Comedy

The legendary Cloris Leachman is a salty woman with brass buttons. Her latest conquest is the suspense thriller – working alongside, seriously, Tara Reid in The Fields. Kevin Carr sits down the Oscar winner to discuss what scares her, her work with Mel Brooks and why she owns a porn shop in an upcoming movie. Plus, Eric D. Snider and Rob Hunter go head to head Movie News Pop Quiz-style, and the discussion turns to spoiler sensitivity. Download Episode #130

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Like comedians of comedy that have to pray five times a day, The Muslims Are Coming! is a new documentary featuring stand-up performances, personal diary moments, and talking heads attempting to show a different angle on what it means to be Muslim in America. Featuring luminaries like Jon Stewart, David Cross, Russell Simmons and Soledad O’Brien , it focuses specifically on the comedy of Negin Farsad (who directed) and Dean Obeidallah (who also directed). Judging from the trailer, the flick looks really lighthearted even as it tackles an unavoidable social responsibility. There’s no real way to make a documentary about Islam without taking on the All-American baggage that comes along with it. Fortunately, this doc seems content to battle fear with jokes. Check it out for yourself:

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Drinking Games

Do you have your taxes done? The clock is ticking away to midnight on April 17th to file. If you don’t, you might end up owing $5,000 to the government, and unlike a certain Chicago orphanage, you can’t rely on “Joliet” Jake Blues and his brother Elwood to raise that money for you. Although released more than 30 years ago, The Blues Brothers still strikes a chord with audiences around the world. Revisit the classic SNL-spawned musical from the days when SNL films were actually good. Kick back and wash down your dry white toast and four fried chickens with blue-collar beer from a honky-tonk bar. Just make sure you fill out those tax forms before you’re done with the game, or you might not remember to mail them.

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Lena Dunham‘s new HBO show, Girls, fits right into producer Judd Apatow‘s wheelhouse: it’s funny, awkward, honest, and never afraid to show characters at their ugliest. The lead, Hannah (Dunham), is a young 20-something looking for direction, similar to plenty of Apatow’s characters in TV and film. Hannah and her friends aren’t the nicest or the most admirable of characters, but they’re about as real as a group of friends can get. Hannah is one of those phases that plenty of artists — such as Dunham and Apatow — could relate to: being young and struggling. In usual HBO fashion, Girls is a show that pushes the pain, never letting its characters off easy. That, amongst other topics, were discussed between Apatow, Dunham, and I the day after its terrific premiere at SXSW. Here’s what Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow had to say about the movie-like structure of the show, writing vomit drafts, and personal comedy:

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The Three Stooges has been a passion project for the Farrelly brothers for almost a decade. From swapping studios to switching up actors, the project has gone through plenty of ups and downs, and it seemed as though it would never make it to the screen. After a few revisions and dedication, Bob and Peter Farrelly‘s modern day take on The Three Stooges finally got off the ground. According to Peter Farrelly, only the film’s environment is “modern.” Instead of going with satire or irony, the Farrelly’s wanted to stick with and respect the old-fashioned physical comedy the Stooges are famous for. Yes, there is a Jersey Shore gag (something I’m guessing wasn’t in the original Stooges’ work), but the Farrelly’s set out to recreate the spirit and charm of The Three Stooges. Here’s what Peter Farrelly had to say about receiving the PG rating, writing oblivious but lovable characters, bringing the Stooges back to life, and how Wes Anderson inadvertently helped save There’s Something About Mary:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s Tenacious D. Doing what they do best. And probably beating a world hugging record while parodying training montage songs. What will it cost? Only 6 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The head honchos over at Universal seem to be undergoing a mid-life crisis of sorts as they reflect on their (relative) youth back in the year 1988. First, they announced last week that they’re going to move forward on a sequel to the Robert De Niro/Charles Grodin comedy Midnight Run (conveniently forgetting the three made-for-TV sequels that already exist). And now they’ve let word get out that they’re eyeballing a sequel to Ivan Reitman’s Twins. As awesome as that doesn’t sound, the news gets even more topical and ridiculous. According to THR, the studio wants to reunite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as the unlikely twins and add a third player into the mix so they can call the film Triplets. And who do they supposedly want for the third sibling? None other than Mr. Box Office Poison himself, Eddie Murphy!

