Jason Segel

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets his grading done early because school is off for the rest of the week. With three family movies opening in theaters for the Thanksgiving weekend, Kevin tries to keep things respectable. Reliving his childhood, he sings and dances his way into the theater for the revival of The Muppets, then takes a serious look at 3D and avant-garde filmmaking with Martin Scorsese’s latest film Hugo. Finally, he bundles up and heads to the North Pole on a search for Santa and his family, knowing it has to be exactly like it is depicted in Arthur Christmas. Movies don’t lie, after all, do they?

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Walter the Muppet

When penning their very own Muppet movie, The Muppets, writers Jason Segel (who co-stars in the film) and Nicholas Stoller had one essential code to crack – how exactly were they going to break into the fractured Muppet gang to get them back together for one more show? It turns out, it wasn’t how, it was who. The Muppets centers on Walter the Muppet (played by Walter the Muppet), the world’s biggest Muppet fan. Though Walter has taken great joy in the Muppets (particularly Kermit the Frog, his personal hero) as he’s grown up in Smalltown, USA, his favorite characters are treated as a relics by everyone else in town (save his brother, Segel as Gary). When Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) set out on a trip to Los Angeles, home of Muppet Studios, Walter comes along for the ride and to meet his idolts. What he finds at the Studios is unexpected – but the journey it ultimately leads him (and Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and the whole rest of the crew) on is far more unexpected (and wonderful). Walter is voiced and operated (muppeted?) by veteran puppeteer Peter Linz, whose extensive resume includes stints on The Puzzle Place, Bear in the Big Blue House, and Lomax: Hound of Music (where he voiced Lomax himself), Linz also has a long relationship with the Muppets. The puppeteer spent fourteen years on Sesame Street, and he’s contributed work to a number of smaller Muppet productions, while also […]

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The Muppets Parody Trailers

There’s always been something inherently brilliant about the world of The Muppets. In their world, one in which felt-skinned frogs live in real life swamps and sing songs and a bear’s natural habitat is a Studebaker, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished if you follow your dreams. It’s a world very much like our own, only a lot more optimistic. There’s also always been something to the way the world of The Muppets seamlessly works alongside reality. They don’t feel like fictional characters, but characters we could very well meet on the street someday. Or so we should hope. It’s this no-wall approach that allows the folks behind The Muppets to make them nonfiction and fiction all at the same time. It allows them to deliver both a new movie and some silly marketing fun that comments on other movies all at the same time. And as we’ve come to expect, these parodies of Twilight and Green Lantern and the like aren’t made with cynicism. They’re made with the unbridled optimism and fun-loving spirit that has been a part of The Muppets all along. To celebrate this lovely campaign of marketing mastery, we’ve assembled all the parody trailers into one place (right here) and posted them below for your viewing enjoyment. It’s just another part of our joyous week of celebration through our Guide to The Muppets. 

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James Bobin and Jason Segel on the set of The Muppets

When picking a director for the first feature film starring The Muppets since 1999’s Muppets from Space, it’s essential that the chosen helmer has not only the skill to pull off the production, but an affection and respect for the material that fans of the felted ones will be able to see and feel. The Muppets hit the jackpot with director James Bobin, a Muppets super-fan who also has a background in song, dance, comedy, and all that jazz. Who else would understand the essential element of The Muppets – believing that it’s all real? The Muppets is Bobin’s first feature film, but the British director has earned his stripes with some seminal television series – writing and directing Da Ali G Show and creating (along with writing, directing, and producing) Flight of the Conchords. He’s also been nominated for a BAFTA and a Writers Guild of America Award, along with notching no less than eleven Emmy nominations for his work. I sat down with the very excited and very genuine director to talk about The Muppets, starring an all-new Muppet (Walter) and centering on his journey to something close to Bobin’s heart – becoming a part of the, ahem, fabric that is the Muppets. After the break, Bobin discusses how his television background helped him launch a full-scale Muppet movie, his favorite Muppets to work with, treating the material with the utmost respect, and how to build that believable world from five feet off the ground.

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The Muppets

As we begin our celebration of The Muppets, you’ll notice that we’ve got plenty to cover. Not only are we looking back at the history of Kermit and friends, we’re also celebrating their return in the Disney film, directed by James Bobin, that we’ve already said is a fun return to form for these beloved characters. So it’s only right that we begin with a look at the colorful imagery released by Disney in anticipation of the film. From bus shelter posters to character one-sheets to shots from within and behind the scenes of the film, we’ve assembled all the available shots from in and around this exciting new movie in a feature we call The Ultimate ‘Muppets’ Photo Gallery. To see all the photos, simply head over to The Ultimate Muppets Photo Gallery by clicking here or click on the image above. For more of our week-long celebration, be sure to bookmark our Muppets Guide homepage.

