The third season of Portlandia kicked off last Friday with a double helping of everyone’s favorite sketch comedy show. During the back-to-back episodes we welcomed back Toni and Candace, Peter and Nance, The Mayor, and, of course, Fred and Carrie. Did you miss it? Don’t worry, check here for your chance to catch a repeat performance.
During last Friday’s premiere, we saw Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein tackling one of those pesky civic problems that every community must deal with: Re-naming city streets. Unfortunately, though, in Portlandia, everyone has a lot of ideas and everyone loves a good compromise. And as you can see in the photo above, compromise makes for a very long street name.
Watch a clip from season three’s premiere and tune in for a new episode of Portlandia on Friday at 10/9c:
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Watch as Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein help rename a street in Portlandia
Forget all the sequels, which have morphed from carbon copies of the original to blue tinged exercises in bland action. For our money, the original Die Hard is the greatest action movie ever made. With Die Hard and Die Hard 2 airing as part of IFC’s Independence Day weekend action extravaganza, we thought we’d look back at the original ’80s classic, and figure out once and for all why it was the best of the best. So welcome to the party, pal, let’s do this!
10. The Title Kicks Ass/Makes No Sense.
20th Century Fox
Here’s a fun fact: Die Hard is based on a novel called Nothing Lasts Forever by the awesomely named Roderick Thorp. Here’s another fun fact: Nothing Lasts Forever is a terrible title. Seriously, it sounds like a late period Sean Connery Bond film that would’ve costarred, say, Daryl Hannah.
So clearly the title had to be changed, which gives us Die Hard, aka the perfect movie title. But what does it actually mean? Is it because it’s “hard” to make John McClane “die,” much like it was “hard to kill” Steven Seagal in the 1990 action thriller of the same name? The phrase “die hard” usually means someone who cannot be swayed from a point of view, no matter the evidence. So…was John McClane unwavering in his belief that he was a badass? If that’s the case, he was right, but it’s still sort of confusing. Whatever the title means, it is amazing, and as a die hard fan of Die Hard, we can’t picture this movie called anything else.
9. Every Character is a Classic. Even Argyle the limo driver.
20th Century Fox
How many movies have such a memorable collection of side characters? From ’80s douchebag master William Atherton’s sleazy newscaster, to doomed cokehead Harry Ellis, from limo driver Argyle, to Special Agents Johnson and Johnson, no matter the part, every character makes an impression. Has there ever been a more delightfully Eurotrash collection of random bad guys than Hans Gruber’s killer crew? Heck, even Nakatomi Plaza has a distinct personality of its own. Just think about the fact that this movie has the bad guys from Ghostbusters 2 and The Goonies AND The Breakfast Club all in supporting roles, and we haven’t even gotten to Reginald VelJohnson, aka lovable dad Carl Winslow from Family Matters, playing his first of many cop roles here.
8. It birthed the entire “Die Hard on a…” genre.
20th Century Fox
You have to wonder how the filmmakers originally pitched this movie. Every action movie that followed simply used it as a reference point. Speed is Die Hard on a bus. Cliffhanger is Die Hard on a cliff. Snakes on a Plane is Die Hard on a plane with snakes. How easy it would have been if they could have just pitched Die Hard as Die Hard in a…building? The fact that countless other movies got their green light by aping the premise of this movie speaks to how brilliant it was. All you need is a location, a bunch of bad guys taking it over, and one guy crazy enough to try to stop them. It’s the perfect action movie premise, with no frills — just the ultimate engine for righteous violence.
7. Yippee ki yay, mother…
20th Century Fox
Has a movie ever had a more memorable collection of one-liners than Die Hard? “Welcome to the party, pal!” “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho.” “Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.” “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.” “Yippi-ki-yay, motherf—er.” While Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme were stuck delivering cheesy puns as they dispatched forgettable villains, John McClane and Hans Gruber’s lines always felt genuine, hilarious and cool at the same time. This was a real world, filled with people who also happen to be badass mofos.
6. The Action!
20th Century Fox
Holy Jamoley, the action! How a movie can have such over-the-top action, and yet keep it grounded, is a miracle of writing and directing. Die Hard still has some of the best action ever committed to film, without the help of CGI, superheroes or karate kicking on wires. Characters get hurt here, and when they die, you feel it. McClane needing a pair of shoes becomes a major plot point when he’s forced to run across shards of glass, and then has to spend a scene picking the remnants out of his shredded feet. By the time we reach the explosive finale, the gritty, grounded action had set a highwater mark that has yet to be topped.
