Ron Livingston

2013 reject awards

Another year, another creeping sense of dissatisfaction with the standard awards program. Sure it’s important to celebrate the best of the best of the best in the usual categories, but it all becomes a bit stale when the Oscars will be the dozenth major body to denote a best actor or cinematographer or score. Instead, we offer this alternative: a look at the strongest work of the movie year through the lens of odd trends and pure randomness. To wit, a header image that features our task-master-in-chief Neil Miller wondering if he forgot to send out invitations to the gala (he didn’t). We’re repeating an award from last year because you demanded it, but 2013 gave us enough weird and wonderfulness to fill up a whole new ballot otherwise. Please feel free to make up your own awards in the comments section.

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Drinking Buddies

Editor’s Note: This review was originally part of our SXSW coverage, but Drinking Buddies is in theaters this weekend so stop messing around and go see it. Joe Swanberg is one of a group of filmmakers who made their mark with movies that relied on improvisation more than script, 20 something ennui more than narrative and friends more than professional actors. This model works for some viewers, but it’s not designed to ever really appeal to the wider audiences. His latest film, Drinking Buddies, keeps the improv method, but it still manages to tell a cohesive and truly affecting story. A big reason for that is a cast of extremely talented actors with wicked good comedic timing in the lead roles. The four performers, along with a more assured Swanberg directing and editing, have crafted a story about heartbreak, temptation and friendship.

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10 Years Trailer

The high school reunion comedy is a sub-genre that’s ripe with drama and conflict. You’ve got the lost loves, the old rivalries, the people who have improved their stations in life butting up against those who have been taken down a peg, the people who have refused to grow up interacting with those that have gotten completely lame, and probably a handful of other familiar tropes that always seem to pop up. But that means that the high school reunion comedy is also a sub-genre that’s ripe with cliché, because, let’s face it, every single movie that falls into it always covers these exact same things. What’s the secret of making a good one then, if there isn’t much room for being unique? Probably making sure that the familiar material is at least infused with wit, and getting a talented cast to deliver it. Just from the trailer for 10 Years, it’s clear that this movie has the latter part of that equation taken care of. Just look at the names in this cast: Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Oscar Isaac, Justin Long, Ron Livingston, Kate Mara, Ari Graynor, etc… Whether this movie feels a little familiar or not, with a cast like that there’s guaranteed to be something in there worth watching.

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It seems as if Anna Kendrick is on a mission to prove to us that she’s the most versatile, multi-talented actress working in Hollywood today. Not just content to turn heads and get an Oscar nomination for her performance in Up In the Air, Kendrick has also been a tween idol in the Twilight series, made us laugh in the strange and hyper-stylized Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, straddled the line between comedy and jerking tears in 50/50, and she’s even set to prove that she can sing in the upcoming Pitch Perfect. When all is said and done, she will have appeared in five films over the course of this calendar year, and all signs point to the fact that she won’t be slowing down any time soon. Case in point, Deadline Deering has word of a new project that has scooped her up as its star, an indie comedy going by the name of Drinking Buddies. Set to be largely improvised and shot in Chicago later this summer, Drinking Buddies stars Kendrick and Ron Livingston (Office Space) in a story that’s said to be about a “fun and flirtatious friendship that goes off the rails.” It’s being directed by king of the micro-budget comedy, Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs, Nights and Weekends), and it will also star Olivia Wilde (that chick from your dreams) and Jake M. Johnson (New Girl, Safety Not Guaranteed) in undisclosed roles.

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In 2010, Patrick Wilson got haunted in Insidious. In 1999, Lili Taylor got haunted in The Haunting. Now the two are heading back into the haunted house together with Vera Farmiga and Ron Livingston in James Wan’s The Warren Files. Now they’ll have children to look after as ghosts chase them around in New England. According to Variety, Mackenzie Foy (Twilight) and Joey King (who will play young Talia Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises) have both been tapped to play young members of the based-on-real-life Perron family who claimed they were living with spirit from beyond in the 1970s. Taylor and Livingston play the adult members of the family, while Wilson and Farmiga play ghost investigators The Warrens. So, for those keeping track, with Insidious, The Warren Files and Insidious 2, James Wan is going to be telling ghost stories for a long time.

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It would seem unreasonable to suspect that anyone who saw last year’s Country Strong thought that the film would be improved with some jokes about mental retardation, but here we are. Coming from documentary duo Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke, Queens of Country has one of those on-paper pedigrees that sound like comedic magic — a cast that includes Lizzy Caplan,Ron Livington, and Joe Lo Truglio, a plot that sounds both sorta silly and kinda touching, and a score written by Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock. And then there’s whatever in sweet Hell this is. Caplan stars as Jolene Gillis, “the prettiest girl in a small Arizona town” who is obsessed with classic country jams (we’re talking all those real queens of country — Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton — so at least there’s a smattering of truth in the film’s title). When Jolene finds an iPod stuffed with all her favorite songs (and more), she becomes stuck on the idea that the iPod’s owner is her soul mate, and she sets out to find him. Of course, Jolene’s boyfriend (played by Ron Livingston) doesn’t take too kindly to this idea, and hires nerdy Bobby Angel (played by none other than Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan) to pose as the iPod owner.

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Movies We Love

In 1999 a group of disenchanted cubicle dwellers, led by apathetic office drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) stood up against the powers of authority to bring down a company and take a little piece for themselves. Hilarity ensued.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr jumps feet first into the world of exploitation pictures. He rips off his shirt to show his prison tats when he sees Machete and then becomes a weapons expert to go head-to-head with George Clooney in The American. Finally, he cringes and rolls his eyes at yet another crappy real-life couple love story with Going the Distance. It’s sad when the highlight of his moviegoing weekend is a Lindsay Lohan nip slip.

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Ron Livingston Band of Brothers

Many fans know Ron Livingston as cubical crusader Peter Gibbons in Office Space, or as fellow swinging, Vegas Loving buddy Rob in John Favreau’s Swingers. Over the years, however, Livingston has put in time acting out and telling the harrowing stories of The Greatest Generation’s experiences in WWII over sixty years ago. In 2001, the award winning Band of Brothers was aired on HBO, Livingston playing the part of Captain Lewis Nixon of the famous Easy Company, of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Five years later, he hosted the History Channel documentary, Brother’s In Arms: The Untold Story of  the 502, and three years later narrated the voice of injured serviceman Lt. Charles Scheffel in WWII in HD, another History Channel documentary. Ron had a quick moment to sit down with me and talk about his involvement in WWII related projects, and what they mean to him.

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American Crude on DVD

Arriving on DVD on June 3rd, American Crude follows a mish-mash of storylines that sort of come together at the end, with the starting point of Johnny (Ron Livingston) throwing a bachelor party for his best friend Bill (Rob Schneider), who also happens to be marrying his ex-girlfriend and ideal woman.

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