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ReCap: Kyle MacLachlan chats with “Portlandia” fans on IFC SYNC

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On “Portlandia,” Kyle MacLachlan plays the energetic and affable Mayor, who tasks Fred and Carrie with missions to better the community and sometimes takes off on his own creative endeavors. Above all, the Mayor is cool, hip and open with the public. Last Friday night, “Portlandia” fans got to find out that in the case of Kyle MacLachlan and his character, fantasy isn’t too far from reality.

Joining IFC’s weekly live chat during the premiere of the episode “No Olympics,” MacLachlan talked with fans about his passion for Portland, his experience working on the show, “Twin Peaks,” “Dune” and pretty much everything else the crowd asked him. For those who couldn’t participate, the questions the fans asked and Kyle’s replies are posted below. Be sure to catch the Season Two finale of “Portlandia” this Friday at 10/9c, when the Mayor embarks on his greatest adventure yet in “Brunch Village.”


As a native of Portland, I’m always curious to know what others think of my home town. Your thoughts?

Kyle MacLachlan: Love it! I’m from Yakima and my grandparents lived across the water in Vancouver. We visited a lot when we were kids. Loved the moss, didn’t really dig the paper mill.

Love you on the show. How did you come to be on “Portlandia”?

Kyle MacLachlan: The mad team of Fred, Carrie and Jon made me an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Are you as positive as your character in person?

Kyle MacLachlan: Pretty much.

Kyle, what’s your favorite kind of donut? Are you a cinnamon man?

Kyle MacLachlan: Always liked a maple bar.

Do you and David Lynch still talk?

Kyle MacLachlan: Frequently. And drink coffee.

You have a great singing voice, do you have any experience singing?

Kyle MacLachlan: You are too kind…I did study in college. As you could tell that was a looooooong time ago.

What characteristics do you and Mr. Mayor share?

Kyle MacLachlan: We’re both positive to the point of nausea ūüôā

Kyle, what is it about the Pacific Northwest you find so inspiring?

Kyle MacLachlan: I love the friendly people.

When are we going to see some Mayor action figures with detachable Mayor-Capes?

Kyle MacLachlan: I’m on it!

Mayor, may I put a bird on you?

Kyle MacLachlan: Already got one, thanks!

Have you started shooting your new movie with Drake Doremus yet? “Like Crazy” was great!

Kyle MacLachlan: I love Drake! I worked on it last year. He’s a really cool and talented guy.

What is your favorite section of Powell’s Books?

Kyle MacLachlan: The top.

If you ever became a pro wrestler, would Kyle “The Mayor” MacLachlan be your name?

Kyle MacLachlan: That would be awfully long…maybe MacAttack!

What’s your favorite Beatles album?

Kyle MacLachlan: White or Pepper.

Did Josie ever escape from the drawer knob?

Kyle MacLachlan: Gosh I hope so!

Carrie Brownstein or Carrie Bradshaw?

Kyle MacLachlan: How about just “Carrie” ?

Do you miss eating at Miners?

Kyle MacLachlan: I always stop by when I head down to Walla Walla…that’s a two hour meal!

Got any tips on how to strengthen my core?

Kyle MacLachlan: Eat more apples..?

Will we ever see you at the Twin Peaks Festival? Sheryl and Ray were there last year. It would cause many heart attacks.

It would be fun to come up. I’ll bring my paddles.

What do you do for exercise?

Kyle MacLachlan: Golf.

Mr. Mayor… Smiths fan?

Kyle MacLachlan: Meat is Murder.

Should they remake “Dune”?

Kyle MacLachlan: Who would play Sting’s part?!

I moved to the east coast and get my best friend to mail me Tillamook cheese…Do you love Tillamook cheese?

Kyle MacLachlan: My first ever visit to a cheese factory was in Tillamook Washington…yes, I am that nerdy.

I’m originally from Yakima as well ūüôā Do you still have family in the area?

Kyle MacLachlan: My Stepmom. I lost my Dad last May.

Let me guess, you own an iPhone.

Kyle MacLachlan: BB.

What inspired you to get into the wine business?