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anchormanfight

Back in 2010, Paramount punted Anchorman 2 off a bridge, but after Conan O’Brien teased an appearance by Ron Burgundy on his show, it became clear that something big was afoot. Anchorman 2 is happening with Will Ferrell getting back behind the news desk alongside director Adam McKay and co-stars Paul Rudd and Steve Carell. Right now, a ton of people are having to walk off their comedy erections in whatever office they’re about to be fired from. Fortunately, I work from home. This is great, great news. Does it seem a bit like going back to the well? Absolutely, but it’s a well worth diving back into and one that will represent a real challenge for its cast and crew. Catching scotch-covered lightning in a bottle twice will be tough, but hot damn is it ever a goal worth shooting for.    

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Moms Mabley was born Loretta Mary Aiken 31 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 69 years before Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” to say nothing of the women’s movement and the sexual revolution. She was a bad ass that spoke her mind and managed to make it funny. Now, according to Variety, Whoopi Goldberg plans on making a documentary of the triple X-rated trailblazer. “She could say stuff that nobody else could say. She talked about homosexuality, she talked about ageism, she talked about racism. She could be really risque, and she did all these great double-entendre jokes and talked about all this stuff without using one bad word,” said Goldberg. The project will be called I Got Somethin’ To Tell You and will chronicle Mabley’s career from the 1930s through the 1970s. It’s an admirable project with a hell of a subject. For just a taste, here’s Mabley asking if you’ve ever heard the one about the woman who asked her husband to buy her a bra:

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Drinking Games

We have another great week for movies out on DVD and Blu-ray. However, which one would be best for a drinking game? On one hand, a game for The Muppets would be great, but we already published one of those in November, so check that out if you want to knock a few back with Kermit, Fozzie and the old gang. We could have also done one for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but those could throw you into a depression or put you to sleep. So, let’s raise a glass to the current box office champ and Oscar nominee Jonah Hill with his December headliner, David Gordon Green’s The Sitter. After all, if you’re going to watch this new adventure in babysitting, you’ll want to have a few drinks in your belly.

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase most famously launched the first season of Saturday Night Live and transferred their success to film together in Spies Like Us back in 1985, but both are far more iconic on their own. Now, according to Aykroyd’s own Facebook page, one of the Blues Brothers and the elder statesman of Community are joining forces for a new comedy project. Aykroyd didn’t elaborate much, except to say, “Chevy (Chase) and I are about to start work on a script concept for a comedy movie. Cannot say too much about the concept, but the joy of working with him again is one that I am extremely excited about. Chevy is one of my favourite people, and one of the great anarchistic and physically committed comedians in the business.” Yes, “favourite” is spelled that way in Canada. The laughs are already rolling in. This news is exciting for two reasons. First, there’s a sense of legacy at work here – two comedy giants who have not loomed large recently attempting to regain some of the fire from their past. Two, it’s nice to see Aykroyd talking about something other than Ghostbusters 3.

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We’ve already signed up hundreds of people for FSR Dating – the first dating site for movie fans – and to aid the endeavor to provide all of our readers with that special tingle, we’re tossing out a few ideas (that you can totally claim as your own) for forming dates around this week’s releases. They’re perfect for finding a new flame or for proving to your current wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend that cheap roses for Valentine’s Day isn’t all you’re good for (even if it totally is). This week involves cops pretending to be in high school, comedians living in the basement and Will Ferrell speaking only in Spanish. If you plan on catching 21 Jump Street, Jeff Who Lives At Home or Casa de mi Padre, what are you doing afterward? Check out these thematic date ideas, sack up, and go ask someone out. Then send us the pictures.

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A movie based on the show 21 Jump Street? Dumb, right? Well, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller acknowledge that right out of the gate. In doing so, they’ve crafted a hilarious and whip-smart comedy with a big heart and mind. The duo didn’t make a series of a action movie references, but an actual action movie. The Jump Street program, which remains the same concept as the original television series, has been resurrected due to a “lack of imagination.” Two of the young-looking cops chosen are Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), two wannabe badasses. Schmidt and Jenko were on opposite sides in high school: Schmidt was a juggling club loser who went through an Eminem phase, while Jenko was the popular jock. A few years later, the dynamic has changed. Schmidt and Jenko become buddies to even out each other’s respective athletic or academic weaknesses. When they’re thrown back into high school to crackdown on a drug aptly called “Holy Fucking Shit,” their friendship gets tested.  Schmidt is no longer the outcast, and Jenko quickly realizes acting like an asshole isn’t exactly cool anymore.

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Way back in January of 2011, we wrote up the possibility of Tina Fey taking on Admission – an adaptation of a novel with middling reviews about an Ivy League admissions officer who is shaken out of her rut when she runs into an old schoolmate and meets a young genius. Obviously development was slow-going, but the LA Times is announcing that the film is attempting to shoot this May after Fey concludes her work on 30 Rock. Plus, director Paul Weitz is looking to cast Paul Rudd as the co-lead. That’s a hell of a combination. In fact, it’s the kind of combination that all but ensures that the better parts of the book will be plucked out for use while the lesser parts will be blurred over by improvisation. The script itself comes from Karen Croner (who wrote One True Thing, a movie that earned Meryl Streep one of her many Oscar nominations). All in all, it sounds like a winning team behind an average concept, but it’s just exciting to see it close to getting off the ground.