5. Hans Gruber is a bad guy with style…
20th Century Fox
There’s never been a better action movie villain than Hans Gruber, the slick European terrorist who reads Time Magazine and is an expert on both hostage taking and tailored suits. Amazingly, Die Hard is Alan Rickman’s first film, having made a name for himself in theater and television. Bringing a certain intelligence and class to what could have been a typical heavy, Rickman created a stone cold killer with ice in his veins. Nothing could fluster him, not even John McClane. Even his final plummet to his death is a moment of pure action movie style and grace. Speaking of…
4. …Who dies in spectacular fashion.
20th Century Fox
Spoiler alert, but Hans Gruber dies. I know, shocker. But while action movies too often look for the most overblown way to take down their villains (like when Travolta took a missile to the stomach in Broken Arrow), Die Hard went the other way. After building up a complicated rivalry between Gruber and McClane throughout the movie, John had a chance to save this killer’s life. Instead, he let gravity take its course. Great villains deserve great deaths, and none are more memorable than the panicked look Alan Rickman gives as he takes one last look at Nakatomi Plaza from the outside.
3. It has a simple premise filled with twists and turns.
20th Century Fox
For a movie with such a straight-ahead, good vs. bad plot, the movie has a remarkable number of twists and turns. A brutal scene in which McClane is forced to sacrifice one egotistical cokehead in the name of saving countless other lives. Hans Gruber pretending to be a goofy American businessman in over his head, talking McClane into giving him a gun, only to realize that the NYPD cop was one step ahead of him the whole time. The fact that Gruber was playing terrorist, while actually there to pull of a heist. Even the ending, with McClane seemingly losing, only to pull a Christmas surprise off his back just in time. Ho, ho, ho, indeed. This movie, with its silly premise and overblown action, has no business being as clever as it is.
2. John McClane is all of us having the worst day ever.
20th Century Fox
It was the era of the steroid freaks as supermen. Arnold. Sly. Action heroes were more than human, thanks to a gym membership and a syringe. Thankfully, Die Hard zigged when everyone else zagged, giving us a relatable protagonist who bled when you pricked him, and always felt like he’d rather be taking a nap than having to deal with this crap. Bruce Willis, with his rapidly retreating hairline and sarcastic New York attitude, was someone we could relate to.
1. It’s a freakin’ Christmas movie!
20th Century Fox
It’s Christmas! Who doesn’t love Christmas? While most action movies take place in a sort of all purpose season that allows for lots of rippling muscles and skin to be seen, Die Hard goes all in on Christmas, with our favorite jingles, and some Yuletide joy. You can keep your Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story — we want a little blood and badassery with our eggnog.
With Comedy Bang! Bang!hitting its 100th episode, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the weirdest, most farcical and insane moments Scott Aukerman (“Hot Saucerman”) and the crew have ever cooked up. To see what Scott and “Weird Al” have in store for the 100th episode, be sure to tune in tonight starting at 11P.
10. The Oh, Hello! boys crack up Scott and The Lonely Island
We’re only at the midway point of season five, and already this latest batch of episodes has produced several classic CB!B! moments. We’re still laughing at Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s appearance as those Upper West Side-dwelling, Alan Alda-worshipping weirdos Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. Watch their segment above and witness Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island guys attempting to keep it together.
9. See Through Burritos
In this riff on David Cronenberg’s The Fly, Reggie gets superpowers when he accidentally microwaves himself with a burrito. Now, thanks to the laws of science, he can see through tortillas. It goes without saying that he’s super psyched. No more mystery when it comes to what other people are eating. Shredded Chicken. Carne Asada. Reggie always knows. But with great power comes great responsibility, as long as that responsibility involves tortillas.
8. Cowboy Poetry by Dalton Wilcox
Andy Daly is a mainstay on Comedy Bang! Bang!, and with good reason, if “Poet Laureate of the West” Dalton Wilcox is any indication. With his folksy poems about hard living on the plains, he seems to be the rugged ideal of an Old West cowboy. That is unless you let him read his poems all the way through, and realize 75% to 80% of them are about having sex with a hole in the ground. And if that isn’t your cup of tea, stick around for the poem about all the people he accidentally killed because he thought they were vampires.
7. Reality House
It’s hard to find an original slant on the reality show genre these days, but Aukerman and the CB!B! writing staff are never one to shy away from a challenge. Here, actual reality show stars like Reza Farahan, the muastachioed hunk from Shahs of Sunset and ex-Bachelor contestant Lucy Aragon, take place in a competition called “Reality House,” which seems to consist of host Scott Aukerman reading the same bewildering cue card every day for weeks, while the confused contestants become more and more confused. No one has any idea what type of show this is, what they’re supposed to do, or really anything at all. Well, Farahan does know one thing. He isn’t here to make friends…or is he?