Kyle MacLachlan: Lots of falling down.

Paper or plastic?

Kyle MacLachlan: Naugahyde.

Did the real mayor of Portland give you any inside tips?

Kyle MacLachlan: Keep a red ball handy at all times.

Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow “Twin Peaks” natives?

Kyle MacLachlan: Not really, sadly. Just David Lynch.

Do you enjoy working with the real mayor of Portland? He seems to be having fun.

Kyle MacLachlan: Very much, and he’s a good sport.

As Mayor of Portland, did you know the ear from “Blue Velvet” is housed at Movie Madness on Belmont in SE?

Kyle MacLachlan: Of course! …..it is?

Who is your favorite sports team?

Kyle MacLachlan: Seahawks. I like football.

Do you now own a wardrobe of capes?

Kyle MacLachlan: In fact…no. But I did dress up as Dracula for Halloween when I was 8 or 9. Capes become very important for boys between 5 and 9.

What are your real feelings about the Olympics?

Kyle MacLachlan: I’m an Olympic junkie! Love them!

What drew you to this show? You play the mayor so well!

Kyle MacLachlan: I was asked to join by Fred and Carrie. How could I say no with the chance to work with such talented people.

What kind of beer do you like?

Kyle MacLachlan: All kinds! I remember drinking Lucky Lager when I was in Yakima, and Rainier and Olympia. The Northwest has come a long way from those days! I did love the stubby bottle though…

What is the link between “Twin Peaks” and “Portlandia” (Seattle/Portland)? It’s ironic because Dale Cooper loved Seattle.

Kyle MacLachlan: The spice.

Would you ever consider being a mayor? If so, where and why?

Kyle MacLachlan: Not my ‘cup of joe’…so to speak.

Do you take your coffee black?

Kyle MacLachlan: As midnight on a moonless night? No…I fortify it ūüėČ

What’s your favorite band?

Kyle MacLachlan: Hmmm. My first album was The Doobie Brothers…”Captain and Me.” You always remember your first!

Mayor, do you have a lava lamp? If so what color?

Kyle MacLachlan: Never had one. Might brighten up the office though. Good suggestion!

What is your favorite shooting location in Portland?

Kyle MacLachlan: City Hall is pretty cool. Love the building.

Will we ever see the Mayor in Women and Women First Bookstore?

Kyle MacLachlan: I hope so!

How many of your lines are improv?

Kyle MacLachlan: All of ’em!

What would be your first mayoral decree?

Kyle MacLachlan: Less rain.

Do you plan on doing anymore work with David Lynch in the future?

Kyle MacLachlan: Nothing planned at the moment. Now we just drink coffee.

Kyle, how soon before you have to solve a murder mystery on Portlandia? The world needs more Coop.

Kyle MacLachlan: I’ll check with the director, see if he has any ideas…something under a bridge maybe?

Mr Mayor, Is there a back up plan in the event the tattoo ink does indeed run dry?

Kyle MacLachlan: Not yet…let me get Sam on that straight away.

Which has been more fun, “Twin Peaks” or “Portlandia”?

Kyle MacLachlan: Hmm…good question. There was a mystery to Cooper that I really enjoyed along with his quirky enthusiasm(which the Mayor shares I think!). Maybe the Mayor is Cooper in disguise!

Were you ever offered a role on ‘The X-Files’?

Kyle MacLachlan: Never asked to be on the show. Loved it, though!

Any chance we’ll be seeing a Portland-themed reggae album from The Mayor in the future?

Kyle MacLachlan: Need to get into the studio with Fred!

Favorite Reggae band?

Kyle MacLachlan: Bob Marley & the Wailers.

What is the best part, as an actor, of working on “Portlandia”?

Kyle MacLachlan: Six words…Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jon Krisel!

What questions do you have for the people behind “Portlandia”? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Rocky IV Paulie Robot

Mr. Roboto

5 Reasons Rocky IV Is Too Rotten to Miss

Catch Rocky IV Friday at 8P during IFC's Rotten Fridays.

