Joel Murray

MTY Productions

It’s easy to overlook the Slamdance Film Festival while in Park City attending Sundance. But year after year, the smaller event up the hill increasingly proves its programming is worth paying attention to. Last year, Slamdance gave us the odd, ethically complicated documentary Kung Fu Elliot, which became a bit of a cult favorite and wound up at Fantastic Fest in the fall. My sudden most-anticipated selection from the 2015 Slamdance program is sure to head to Austin later this year, too. It’s called Bloodsucking Bastards, and I don’t think there’s any better way of describing its aesthetic than Flickchart’s comparison of “Office Space meets Shaun of the Dead.” Only instead of zombies, the heroes here have to deal with vampires. The metaphorical concept has to do with how working at an office is “soul-killing,” as the synopsis puts it. Not that such a layer of meaning matters, because I don’t think this will be on the level of satirical brilliance of Edgar Wright’s zom-rom-com, but I’m just curbing my expectations for now on something by people I’m unfamiliar with, such as director Brian James O’Connell. Honestly, before seeing Shaun of the Dead back in 2004, I would have thought it looked cool but not necessarily like a contender for one of the best films of the year, let alone decade. Meanwhile, there are a surprising amount of great vampire comedies lately, between What We Do in the Shadows and Only Lovers Left Alive, so eventually something’s gotta disappoint. Hopefully it’s […]


Mad Men Season 7 Time Zones

Accutron: It’s not a time piece. It’s a conversation piece. The first Accutron hit the markets long before Freddy Rumsen was pitching it in such surprisingly elegant language. Actually, it had been selling for about ten years, debuting in October of 1960 (just around the time Mad Men‘s first season was drawing to a close). Watches of the time, and for several centuries previously, were built around a “balance wheel,” a little pendulum that shifts back and forth and keeps the watch’s hands moving. Watchmaking company Bulova did away with the balance wheel for their Accutron watch, inserting a fancy electric tuning fork and cementing Accutron as the first electronic watch in history. Those tiny metal forks also made the Accutron the most accurate wristwatch ever made, and a “horological revolution” (thanks, Wikipedia!). At least until 1969, when Astron debuted the quartz-powered Astron and Joel Murray, as Rumsen, sat down to do his best Don Draper impression in the offices of Sterling Cooper & Partners (technically, this episode was set in January of ’69 and the Astron didn’t come out until December, but who’s to say Bulova didn’t have a little insider knowledge about the competition?). But at the time of Rumsen’s pitch, the Accutron was the cutting edge, and hearing such a sharp pitch about such a sharp watch sounds so very peculiar from a character best known for peeing his pants and collapsing into a sad, drunken heap. Scott Hornbacher, the director of last night’s episode, knows this. […]


SXSW: God Bless America

Editor’s Note: This originally ran as part of our SXSW 2012 coverage, but God Bless America sees limited theaters this weekend. Should you check it out? “Jesus Frank, you look like fuck pie.” As we meet Frank, a lonely, recently unemployed man soaked in discontent for a society gone awry, it’s clear that no more clear a portait of his current state could be painted than the words spoken by his 16-year-old companion, a troubled girl named Roxie. In a country filled with appalling reality television, fear-mongering telepundits and a nation whose prime directive is to be as hopelessly mean to each other as possible, Frank has had enough. Unable to connect with an oblivious ex-wife and his spoiled rotten 7-year old daughter, and saddled with the news that his migraine headache affliction may, in fact, be a massive brain tumor, Frank sets out to do something noble — shoot a reality TV princess. That’s where he meets Roxie, an onlooker to the murder of a girl who represents all the seething awful that bad upper middle class parenting can create. A  troubled young girl who would become the Bonnie to his Clyde, an inspiration for a killing spree that spans all levels of America’s rotten culture. From religious nutjobs to the devotees of an American Idol-esque competition show, no one will escape the wrath of a desperate man and his frighteningly over-zealous sidekick.


God Bless

MTV, TMZ, The Real Housewives of Whereever, Dancing With the Whoever…modern pop culture is a wasteland of broken people being made famous for little other than the willingness to humiliate themselves. But the bigger problem is, more and more we’re viewing what the people involved in these projects do not as humiliation, but as “living the dream.” If you’re one of the good ones who thinks that the current cultural milieu in the United States is poisonous and is creating a society of vain, ignorant, entitled freaks…well, then director Bobcat Goldthwait has a cathartic expression of violence in store for you. Goldthwait’s latest film, God Bless America, is about a man who gets pushed to the brink and responds by going on a murderous rampage where he systematically mows down all of pop culture’s most vile, vapid icons (with some collateral damage involving rude, selfish, everyday behavior along the way). Check out the film’s red band trailer after the break.



In the immediate wake of high-school graduation from Generic High-School Hoops McCann, an aspiring cartoon artist, is searching for a subject for his love story. Believing he’ll never find inspiration in Generic he decides to take his best friend up on his offer to spend the summer in Nantucket. On their way to the island Hoops helps save a small-time musician, Cassandra, from some motorcycle thugs and begins a friendship that soon develops into a romance. When his new summer love interest’s home gets threatened by a rich family looking to expand their estate Hoops, along with his newfound nerd compatriots on the island, come up with a plan to save Cassandra’s home and exact revenge on their tormentors.

While probably not as well known as writer/director “Savage” Steve Holland’s other ‘80s teen comedy Better Off Dead I will be bold and state that this follow up is funnier. It makes me laugh harder. Better Off Dead is one of the most imaginative teen comedies ever and holds up extremely well to repeat viewings without ever losing any of its potency, but if I’m going to pick one off my dvd shelf to watch seven times out of ten I’ll grab One Crazy Summer for one simple reason. Better Off Dead does not have Bobcat Goldthwait anywhere in the movie whereas One Crazy Summer has him almost everywhere in the movie, and if he’s in the scene at all that scene will be funny – and I will laugh until I feel like I’m about to throw up. He invokes involuntary bulimia in me.

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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