Comedy

Girls Season 3

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Shazam

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Questionable Content

Drama! Romance! Adventure! Indie Music! OCD! Awkwardness! Yelling Bird! Science! Exclamation Points! This week, I boldly tell Hollywood to adapt a webcomic, and they will boldly continue to ignore me.

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Harold Lloyd in Safety Last

An icon of the silent film era, Harold Lloyd first appeared on the silver screen in the short film The Old Monk’s Tale. Its release in February 1913 means this is the 100th anniversary of the start of Lloyd’s movie career. A decade after that not-at-all-illustrious beginning, he would star in Safety Last!, which is almost definitely his most famous film — an unbelievably funny film where a simple store clerk organizes a contest to climb a tall building and ends up having to do it himself. Like Buster Keaton, Lloyd was a master of stunt work, making it look so effortless that audiences could be simultaneously stunned, awed and relieved. Laughter often followed gasps. He was also a director and producer with a unique perspective on the birth of a popular art form. The question is whether his viewpoint can still teach us a few things about the process of filmmaking. I think there is, so here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man we’ve known for a hundred years.

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The Best Short Films

Editor’s Note: With Sundance 2013 upon us, we’re revisiting some of our favorite shorts from Sundance years past. This wonderful little film played the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, played in our Short Film of the Day series in August 2011 and is back for another run as we kick off a week of Sundance shorts. Why Watch? Because WTF stands for “Genius.” The vibrant, skillful blend of puppetry and animation, the hammer-to-nail satire of children’s programming and the huge wad of creativity make this short a winner all around. As a bonus, the song is catchy as hell. This is what everyone is thinking whenever they see kid’s shows as adults. Fortunately, it’s done as smartly as possible. The easy joke is avoided, and the rest is a frantic, jaw-lowering exercise in insanity. What does it cost? Just 3 minute of your time. Trust us. You have time for more short films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Some short films deliver the first act to a longer story while some execute a quick, complete concept and still more are completely abstract. Then, there are short films that exist purely for fun. The internet has given a kind of unfair advantage to those kinds of flicks (and the wacky video cousins that own the lead when it comes to YouTube views), but this particular short kicks so hard in the family jewels that you can do nothing but laugh and rewatch it. What’s it about? A baby, a dragon, and a fight to the death. Now where’s the hilariously bad overdubbing? What will it cost you? Only 1 minute or an entire hour if you count replays. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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The Inbetweeners Movie

After a handful of successul seasons as a television show, The Inbetweeners has been transformed into a movie at the hands of series director Ben Palmer. The UK phenomenon is just now gaining big notice from The Colonies, and MTV is remaking the series in their own image, but US fans will have a shot at the film when it hits select theaters September 7th. In the meantime, enjoy the amazingly pasty sexual adventures of four sexy, sexual, sexy vibing guys in super safe Green Band form:

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Jackpot Film Review

Oscar is having a bad day. When we first meet him, he’s lying underneath a massive woman clutching a shotgun at a strip club full of corpses. The police are obviously curious as to his connection with all this death and destruction. As Oscar sits in the interrogation room of the police station, he relays a bizarre tale of soccer betting winnings, of gangsters, and of murder. Is Oscar a liar, a killer, or just completely out of his mind? More and more, the collected nations of Scandinavia are proving to have an unparalleled mastery of the crime film. Whether it be a brutal descent into the depths of human ugliness like Sweden’s Millennium Trilogy or something intricately tense and darkly comedic like Norway’s Headhunters, it’s gotten to the point that the assemblage of the words Scandinavian and crime film are enough to heighten many a film geek’s excitement and expectation. Sharp as a concealed knife, and dripping with black comedy, Jackpot proudly takes it place beside the best of this budding new wave of rule-breaker cinema from the north of Europe.

