DID YOU READ

11 Roles We Wish Michael Keaton Had Played

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Whatever your opinion of newly minted Best Picture winner Birdman is, there’s one undeniably great outcome — Michael Keaton is back. The film’s success has vaulted Keaton back to the A-list where he belongs. But what if he had never gone away?

In 1992, Batman Returns was released in theaters, and Michael Keaton was at the top of his game. Not wanting to repeat himself in another Batman movie, especially after Tim Burton walked away, Keaton took a step back in his career. More content to fly-fish than attend Hollywood premieres, he became picky with his projects.

But what if he hadn’t? What if, instead of this self-imposed exile, Mr. Keaton had stayed in the public eye? What if, instead, he pushed his agent to look for parts outside the box, and stumbled on a script by a young screenwriter named Quentin Tarantino. This is a hypothetical look at a career Michael Keaton could have had.

11. Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Blonde

Initially nervous about having to cut off a bloody victim’s ear to the tune of “Stuck in the Middle With You,” Keaton decides to trust neophyte filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. We all know how well he wore a black and white suit in Beetlejuice, but losing the stripes and turning up the psycho would help Keaton turn this little film into a sensation at Sundance.


10. Groundhog Day, Phil Connors

His career white hot, Keaton accepts the offer to star in this Harold Ramis classic. Keaton actually turned this part down originally, so it isn’t too much of a stretch to picture him trying to endlessly woo Andie McDowell while trapped in a purgatory called Punxsutawney. Thankfully, making this movie would spare us the underwhelming Multiplicity that Keaton made with Ramis and McDowell a few years later.


9. Get Shorty, Chili Palmer

Frustrated he had to turn down Pulp Fiction due to scheduling conflicts (Tarantino originally wanted Michael Madsen for Vic Vega so in our alternate universe he would’ve asked Keaton), MK jumps at the chance to star as a slick gangster who has a way with words. In reality, Keaton was actually offered this part too, but along with many Hollywood heavyweights, turned it down. Now, he helps turn it into one of the biggest hits of 1995.


8. Kingpin, Roy Munson 

Another project he had the chance to star in, Keaton walked away after a rewrite focused more on jokes than character. But now, having done some more intense, character driven work, Keaton would be ready to lighten up. He would accept the Farrelly Brothers’ offer, and help turn Kingpin into the highest grossing film of their career. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Keaton and Bill Murray share the screen.


7. The Game, Nicolas Van Orton

The scion of a wealthy family trying to deal with the death of his parents from the confines of his gothic mansion? This movie is basically a look at what might’ve happened to Keaton’s Bruce Wayne if he never became Batman. Keaton would accept for a chance to work with filmmaker David Fincher, and since Keaton’s real name is Michael Douglas, they wouldn’t have even had to change the credits.


6. American Beauty, Lester Burnham

With that hit under his belt, Keaton would be at the top of Alan Ball’s list while setting up this project. The original Mr. Mom could have pulled together all that dark humor, intense emotion, and ennui into an electrifying performance. He goes on to win his first Oscar 16 years before Birdman was even a whisper in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s head.


5. Bubba Ho-Tep, Elvis Presley

Having taken a couple of years off from sheer exhaustion, Keaton would return in this camp classic. Keaton astounds as a washed up Elvis fighting monsters alongside an elderly, black JFK. No need to reign it in here, he runs wild with the material, creating a cult classic that is even more beloved than it is now.

4. Bad Santa, Willie

Enjoying more edgy work, Keaton next stars as an alcoholic mall Santa who curses out kids and hits on younger women. While a bit too extreme for mainstream audiences, it would quickly become another cult hit in his long career.


3. Lost, Jack Shepard

Another project Keaton actually turned down, he now accepts the offer on one condition: He would have to be killed off at the end of the pilot. The show would struggle to regain its audience’s trust after such a colossal twist, and be canceled after one season. But the experience would whet Keaton’s appetite for more work in television.


2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willie Wonka

Just imagine it: No Michael Jackson inflected pancake makeup. In his triumphant reunion with Tim Burton, Keaton would be hailed for honoring the anarchist spirit of Gene Wilder’s performance, while still offering something completely new.


1. The Dark Knight, The Joker

While we all love Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, in our alternate history Michael Keaton absolutely owns the part of the Crown Prince of Crime. Critics and fans alike would delight in seeing him go full Beetlejuice as he tries to kill The Caped Crusader. High camp meets gravitas. Who wouldn’t want to see him be Nicholson to Bale’s Batman?

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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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