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10 Unreleased Movies You’ll Probably Never See

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The Spoils Before Dying — the “film-itization” of Eric Jonrosh’s tale of sex, murder, and jazz — was banned before ever seeing the light of day. Thankfully, IFC has finally brought his words to life with an epic three-night event that concludes tonight at 9p with back-to-back episodes.

Sadly, not every lost project is so lucky. Whether it’s because of funding issues, creative conflicts, or just plain suck-itude, some movies are filmed, even finished, only to spend decades sitting on a shelf. Here are some of the most famous unreleased movies, starring everyone from Bill Murray to Marlon Brando.


1. Dark Blood

The last film River Phoenix starred in before his death, Dark Blood remained unfinished for 19 years, until director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) edited what he had into a finished product.

A surreal tale about a couple (Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce) who encounter a troubled young man (Phoenix) while on a desert honeymoon, Dark Blood became a point of contention between Sluizer and the Phoenix family after the actor’s death. Sluizer’s solution for Phoenix’s scenes that remained unfilmed was simple: he just narrated what would’ve happened.

While the finished product was shown at a handful of festivals, and received warm reviews, it still hasn’t been released to a wider audience. Sadly, Sluizer passed away in 2012 and the Phoenix family isn’t on board with the film’s release, so it’s anyone’s guess when it will be shown again.


2. Hippie Hippie Shake

Working Title Films

Working Title Films

Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller fronted this look at the swinging ’60s in London. Based on the true story of the “psychedelic hippy” magazine Oz getting charged with obscenity, the film received good reviews, but was shelved after Sienna Miler found herself in the eye of a bad press storm, due to an affair with the married actor Balthazar Getty. Oddly, while the actress weathered the storm, the film has yet to be released.


3. The Fantastic Four

With a new Fantastic Four movie about to hit theaters, it’s important to remember the dark days of the film franchise.

In the early 1990s, Marvel movies didn’t have the cache they enjoy now. Producer Bernd Eichinger owned the film rights to Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, et al., but couldn’t get a film off the ground with the major studios. Due to a clause in his contract, he had to produce a movie quickly in order to retain the rights to the property. Desperate, he reached out to schlock producer Roger Corman, who knocked a movie out in a few weeks. The cast showed off clips at the San Diego Comic Con and the film was set to premiere at the Mall of America in January of 1994.

With the rights retained, Eichinger outdid Doctor Doom himself, and buried the film. Turns out he never intended to release the film at all, and never informed the cast and crew of his diabolical plan. But bootleg copies of the film — which contains some delightfully wooden acting and seriously dated special effects — circulated at fan conventions and became a cult classic among fans of Marvel’s failed attempts at cinematic glory.


4. The Other Side of the Wind

Steven Jaffe/Courtesy of The Welles-Kodar Collection, University of Michigan, Special Collections Library

Orson Welles is sort of the granddaddy of unreleased masterpieces. The Deep, a thriller plagued by bad weather and the death of the lead actor, never saw the light of day. The Magnificent Ambersons, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, was taken away from him in post-production, taking decades for his cut to be released.

But of all the unrealized projects from the great Orson Welles, none intrigues us as much as The Other Side of the Wind, a black-and-white mockumentary about Hollywood that took six years to shoot, and spent decades being fought over in court. Finishing the film is now in the hands of crowdfunding, with a million dollar goal to finish a cut.


5. Don’s Plum

While this film has seen a limited release in Europe, it will never see the light of day stateside. For that you can thank/blame Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, two of the biggest stars in Hollywood. When Jack Dawson and Spider-Man want to shut a movie down, they shut that sh*t down.

The story behind this movie’s failure is simple, if sad. The two actors starred in it as a favor to their filmmaker friend, R.D. Robb. (You might remember him as Schwartz from A Christmas Story.) This was back in the days when DiCaprio and the then up-and-coming Pleasantville star rolled together in the very Entourage-like crew tastefully known as “The P—y Posse,” which explains why the film feels like the equivalent of hanging out with a bunch of rich Hollywood douchebags. The cast also included Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, Amber Benson, Jeremy Sisto and (of course) future Entourage-er Kevin Connolly.

