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Getting It On At Sundance

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By Andrea Meyer/IFC News

There’s been a lot of talk about the graphic sex at Sundance. Filmmaking dynamo Michael Winterbottom tried his hand at art-house porn, getting his actors to really do the deed in his explicit relationship saga “9 Songs.” Doc darlings Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato got inside the most notorious and profitable X-rated flick of all time with “Inside Deep Throat.” Festival audiences fled theaters as comedian after comedian told the dirtiest joke ever in “The Aristocrats.” A hot older woman—oh my God, she’s 32—does little besides bang her 19-year-old boytoy in the raunchy Korean romance “Green Chair.”

What I noticed about Sundance 2005, though—besides the criminal non-existence of swag for non-celebrities, not even a Sony baseball cap or Palm Pictures tote in sight—was the sex, sex, sex that was gushing (or occasionally just hovering around the edge of the frame) in this year’s teenager flicks. These movies were all about tasting it, craving it, using it to get what you want and, especially, losing it.

In Rebecca Miller’s lyrical dad-and-daughter love story “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” the titular teenage girl (Camilla Belle) is so pissed at her dad (Daniel Day-Lewis) for inviting his girlfriend and her sons to move in, she convinces one of her reluctant stepbrothers to deflower her—and hangs her bloody sheets in the yard as evidence. Troublemaking slut Maggie Gyllenhaal snags a young lad’s virginity in “Happy Endings,” though said lad is not so supportive: The only benefit he sees in the unpleasant turn of events is his dad might not realize he’s gay.

In Noah Baumbach’s award-winning (best screenplay and best director) “The Squid and the Whale,” two Brooklyn boys have different ways of coping with their parents’ divorce: 12-year-old Frank (Owen Kline) starts drinking booze and wiping his ejaculate on books in the school library. His 16-year-old brother (Jesse Eisenberg), on the other hand, tries to play tough and detached with his first girlfriend, a difficult task while suffering the humiliation of coming in six seconds and being told he uses too much tongue when they kiss.

If Baumbach’s scenarios are disturbingly familiar, Miranda July, winner of a special jury prize for originality, uncovers the offbeat in everyday lives in “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” in which sons deal with their parents’ divorce. 14-year-old Peter is a willing judge in the neighborhood girls’ blowjob-giving contest, and 7-year-old Robby gets involved in the funniest cybersex ever committed to celluloid.

While sexual firsts can make for great, comic, cringe-worthy entertainment, there are also unsavory and much more serious possibilities. In Gregg Araki’s haunting “Mysterious Skin,” two boys are sexually abused by their baseball coach. Both flailing to make sense of the experience later in life, one (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) becomes a hustler while the other (Brady Corbet) convinces himself he was abducted by aliens. In order to make sure nothing similar happens to her, the teenage bombshell (Ellen Page) in David Slade’s midnight movie “Hard Candy” orchestrates a sinister revenge plot for the older man she encounters on the Internet.

Even when early sexuality seems sweet, nothing is simple in adolescence. Lou Pucci is astounded when his beautiful girlfriend announces she’s only using him in Mike Mills’ smart coming-of-age tale “Thumbsucker.” A precocious blonde’s sexual sophistication provokes lust, awe and rage in the boys of a southern France town—to horrific results—in Ziad Doueiri’s “Lila Says.” In “Pretty Persuasion,” a satire in which three high school girls accuse their teacher of sexual harassment, nobody is innocent. Ringleader Kimberly (Evan Rachel Wood) uses her sexuality—and her oral sex skills—to manipulate and deceive everyone around her.

While not a movie about teenagers, it seems wrong to leave “Murderball” out of a roundup of sexual firsts. Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro’s film enters the real lives of guys who have been sexually active for a while, but have had to learn how to make love all over again. One of the funniest sequences in this documentary about quadriplegic rugby is where the athletes—manly men who have limited use of all four of their limbs—discuss the wonderful world of quadriplegic sex: the hard-ons they still proudly get, the early awkwardness and experimentation, the positions that work the best, the women that love them (and want them and boink their brains out) all in spite of their disabilities. Suburban teens could learn a lot from the brave, confident, sexy young men in this film.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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…


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.


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).


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.


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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