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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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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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

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