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Photo Credit: MGM/UA/YouTube

When Rocky IV was released in 1985, the critics were not kind. (While it wasn’t around back then, the film’s 39% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes speaks for itself.) Less of a movie than a¬†jingoistic music video starring a robot and a steroid-addled, monosyllabic Russian baddie, Rocky IV is a far cry from the Italian Stallion’s humble origins.

Still, more than any movie ever made, it exemplifies¬†the whole “so bad its good” genre. This movie was made for us, the great-unwashed masses of the 1980s, who loved the band¬†Survivor¬†and hated those Commie bastards. Before you catch Rocky IV on IFC’s Rotten Fridays, let’s take a look at some moments that make this flick a “too rotten to miss” classic.

5. That Opening Shot

Rocky IV
United Artists

It takes all of 30 seconds for the audience to know they’re in for one ridiculous rollercoaster ride through a¬†Cold War conniption fit of good vs. evil. Gone is the subtle tone and grounded reality of the first Rocky. In its place we see two gloves, one emblazoned with the American flag, the other with the Soviets’, hurtling toward each other. When they collide, sparks fly, and we witness an explosion decades in the making.

In case the symbolism is too subtle for you, director/writer/star Sylvester Stallone is trying to hint that this movie will be the clash of civilizations we’d all been waiting for, but instead of nuclear bombs, a humble palooka from the streets would be duking it out in the ring with the ultimate representation of coldhearted Communism. If it were up to us, this opening shot would’ve won Best Picture all by itself.


4. So Many Montages

Rocky IV has a running time of¬†91 minutes and 20 seconds. Its eight montages (yes, EIGHT) run a total of¬†29 minutes and 10 seconds. That is one third of the movie solely dedicated to montages. (Considering Stallone’s contempt for all things Soviet, we have to wonder if he knows it was a dirty¬†Ruskie¬†who invented the montage.)

During one of the many, many montages, director Stallone actually flashes back to a scene that had happened a minute and half prior, creating the impression that he might actually flashback to the montage we were just watching in the same montage. Stallone clearly loves a good montage set to an inspirational ’80s song, and so do we. Which brings us to…


3. A Soundtrack Full of Pumped Up ’80s Jams

Speaking of montages, they are set to the score of some of the cheesiest hits from the mid-’80s. For once, we’re spared tracks from Frank Stallone, with Stallone replacing his rocker brother with synth-y singles from Survivor, John Cafferty and Kenny Loggins. And of course, Robert Tepper, possessor of an ’80s mullet that could topple empires, crooning “No Easy Way Out.” The music in this movie is one step away from being a parody of the music in this movie. If you ever want to know what cocaine can do to the human mind, just listen to this soundtrack.


2. Rocky Ends the Cold War

Rocky IV speech
United Artists

In one of the most misguided, self-congratulatory, and immediately dated moments in cinema history, good ol’ galoot Rocky Balboa single-handedly ended the Cold War four years before the Berlin Wall came down.

To quote the Italian Stallion himself: “In here…there were two guys… killing each other. But I guess that’s better than millions. What I’m trying to say is… if I can change… and you can change…everybody can change!” And just like that the Soviet public, generals and even the Premier himself rose to their feet in applause, realizing what fools they’d been. This guy beat Mr. T for Heaven’s sake. He knows what he’s talking about!


1. Paulie’s Robot

Okay, let’s all take a deep breath and really consider this for a moment. Rocky IV has a robot butler in it. A movie franchise that began back in 1976 exploring the gritty reality of a bum fighter trying to prove himself somehow limped along long enough to turn into a weak Short Circuit rip-off¬†in which an alcoholic mooch with a history of domestic abuse now gets his coffee served to him by a robot. A robot that he has programmed with a “sultry” lady voice!