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Culture Warrior

Will Ferrell is a funny man. This seems to be a fact undeniable even to those who don’t otherwise care for his brand of comedy. Even though his schtick has become reliably familiar – he often plays variations of an over-privileged adult child who is hopelessly naïve in certain categories of social life and prone to random bursts of livid anger – its regularity has yet to prevent Ferrell’s comic talents from growing stale. There seems to also be some indescribable aura at the core of Ferrell’s comic talent, something about his appearance and demeanor that can’t be explained through analyses of timing and punchline, as evidenced by his strange appearance on Jimmy Fallon last May. For many, Ferrell’s comic appeal has been this essential, indescribably funny core since his SNL days. Ferrell is funny not exclusively because of his physical comedy or imitable characters; he, as a force of nature, is pure farce (a farce of nature?). But as his film career continues to accumulate titles and as his unique comic sensibilities become better-known with his roles as producer and writer, it’s clear that, beneath his farce, Ferrell has a confrontational political and satirical streak underlying much of his work, which has naturally led to him portraying a politician in Jay Roach’s The Campaign. Ferrell’s roles, however, often exercise a fascinating and occasionally self-defeating tension between satire and farce, with one element substituting, rather than laying the groundwork for, the other. Here’s an overview of the politics of Will […]

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A Little Bit Zombie

Steve and Tina are about to get married, a prospect that gravely disturbs Steve’s sister who–in addition to being married to Steve’s best friend–thinks Tina is as right for him as an angry hornet’s nest is for a family picnic. Much in that same vein, Steve thinks it wise to take the quartet to the family cabin for the weekend so everyone can learn to play nice. Adding to the incredibly tense proceedings is a mosquito who managed to feed on a walking corpse a few miles over. You see, a pair of expert zombie hunters were just wrapping up the last loose ends of an undead carnival when the pesky insect sneaked a bite and made his way over to the cabin. The mosquito bites Steve several times, and soon he begins showing the classic tell-tale signs of zombism. But can this nice-guy zombie be cured?

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? A young woman wakes up in n unfamiliar place with strange, psychosexual symbols all over the walls. It’s disgusting, and she’s not alone. Of course, it’s a comedy. But Jack Tew‘s short is a tension-filled laugh featuring a fact of life that many of us have experienced. Whether it’s your bra or boxers your quietly reaching for, enjoy the walk of shame and the cold light of day. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? A smart, playful comedy, this short from director Jordan Noel tells the story of a young man who was once the host of a celebrated children’s show. After its cancellation, he finds it hard to let go, but he still has a blossoming romance and a little cartoon elephant helping him rebuild. The thing is, it might not be normal to see a cartoon elephant when you’re not a child. Especially when that cartoon elephant is pissed at you. Handled with a ton of heart and a sweet turn from star Jacob York, it’s the kind of short that deserves to be seen by kids of all ages. What will it cost? Only 20 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? A few people probably videotaped themselves when they were younger, giving messages to their future selves. Jeremiah McDonald did, and now he’s turned that video into a brilliant, self-deprecating bit of comedy. It works first and foremost because its edited together with some sort of magic – taking an echo from the past and molding it into a realistic conversation between a child of 1992 and a man of 2012. It works beyond that because McDonald has a bone dry wit that’s unafraid to point out how dorky he was when he was a kid. But weren’t we all? Exactly. And what’s even better, the short is more than just a gimmick, delivering an interesting insight into the dreams we used to have (and questioning why we don’t have them anymore). What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Klown Movie

When you watch enough movies, you come to associate canoe trips with many reprehensible things. Among these unfortunate associations are banjo music, forced sodomy, and leaving the house. Still, undaunted by the twanging intro of “Dueling Banjos” that may or may not have only existed in our heads, a group of intrepid movie fans loaded up and headed to Spring Branch, Texas for the Alamo Drafthouse’s Klown canoe trip and outdoor screening. While in the film, Casper (Casper Christensen) and Frank (Frank Hvam) are on a Tour de Pussy, we were more or less on a Tour de Someone’s-Assuredly-Not-Making-It-Back. As liquored up as Drafthouse impresario Tim League would allow, which is to say to our eyeballs, we set out on the Guadalupe River and took in the beauty and wonder of nature…as we tried, some of us futilely, to keep from capsizing where it was deep enough, and grinding to an embarrassing halt where the drought had made a puddle of the mighty river. Arriving back at camp at various degrees of dampness, we sat down for a glorious screening of the Danish comedy under the gorgeous Texas sky. I laughed heartily into the mouth of my ever-dwindling flask; delighted to be seeing the film again. The next day, in the throws of a beautiful hangover, I stumbled into a back room at The Highball in Austin–with no recollection of how I got back to the city–to find the stars of the film restrained in a strange Tiki gulag from […]

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Fun Size Movie

Josh Schwartz is taking the success he found on TV with shows like The OC and Chuck and translating that into a directorial debut fit for families. It also manages a slutty kitty and a humping chicken. You know, for kids. Fun Size stars Victoria Justice as a teen on the cusp of the popularity that comes with being hunted by the hottest guy in school, but she’s charged with looking after her little brother on Halloween, a job that seeks to undermine her ability to attend the coolest party of the year. Conflict! Then she loses her brother, who happens to be dressed up like Spider-Man. Fortunately, he’s found by a young man who asks if he likes gladiator movies, and…wait. What. What exactly is going on in this trailer?

