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Brad Bird talks “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” sequel and the divide between critically and commercially successful films

Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"

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Brad Bird is coming off a big year. In 2011, he made his big break onto the live action scene with “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” a film that went on to be both a commercial and critical success.

So it seems fair to think that producer J.J. Abrams might approach Bird to direct the next installment of the “Mission: Impossible” saga. And, as it turns out, there just might be one in the works. But if that is going to happen, Bird hasn’t heard about it yet.

“I don’t know what their plans are for that,” Bird said during an interview with IFC. “I’m sure there’s one being planned.”

When IFC chatted with Seth Rogen in a conference call promoting his hosting gig at the Spirit Awards, he admitted that he cast his Oscar Best Picture vote for “Ghost Protocol.” It likely was the only vote the film received, but at least it showed that not all Academy voters skew towards indie darlings.

“He was in the minority, but I appreciate the support,” Bird said with a big laugh.

It certainly highlights a big split between the films that the average moviegoer finds awesome and the ones nominated for Oscars. “Ghost Protocol” scored a 93 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and also made $680 million worldwide, which is no small feat. Yet it was completely ignored on the awards circuit. So we couldn’t resist asking Bird how he felt about the divide between films that the public loves and those that are rewarded at critical awards shows — a divide that isn’t as evident with animated films.

“I don’t know how to think about it. I don’t want to become cynical and start thinking that the audience will settle for anything. I prefer to think that they appreciate a well-made movie,” he said. “But, look, if you could get ahold of the Los Angeles Times from the ’30s and you open up the movie section of an old newspaper, you’ll see tons and tons of movies that you have never heard of that are starring people that were actually top stars of that day. So there were popular movies back then that have not really lasted, but they served their purpose at the time.”

Bird went on, “I’d like to think that the hit movies now that are not that good will kind of do the same thing. They’ll sort of be around, but not really at the forefront. I mean, George Raft was a big movie star in the ’30s, and yet how many people talk about George Raft now? But you bring up Jimmy Stewart or John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart or Clark Gable, everybody knows who these guys are. So the goal is to make movies that are on that sort of level and sort of rise to the top. It all becomes part of the soup of past culture, it’s just that some things [last]. People still watch Bogey movies because there’s something about his persona that still feels modern.”

Do you agree with Bird’s view on the divide between critical and commercial successes? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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