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The title of Jay and Mark Duplass’ latest film, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, may imply that the film will center primarily on leading loser Jeff, well, living at home. When we first meet Jeff (Jason Segel), he’s smoking weed in his mother’s basement, but though that setting (and that particular action) would, at first puff, seem to lay the stage for what the rest of the film portrays, Jeff gets out of the house and out in the world pretty swiftly. Jeff, Who Lives at Home may ostensibly focus on Jeff’s journey to a greater understanding of himself and the world he lives in (and, yes, that journey comes with much less weed-smoking than one would expect), the Duplass brothers have actually crafted a charming film that is, at its heart, about the influence of everyday magic in the lives of an off-kilter family. The Duplass men have long been concerned with issues of family and disaffection, and finding humor in the tragedy that is inherent (and sometimes inherited) in both. The Puffy Chair and Cyrus both have plots that center on daddy issues, to some extent, and Jeff, Who Lives at Home is no different. Segel’s Jeff is a thirtyish slacker who is unable to complete even the most mundane of tasks (early on in the film, his mother asks him to simply procure some wood glue and fix a broken shutter). He lives at home with said mother Sharon (played amusingly by Susan Sarandon, complete with her […]

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The world first learned about Jason Segel’s love of puppetry when he performed an all-puppet Dracula musical during the climactic moments of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Segel then parlayed the success of that film into the fulfillment of a lifelong dream when he got handed the reins of Jim Henson’s iconic stable of puppet characters The Muppets for his upcoming film…The Muppets. Though all pre-release indicators point to the fact that Segel has gotten the voice of The Muppets just right and had a great time making not only the movie, but also the neverending tidal wave of ancillary marketing stuff, it still doesn’t seem like he’s gotten his fill of working with puppets just yet. As a matter of fact, this may be only the beginning. When talking to The Playlist about what he plans on doing next, Segel told an anecdote about reacquiring the first film he ever sold, “I actually just got back into possession my first script I ever sold when I was 21-years-old. It sat on a shelf and they didn’t know that it was the same Jason Segel. I came to them because the contract was up and I went to buy it up and they were like, ‘No, wait, that was you? That was your script?’ And I was like, ‘Yep, sorry dudes.’ So I now own it and I want to make it. It’s a kids adventure movie in the style of Goonies or Labyrinth or something like that. I think that’s the next […]

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Last month the Oscar season officially kicked off, and this month we’ll be getting plenty more Oscar baiters and real contenders to add to the mix. We’ll get another Brett Ratner film, the 25th film of the decade from Clint Eastwood, another upbeat audience friendly film from Lars von Trier, and the most expected and clichéd, a Martin Scorsese “kids” film. A fairly promising month, right? I’ve already seen a few films coming out this month, and there’s plenty of good-to-great films to see, even one or two that didn’t make it on this list. Honorable Mentions: My Week with Marilyn (an extremely enjoyable film with a great performance by Kenneth Branagh), Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, and London Boulevard (a solid anti-cliché gangster film). But here are the names who made it all the way to the top ten:

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Sex Tape is a script that Sony has their hands all over, thanks to screenwriter Kate Angelo. It must be something special, because in a world where people selling their spec scripts is becoming increasingly more rare, Angelo was able to unload this one for seven figures. It tells the story of a suburban couple whose increasingly boring lives lead to them ditching their kids for an evening and getting together to make a salacious sex tape. The trouble starts the next morning when they wake up from their post-debauchery coma and realize that the tape has gone missing. Thus begins a desperate search for the tape in hopes of staving off humiliation. Sony has been working on making this movie happen for a while now, and it seems like their efforts are about to pay off. They’re in negotiations with not only a director, but also a pair of actors to play the lead couple. The director is Nick Stoller, who helmed the hit comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-wrote this year’s The Muppets. The actors are Jason Segel and Reese Witherspoon, which makes sense because Segel and Stoller have worked together numerous times before and Witherspoon is just the type of name that studios want to put in things. If Sony is able sign the trio, then I’m sure it will be only a matter of time before Sex Tape goes from spec script to comedy hit. But can we do something about that title? It’s kind of the […]