6. Scottie Scares ‘Em
Scott is a friendly guy, so it probably shouldn’t come as a shock that he’d use a hidden camera prank show to make friends. In this classic CB!B! sketch, Scott dresses up as a bush to scare some unsuspecting passerby, but when one, then two, then all of them want to join the show, “Scottie Scares ‘Em” slowly morphs into “Scottie, Greg, June, Lisa & Sarah Startles and Caught-Off-Guards ‘Em Featuring Stu (Vouched for by Dave).”
5. Topher Grace Tries To Shoot Seth Rogen
Celebrity cameos are a mainstay of Comedy Bang! Bang!. You never know who’s going to stop by, or who they’re going to kill. Thank god for Will Arnett, who cameos here to talk down Topher Grace, playing a cameraman who wants to “take the shot,” and kill Seth Rogen’s picture of himself surfing once and for all. Pretty typical stuff. Action movie icon Fred Williamson even shows up, to question why Arnett is so hard on the young That’s ’70s Show star. Maybe it’s because he sees some much of himself in the kid. All of that for a thirty second gag?
4. Make The Sweater Better
In this sketch, Scott sends up a variety of TV show genres with his “Make The Sweater Better” show. He’s here to “make a cargi-GAN out of this cardi-GAN’T,” and save your favorite sweater! But as the show progresses, fixing sweaters falls by the wayside, as his trip between locations on “historic Route 66” takes up more and more time. He starts dropping cheap catchphrases like, “I did have a cow, man,” and “Mmmmm, you’ve got to lick it before you kick it.” His hair grows frosted tips, a goatee crops on his face and his shirt becomes emblazoned with flames. Before you know it, Scott has gone full blown Guy Fieri, unable to leave a frame without chanting, “hasta la vista, baby.”
3. Fourvel Gets Stabby
For fans of the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, Bobby Moynihan’s orphan boy, Forvuel, is a familiar face, er, voice. A castoff scamp, he spends his days hunting for scraps, and desperately trying to get adopted. But don’t cross him, because he’s quick to pull a knife and get all stabby. Just ask his birth family, who he killed because “they were all up in my grill.”
2. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber pens an epic musical
Paul F. Tompkins‘ take on the Phantom of the Opera creator is always a welcome presence on the CB!B! stage. But for one classic episode, the Lord deigned us all with a brand new musical starring Casey Wilson, Scott and Tom Lennon as The Phantom of the Studio. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house (probably because of all the smoke effects).
1. Scott Does the Time Warp Again
Last season’s Halloween episode has quickly become an all-time classic, thanks to a brilliant homage to the Rocky Horror Picture Show featuring Kid Cudi in a Riff Raff-like role, guest Robert Kirkman as Dr. Scott and Scott himself channeling Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The sight of Scott in a wig and fishnets is not one we’ll soon forget.
Spend July 4th weekend with Die Hard, The Punisher and more action flicks on IFC.
Posted by Brian Steele on Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection
Being an action hero isn’t the easiest job in the world. You need to be comfortable putting your family in danger, killing indiscriminately and always keeping your hair picture perfect. It’s not for everyone.
With Die Hard, The Punisher and more high octane flicks airing as part of IFC’s July 4th action movie weekend, we got to thinking…who would really want the gig? Well, many of you out there might already be action heroes, and not even realize it. If you find yourself answering “yes” to any of the questions below, we’ve got some bad news for you: You’re an action movie star. So get the killer quips ready, because yippee ki yay, there’s no turning back from here.
10. Do you still have sparks with your ex-wife?
20th Century Fox
(Taken, Die Hard, 2012, True Lies)
Look, in real life there’s a reason your ex-wife is your ex. For some reason, though, if you’re an action star, not only do you want your ex back, but you want to make sweet, sensual love to her in the middle of a shootout. Nobody has sparks like bitter exes in an action movie. Sure, being in the middle of a death defying incident — like, say, your office Christmas party being overrun by terrorists — helps get the juices flowing. But if you find yourself seriously sweating your ex while swinging off of a skyscraper that’s about to blow up, there’s a decent chance you are an action movie hero.
9. Did you best friend/mentor die in your arms?
(The Phantom Menace, Blade II, both Star Trek IIs)
It’s hard enough when someone close to you passes away. But when they die in your arms, imparting one last bit of wisdom before they shuffle off this planet or one far, far away, it can be especially traumatizing. That said, if the tragic death of your mentor/best friend/partner just days away from retirement motivates you to seek revenge against the psycho who killed them, there’s a good chance that you’re either really unlucky, or a gun-toting action hero.
