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Holmes, how you’ve changed!

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Late yesterday it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen has been cast as Sherlock Holmes with Will Ferrell as Watson in a new, Judd Apatow-produced comedy inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective — the second Holmes major reinvention in the works, with Guy Ritchie working on a version that will “be more adventuresome and take advantage of his skills as a boxer and swordsman.”

At the Guardian‘s film blog, Maxim Jakubowski has already expressed his displeasure: “The mind boggles. In the left corner Sherlock getting involved in over the top ultra-violence and in the right corner a farting Sherlock (or would it be Watson?) with the sensitivity of an average American teenager.” He does allow that “there have been hundreds of Sherlock Holmes books written by others since Conan Doyle’s demise,” and that “Holmes has been impersonated by a legion of actors since he was first adapted for the screen.” But Holmes has also already been reinterpreted in various, er, unconventional ways that would have ruffled the feathers of the protective Sherlockians Jakubowski mentions long before Borat stepped on the scene. A few TV/movie versions that come to mind:

07022008_holmes1.jpgDarryl Zero (Bill Pullman)
“Zero Effect”

The first film from Jake Kasdan (who went on to direct “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”) is essentially an update of Doyle’s story “A Scandal in Bohemia,” with Pullman as “the world’s most private detective,” a man so reclusive that he only interacts with clients by way of his assistant, played by Ben Stiller. The mysterious blackmailer and Irene Adler equivalent is played by Kim Dickens, who pulls Zero into a romance that’s definitely not part of the original text.

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie)
“House, M.D.”

House (as opposed to “Holmes,” yes?) is a surly, isolated genius who keeps to mysteries of a medical nature and prefers Vicodin to cocaine, but still has a Watson (well, Wilson) to bounce ideas off of and manages to get shot at by someone named Moriarty.

07022008_holmes2.jpgArthur Sherlock Holmes (John Cleese)
“The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It”

Cleese’s character is technically the grandson of Holmes, pairing up with Watson’s descendant to prevent Moriarty’s offspring from destroying the world in this 1977 spoof of detective movie tropes. It’s notable mainly for a scene in which Holmes assists Watson with a crossword puzzle and ever “elementary” pun possible is unleashed: “Yellow manta ray, my dear Watson.”

Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub)

Monk’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, while played for cute, could be read as an extreme interpretation of Holmes’ attention to detail and antisocial leanings. Regardless, the character is another Holmesian brilliant but quirky detective, with a female Watson equivalent. He’s even given a parallel to Holmes’ smarter, sedentary older brother Mycroft — Ambrose, played by John Turturro, an agoraphobe who writes product manuals in multiple languages, all self-taught.

07022008_holmes3.jpgSherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe)
“Young Sherlock Holmes”

In Barry Levinson’s exceptionally silly movie, Watson and Holmes meet as teenagers at a boarding school, where they stumble upon an Egyptian-themed cult performing human sacrifices and shooting people with hallucinatory thorns. Moriarty is the schoolmaster, played by Anthony Higgins, who also took on the role of Holmes in 1993 TV movie “Sherlock Holmes Returns.”

Sherlock Holmes (voiced by Jason Gray-Stanford)
“Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century”

Holmes, animated, in the future. Hey, he’s restored via a new cellular rejuvenation technique! Who else is going to catch that Moriarty clone wreaking havoc on New London?

+ Holmes pic nabs Baron Cohen, Ferrell (Variety)
+ Sacha Baron Cohen’s Sherlock Holmes won’t ‘make benefit’ anybody (Guardian)

[Photos: “Zero Effect,” Columbia Pictures, 1998; “The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It,” Shearwater Films, 1977; “Young Sherlock Holmes,” Paramount Pictures, 1985]

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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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