Stallone was inspired to include the real life robot Sico in Rocky IV¬†because of the work it did to help autistic children like his son Seargeoh. That’s all very moving, but doesn’t explain why he decided to write a scene where Paulie dubs poor Sico “the love of my life.” It’s a testament to Rocky IV‘s “too rotten to miss” status that Paulie’s robot girlfriend/personal servant isn’t even the craziest thing that happens to Rock and the gang.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” movie Rocky IV this Friday at 8P on IFC.¬†

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Swimming To Cambodia Spalding Gray

Gray's Anatomy

Everything You Need to Know About the Movie That Inspired “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”

Brand new Documentary Now! airs Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom Pictures

This week Documentary Now!¬†spotlights a master monologist with “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything.” Before you tune in at 10P this Wednesday on IFC, check out our guide to¬†Swimming to Cambodia, the 1987 film¬†that captured writer/performer Spalding Gray’s acclaimed one-person show.

Spalding Gray 101

Swimming to Cambodia
Cinecom Pictures

Actor and¬†renowned monologist Spalding Gray spent two years on stage¬†perfecting his Obie Award-winning “Swimming to Cambodia” monologue. In it, Gray tells the story of his eight weeks in Southeast Asia while shooting¬†the 1984 Academy Award-winning movie The Killing Fields.¬†He¬†had a small role, but the experience gave him several anecdotes about hanging out with the film crew and experiencing the local culture, all while searching for “the perfect moment.”

Directed by the Silence of the Lambs Guy

Hannibal Lecter
Orion Pictures/Everett Collection

Acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Demme took Gray’s two-night, four hour performance and¬†crafted it¬†down to 85 minutes. His¬†use of dramatic lighting, stylish camerawork and a score by performance artist Laurie Anderson was praised by critics and earned the film a cult following. No stranger to groundbreaking docs, Demme also directed the 1984 Talking Heads concert film¬†Stop Making Sense, which Documentary Now! pays tribute to in this season’s episode “Final Transmission.”

All about the Voices

While it may have been a one-man show, Gray created a repertoire of characters all with distinctive accents. (He portrayed conversations between himself and others just by turning his head.) Our favorite impressions are of his demanding girlfriend Renee and Ivan Strasberg, the South African director of photography on The Killing Fields who, as depicted by Gray, sounds a bit like a Jamaican surfer.

The Original Cranky New Yorker

In one memorable scene, Gray rants about how his noisy upstairs artist neighbors are driving him and Renee crazy. Even in the mid-’80s, there were New Yorkers complaining that the city wasn’t what it used to be.

Show and Tell

Swimming to Cambodia
Cinecom Pictures/YouTube

A big fan of visual aids, Gray used pull-down maps to¬†illustrate his travels. This helped to bring¬†Swimming to Cambodia to life, since he’s basically sitting at a desk the entire time.

Inspired One-Person Shows

Gray’s¬†groundbreaking¬†performances in Swimming and other documentaries like Monster in a Box¬†and the Steven Soderbergh-directed Gray’s Anatomy (about Gray’s struggle with a rare eye condition) paved the way for future one-person shows. (We wouldn’t have everything from Carrie Fisher’s “Wishful Drinking” to Mike Birbiglia’s “Sleepwalk With Me” without him.) Even¬†Doc Now! star Fred Armisen got into the one-person show act for his¬†recent SNL monologue.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Spalding Gray when “Parker Gail: Location Is Everything” premieres Wednesday, September 28th at 10P on IFC.¬†

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Rocky IV Stallone Lundgren

Burning Heart

10 Reasons Why Rocky IV Is the Ultimate Rocky Movie

Catch an all-day Rocky movie marathon this Friday, September 30th on IFC.

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Photo Credit: United Artists/Everett Collection

Sure, most people love the first Rocky for its heart, gripping boxing scenes and the classic training montage. Or, you might love Creed for being both a return-to-form and a new exploration of the Rocky mythology. Maybe the thrill of seeing Mr. T and Hulk Hogan in the same movie makes Rocky III your top pick. Well, sorry, you’re wrong:¬†Rocky IV is the greatest of all the “Italian Stallion”‘s movies.

Before you watch the all-day Rocky movie marathon this Friday, September 30th on IFC (with Rocky IV airing at 8P as part of Rotten Fridays), check out a few reasons to appreciate the fourth installment as the king of the series.