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With AFI FEST presented by Audi just one week away, fellow FSR-er and AFI FEST attendee Kate Erbland and I went through the impressive list of films on the schedule and selected the ones we are most looking forward to seeing. To the credit of those putting together this year’s AFI FEST, I found myself practically highlighting the entire schedule grid as I saw film after film that had already been on my “to-see” list. From films I have been anticipating for the past few months (Shame) to ones I had not heard of until now (Butter), this year’s AFI FEST looks to be one of its strongest lineups yet. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting today, October 27, right HERE). The complete schedule grid is now online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, check out my list of my top ten most anticipated films of this year’s AFI FEST. Which films are you planning on seeing at this year’s AFI FEST?

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Judd Apatow’s fourth feature film is set to be a sort-of sequel to his 2007 effort Knocked Up. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the main protagonists that Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen played in that film, but instead it’s supposed to focus on the married couple that was brought to life by Apatow’s real life wife Leslie Mann and that delightful Paul Rudd. Once he got his story down and his principle couple locked in, Apatow then needed to dig into his deep bag of comedic actors to fill out the supporting roles. We’ve already reported that he’s signed on Bridesmaids breakout Melissa McCarthy to join the cast, and apparently he picked up Megan Fox somewhere along the way as well because today comes some Fox related news that I’m super stoked about. When it comes to my current man crushes, Paul Rudd is up there pretty high at the top of the list, but even closer to the tippy top is Jason Segel; and according to a picture that Fox uploaded to her Facebook account, it’s looking like Segel is on set to reprise his so-into-Leslie-Mann-it’s-ridiculous role from the first film. This is good news to me, as Segel pretty much automatically becomes the best part of any movie that casts him without exception. Dude was even lovable in Bad Teacher. While I wouldn’t really want to see another story that focused heavily on Rogen’s slacker buddies from the first film, especially in a movie that’s […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that happens nightly, only on Film School Rejects. Well, unless you count the spam sites that scrape our content and post it as their own. We know you’re out there, and we’re going to get you. In the mean time, here’s some news for all you readers, no matter where you’re seeing it. We open tonight with the new image from Jeff, Who Lives At Home, another TIFF ’11 premiere. It’s the latest from the Duplass brothers, about a man who lives at home with his mother, until the day when the universe begins showing him signs about his future. It has Ed Helms, I’ll watch that.

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Culture Warrior

The cinematic doppelganger effect seems to happen on a cyclical basis. Every few years, a pair of movies are released whose concepts, narratives, or central conceits are so similar that it’s impossible to envision how both came out of such a complex and expensive system with even the fairest amount of awareness of the other. Deep Impact and Armageddon. Antz and A Bug’s Life. Capote and Infamous. Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report. And now two R-rated studio-released romantic comedies about fuck buddies played by young, attractive superstars have graced the silver screen within only a few short months of each other. We typically experience doppelganger cinema with high-concept material, not genre fare. To see two back-to-back movies released about the secret life of anthropomorphic talking insects, a hyperbole-sized rock jettisoning towards Earth’s inevitable destruction, a Truman Capote biopic, or a movie about a mall cop seem rare or deliberately exceptional enough as a single concept to make the existence of two subsequent iterations rather extraordinary. Much has been made of the notion that Friends with Benefits is a doppelganger of No Strings Attached (the former has in more than one case been called the better version of the latter), but when talking about the romantic comedy genre – a category so well-tread and (sometimes for better, sometimes not) reliably formulaic that each film is arguably indebted to numerous predecessors – can we really say these films are doppelgangers in the same vein as the high-concept examples, or […]

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Cameron Diaz works hard in Bad Teacher. She strains, mugs and generally does all that she can to let everyone know that she can do broad comedy, damn it. It’s a gambit that almost works, with the star in her element as corrupt, bitchy middle school teacher Elizabeth Halsey. Yet she’s let down by the script from once-hot writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, which forgets to make her likable, and the milquetoast approach of director Jake Kasdan. Their film asks us to identify with a woman who behaves rather heinously, while it relies on her mean-spiritedly outrageous behavior to sustain all 92 minutes.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is inspired by Larry the Cable Guy and his character of Mater in the Cars movies. After all, if a buck-toothed rusty redneck pick-up truck can travel the world, why can’t a bald-yet-hairy fat guy from Ohio can do so as well. Kevin lurked in the streets of Tokyo, hoping to stumble onto some classy British spies and uncover a plot to undermine green energy sources. Then he brushed off his teaching degree and got a job at a middle school where he drank profusely, slept through the day and threw dodge balls at the kids. When he tried to explain to the cops that he was just following in the way of Cameron Diaz’s character from Bad Teacher, they just laughed at him and hauled him away.

