American Pie Band Camp

Rhythm Nation

10 Toe-Tapping Marching Band Moments

Get in step with American Pie Presents: Band Camp this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Maybe it’s the crisp uniforms and shiny instruments or the way everyone moves exactly in unison, but nothing perks up a crowd quite like a marching band.  And while not every story that starts with “this one time at band camp…” winds up a winner, it’s hard not to love the adorkable characters that suit up and play along with our favorite onscreen bands. So before you practice your scales and make-out skills with Matt Stifler and the gang at Tall Oaks in American Pie Presents: Band Camp this month on IFC, get in step with some toe-tapping marching band moments. March Madness just took on a whole new meaning…

1. Drumline

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Paramount Pictures

Possibly THE quintessential marching band movie, Drumline is full of sick beats, impressive halftime performances, and all the typical life lessons a rebellious drumming prodigy (Nick Cannon) should learn when he’s forced to be part of a team instead of the star. But nothing beats the final showdown between Atlanta A&T and rival Morris Brown, going head-to-head on the 50 yard line. After a flashy performance from Morris Brown’s drumline, A&T retaliates with an awe-inspiring cadence, moving forward until they drop their sticks on top of Morris Brown’s drums, delivering one final crushing blow and winning the championship. Stick-dropping should definitely be the new mic-dropping.


2. Mr. Holland’s Opus

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Buena Vista Pictures

When frustrated composer turned high school music teacher Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss in an Academy Award-nominated performance) is tasked with starting a marching band, things don’t exactly go very smoothly. But this being an inspirational teacher movie, the band and its novice wrestler-turned-drummer, Louis, (a pre-Empire Terrence Howard) obviously improve pretty rapidly via a musical montage (is there any other way?) and give a rollicking performance of The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” during a parade with Glenn in full marching band regalia leading the way. You’d have to be buttoned up like Vice Principal Wolters (William H. Macy) to not want to dance along.


3. Animal House

Usually a homecoming parade is a time of celebration with floats and marching bands, but for the raucous Delta House at Faber College, it’s a time for revenge on evil Dean Wormer and rival fraternity, the Omegas. While Bluto (John Belushi) leads the charge in an all-black float nicknamed “Deathmobile,” fellow Deltas Stork (Douglas Kenney) and Handbar (Chris Miller) distract the school marching band, leading them down a deserted alleyway away from the parade. The band keeps marching until they all crash into the wall, crushing their trombones and possibly also their school spirit.


4. Live and Let Die

Bond films always start off with a bang, and Roger Moore’s first outing as the suave MI6 agent definitely doesn’t disappoint, especially when it opens with a New Orleans jazz funeral. As the marching band passes an unnamed MI6 agent observing a restaurant called the Fillet of Soul, he’s stabbed by a fellow observer and falls to the ground. The passing pallbearers put his dead body into their empty coffin, and the once mournful procession suddenly turns joyous with the band and its followers dancing wildly to Dixieland jazz. Guess Café du Monde’s beignets aren’t the only thing to-die-for in New Orleans.


5. Easy A

Now THIS is what we’d call a “pep” rally! In a last ditch attempt to set the record straight about her “extracurricular activities,” wisecracking Olive Penderghast (a winning Emma Stone) solicits the help of her high school band and mascot crush Todd (Penn Badgley) to interrupt a school assembly and perform a sexy routine to the song “Knock on Wood.” While her former best friend, Rhiannon (Aly Michalka), is visibly shocked by Olive’s outlandish display, the rest of the school can’t seem to get enough. Olive’s performance is one we easily give an A.


6. Doctor Who

Christmas always seems to be a busy day for our favorite traveling time lord, especially when a band of murderous robot Santas suddenly start chasing companion Rose (Billie Piper) all around London while she’s out Christmas shopping. These spooky big band St. Nicks first popped up in David Tennant’s debut outing as the Doctor, “The Christmas Invasion,” back in 2005 and made a second appearance the following year in “The Runaway Bride,” kidnapping future companion Donna (Catherine Tate) in a London taxi. When it comes to THESE Santas, everyone is on the Naughty List!


7. Freaks & Geeks

Freaks and Geeks
NBC

While Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s late, great cult TV series was full of lovable losers, smartass slacker Ken (Seth Rogen) holds a special place in our hearts thanks to his relationship with band nerd Amy (Jessica Campbell). Initially, Ken made fun of “Tuba Girl” (as he calls her), but with every wicked insult she threw back at him, he realized she’d marched her way into his heart and wound up asking her out. The two hit a few bumps along the way, but Ken and Amy became one of the most enduring and heartfelt couples of the series. Their sweet relationship sure hit all the right notes with us.


8. The Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf of Wall Street
Paramount Pictures

Marching bands are known for their eye-catching uniforms, but that means something a little different for the band hired for one of Stratton Oakmont’s infamous company ragers. Broker mastermind Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and right-hand man Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) are prone to throwing debauched parties full of drinking, drugs and sex anytime someone at their firm makes a high-stakes deal, so after a particularly good week of money-making, Donnie leads a barely-dressed marching band through the trading floor to the sounds of John Philip Sousa’s “Stars & Stripes Forever.” All that’s missing from this red, tighty-whiteys and blue display are fireworks.


9. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Though Ferris (Matthew Broderick) gets into all kinds of mischief around Chicago, we’re partial to his charismatic performance atop a float in the Von Steuben Day Parade. Ferris cuts loose with a rendition of “Twist and Shout” complete with a giant dancing marching band and girls in lederhosen. The party REALLY gets rocking when a group of dancers show up doing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” choreography. For this moment of musical fun, we must say “danke schoen” to director John Hughes and choreographer Kenny Ortega of Dirty Dancing fame.


10. 10 Things I Hate About You

It’s entirely possible bad boy Patrick Verona (the late Heath Ledger in one of his most fun performances) invented what we now know as prom-prosals back in the beloved 1999 teen comedy adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. In an attempt to win over feisty Kat’s (Julia Stiles) affections, Patrick hijacks both the school’s loudspeaker and marching band to serenade her at soccer practice with the Four Seasons classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” As Ledger works his crinkly smile to the enthusiastic strains of the marching band and Stiles blushes five shades of red during this typical Hollywood “Grand Romantic Gesture,” it’s impossible to find a single thing to hate about this moment, let alone 10.

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.