The Landlord

ferrell and mckay 02

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. When people talk of the best modern actor/director duos, they tend to leave out Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Maybe it’s because unlike 12 Years a Slave (the latest Fassbender/McQueen), Inside Llewyn Davis (the latest Goodman/Coens) and The Wolf of Wall Street (the latest DiCaprio/Scorsese) Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues won’t be winning any major awards this year. But the latest from Ferrell/McKay is scoring high marks from critics and audiences. And since their first feature collaboration, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, they’ve consistently delivered the comedy goods. Look at the funniest of Ferrell’s movies over the past decade and you’ll see they’re primarily McKay’s. And you won’t even find any movies directed by McKay not starring his old Saturday Night Live buddy. It’s actually at SNL where this perfect duo technically made their first film together. While Ferrell was a cast member and McKay was head writer, McKay began his move to directing by creating the show’s Digital Shorts brand of videos, which were initially just sketches fully produced prior to the live airing of the program. The original Digital Short debuted on February 5, 2000, during an episode hosted by Alan Cumming and featuring J.Lo as musical guest. Titled either The H is O or The Heat is On depending on which part of the credit sequence you accept as being the title, it […]

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Over Under - Large

In 2011, director Tate Taylor adapted Kathryn Stockett’s novel “The Help,” a story about the relationship between the wealthy whites and the poor blacks who raised their children of 60s-era Mississippi, into a feature film. When all was said and done, Taylor’s film made nearly ten times its production budget, was nominated for a truckload of awards (including 8 NAACP Image Awards and 4 Academy Awards), and had everyone’s aunts and grandmas talking their ears off about how much they wanted to go see it. To say that it ended up being a success would be something of an understatement. The Landlord is the debut of director Hal Ashby, one of the great ’70s filmmakers who, for some reason, doesn’t get the same recognition as many of his contemporaries. It earned Lee Grant a nomination for Best Supporting Actress back in the day, but it’s a film (like most of Ashby’s work not named Harold and Maude) that’s been generally forgotten over time. This is strange, because not only is it a great film that pushes some racial hot-buttons, but it also features a couple of actors who went on to do big things in Beau Bridges and Lou Gossett Jr.

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