8. Have you ever gone native?
20th Century Fox
(Avatar, District 9, John Carter of Mars, Dances With Wolves)
Most of us spend our days trying to decide between burritos or subs for lunch, but some people strike out into the world (or the universe) seeking adventure. If you’ve spent your life trying to tackle the next frontier, only to realize that the people who live there have a purer way of life, you might be that kid who spends a semester abroad and thinks they’re now experts on all things foreign, or you might be an action movie star about to turn against his own people. Just a heads up.
7. Are you a reckless scientist who has taken things too far?
(Prometheus, The Fly, Avengers: Age of Ultron)
In real life, scientists spend their days in underfunded labs, repeating monotonous tests over and over again in the hopes of pushing a theory into scientific fact with a slow and steady accumulation of data. But if you’re the type of scientist who creates sentient robots or teleportation devices in your eternal quest to feel like a god only to have said creation wreak havoc, well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re smack dab in the middle of a sci-fi action movie. Fingers crossed you’re the good guy this time.
6. Did you meet your significant other by saving their life?
(Terminator, the Bourne franchise, every Katherine Heigl “meet cute” action rom com)
We all know how annoying Tinder can be. But isn’t it better than meeting your soulmate as he or she’s being chased down by a killer robot? How healthy a relationship can you really have when all you do is run, screw or talk about time paradoxes? So, while dating online might suck, just keep in mind that if you met your boyfriend or the future mother of your child by saving their life, you’re probably an action star and in a toxic relationship.
5. Has your closest confidant turned against you?
(Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Unbreakable, Mission: Impossible)
It’s hard enough to find someone who gets you and sticks by you no matter what. Maybe they’re a boss who’s always seen a little of themselves in you. Or maybe they’re the one person who has the exact answers you’re looking for about why you suddenly have super powers. Whatever the case may be, they’re often the only person you can trust, which makes it hurt all the more when they turn against you. More often than not, these supposed friends end up being the one behind all your problems. They’re out to get you, ruin your life, kill you. If you can’t get close to someone without them turning into a super villain, well, at least take solace in the fact that you’re the action star in the movie of your life.
4. Do you often speak in puns and catchphrases?
(Passenger 57, Live and Let Die, They Live, every Arnold Schwarzenegger movie)
It’s hard to always have the perfect thing to say in a tense situation. Most movie stars need a team of writers to come up with bon mots like “Hey, you wanna be a farmer? Here’s a couple of achers!” or “I’m gonna take you to the bank, Senator Trent — to the blood bank!” It takes a certain level of bravado to punch out an alien and quip, “Welcome to Earth!” So if you find yourself constantly spouting the perfect quote for every situation, you might want to wonder why that is. Especially if it’s after killing someone. Why the hell are you killing someone and spouting a one-liner, unless you’re an action star?
3. Are you a retired killer looking for the quiet life?
(AHistory of Violence, Shooter, Taken, Red)
We’ve all had jobs we hated. Slinging fries at that fast food joint. Taking tickets at the local movie theater. Cleaning bathrooms at the diviest bar in town. But if you’re job used to involve killing people, something you vowed to never do again, well, that trumps that one summer you cleaned up puke at the amusement park. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from action movies, it’s that the quiet life never lasts for secret agents and trained assassins who’ve moved to a small town or some cabin in the woods. Your past always catches up with you, which is why we took that job at the pretzel stand in the mall, and didn’t become a CIA hitman.
2. Are you a loose cannon cop who doesn’t play by the rules?
(Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, Bullitt, Die Hard)
We’re sure that most of the police officers reading this right now are diligent, honest and hard working, but there are probably a few that play fast and loose with the law. If you’re one of them, a cop who’s constantly getting reamed by his commanding officer for crashing cars and shooting up South African embassies, then you’re most likely an action hero. Because in real life you would have been canned years ago.
1. Have you ever walked away from an explosion?
(Desperado, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Rundown, Drive Angry, pretty much every action movie)
Let’s be honest: most of us have never been within spitting distance of a giant fireball, and yet in action movies, these things seem to blow every few minutes. A car gets dinged up? It explodes. A gasoline drum gets knocked over? It explodes. What’s impressive about action heroes is, these things never seem to phase them. No matter how close they are to the flames, and these guys are hair singe-ingly close, they don’t flinch. If you’ve ever walked away from a giant explosion without peeing your pants, you’re probably a Grade-A action star. So congratulations, and good luck!