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Shrunk History: The 5 Greatest Shrinking Movies of All Time

shrunk-history

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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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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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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