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The Do-Deca-Pentathalon

The Duplass Brothers got into making movies by making movies. Some called it Mumblecore, but it should really be called The Nike Method. Their latest, The Do-Deca-Pentathalon features two brothers locked in an epic (yet secretive) sporting event that they take exactly as seriously as it needs to be taken. But as Mark and Jay Duplass explain in this interview, no matter the type of movie they make, they’ll always focus on the small moments and emotions that arise from them. One example? Battleship. If given the blockbuster, here’s how the pair would have delivered the littoral explosion-fest

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Adam Sandler Funny People

It’s December 2003, and Mel Gibson is standing in front of a rabid audience after premiering an unfinished version of The Passion of the Christ. This was the same guy who chuckled his way through Lethal Weapon. The same actor who got his start insinuating that a post-Apocalyptic baddie should saw his own limb off. Yes, he’d made prestigious award-grabs like Braveheart, but this was something different. Out of the darkness, someone asked where Gibson could go from here and, shielding his eyes symbolically from the spotlight, he said he couldn’t go back. He’d gotten the big house and the pool and the fame, but there was no way he could return to the types of movies he’d made before exploring the final hours of Joshua of Nazareth’s life. The movie was a plunge into the ocean, and the actor/director knew it. If anything, Funny People was Adam Sandler’s Passion, but it didn’t come with the same sort of obvious shift. It was a quieter change that – innocently as it seemed – served to undermine the career Sandler had. Whereas Gibson (as clinically insane as he is) seemed to grasp what he’d done, Sandler has remained in the dark to his career’s detriment. Bluntly put, Funny People and his choices afterward ruined Adam Sandler‘s career.

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Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey – presumably the only person on the planet excited about Dumb and Dumber 2 – just quit the movie. According to Entertainment Tonight, the actor was unhappy that New Line and Warners weren’t energetic about making it happen, despite a tentative Fall start date. The easy thing to do here is mock the project, but it’s far more important to note the level-headed actions at work here. There was no momentum to the movie, but unlike others in similar situations, the studios themselves couldn’t muster the kind of fabricated fire it takes to get a boulder uphill. The world wasn’t clamoring for a sequel, and the world has been served exactly what it asked for. Thanks to the studios and to Carrey for reading the situation correctly and moving away from something that could have been a big mistake. Of course, Warners can still muck everything up by moving forward with it despite Carrey’s leaving. Will Sasso’s basically the same caliber comedian right? Right?

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Technically, there can only be one World’s Greatest Dad. The fact that Josh Izenberg took this foam hat witticism seriously is a good indication of the kind of comedy at work in this short. It focuses on two men (wearing said hats) at a backyard party who get into a verbal pissing contest about which one of them is the better dad. The writing is sharp, and the two actors (John Sullivan and Justin Page) sell the escalating absurdity of the one-upmanship. Happy Father’s Day, everyone. Be happy your dad cares enough to flip you some burgers. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Editor’s note: With Safety Not Guaranteed beginning its limited release roll-out today, we thought to share our SXSW review again. This review was originally posted on March 14, 2012, and it’s much safer to read than anything you might find on Craigs List. The want ad is simple. A partner is needed to travel backward in time. It will be dangerous, it will be an adventure, and their safety will not be guaranteed. A magazine writer convinces his editor that there’s a goofy human interest story in the ad and gathers together two interns for a trip north to Seattle in the hopes of meeting the ad’s owner. What they discover is that not all time travel involves machines, portals or HG Wells chasing Jack the Ripper through modern day San Francisco. Sometimes all it needs are heads and hearts refusing to let go of the past. Director Colin Trevorrow‘s feature debut is just as likely to make you laugh out loud as it is to make you tear up in hopeful anticipation. The concept of time travel is the catalyst for a story that examines the idea of returning to an earlier time in our lives when things were better and our futures were still bright. Or at least, that’s how we remember things.

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