film is hitting store shelves following a six-day theatrical run in IMAX 3D theaters.

In anticipation of “Top Gun” being introduced to a new generation of audiences, leading lady Kelly McGillis chatted on the phone with IFC about the impact the movie has had on her life. She surprisingly hasn’t seen the flick since it came out, but because of its lasting legacy it still affects her in many ways.

IFC: Hi, Kelly. It must be a little surreal for you talking about “Top Gun” all day. I can’t believe it’s been almost 27 years since it came out.

KELLY MCGILLIS: Yeah, I can’t either. It’s a little bit challenging because I haven’t seen the film since it first came out, so good luck. [laughs]

IFC: So you haven’t seen it in 3D, then? They just converted it.

KM: No, I haven’t. I haven’t seen the film since it’s been done.

IFC: Oh, wow. Obviously this is a film that’s lasted well over the years. What’s the experience been like having that legacy attached to you?

KM: It’s wonderful. I didn’t know while making the movie that it would have such legs, and I think it’s wonderful and I think it’s a testament to Tony Scott’s vision, I really do. And I think it’s just a testament truly to the innocence of the movie. The good guy/bad guy kind of thing; very pre-9/11. Nothing sinister about it. I’m amazed, actually. I’m amazed that it lasted this long.

IFC: That innocence, is that the main reason you think it’s had such a great legacy or do you think there’s anything else to it that helps it still resonate with people?

KM: I think the style of the piece and the music. It sort of encapsulated the ’80s, what the ’80s were all about. I think that a lot of people of my age kind of really remember that time fondly. It will be interesting to see what a whole new generation of people think about that movie.

IFC: I definitely think it’s interesting that the movie is still such a part of our pop culture now. Looking back, are there any specific moments in the movie that you would be interested in seeing in 3D, or that you look forward to other people seeing?

KM: Oh no, I can’t think of any. Sorry. [laughs]

IFC: I haven’t seen it in 3D yet, but I’m intrigued by how the aerial scenes will look.

KM: Yeah, I think those will be really fun in 3D. I think that would be really fun.

IFC: I know the sequel isn’t happening but that it had been discussed in the past. Was there any talk of you coming back for that?

KM: No.

IFC: You recently showed “We Are What We Are” at Sundance. Can you talk a little bit about your involvement in that movie? People seemed to respond well to it in reviews and say that it was a refreshing take on the horror genre.

KM: I had worked with Jim Mickle before and he had called me and wanted me to come up and do this little part Marge, and I adored working with Jim when I did “Stake Land” with him, so I said, “Sure.” I kind of left it open to him that any time he wanted me to do anything I’d do it for him, so he called me and I went and did it and it was really fun. I love working with Jim. So that’s why I did it. It’s kind of a funny little part in the middle of this very dark movie. I hope that she’s a little bit of a comic relief.

IFC: Can you talk a bit about what your life has been like since you filmed “Top Gun”? What is the impact the movie has had on your life?

KM: The impact the movie had on my life was that I became a household name and I became very recognizable, and that was very overwhelming for me, because that’s not something I’ve ever striven to be. I don’t like fame for fame’s sake and it’s not something I ever aspired for, and that’s very overwhelming for me. That being said, it did also give me the opportunity to go off and do more artsy kind of stuff. I did a lot of theater, and I think that it gave me the opportunity, monetarily, to be able to do those kinds of things that I like and I enjoy and are challenging for me.

In the last kind of 12 years or so I’ve really been focused on raising a family and, now that my kids are grown up and out of the house, I’m trying to put my toes in the water to see if I can go back to work, but I also love my quiet little life. I’m happy to dabble working here and there. I’m really happy to do that and then live my life.

IFC: Is there anything in particular that you’d like to try and do going forward?

KM: To me, now, it’s no longer about making my living. To me, it’s just about doing things that I think are fun for whatever reason, because if it’s not going to be fun for me I don’t need to be leaving my house. I like my life too much today and I only want to work with people who are fun to work with.

IFC: I’m also curious, have you kept up with the “Top Gun” cast at all? I saw some really cute pictures of you and Tom Cruise at the “Prince of Persia” premiere a couple of years ago.

KM: Not really. If I run into people, I say, “Hey.” It’s not like any time has passed. But I don’t really keep in touch with any people that I’ve worked with. I think it’s a very unique situation that brings a lot of people from their lives in to do a movie, you do the movie, and after that you go home and you live your life. It’s not like you have any common thread going through other than your acting, and once that’s done, I don’t really have much in common with people, I’ve found. It’s not that I don’t like hanging out with people, but I never lived in really L.A., I’ve never kind of been in the middle of all of that stuff, and I’m very happy that I haven’t been.

IFC: You mentioned how this Blu-ray release is going to introduce “Top Gun” to a new generation. What do you hope they take away from it?

KM: I think if they just don’t see too much into it, that it’s a fun film. It’s pure entertainment. There’s nothing more to read into it. There’s no huge deep subtext to the movie. It’s just a fun movie. That’s it.

What impact has “Top Gun” had on you over the years? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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