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Scott Pilgrim Brie Larson

Brie Sharp

10 Brie Larson Performances Worth Checking Out

Find out if Brie Larson wins big at the 2016 Spirit Awards live Saturday Feb. 27th at 5P ET on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

It’s possible you hadn’t heard of Brie Larson until she starred alongside Amy Schumer in last summer’s hit comedy Trainwreck, or started winning every award these past few months for her remarkable turn in the emotionally-charged drama Room. But the immensely likable 26 year-old actress has been amassing credits for two decades in a variety of projects. She may not have always been the star, but her honest, natural performances have always stood out. Before you catch her at the 2016 Spirit Awards on February 27th on IFC, take a look at our list of Brie Larson performances you may have overlooked to see for yourself why she will soon be someone you won’t forget.

1. Short Term 12

Destin Daniel Cretton’s 2013 indie feature was a breakout role for Larson, earning her rave reviews, her first Spirit Award nomination, and plenty of Oscar buzz. The film, based on Cretton’s own experiences, is about twentysomething Grace, a supervisor at a group home in Los Angeles for troubled adolescents who struggles to connect with a new female resident prone to violent outbursts. Complications arise when Grace becomes pregnant, and she is forced to make some difficult decisions regarding her future. Larson’s performance as Grace, much like in Room, is alternately fierce and fragile and full of raw emotions simmering just below the surface.


2. The Spectacular Now

Though The Spectacular Now mostly focuses on the budding relationship between charismatic senior Sutter (Miles Teller) and shy girl Aimee (Shailene Woodley), it is Brie Larson’s Cassidy who becomes the fulcrum for Sutter’s sudden change in direction. A budding alcoholic, Sutter is the life of every party. Cassidy, realizing he has become more than she can handle, breaks up with him, causing Sutter to drink until he passes out on Aimee’s lawn. As Sutter bonds with Aimee, he still finds himself longing for Cassidy, trying to talk to her at parties or through text messages. Cassidy reaches a breaking point and tells Sutter she can no longer have his influence in her life and has to grow up even if he refuses to. Larson’s lovely, aching performance is imbued with an underlying strength: when you see Cassidy toward the end of the film, you know she’s going to be okay.


3. The United States of Tara

Larson played a rebellious daughter struggling to deal with both her mother’s dissociative identity disorder and her own personal foibles in Diablo Cody’s acclaimed Showtime series. Both Toni Collette and Larson were singled out for their performances over the show’s three season run, and for Larson especially, The United States of Tara proved to be yet another great launching pad for the actress.


4. 21 Jump Street

Nobody thought a film adaptation of the ’80s teen series that launched Johnny Depp’s career was a good idea at first, but filmmakers Chris Miller and Phil Lord managed to deliver a self-referential winking homage to the show and a bonafide box office hit. When former high school classmates turned bumbling police officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are assigned to go undercover at a local high school, they find themselves struggling to fit in. While Jenko finds his place with the nerds, Schmidt befriends popular kid-turned-drug dealer Eric (Dave Franco) and develops a crush on Eric’s friend Molly (Brie Larson). While Larson has been relegated to “girlfriend” roles before, she makes Molly charming, relatable, and totally crush-worthy.


5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Based on the graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Edgar Wright’s hyperkinetic film finds bass guitarist Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) battling his dream girl Ramona Flowers’ (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven evil exes in highly stylized combat sequences. Brie Larson has a few memorable scenes as Scott’s ex-girlfriend, Envy Adams, a famous rocker who is now dating Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), one of Ramona’s exes. Larson seems to relish playing the bad girl, commanding both Scott’s and the audience’s attention. With her leather jacket and prickly insults, she’s one badass you don’t want to mess with. Larson also did all her own singing for the film, performing a cover of “Black Sheep” by the band Metric.


6. The Gambler

Brie Larson plays second fiddle to Mark Wahlberg’s titular gambler in this remake of the 1974 James Caan classic. As Amy, a gambling house waitress/brilliant lit student, Larson is once again a tough but charming tonic to a troubled leading man. The Gambler wasn’t quite the critical or box office success as its 1974 incarnation, but both Larson and a terrific Jessica Lange received much praise.


7. Greenberg

Larson has a small but memorable role in Noah Baumbach’s 2010 dramedy as the niece of Ben Stiller’s misanthropic character. While he is house-sitting for brother Phillip (Chris Messina) in Los Angeles and romancing dog-walker Florence (Greta Gerwig), Roger throws a party with his niece, Sara, who invites all her friends over. They all do drugs together, and Sara invites Roger to join her on her trip to Australia the next day. Larson and Dave Franco would go on to work together again two years later in 21 Jump Street.


8. Rampart

In another small but memorable role, Brie Larson once again makes an impressive mark as the daughter of Woody Harrelson’s volatile LAPD officer in this 2011 drama from director Oren Moverman. The film deals with the fallout from the Rampart scandal in the late ’90s, which blew the lid on extreme police brutality in the Rampart district of Los Angeles. While Harrelson’s life on the force is crumbling around him, so too is his personal life with his ex-wives and daughters. After her first day of shooting, Moverman was so impressed by Larson, he re-wrote the script to flesh out her relationship with Harrelson’s character.


9. Community

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NBC

Due to its channel-hopping, schedule-misshaps, and showrunner-shuffling, you could be forgiven for forgetting Brie Larson guest-starred in three episodes of this cult comedy series. Her plucky coat-check girl, Rachel, was introduced in season four when she helped Abed (Danny Pudi) carry out his charade of escorting two different dates to the dance. Abed realized he was actually beginning to have feelings for Rachel instead and wound up escorting her for the remainder of the dance. Larson turned up again in season five, this time dating Abed and becoming the “Aww Couple,” because everyone thinks they’re so cute. Sadly, their romance winds up a brief one after a game night with Rachel’s VCR board game goes disastrously wrong.


10. Digging for Fire

Director Joe Swanberg’s dramedy may be about teacher/husband/father Tim (New Girl‘s Jake Johnson, who also co-wrote the script) finding a bone and rusty gun in the backyard of his vacation home, but it’s really a tale of marriage, fidelity, and mortality. Larson turns up as Max, a beautiful young woman who peaks Tim’s interest as they go looking for answers to the mystery of the bone and gun. The duo’s will-they-or-won’t-they tension provides plenty of complicated layers for Larson and Johnson to play, but they make it all look effortless, and Larson once again shines.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.