Melissa McCarthy

The Best and Worst of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival

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The SXSW Film Festival will continue through the weekend (albeit mostly with repeat screenings and music-related films, pegged to the concurrent music fest), but your correspondent has returned from Austin, with a belly full of BBQ and a head full of leftover images and snatches of dialogue from the 21 narrative and documentary films I took in over my week in Texas. Here are a few thoughts on each, along with the best and worst films I saw there.
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How SXSW Became a Haven for Mainstream Studio Comedies

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AUSTIN, TX: “So do we like to laugh here at South by Southwest?” asked festival director Janet Pierson in the introduction to Monday night’s premiere of the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, and the reaction was, unsurprisingly, affirmative. Yet not all festival crowds might react the same way. The common perception of the “film festival movie” is something staid and serious and perhaps even dull: micro-budgeted black-and-white relationship dramas, documentaries on puzzlingly esoteric topics, maybe a coming-of-age-in-the-summer movie with a few mild chuckles. Director Paul Feig announced Sunday night, at the premiere of his comedy Spy, “Film festivals are a very dangerous thing, because we’re comedians and we do comedy, and we tend to be looked at the bastard children of real movies.” But comedy filmmakers — even those like Feig who work with big budgets for big studios — have found an unlikely home at SXSW. “Austin really opens up its heart and just allows us to entertain you,” he explained to the sold-out crowd at the Paramount Theater, which cheered wildly in response.
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‘Parks and Recreation’s’ Donna Meagle Is the Fat Heroine of My Dreams

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Parks and Recreation ends its seven-season run Tuesday night on NBC. To celebrate the show’s unforgettable characters, Flavorwire is publishing a series of tributes to our favorite Pawnee residents. Click here to follow our coverage.

The most shocking thing a fat woman can do is to have a loving boyfriend — especially a loving boyfriend who finds her genuinely attractive, instead of merely developing an affection for the quirks of her misshape in the way one finds a crooked nose or awkward birthmark sort of adorable over time.
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The 5 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Birdman,’ ‘St. Vincent’

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Oscar night is just around the corner, and there’s a decent chance that you’re spending this week finally getting around to seeing The Imitation Game or whatever. But if you’re all caught up on this year’s nominees (or, good for you, utterly indifferent to the whole shebang), good news: this week’s new disc and streaming releases include a couple of last year’s acclaimed but largely unrecognized pictures, a terrific under-the-radar thriller, and a new HD release of the last film by one of Japan’s cinematic masters. Oh, and one of the year’s most nominated titles is out there now as well, if you go for that sorta thing.
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The 5 ‘SNL 40′ Sketches You Absolutely Have to Watch

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Last night, during NBC’s celebration of Saturday Night Live‘s 40th anniversary, viewers were treated to three hours of familiar faces and sketches — both live sketches and montages of classic ones. And just like every other episode of SNL, the new sketches were hit or miss. But there were still plenty of gems found in the mix. From the successful return of fan favorite “Celebrity Jeopardy” to a wonderfully long segment featuring Maya Rudolph’s perfect Beyoncé impression, here are five SNL 40 sketches everyone will be talking about.
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‘St. Vincent’ Is Warm, Likable, and Worrisome for Bill Murray Fans

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Somewhere around the scene where Vincent takes little Oliver to the racetrack, I realized that Bill Murray was playing the Walter Matthau role, if St. Vincent had been made in the early ‘80s. (Marsha Mason would’ve done the Melissa McCarthy role, by the way. Herb Ross would’ve directed, from Neil Simon’s script. I gave this a lot of thought.) On one hand, I’m fully on board with this metamorphosis, because Vincent is a vintage Matthau curmudgeon — hard drinking, chain-smoking, grouchy and bitter, but a pussycat underneath. On the other, Matthau’s late career is a lesson in how that persona can be declawed and defanged into something cute and cuddly and comparatively uninteresting. That’s not what happens in St. Vincent, which is a lovely little movie with a lot of laughs and a good heart. But it’s a warning signal for a direction Murray’s career could take, if he’s not careful.
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