John Belushi

Still image from "Watership Down"

10 Essential Animated Movies That Are Absolutely Not for Kids

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This week, the Criterion Collection releases Watership Down, Martin Rosen’s 1978 adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel. It’s one of the few animated films in the collection to date, but don’t go gathering up the kids, movie nerds — from the moment little Fiver gets his apocalyptic vision, wherein “The field… the field… it’s covered with blood!,” it’s very clear that this is one cartoon that’s not for the kiddies. But it’s also a terrific movie, reminding us that too often, the seemingly malleable form of the animated feature film is consigned to family entertainment and left there. Here are a few notable… Read More

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10 Hollywood Casting Decisions Fans Hated

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Thanks to the advent of the Internet, fan outrage surrounding Hollywood casting decisions can help make or break a role before films even enter theaters. We’ve seen several instances of this kind of outcry, which we explore past the break, but the latest big-screen casting fans are questioning relates to Emile Hirsch playing John Belushi in Steve Conrad’s biopic about the outrageous comedian. Read about other casting controversies, below.
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The Early Audition Tapes of Your Favorite Comics

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Earlier this week, Conan O’Brien’s website commemorated the 20th anniversary of his audition for Late Night by releasing a short clip from it, an abbreviated “mock show” in which he interviewed Mimi Rogers and Jason Alexander in front of a live studio audience. O’Brien is clearly nervous (and can you blame him?), but Lorne Michaels and the Late Night producers saw something in that performance, and gave him a shot. That’s the beauty of the great comic audition — even when a talent is a little rough around the edges, the joy of discovering someone fresh, new, and funny wins out. After the jump, we’ll take a look at that tape and several other killer auditions from very funny folks.
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The Best Punchlines in Film

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A couple of weeks back, we perused the entirety of film history and pulled out our very favorite break-up lines — the meanest, the sharpest, and the funniest. For a follow-up, we decided to focus on the latter: selecting some of the best punchlines ever uttered in movies. By definition, a punchline isn’t just a funny bit of dialogue or an amusingly awkward moment: it’s the payoff to a setup, whether in situation or dialogue, and thus must be carefully teed up and smoothly executed. We think these 25 examples do just that, with panache.
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Awesome ‘SNL’-Inspired Art From Gallery 1988

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Gallery 1988, you’ve done it again. Our favorite pop culture-obsessed art gallery unveiled a new show last weekend, and it’s a doozy: Is This Thing On #2 Too, featuring art inspired by Saturday Night Live, with everyone from Matt Foley to the Blues Brothers to the Church Lady to Toonces the Driving Cat immortalized on canvas (and even in ceramic). After the jump, have a look at some of our favorites for the exhibit — and click on the title of each piece to grab a print of your own via Gallery 1988’s online store.
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10 of Film’s Greatest Sex Comedies

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We’ve been excited about For A Good Time, Call… since its Sundance premiere, and not just because it (like fellow Sundance film Bachelorette, on demand now and in theaters next month) indicates that the post-Bridesmaids female-heavy R-rated comedy surge is actually going to happen. More than that, For A Good Time is, quite simply, a very funny and exquisitely likable sex comedy, and there’s a shortage of those any way you slice it. There’s no shortage of sex comedies, of course — since the early ‘80s heyday of Porky’s and Hardbodies and their ilk, they’ve been all but ubiquitous. But have you ever tried going back and watching those iconic titles? Good heavens. They do not hold up well.

But a select few do. After the jump, we’ve assembled ten of our all-time favorite sex comedies (which we’re defining as movies where sex is the primary preoccupation/subject matter); add your own in the comments.
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Incredible Pop Culture-Inspired Graphite Matchbook Miniatures

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Some of Jason D’Aquino’s drawings are only one inch by one inch in dimension. While some of you might find the idea of creating something so tiny absolutely masochistic, D’Aquino excels at it — and we’re damn impressed. Jason’s graphite miniature artworks are incredibly detailed and amazing to behold. The artist works exclusively on vintage matchbooks, which he gleans from estate sales, flea markets and antique shops. We’d like to believe that D’Aquino has superhuman eyeballs, but he admitted that high magnification goggles help his process along. He also sometimes uses a single hair brush, which makes us squirm with frustration just thinking about it. Usually Jason works on four to six pieces at a time, taking a few days to complete them if he takes few breaks (no easy task).

So, why the matchbooks? D’Aquino finds the nostalgic material “common, but charming” and appreciates the built-in scale reference, providing instant proof of his miniaturization mastery. (Show off.) His pop culture subject matter (Marilyn Monroe, Black Dahlia, Belushi, and more) also centers the work on a certain moment in history, figure, or time period — bringing the whole sentiment full circle.

You can peek at D’Aquino’s work in person at Los Angeles’ famous La Luz de Jesus Gallery in a show that opens June 1. He’ll also be sharing work at Art Basel (Switzerland) this summer. Check out Jason’s amazing miniature drawings — many which have never been exhibited before — in our gallery below.
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10 of the Best Drunken Movie Performances

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“The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years,” says Michael Caine. That hasn’t stopped plenty of American actors from giving it a shot. This week, Johnny Depp appears in The Rum Diary, based on a typically boozy (not to mention druggy) book by Hunter Thompson. Even if you try to ignore the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Depp has had years of experience to hone his on-screen stagger. But he’s not the first – and definitely not the craziest – actor to bring the party to work. Below, we revisit some of the best drunken performances committed to film.
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