Saturday Night Live

“It’s All About Shocking People”: Penelope Spheeris on Her Iconic Film ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’ and Punk in 2015

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“It’s my life’s work, here. I don’t want to fuck it up,” director Penelope Spheeris tells me by phone about Shout Factory’s Decline of Western Civilization Collection, released on June 30. We’re joined by her daughter Anna Fox, who helped produce the deluxe box set, which includes all three Decline documentaries restored in high-definition. But the retouched celluloid can’t destroy the grit and grime that clings to Spheeris’ curious lens as it chronicles some of punk’s most legendary bands in the first film (which screens in New York City on June 19 at BAMcinemaFest with the director in attendance): Black Flag, Fear, X, the Germs, and the Circle Jerks, to name a few. Throughout the trilogy, Spheeris is granted access to ratty clubs and gutter haunts, an outsider looking in. But the filmmaker knows what it’s like on the other side, having spent her formative years in a traveling carnival where her parents worked — strangers in strange lands. We discussed living on the fringe; the filmmaker’s 1983 film about teenage runaways, Suburbia; and the meaning of family.
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Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Movies You Need to See in June

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There was a time, and not long ago, when the hotter months were a little cold at the art house — when indie distributors seemingly didn’t want to get flattened by the behemoths of the summer movie season. But a few years back, some of them seemed to realize that grown-ups also enjoy a nice air-conditioned theater, as well as a movie where flesh-and-blood people talk to each other. So the summer season has become nearly as crowded for indie cinema as for the mainstream; this month, we’ve got 11 recommendations for you, and this is just a handful of the indies, docs, and foreign films that will hit cinemas and VOD in …Read More

The Best Sketches from the 40th Season of ‘SNL’

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Superheroes and diversity seemed to be the trend during SNL’s 40th season. As always, the show traveled a bumpy road, but there were plenty of funnies to be had. We’ve highlighted the best sketches from SNL 40 that were topical, funny, and saw the show’s special guests at the height of hilarity. Mention your personal favorites, below.
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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Louis C.K.

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Amid new claims of sexual misconduct, comedian Louis C.K. took to the SNL stage to close out the show’s 40th season. As expected, there was no acknowledgement of the alleged incident (incidents, really, since these rumors have been popping up since 2012), with C.K. getting some uncomfortable laughs during his provocative monologue about child molesters. The 40th season’s final chapter has been, shocker, somewhat disappointing. Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansson tackled cruddy material, while Taraji P. Henson and Dwayne Johnson fared better. But SNL has bounced back from worse, and the show’s growing pains are starting to temper. Say goodbye to 40 with C.K. and musical guest Rihanna, who was perhaps the best part of last night’s episode with a striking multimedia performance.
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Flavorwire’s Guide to May 2015 Television Finales

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So far this week, we’ve said goodbye to the debut season of Gotham and the fourth season of New Girl, signifying that we’re gearing up for the saddest time of the year: the end of the television season. Sure, we have a few anthology series and summer comedy  burn-offs coming up, but the real meat and potatoes of TV — the  prestige dramas and superhero thrillers and addictive sitcoms — are going on hiatus or, in some unfortunate cases, ending forever. Here’s a quick guide of May’s TV finales so you can make sure to follow your favorite shows through to the end.
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Leaked Sony Email Confirms Marvel’s Just as Clueless About “Female Movies” as You Thought

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The Sony hack continues to present a conundrum for those of us with an interest in the “business” half of the movie business equation — yes, it’s stolen property, and a violation of privacy, and we’re all going to hell, and so on. But these emails also provide a rare unguarded (and thus valuable) look at how the sausage is made; they’re a guide to exactly how Hollywood’s most powerful people view matters of race and the pay gap (and, in the latter case, said emails have provided artillery for demands of parity). And now, a bit of newly unearthed correspondence reveals just how dense the folks who make your comic book movies are about who wants to see them, and who they should be about.
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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Scarlett Johansson

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We’re in the final stretch of SNL’s big 40th season with a trio of hosts who are probably feeling the pressure. Scarlett Johansson kicks things off, followed by Reese Witherspoon and Louis C.K. on May 9 and 16, respectively. This isn’t Johansson’s first time on the Studio 8H stage, but it’s been a while — and now she’s a mom with, perhaps, a new perspective. We get a hint of that in her opening monologue, but it’s her Black Widow side that gets the biggest laugh of the night. Marvel at how it all went down last night (sorry), below.
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The Best and Worst Documentaries of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

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Falling as close as it does on the calendar to Sundance and SXSW, the Tribeca Film Festival — which ended yesterday — doesn’t always get the first picks and highest-profile of narrative movies. But for years now, those who attend and cover the fest have watched it quietly become one of the best showcases around for documentary film, and this year’s 14th annual installment was no exception. Your film editor took in 21 of the nonfiction entries, and there’s barely a dud in the bunch; here’s a brief overview of what to keep an eye out for.
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The Guerrilla Feminism of ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ and Comedy Central’s Radical Sketch Shows

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Early in the Season 3 premiere of Inside Amy Schumer, a football coach (Josh Charles) attempts to teach his team not to rape. The high school boys respond with extreme bafflement, trying to find loopholes: “Can we rape at away games?” they ask. “What if it’s Halloween and she’s dressed like a sexy cat?” And, most cutting and familiar, “What if she’s drunk and has a slight reputation and no one’s going to believe her?” The key to the sketch is in its increasing incredulousness, how the joke is punching up at those who perpetuate rape culture rather than at those who are the target of it. It’s not exactly something you can imagine on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, but it’s right at home among Comedy Central’s uproariously funny — and surprisingly socially conscious — sketch comedies. 
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