DID YOU READ

10 actors turned directors

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“What I really want to do is direct.” Once upon a time, that was a line used to mock the unbridled chutzpah of actors who wanted to helm films of their own, but now, no one’s really laughing at the notion that the pretty people in front of the camera might also possess the talent to handle the responsibilities behind the camera as well. Too many Academy Awards have been won by these thespi-auteurs. Need proof? Here’s a quick rundown of ten actors, in no particular order, who turned director and made good with the switch.



1. Clint Eastwood

Sure, let’s start with the big dog. That oddball performance at the Republican National Convention notwithstanding, and contrary to “The Fall Guy” Colt Seevers’ assertion that he’s responsible for the finery of Clint’s looks, Eastwood blazed a trail to stardom in the classic spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, the mean streets of Dirty Harry’s San Francisco and in army pictures like “Kelly’s Heroes.” He started directing in 1971 with “Play Misty For Me,” he directed himself in classics like “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “High Plains Drifter,” and in 1992, he was the Best Director of the Best Picture of the Year with “Unforgiven,” the dark revisiting of the western genre that made him famous. Since then, he’s directed gems like “A Perfect World” and returned to the Oscar stage with “Mystic River,” and returned to the winner’s circle with “Million Dollar Baby.” The kicker is that, for both of his Best Picture and Best Director wins, he was also nominated for Best Actor, but didn’t pull off the trifecta. That doesn’t matter, though. This is Clint Eastwood.



2. Mel Gibson

After that glowing tribute, the time comes to jump to this beleaguered fellow. Once, there was a time when Mel Gibson was just awesome. He was articulate and hilarious, Mad Max and a Lethal Weapon, a quipmaster who could match wits with Robert Downey Jr. in “Air America” and a guy you believed could charm the knickers off of Jodie Foster in “Maverick.” His directorial debut was 1993’s “Man Without a Face,” but he leapt into the stratosphere with 1995’s “Braveheart,” which became the Best Picture of the Year. It may have played fast and loose with the facts about the life of William Wallace, but it was quite the engrossing movie, landing him the Best Director award as well, although he wasn’t nominated in the acting category. He then transitioned from his successful on-camera work to following his passion – in this case, the “hey, let’s all beat up Jesus in slow motion” film called “The Passion of the Christ.” Things… well, they started to go downhill from there – maybe even a little “Apocalypto,” so to speak. Do you really need a recap of that, sugar tits?



3. Jodie Foster

Speaking of Gibson, one of his few defenders after it became clear that he was kind of nuts was his “Maverick” co-star Foster. As we saw at the Golden Globes, it turns out she might be a smidge damaged as well, as you might expect from someone who began acting at age three, and who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress as a 13-year-old prostitute in “Taxi Driver,” AND who was cited as the motivation for why a guy tried to assassinate the president when she was 19. Things like that gotta mess a woman up a bit. Add to that winning Best Actor awards for a profoundly disturbing graphic rape drama like “The Accused” and the enduringly creepy “The Silence of the Lambs,” and it seemed that the ugly underbelly of humanity is what she thrived on exploring. Perhaps that’s why her feature film directorial debut was with 1991’s “Little Man Tate,” a quiet story about a mother trying to raise her smart but socially-disabled son. Then, a few years later, she followed it up with the ensemble family dysfunction dramedy “Home For The Holidays.” That was it for her in the director’s chair, though, until 2011’s “The Beaver,” starring Gibson as a man having a mental breakdown centered around a hand puppet. For some reason. Perhaps it’s best not to speculate.



4. Robert Redford

Here we go. The erstwhile founder of the Sundance Film Festival made his bones early in his career as a blond, handsome leading man opposite notables such as Natalie Wood and Jane Fonda in “Inside Daisy Clover” and “The Chase,” respectively. He broke out of that mold with the legendary film “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” with Paul Newman. He’d re-team with Newman and get an Oscar nomination out of 1973’s “The Sting,” becoming one of the biggest stars in the world. His first time in the director’s chair came with 1980’s dark family drama “Ordinary People,” and he knocked it out of the park, winning Best Director and Best Picture. He’s continued to produce stellar work behind the camera, with “The Milagro Beanfield War,” “A River Runs Through It” and “Quiz Show.” We’ll just quietly ignore The Fresh Prince Magic Golf Movie.



5. Bobcat Goldthwait

Wait, what? Yes, that “Police Academy” guy who screamed a lot in “One Crazy Summer” dropped that yelling stand-up schtick completely and started making black comedies that explore weird areas that no one else touches. Starting in 1991 with the alcoholic clown cult classic “Shakes The Clown,” and continuing with a pair of Sundance Film Festival entries – 2006’s “Sleeping Dogs Lie” (about a woman hiding the disturbing secret that she once fellated her dog on a whim) and 2009’s “World’s Greatest Dad” (starring Robin Williams as a father who covers up his son’s autoerotic asphyxiation death and writes a best-selling suicide note), he’s managed to tackle these strange subjects that could be broad comedies with a deft dramatic touch and realism. The 2011 Toronto Film Festival entrant “God Bless America” tells the story of a doomed, depressed man who starts a “Bonnie and Clyde” style killing spree against everything that sucks about America with an awful reality-show star. It’s a unique road Bobcat is paving, not for the easily-offended, but it’s a road worth traveling.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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