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Speed Keanu Reeves

Speed Round

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Speed Movies

Strap in for Speed and Speed 2: Cruise Control this Friday, September 9th starting at 5:30P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved

Starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock as a cop and a civilian who “meet cute” on a bus wired to explode should it drop below 50MPH, Speed is an eminently rewatchable, high-octane thrill ride. Its followup, Speed 2: Cruise Control, starring a well-meaning Bullock and Jason Patric (subbing in for Keanu) as maritime quality-control specialists, pulls a 3% on Rotten Tomatoes. (The sequel’s “rotten” status earns it a place in IFC and Rotten Tomatoes’ Rotten Fridays.)

Before you dive into a Speed double feature this Friday starting at 5:30P, check out some things you might not have known about the Speed movies.

1. Joss Whedon Put Words in Keanu’s Mouth.

Yes, the mastermind behind Buffy, Firefly and The Avengers penned most of the dialogue in Speed, according to the film’s credited screenwriter Graham Yost. Although the story was originally conceived by Yost, Joss Whedon stepped in as script doctor and punched up the action movie one-liners we all know and quote today.


2. The Bus Jump Would Have Ended Badly in Real Life.

Suspension of disbelief be damned: The bus jump in Speed is one of the greatest stunts in popcorn movie history. Never mind the fact that the vehicle’s drivetrain would’ve been completely demolished upon impact, the bomb would’ve been triggered before they hit the ground. On a rear-wheel drive bus, the speedometer is connected to the front wheels, which would slow their rotation in mid-air. And since the wheels don’t measure wind speed, it wouldn’t matter how fast our heroes are soaring — the wheels say below 50!


3. A Special Bus Was Made to Survive the Jump.

Obviously, your average everyday bus isn’t built for acrobatics, so the filmmakers built a special jumpable bus with souped-up shock absorbers to soften the massive impact. (A ramp was built to give the bus extra lift.) And for added precaution for the certifiably insane stunt driver, the driver seat was moved back 15 feet and secured with a floor-to-ceiling stabilizer to prevent the likelihood of spinal compression. So in the movie, hypothetically, if the bus stuck the landing without triggering the bomb, everybody inside would be out of high-octane commission. Still, whatta stunt!


4. Speed originally took place entirely on a bus.

In Graham Yost’s original version of the script, the movie ends as soon as the bus ride does. No nail-biting elevator drop, no edge-of-your-seat subway brawl, and heck, even the jump wasn’t in the original script! (Yost added it when director Jan de Bont noticed an incomplete section of Interstate 105.) But in a shockingly good decision for a major movie studio, Fox requested that Yost put in more action that didn’t involve public transportation. Yost met them halfway with the subway sequence.


5. The “Die Hard on a Bus” Jokes Are Apt.

Comparing Speed to the greatest action movie of all time might be cruel, but it’s accurate. The script was written with the Die Hard franchise in mind and was originally offered to director John McTiernan, who ironically passed due to the story’s resemblance to the John McClane classic. Jan de Bont — who served as director of photography on Die Hard and other action blockbusters — took the job, which helped launch his directing career.


6. The Elevator Scene Was Based on a Real Incident.

Another memorable action sequence was the opening elevator rescue. Jan De Bont suggested adding the scene after his experience being trapped in an elevator during the making of Die Hard. (Too bad John McClane wasn’t around to save him.) De Bont and the crew constructed an 80-foot model elevator shaft for the sequence. Yippie kay yay, indeed.


7. Roger Ebert Was Forced to Defend His “Thumbs Up” Review of Speed 2.

Sequels don’t often fare too well with critics, and for Speed 2currently standing at 3% on Rotten Tomatoes — that would be putting it mildly. The movie was eviscerated by critics except for two notable holdouts: Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, who both gave Speed 2 a positive review. Ebert even admitted that he had to defend this review more than any other and that it was used as evidence by detractors of his poor cinematic judgment. (Not for nothing: Sandra Bullock confessed in a 2000 interview that it was “the biggest piece of crap ever made.”)


8. Speed 2 Almost Took Place on a Plane.

Despite Keanu passing on a sequel to make The Devil’s Advocate and Jan de Bont insisting that the concept only worked once, Speed 2 was immediately greenlit thanks to the success of its predecessor. Many potential vehicles were proposed for stars Jason Patric and Sandra Bullock to be trapped on, including Graham Yost’s idea about a plane flying through the Andes Mountains that would explode if it ascended above 10,000 feet. A cruise ship was eventually chosen, based on a recurring dream Jan de Bont had about being trapped on a ship that crashed into an island. New screenwriters Jeff Nathanson and Randall McCormick were brought on board to bring De Bont’s literal nightmare to life.


9. Two Stunts in Speed 2 Nearly Killed the Leads.

After Keanu declined to appear in the sequel, actor Jason Patric signed on as Sandra’s first mate. And although the film’s stunt coordinator was impressed by Patric’s physical ability, the actor nearly killed himself during a motorcycle stunt where he fell from a bike while 30 feet in the air. Bullock said Patric was lucky to survive the stunt, but she also had a close call herself: While shooting in the ocean, she had to be rescued by Patric from almost being decapitated by the ship’s rudder. (One stunt woman didn’t manage to escape injury on set: She was hit in the face by a boat cable and required reconstructive surgery.)


10. Three Characters Return for Speed 2, And a Fourth You Might’ve Missed.

Obviously Sandra’s back, and we have Joe Morton as Mac and Glenn Plummer as Maurice, or Tuneman as he’s better known. But there’s one more hapless character to undergo a crisis in both movies: Constance. Who? In Speed, actress Susan Barnes plays the nervous female executive trapped in the elevator and frozen in fear. In Speed 2, she’s back as the cooler-headed Constance who casually sits and smokes as chaos ensues. Apparently, her brush with death in ’94 turned Constance into a cool action movie character.

Set sail with Speed 2: Cruise Control during IFC’s Rotten Fridays! 

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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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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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