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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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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.