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. … Read More
Last week, the folks at Gawker did a bit of celebrity archaeology, discovering a 1993 TV ad for the NRA that featured a very young Molly Shannon. The soon-to-be Mary Catherine reached out to the site, emphasizing that she appeared in the spot when she was — direct quote, with emphasis — “A STRUGGLING ACTRESS,” and while we understand her taking pains to separate the spot from her own views, she’s hardly the first future famous funny person whose early work was only humorous in retrospect, and unintentionally. After the jump, we’ve got early commercials by several of our favorite comic actors — all equally embarrassing. … Read More
Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful is out this Friday, in case you haven’t looked at a magazine or a television or the side of a bus recently, and while we know it’s a big-budget would-be Mouse blockbuster, attempting to replicate the astonishing (and frankly inexplicable) success of Burton’s Alice in Wonderland three years back, we still had to pick our jaws up off the floor when we got a look at its monster budget: $325 million in production and marketing costs. Yes, you read that right: 325. No extra numbers in there. … Read More
Indie producers at Sundance would be wise to steer your film editor away from their screenings, since (for the second year in a row, to say nothing of Tribeca and SXSW) practically none of the films I saw over my six days in Park City managed to grab any prizes at Saturday night’s big award ceremony. I’m all out of theories for why I’m so bad at picking these things — but it’s something we’re all going to have to come to terms with, apparently. Not to worry, though; many of the very good films I did manage to see will be coming your way over the next few months, so let’s take a look at films that won both awards and big-money deals. … Read More
Hold on to your hats, dear readers: the 29th annual Sundance Film Festival kicks off today in Park City, Utah. Your humble film editor is on the ground, in snow boots and several layers of sensible sweaters, with a film-going schedule that could alternately be described as “ambitious” or “insane.” Here are the ten movies that top our “must-see”… Read More
Your Flavorwire was excited, very excited, to talk about Alfred Hitchcock this week, because the release of Universal’s big new Blu-ray box set of Hitchcock masterpieces was slated for tomorrow. Note the use of the word “was”; it’s been pushed back until next month, in order to correct some unfortunate issues with the transfer and, hilariously, some rather insane typos in the re-rendered opening credit sequence for Frenzy. So we’ll talk about Hitchcock when the set shows up next month — in the meantime, inspired by this embarrassing (and certainly costly) gaffe, we’ve assembled ten other instances of unfortunate cinematic typos. Some came at the marketing stage, some in DVD mastering; some even show up in the titles, which is the kind of thing you’d think someone would notice. Check out these goofy screw-ups after the jump. … Read More
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. … Read More
It’s Steve Carell’s birthday, folks! Oh, and not just any birthday — it’s his big ol’ 50th birthday. Can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday that a 42-year-old Carell was gracing our screen as the “World’s Best Boss” for the very first time. How will you fill this wonderful day? With Hooters? MacGruber costumes? Insults directed at all the world’s “Tobys”? Sure, we could use this day to crack “50-Year-Old Virgin” jokes, but instead, we’ll celebrate Steve Carell as Michael Scott — because, well, we really miss him. So, after the jump, we’ve gathered 25 of Michael Scott’s wisest lessons in management and office etiquette. Remember his fake book, The Fundamentals of Business by Michael Scott, which sold “over one billion” copies? Consider this your very own copy. Enjoy! … Read More
1. David Rakoff, a frequent This American Life contributor and the author of the Thurber Prize for American Humor-winning essay collection Half Empty, has died at only 47 years old. Read a brief but touching obituary at The Awl.
2. Your daily Olympics Closing Ceremony gossip update: In addition to yesterday’s … Read More
One of our favorite movies of the year, Sarah Polley’s heartbreaking Take This Waltz, hits theaters this Friday (but, heads up, you can watch it on demand right effing now, and should). In it, Michelle Williams plays a writer who jeopardizes her seemingly happy marriage when she falls for the handsome fellow down the street. Thinking back on the movie, we couldn’t help but muse that Williams seems an actress particularly unlucky in love on screen; in fact, she’s one of many actors who seem to have made a specialty of playing characters who are perpetually getting screwed, romantically speaking. After the jump, we take a look at the unlucky cinematic love lives of Williams and nine of her contemporaries (to keep it simple, we stuck with modern actors). Some spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk, etc.; agree, disagree, and add your own nominees in the comments. … Read More