According to the stars, the movie was supposed to be a short, and make the festival rounds, but Robb turned it into a feature and started seeking distribution. DiCaprio, who was coming off of Titanic at the time, didn’t want it released. Why? Well, rumors circulated that DiCaprio got naked and engaged in bisexual sex in the film, but that turned out to be a lie. Sadly, the movie simply sucked, or at least DiCaprio and Maguire thought it did. They sued the filmmaker into oblivion, losing a friend in the process. Hopefully the pile of supermodels DiCaprio is buried under right now can help cheer him up.


6. Glitterati

While filming the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Rules of Attraction, director Roger Avary spent weeks in Europe with star Kip Pardue, shooting over 70 hours of video for a short sequence in the movie. He eventually assembled the footage into its own film, called Glitterati, which he hoped would act as a bridge to a planned adaptation of Ellis’ 1998 novel Glamorama.

Due to some legal questions marks, and what Ellis himself describes as the dubious ethics of releasing a film that’s basically hours of Pardue in character, picking up women, without them even knowing they were in a movie, the film has never been released, and the planned sequel never realized.


7. The Brave

If you thought The Lone Ranger was the first time Johnny Depp awkwardly played a Native American on film, have we got a story for you.

Depp may be one of the biggest stars in the world now, but there was a time when he specialized in the type of unique, avant-garde projects that struggled to find an audience, or even get released. The Brave, based on a novel by Fletch novelist Gregory Mcdonald, told the story of a young Native American man who accepts an offer to die in a snuff film in order to make money for his struggling family. This was a passion project for Depp, who co-wrote and directed the project, and even roped in friend Marlon Brando for a cameo. Sadly, reviews from the 1997 Cannes Film Festival were mixed, and the film never saw the light of day in the U.S.


8. Humor Risk

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Screengrab from “The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell”

The first film to star The Marx Brothers, Humor Risk has sat on the shelf for almost as long as movies have been around. Shot around 1920 between performances on a vaudeville stage, the short film was shown exactly one time. Rumors have circulated that The Marx Brothers were so unhappy with the movie they either burned the print, or left it behind in a projector booth, never to retrieve it. With a solid 95 years since its last showing, we’re guessing this one is lost to the ages.


9. Nothing Lasts Forever

This odd outing, which never saw a theatrical release, came from the mind of Saturday Night Live’s resident filmmaker Tom Schiller. After years of churning out shorts during SNL’s early years (you might remember his classics Don’t Look Back in Anger and La Dolce Gilda), Schiller made a movie that truly defies description.

Taking place in an alternate universe New York City, where everything has the feel of a 1930s musical, the partially black-and-white film is an homage to classic cinema that proved too strange for MGM to release. But it occasionally screened at repertory theaters over the years and earned a cult following thanks to cameos from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Calvert DeForest and other comedy favorites. Rumor has it that John Belushi was supposed to cameo, but died six weeks before filming. The film finally saw the light of day earlier this year, for a one-night only viewing on Turner Classic Movies.


10. The Day the Clown Cried

The big bopper of unreleased movies, this film has taken on legendary status thanks to its disturbing subject matter and wildly inappropriate star.

The story of a circus clown who leads Jewish children into the gas chamber during the Holocaust, director and star Jerry Lewis completed the entire film before realizing what a horrible mistake it was. Rumor has it he locked it in a private vault, and refuses to even reference it in interviews. The Simpsons star Harry Shearer is one of the few to have actually seen the movie, and says, “this was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is.”


The Spoils Before Dying concludes tonight at 9p with back-to-back episodes.

Also, catch The Spoils Before Dying Marathon (all six episodes!) immediately after the finale at 10p tonight and Sat, July 11 starting at 9:45a.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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