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Certified Fresh

10 100% Fresh Movies on Rotten Tomatoes You Might Have Missed

Catch "too rotten to miss movies" Fridays at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

A 100% Fresh rating is a pretty rare feat in the world of Rotten Tomatoes. (The Godfather only made it to 99%.) Though it’s not surprising that Citizen Kane and Rashomon got perfect scores, we thought we’d spotlight fully fresh movies that might surprise you.

10. The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

Based on an acclaimed novel, writer/director Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter deals with a school bus crash that kills 14 students and the class action lawsuit that follows. Grieving families and buried secrets are also major themes, so if you’re looking for a happy-go-lucky romp, this is not it. But despite the dispiriting subject matter, the lyrical film was a critical success. (The Toronto Film Festival named it one of the best Canadian films of all time.) Featuring a brilliant cast that includes Ian Holm and Sarah Polley, it’s a perfect film to watch as the days get as cold as a Canadian winter.


9. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

Winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Taxi to the Dark Side tells the story of a Afghan taxi driver who was beaten to death by American soldiers while at a detention facility. Alex Gibney’s film looks into the policies of torture and the nature of interrogations as a whole. While disturbing, this acclaimed doc illuminates a part of the military that most of us know little about.


8. Sound City (2013)

There’s a lot of documentaries with very high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, but Sound City is a rare nonfiction film that doesn’t leave you feeling sad for humanity. Directed by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, the film tells the story of a small recording studio in the San Fernando Valley that was used by Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. It was also home to a Neve 8028 soundboard. Though soundboard history may not sound scintillating, it’s one of four that were ever made in the world and the documentary ends with a cavalcade of stars recording new songs just for the film. Plus, after watching you’ll be able to impress all your geeky sound design friends.


7. Hallelujah, I’m a Bum! (1933)

From 1933, Hallelujah, I’m a Bum! deserves 100% for its title alone. Starring Al Jolson as Bumper the jovial tramp, the film is a light romp about living as a hobo in the 1930s. (Oddly, costar Frank Morgan says “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” in this film years before he appeared in The Wizard of Oz.) With a Rogers and Hart score, this light comedy features some great songs and reminds us of a time when being a tramp was mostly adorable.


6. Atlantic City (1980)

In 1982, Chariots of Fire, Reds, On Golden Pond and Raiders of the Lost Ark were all nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and all are fondly remembered today. Yet the last nominee has been forgotten — even though it’s the only one to earn a 100% rating and get Oscar nominations in all four acting categories. Atlantic City stars Susan Sarandon as a blackjack dealer who gets mixed up with drugs and gangs in the decaying New Jersey seaside town. If anything, watch the film to see the remains of the real Atlantic City, since most of it was bulldozed to create newer hotels, casinos and places where Trump can hang his name in gold.


5. Bob Roberts (1992)

This political mockumentary from writer/director/star Tim Robbins is just as topical today as it was in 1992. Robbins plays Bob Roberts, a right wing folk singer who goes to great and duplicitous lengths to get elected to Senate. The film also features Gore Vidal, a young Jack Black (see him above) and Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame. It’s a biting satire that holds up as one of the funniest political comedies of the ’90s or any decade.


4. Manson Family Vacation (2015)

The most recent movie on the list, Manson Family Vacation stars Jay Duplass and Linas Phillips as partially estranged brothers who eventually come together mostly because of Charles Manson. Yes, it’s a comedy, with some darker moments about family acceptance and being the odd one out, and it’s surprisingly light for a film about people obsessed with Manson. With great performances from the cast, this offbeat dramedy is an interesting examination of family relationships and dark obsessions that bring new hope.


3. The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

This 1952 film is based on a Ernest Hemingway story and stars Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. Peck plays an adventurous writer reflecting upon his past loves and exploits as he lays nearly dying in Africa from an infected wound. If you’re a fan of Hemingway or a Gregory Peck completist, this forgotten film is a must-see.


2. The Ladykillers (1955)

No, not the Coen brothers movie starring Tom Hanks. The perfect rating goes to the 1955 original. Starring Alec Guinness as not Obi-Wan Kenobi and Peter Sellers, this comedy about a complicated heist made all the more complicated by a batty old lady still holds up. It’s pretty impressive considering screenwriter William Rose claimed he dreamt the entire film. Getting an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA award for a dream is pretty amazing. Sadly, our script for “I Didn’t Study for The Test and Also My Teeth are Falling Out” has yet to be made.


1. The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2014)

This animated tale of a little girl found in a bamboo shoot (who we later learn is from the moon) was nominated for Best Animated Film in 2014. It’s often listed with Spirited Away as one of the greatest anime films of all time. The American voice cast features Chloe Grace Moretz as the Princess, with Mary Steenburgen and James Caan as her Mom and Dad. Sadly, it lost the Oscar to another film with Japanese influence, Big Hero Six. Though we’re sure if Princess Kaguya had robots, it would’ve swept up all the awards.

Kick back with The Matrix Revolutions during IFC’s Rotten Fridays!

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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.

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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.