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Shrunk History: The 5 Greatest Shrinking Movies of All Time

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Like a bug on a windshield, the full-length trailer for Ant-Man smacked itself on the web this week. Paul Rudd, in his first comic book leading role, plays small-time thief Steve Lang who gets mixed up with a substance that allows him to shrink in size but increase in strength. (Check out IFC’s version of what a ’90s Ant-Man would have looked like!)

Although it’s the first time a live-action Ant-Man appeared on the big screen, the Marvel hero goes all the way back to a 1962 issue of Tales to Astonish. And in that time, there’s been some pretty incredible shrinking people committed to celluloid, leaving behind some really once-big shoes to fill for the ol’ Ant-Man.

So in tribute to his forebears, here are Ant-Man’s 5 best miniaturized ancestors in film.

5. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

5. Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Walt Disney Pictures

An unabashedly fun Rick Moranis plays patriarch Wayne Szalinski who, indeed, shrinks his kids (as well as the neighbors) in a family movie that’s mercifully light on the saccharine. The practical effects are a treat to watch, with a gigantic yard filled with gargantuan wildlife that separates the quarter-inch chitlins from the front door. You’ll be surprised how emotionally attached you can get to an ant.


4. TIE: Phantom Planet & Attack of the Puppet People

4. Phantom Puppet
American International Pictures

A B-movie plot device like a shrink ray can’t go without acknowledging a few B-movies, and these two are delightfully ridiculous. Featured in a Season Nine episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the 1961 movie Phantom Planet considers, as Crow puts it, that “people are just balloons” when an astronaut crash-lands on a diminutive planet that shrinks him down to a fraction of his size. Following in that goofy vein, Attack of the Puppet People — which was also riffed by the MST3K crew in RiffTrax form — a lapsed puppeteer shrinks unsuspecting folk down to a small, befriendable size. While both movies are enjoyable on their own, we’d recommend the MST3K-ified versions first.


3. Fantastic Voyage

3. Fantastic Voyage
20th Century Fox

A theme park ride disguised as a movie, the 1966 sci-fi flick Fantastic Voyage takes a surprisingly grim backdrop (an attempted Cold War assassination) and turns it into a rollicking adventure when a diverse crew are ensmallened and injected to fight a brain clot in the scientist who created the technology. With only a limited amount of time to stay shrunk, the film becomes Speed in a Corpuscle and a classic in the genre.


2. The Incredible Shrinking Man

2. Incredible Shrinking Man
Universal-International

Adapted for the screen by the late Twilight Zone dignitary Richard Matheson, The Incredible Shrinking Man goes existential when grimacing lead Grant Williams is exposed to a war analogy-heavy cloud and begins to slowly, steadily shrink. The smaller he gets, the more amusing the obstacles: kissing his wife, sitting in chairs, battling arachnids. The film ends on a emotionally ambiguous note, with the lead contemplating his everlasting significance in the universe while knowing he’ll never stop shrinking.


1. Innerspace

1. Innerspace
Warner Bros.

An ’80s popcorn flick if there ever was one, Innerspace depicts a “miniaturization Space Race” between two labs that are competing for the technology. During a hijacked experiment, Dennis Quaid and his inner-spacepod are condensed and injected into hapless bystander Martin Short. Featuring pixie dream girl Meg Ryan, the always-perfect Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo, and jaw-dropping effects that were pulled off without any CGI assistance, this Joe Dante masterpiece is endlessly rewatchable and clearly a cinephile’s celebration of all the “miniature mayhem movies” that came before it.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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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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