film

What's "A Thousand Clowns" About?

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Tonight at Cinefamily in Los Angeles we're presenting a screening of A Thousand Clowns. If you asked me what it was about, I'd probably say it's about comedy, the pain of show business and what it means to be an adult. It's also about Irving R. Feldman's Birthday, the great under-celebrated national holiday, and a million other things. (As the poster can attest.)

It occurs to me that I have three "favorite movies." They're this one, Rushmore and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Pee-Wee is about a man-child. Rushmore is about a child-man. A Thousand Clowns is about a man-child's relationship with a child-man. I guess I have some growing up issues.

Tickets are only ten bucks for the show tonight, and I'll be interviewing Barry Gordon, who starred alongside Jason Robards in both the Broadway play and the film. He went on to become a lawyer and eventually served as president of the Screen Actors' Guild.

See you tonight at Cinefamily.

The Spirit Awards!

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The kind folks at IFC invited me to host The Spirit Awards Nomination Special. You can watch it and see me interact with a very actor-y Jeremy Renner, the very charming Eva Mendes, and the very funny (and distressingly handsome) Joel McHale. You can also find out who was nominated for the only big awards show that consistently awards really great movies.

You can catch it on IFC starting Saturday:
Sat 02/05/11 12:00PM (premier)
Tue 02/08/11 09:30AM
Sun 02/13/11 03:30PM
Tue 02/15/11 02:30PM
Thu 02/24/11 12:00PM

The VCR Plus code is THEREISNOSUCHTHINGASVCRPLUSANYMORE. So just type that into your betamax and we'll be all set!

You should rent Macgruber.

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I know... you missed it in the theater.

But you can rent it.

And you should.

Judge John Hodgman Ep. 4: Tear Down That Wall

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This week on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast, a dispute between friends. Foy argues that breaking the fourth wall ruins film and theater. His friend Matt disagrees. Only Judge John Hodgman can decide.

To listen to this week's Judge John Hodgman podcast, subscribe in iTunes or using this feed.

Discuss the ruling on our forum here.

Judah Friedlander: World Champion, 30 Rock Star, Author of How To Beat Up Anybody: Interview on The Sound of Young America Live at WNYC

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Judah Friedlander


Photo credit WNYC and Casey De Pont.

Judah Friedlander is a regular on NBC's 30 Rock and the author of How To Beat Up Anybody. He is the World Champion.

Judah joined us on our live show at WNYC to discuss the differences between a Yeti, a Sasquatch and a Bigfoot (and how to beat up all three). He also delineated his strategies for fighting groups of people and even groups of strippers.

When Friedlander's not beating people up, he plays writer Frank Rossitano on 30 Rock. He's had a long and successful career on stage as a standup comic, and his film roles include an acclaimed turn as the Original Nerd, Toby in "American Splendor."

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Lee Unkrich, Director of Toy Story 3 and Pixar Veteran: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Lee Unkrich

Lee Unkrich is the director of Toy Story 3. He's worked at Pixar for more than 15 years, and co-directed Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 2. Before he worked at Pixar, he was an editor in non-animated film = his credits include a TV movie called "Separated By Murder" and the erotic TV thriller Silk Stalkings.

Lee talked with us about being a non-animator in an animation company, and what his traditional film-making skills mean in a Pixar context. He also talks about introducing themes of mortality into kids' movie, and the pressure of making a Pixar film.

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Jesse and Jordan on The Grid: The Wild & Wonderful Whites and The Boobs & Blood Film Festival

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As some might know, I've been hosting the show "The Grid," which airs Thursdays at 7:45 Eastern / 4:45 Pacific on IFC. Above, you can check out an interview I did there with Julian Nitzberg, the director of "The Wild & Wonderful Whites of West Virginia," a terrifying documentary about a completely out-of-control family of party animal grifters. That's also kind of amusing. And amazing. And definitely tough to describe.

Below: Jordan's first piece for the show. He covered the "Boobs & Blood Film Festival," which celebrates exploitation movies of all kinds.

Chris Morris on All Things Considered

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Robert Siegel - Class Act.

Satirist Chris Morris, Writer-Director of Four Lions: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chris Morris

Writer-director Chris Morris' new film, Four Lions, is a farce in an unexpected milieu: a terror cell. The film follows the lives of five British-born terrorists as they plan and attempt to execute a suicide bombing. Their efforts (and failures) were inspired by years of research by Morris, who tells us that he became fascinated by the real terrorism stories that struck him as funny. One group of bombers filled a boat with explosives, planning to blow it up alongside a US naval warship. The boat sank while they argued on the dock. Another terrorist was mocked by his compatriots for peeing too loud. He blamed the Jews who manufactured the too-thin bathroom door.

Four Lions was shortlisted for the World Cinema Narrative Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. As a guest on our show, Sundance programmer Trevor Groth told us that while the film was uproariously funny, its greatest achievement was in humanizing the would-be murderers who are its subject. Four Lions enters staged release on November 5th, distributed under the new Drafthouse Films banner.

Morris made his name in the UK and among comedy fans with a series of incisive news satires in the 1990s. The Day Today parodied newscasts with absurd, buffoonish reporters and ridiculous headlines like "Where Now For Man Raised By Puffins?" Steering the ship with utter conviction was Morris behind the anchor desk. The news magazine satire Brass Eye went even further, at one point convincing a Minister of Parliament to introduce a resolution against "cake," a drug that the show had made up out of whole cloth. Morris himself went undercover, asking real street dealers for made-up drugs until they threatened him with violence. Most recently, Morris was a regular on The IT Crowd, created by past Sound of Young America guest Graham Linehan. Another past Sound guest has also been a frequent collaborator: Armando Iannucci, director of In The Loop.

Chris Morris was named #11 in a poll of "comedians' comedians" conducted by the BBC in 2005, finishing one slot behind Richard Pryor, and ahead of comedy legends like Bill Hicks, Peter Sellers and Steve Martin.

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Four Lions & the US of A

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One of the best films we saw at Sundance this year was Chris Morris' Four Lions. It's a satirical look at a London-based group of terrorists. UK-born terrorists, specifically. In the Q&A after the film, Morris talked about the sheer idiocy of terrorists he'd read about in his research, and he was unflinching in satirizing the would-be murderers. What's most remarkable about the film, though, is that these horrible, horrible doofuses are also quite human. That's a pretty remarkable achievement in my book.

The movie opens in a couple of cities November 5th, and it spreads across the country from there. Don't miss it.

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