1. The Greatest Opening Ever

How many openings are able to sum up the entire conflict of the film in less than a minute and without a single line of dialogue? And how many of those movies have exploding boxing gloves? Just try to watch the opening sequence above and not be completely psyched for the pumped-up flick to come.


2. Montages!

We all know that the best part of any sports movie is the montage, and Rocky IV doesn’t give you one measly montage. There’s a recap of the previous films montage, a getting to Russia Montage, two training montages and an ending fight montage. That’s five montages! There’s probably a montage of montages snuck in there, too.


3. There’s a Full James Brown Musical Number

This movie is so packed with memorable moments, it’s easy to forget one of the first things that happens in the film: Apollo comes out to fight Drago dressed as a shirtless Uncle Sam, while James Brown and a full band play “Living in America.” To drive home the number’s patriotism, there are dancers in tuxedos and top hats, weird unitards and bowler caps, and bedazzled showgirls with headpieces for miles. Oh, and don’t forget the giant tentacled dragon statue on the stage. This is how every boxing match should start. Heck, this is how we always want to enter a room.


4. The Soundtrack

The Rocky IV soundtrack doesn’t just feature James Brown — it has rock anthems galore, all of which make you immediately want to hit the gym. From “Heart’s on Fire” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band to “Sweetest Victory” by Touch to multiple Survivor jams, you’ll get pumped and stay pumped. Even the instrumental score rocks! Sure, sometimes it sounds like it was made on a kids Casio, but this soundtrack never quits and — to quote Robert Tepper — never takes the easy way out.


5. Abs!

Rocky IV weights

Every Rocky movie shows off Stallone’s incredible physique, but Rocky IV really ups the game. Not only do we get Dolph Lundgren mostly shirtless looking like a man machine, but we get a wide variety of scenes of Stallone doing impossible tasks. Stallone’s crazy dragon fly crunches, aka a thing no human should be able to do, automatically take this movie to the top.


6. Two words: Ivan Drago

Ivan Drago
United Artists

Not only does Rocky IV explore the global conflict between the US and the Soviet Union, but it encapsulates all of our fears of the Cold War in one perfect villain. Ivan Drago only trains with machines and science and looks like he stepped out of an Aryan Nations recruitment poster. He also only responds in short, cold phrases like “If he dies, he dies,” or “I must break you.” There’s never been a villain who we so clearly want to get the crap beat out of than Ivan Drago.


7. Rocky Makes Chores Look Badass

Rocky saw
United Artists

Rocky doesn’t need to be hooked up to machines to become the perfect fighter. All he needs are huge tires and some outdoor chores to do. No one’s ever looked cooler chopping wood and using tractor parts. Half of his training is lifting an old wagon, probably to fix a broken axle. If anything, this film inspires us to take care of that gardening work we’ve been neglecting.


8. Rocky’s Beard

Rocky IV Beard

Stallone’s beard game is truly on point in Rocky IV. And this isn’t some “I forgot to shave, here’s a little stubble” look. No, we get full out, lumberjack-style beard action. Does any other Rocky movie have our hero¬†looking like an old Russian aristocrat? Another point for Rocky IV.


9. There’s a robot!

Again, there’s so much to Rocky IV, you probably forgot about the robot. Well, Rocky has some money now and he‚Äôs not going to spend it on frivolous things for himself. He’s going to buy Paulie a robot! The best part of this scene is how truly disturbed Paulie is by this new technology until he gives it a sexy lady voice.


10. Rocky Ends the Cold War

If you’re still not convinced that Rocky IV is the greatest, answer this question: Does any other Rocky movie bring peace between the US and Russia?

By the end of the film, Rocky rises up to beat the seemingly undefeatable Drago. He fights so well, that even the Russians begin to appreciate his skills. Then, instead of using his victory to prove America’s superiority, he gives a rousing speech of “If I can change and you can change, everybody can change!” The whole crowd goes wild, including all of the Russian government, who we assume give up Communism immediately based solely on Rocky’s words. Stallone’s call for international reconciliation through brutal fighting and a variety of montages makes this if not one of the greatest films of all time, certainly the greatest Rocky of them all.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” movie Rocky IV this Friday at 8P on IFC.¬†

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