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Getting the other side of the piracy debate, I speak directly to an online pirate about why he does it and how he sees it. Plus, Goon co-writer Evan Goldberg talks hockey and the violence of comedy while Detachment director Tony Kaye proves he’s still slightly crazy. Download Episode #124

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The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Michael Bacall, co-screenwriter for Project X, has been hired to create a treatment for a possible sequel. Both producer Todd Phillips and Warners will get to decide whether they want to move forward with it, but only a money allergy (or some sort of artistic integrity) would keep them from doing so. With films like this, we’re all entering a new era where studios have gotten wise to the pitfalls of shelling out $400m for a budget and advertising on one movie. It’s no surprise then that movies made for $10m-$20m that provide steady returns are looking a bit shinier, and Project X2 would certainly fit that bill while piggybacking on sequel success. This is all about as unsurprising as Rush Limbaugh saying something offensive about women on air, but the real question is whether or not a movie like Project X will inevitably succumb to the don’t-wash-don’t-rinse-but-repeat story problems of The Hangover 2. With Phillips’s name attached, it’s an easy comparison, but it’s also easy because with movies that are exercises in one-upmanship, it seems natural that the sequel can do little but repeat and continue that challenge. Is there enough meat to the movie to transfer its characters over into a second helping? It doesn’t seem likely, but maybe Bacall has a trick up his sleeve. Or maybe it’ll just be another outrageous party…this time in college!

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Despite the obstetrical impossible, Mean Girls has labored to deliver Mean Moms – a follow-up of sorts to the Lindsay Lohan-starring comedy. It also stems from an advice book written by Rosalind Wiseman, and shares a producer in Jill Messick. Plus, the logline in exactly the same, but in reverse: “A happily married mother of two moves from small town America to the high class suburbs and is faced with confronting the cutthroat world of competitive parenting.” Replace bitchy teenage girls with bitchy mothers, and you’ve got a movie. Or it’s close at least. Variety is reporting that New Line has hired writing partners Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (The Vow) to rewrite the current script. It’s also important to note that Kohn and Silverstein have been behind Cubic Zirconia Era rom-coms like He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day (where they earned a story credit). This may be an unfair comparison, especially with that resume, but it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to craft something as sharp and still human as Tina Fey did with Mean Girls. There’s a huge difference between character and caricature, so far this team’s writing doesn’t show that they know that difference. Is there any chance this next project won’t be a movie version of Real Housewives of Wherever?

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It wasn’t until watching the newest green band trailer for That’s My Boy that everything became clear. Underneath the baffling, annoying voice Adam Sandler makes through the whole thing, the simple truth remains: this is the unofficial sequel to Big Daddy. In that 1999 comedy, Sandler played a terrible man-child who let his fraudulently adopted son become the smelly kid in class by being lazy and moronic. In the film from Sean Anders and John Morris, Sandler plays a terrible child-child who becomes a father after knocking up his middle school teacher and now (many years later) has to deal with an estranged, very successful son played by Andy Samberg. In a movie world where Sandler doesn’t evolve or grow up in Big Daddy, this is what little Frankenstein would have become. He ate the terrible candy he wanted to, he dressed how he wanted to, he had zero discipline and here’s how it all turned out:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? You know that outrageous, embarrassing story about the time you thought Goldschläger wasn’t that alcoholic? Imagine it being retold and acted out by puppets. Strike that. Don’t imagine it. Just watch this. This series of shorts has the allure of “Drunken History” mixed with the deviance and cuteness of Avenue Q. This particular episode from comedian Jon Mick involves a ridiculously tolerant girlfriend, a lot of vomit, and a very special crevasse. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Richard Linklater‘s latest film, Bernie, features Jack Black as a mustachioed mortician who all the townsfolk admire. His character is a people person, which is probably why he tries to make nice with the snarly widow played by Shirley MacLaine. A romance blossoms, but there’s still plenty of dirt in the woman’s heart, and from the looks of the new trailer, she doesn’t get to see the end credits. And apparently Matthew McConaughey plays a lawyer convinced dear old Bernie is a killer. Jack Black ratcheting it down a notch? Maybe without even scatting? MacLaine essentially reprising her Guarding Tess role? McConaughey with a shirt on? Looks great:

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