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DID YOU READ

Whit Stillman Takes Los Angeles

Whit Stillman Takes Los Angeles (photo)

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Just slightly over a week ago, Hadrian Belove of the Cinefamily in Los Angeles introduced a screening of Tom Noonan’s “What Happened Was” by recalling the era it came out in which “a great movie was coming out every week.” That feeling is being recreated for the next month with the series “When Indies Rocked,” a veritable wonderland for fans of the ’90s boom that introduced the world to writer/directors like Alexander Payne, David O. Russell, Neil LaBute, and Todd Haynes, among others.

Throughout Fridays in February, Payne, Russell, “In the Soup” director Alexandre Rockwell and “One False Move” star Bill Paxton are all scheduled to stop by the theater on Fairfax to reflect on their early work, but a tone of celebration is being set early with a 20th anniversary screening of Whit Stillman’s “Metropolitan” this Sunday night. The ideal reminder of a time in cinema when dialogue often danced and low budget-inspired ingenuity led to a deeply-felt visual style, Stillman’s first film in what would become one of the finest runs of any writer/director during the era (including “Barcelona” and “The Last Days of Disco”) has the fizz of a cocktail and the satisfaction of a main course as it follows a group of upper-crust collegians as they attend one debutante ball after another in New York, told from the perspective of a man of more humble means (Edward Clements) looking in.

Any time the film is presented on the big screen can be considered a rare treat in and of itself, but though the writer/director’s fans know no bounds, “Metropolitan” hasn’t strayed far from its east coast setting for a special screening, save for an gala in its honor at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. So it is with much-deserved pomp and circumstance that Stillman will accompany the film out to California for the first time and while he was in the editing bay for his next film “Damsels in Distress” – words the writer/director’s fans have been dying to see in print for over a decade – he took the time to share some thoughts via e-mail on the series and how this screening came together.

How did the Cinefamily screening come about?

The Sundance Film Festival paid for a new 35mm print for last year’s festival – which was fortunate as our lab, DuArt, has since halted film printing. With the Sundance print heading to the UCLA archive, Hadrian Belove of Cinefamily saw a chance for a screening. Meanwhile, we delayed our plan for a small anniversary re-release of “Metropolitan” as backing for our new film came together just after Sundance; but we hope it will go forward close to the new film’s release.

Does it really feel like 20 years has passed?

No, it doesn’t – or it feels like 21 years: “Metropolitan” had its first public screening at Sundance, late January 1990, but the theatrical release ran through March 1991 — in those days releases could last much longer: ours was August through March.

After the theatrical run, have you ever shown the film on the west coast? If you’ve seen it with an audience here, is it much different than with the hometown crowd in New York?

“Metropolitan” really played as a hometown film – one-third of its theatrical gross came out of Manhattan. I’ve only seen it with audiences in New York and at festivals and premieres – the worst were those at a Brussels disco with a very noisy and at the Hof festival in Germany where almost everyone walked out.

The series is called “When Indies Rocked” – and Hadrian of Cinefamily said at the earlier screening of “What Happened Was” that he recalls the ’90s as a time when a great movie was coming out every week. As someone who was in the thick of it, is that looking at it with rose-colored glasses or was there something genuinely special going on?

Generally, that’s right — but film history doesn’t strictly respect decade divides. I’d put the early “golden age” as the ten years from 1984 – for a lot of us, the artistic and commercial success of Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger than Paradise” was the big inspiration, followed by Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It.” My only film school was his account of putting together that film. As the ’90s wore on, the indie films became a business, a bubble and then a bust. Roberto Rossellini said that in cinema, money is the root of all evil; if that’s true, there’s a lot less evil around now.

Tickets are still available for “Metropolitan” on January 30th and the series as a whole. Details can be found here.

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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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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