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Not much has been written about Green With Envy, but it’s almost certain that fans of Amy Adams, Jason Segel, comedy and expensive-looking explosions will really dig it. It’s about time someone did something truly revolutionary to the entire romantic comedy genre. In fact, even just by judging this epic trailer, it’s difficult to place this flick into any specific category at all. It’s an enigma that will challenge film-goers of all stripes. It’s safe to say that this movie is going to change the game forever. Check out the masterful teaser trailer for yourself:

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I was already pretty pumped just at the announcement that Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel were going to be working together again. Their first film collaboration Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my favorite comedies of the last decade and the idea of them reteaming for Five Year Engagement had me at hello. But since then they’ve just kept making this movie sound cooler and cooler. From the very beginning Emily Blunt was cast as Segel’s love interest in the film. I defy you to find someone who doesn’t like them some Emily Blunt. Score one point. movie. But it didn’t stop there. The wonderful people behind this film then went on to cast the funny and adorable Alison Brie to play Blunt’s younger sister. After that they filled things out by adding the ridiculously charismatic Rhys Ifans and the next big thing in comedy Chris Pratt for supporting roles. Could things get any better? Well, yes, and they have.

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Nicholas Stoller directed both Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. I liked both of those movies to varying degrees. I found Get Him to the Greek to be an enjoyable enough romp, but I thought Forgetting Sarah Marshall was one of the top few comedies of the decade. I would be interested enough in his next project no matter what it was. So when I look over the cast that has been announced for this one so far, I start to feel myself go from interested to fanboy meltdown. Stoller and Jason Segel, the same team that wrote both of the previously mentioned films, wrote the script. Personally, I’ll see anything that Jason Segel has a creative credit on. I find the man to be completely charming and his upcoming film The Muppets is something that I’m just giddy over. Segel is set to star in this one alongside my current crush Emily Blunt (who I’m watching flashing leg on Conan the very moment I type this). It tells the tale of the high and low points of a relationship, hopefully less depressingly than Blue Valentine did. But whichever way they go, I have faith that they’ll find a way to tell the story with humor and heart. Community’s Allison Brie has already signed on to play Blunt’s younger sister, and that’s great because she’s funny and pretty. Tell me all of this and I’m already on board. Adding in the new news is some delicious icing […]

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Call me nutty, but I thought trying to get a laugh by mocking the fashion and culture trends of the 80s was already pretty played out by the time Sandler did it with The Wedding Singer in ’98. That probably shouldn’t have been the case, but the 90s were just too snarky and referential to allow a good thing to last. By the time all of the same bad hair and “Miami Vice” jokes were dug up again for last year’s Hot Tub Time Machine, I couldn’t believe that there were filmmakers out there still treading over such well worn ground trying to pick the bones of the dead for what few laughs may be left. I don’t even want to tell you what my reaction was to the trailer for this year’s entry into the “hey, remember the 80s?” genre, Take Me Home Tonight. So it is with great trepidation that I must report that Jason Segel has signed on to star in a 80s era comedy called Undercover Cop. The script, which has yet to be written, will be based on the true story of an undercover cop who infiltrated the New Jersey crime world at the height of acid washed jeans and feathered hair and whatever else nonsense they’re going to drag out of mothballs and parade around like cutting edge satire. Jason Micallef, who wrote the comedy Butter, has been hired to put the script together. I hope he turns out to be a miracle worker, […]

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I’ve often heard that the last genre to be invented was the Mockumentary, but recent years may have added an addendum to that with the rise of the Bromance. Fans of the hetero man-love genre will certainly remember Paul Rudd and Jason Segel’s characters Peter and Sydney from the 2009 comedy I Love You Man and their extreme fandom of the band “Rush”. Well, thanks to the rise of high-end video content on the Internet we’re able to relive all of their most repeated catch phrases without having to wait for an actual sequel. In this short the two BFFs share a scene with the guys from “Rush” depicting an awkward back stage interaction at one of their shows. While I was pretty charmed by Neil Peart’s acting, I personally had to hit the “Die” button due to the dearth of original jokes. But for all of those people who like to relive the familiar and flock out to the theaters in droves for sequels, this may be a real treat.

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