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Jay and Mark Duplass on “Baghead”

Jay and Mark Duplass on “Baghead” (photo)

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A quick refresher for the six of you who need it: “Mumblecore” (c. 2005 – 2007?) is the hastily designated catch-all for a loosely allied circle of young American filmmakers utilizing a low-budget, documentary-esque shooting style for their talky DIY indies. Regardless of whether you like any of the individual films, odds are you’re either (a) tired of hearing that overhyped word, (b) have never heard it before now, or (c) one of the Duplass brothers. Actor/filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass — whose witty road-trip dramedy “The Puffy Chair” became one of the first m-word successes — are quite comfortable with their association to that so-called movement/genre/clique, and why shouldn’t they be, considering Sony Pictures Classics has released their follow-up feature? (Talk about mumble-score, har har!)

“Baghead” stars Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge, Greta Gerwig and Elise Muller as four friends and wannabe thespians who hole up in a cabin for a weekend of collaborative screenwriting on their dream project… until a mysterious stalker with a paper bag on his head shows up. Reminiscent of the Duplasses’ inventive shorts about relationships, their unusual new genre mash-up is prankish one moment, scary and suspenseful the next, and it’s for the best to give nothing else away. Mark and Jay occasionally finished each other’s sentences while yakking about lovable losers and the meta-aspects of promoting their film, but let’s get down to brass tacks:

How do we destroy the word “mumblecore?”

Mark Duplass: With the movie “Baghead?” We’ll smoke it with a simple bag. [laughs] I don’t know. We’ll keep saying “mumblecore” as long as the New York Times writes about it. We don’t really care if people call us mumblecore. Little films need attention. If people want to write about it, that’s totally fine. We don’t necessarily feel like [we’re making] mumblecore movies. They share some aesthetic traits of what people call the movement, but our movies are mainstream movies that look like independent films.

Jay Duplass: We don’t feel particularly pigeonholed by it, although we might be crying in a year or two with the backlash. We’re just continually making the movies we want to make, and whatever people want to call them, that’s fine — as long as they don’t call them a big piece of poo.

Did you intend “Baghead” as a spoof of mumblecore, as some journalists have suggested?

MD: We certainly don’t like the word “spoof” because that implies making fun of someone. We’ve made a career out of making fun of ourselves. We see “Baghead” as more of a love song to the life of a desperate actor, as opposed to, “look how stupid these people are, so let’s make fun of them.”

There is, however, one character you rightfully tease in the beginning: the pretentious indie filmmaker at a post-screening Q&A.

MD: The film festival Q&A is so ripe for the picking because they’re these giant circle jerks where the filmmakers are basically bragging about themselves, and people are trying to come up with the most interesting, poignant questions…

07222008_baghead2.jpgJD: …to show how brilliant they are that they truly understand a director’s vision. But we’re not trying to make a scathing satire. It’s funny, but we love it, too. We’re aware that we’re going up there to get worshipped, and we try to elicit that worship as much as possible. [laughs] It’s ridiculous, but at the same time, it’s great.

MD: We’re doing it right now.

That explains why I’m only asking you brilliant questions. Seriously though, have you had any weird occurrences while standing on stage after a screening?

MD: When we were at Sundance with “The Puffy Chair,” we had an 8 a.m. screening, and a lot of the local Salt Lake population came out. I think they felt that the movie was more real than it was. They started attacking me and the lead actress, Katie Aselton, because they thought we were actually dating when we shot the movie. They were wondering why we hadn’t yet gotten married in real life.

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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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