Sundance Hit ‘The Way, Way Back’ Looks to Break New Records

Fox Searchlight has had quite a year. Between Beasts of the Souther Wild, Sound of My Voice, The Sessions, and now their latest Sundance hit, The East, the company is setting a standard in distribution, putting out films that deserve to be seen and heard with the backing of a company who can provide a home for the artists behind them. And with some of the most talked about films of the year having had their premieres this weekend at Sundance, distributors are chomping at the bit to obtain their festival favorites Yesterday, Relativity Media broke records with their acquisition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon’s Addiction for a staggering $4 million dollar price—unusual for a Sundance feature. But now it looks like Fox Searchlight is about to one up them—set to pay a hefty $10 million for The Way, Way Back. From the writers of The Descendants Nat Faxon and Jim Rash in his directorial debut, the film is an eccentric coming-of-age story starring Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Maya Rudolph, and Rob Corddry. Here’s what critics are saying about it thus far:

But the biggest reason people might be talking about The Way, Way Back for a long time — and quoting it ad nauseum — is Rockwell, who simply pulls off the best Meatballs/Stripes/Ghostbusters-era Bill Murray since the legend himself. (EW)

In terms of production value, "The Way, Way Back" looks great as it is, reminiscent of the similarly sweet-and-sour "Little Miss Sunshine" (on which Carell and Collette previously collaborated), though that film certainly made more of its signature vehicle. (Variety)

Despite the familiarity of this setup, Way Back is a charmer, putting refreshingly little emphasis on Duncan’s romantic needs and allowing family melodrama to erupt and simmer down without pat resolution. Like a kid who gets a free summer in an exclusive beach town and chooses to spend his days manning a chlorine-and-concrete water park, it knows when not to take the obvious route. (The Hollywood Reporter)

 

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Shows-Within-The-Show From ‘Arrested Development’ Creeping Onto Netflix

Assuming we’re still here tomorrow, the new episodes of Arrested Development will be shortly making their way to Netflix, and into the hearts of the masses. As part of a marketing gimmick to get fans excited, Netflix has added all of the shows-within-the-show from AD to its Instant Watch roster. Scandalmakers is listed as "Scandalous," Moses Taylor (Rob Corddry) is highlighted for his performance as famed TV detective Frank Wrench in Wrench, as well as Mock Trial With J. Reinhold (starring Judge Reinhold as The Honorable Judge Reinhold), Boyfights and Girls With Low Self-Esteem: Newport Beach. They even threw in Les Cousins Dangereux, the forbidden-love French film George Michael takes his cousin Maeby to in the hopes she’ll get the hint (she doesn’t). 

Unfortunately, clicking on the shows will just get you to the point in the AD episode where they’re mentioned, which isn’t the worst thing, of course, if you like Arrested Development a lot. But we were kind of hoping to actually see more of that fateful episode of Scandalmakers, or Lucille Bluth’s appearance on World’s Worst Drivers

There Are Other Movies Happening At Sundance Not Involving James Franco

Yesterday, the Sundance Film Festival announced its out-of-competition lineup, which included a lot of hype, a lot of all-star actors and a whole lot of James Franco. In his never-ending, Zelda-esque quest to become Supreme Lord of the Film Festival, James Franco is actually involved in two out-of-competition and rather NSFW films at the festival. One of the “Park City at Midnight” films is kink, a documentary about the employees of the adult website Kink.com, for which Franco worked with regular collaborator Christina Voros (Voros makes her directorial debut; Franco is signed on as a producer).

For the experimental “New Frontier” section of the festival, Franco has offered Interior. Leather Bar., which he both appears in and co-directs with Travis Mathews, who also wrote the film. In it, the directors attempt to recreate the lost gay S&M footage taken out of the 1980 film Cruising, removed to keep the film from garnering an “X” rating. I mean, it’s really only a matter of time before James Franco tries to curate his own festival of all movies involving James Franco as the star or director or EP or maybe he tries to write the soundtrack did you know he plays music now that’s a thing? Maybe he’ll come to the premieres in character. Maybe he’ll start his own filmmaking academy. Maybe eventually our national obsession with James Franco being involved in so many activities will finally come to rest, and we can all be at peace with our accomplishments. That would be nice.

But this isn’t an all-James Franco festival, because that would be boring. There are actually a lot of other talented people who have movies not in the competition. There are other documentaries, even! Including Sarah Polley’s festival-favorite Super 8-laced family tale Stories We Tell and Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers, a rather-relevant profile of members of the Israeli secret service. There’s S-VHS, the sequel to the acclaimed found-footage horror flick V/H/S, which will likely get a lot of play. There’s No, Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín’s look at the later years of Augusto Pinochet, a Cannes favorite featuring Gael García Bernal; Jeff Nichols’ Mud, your classic man-on-the-run-gets-help-from-teenagers story featuring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. The multimedia art installations from the likes of lyrical Twitterati Yung Jake and interactive light-and-sound master Rafael Lozano-Hemmer also sound pretty intriguing. Let’s see you try to do something like that, Franco.

But perhaps the most exciting batch of films are in the “Park City at Midnight” section, which includes S-VHS and kink, as well as a film involving a recently-released prisoner on the road back to family and to his new life that is even called The Rambler, a road-trip horror film, a movie about a cannibal family and Virtually Heroes, which sounds like an alternate-universe Wreck-It Ralph in which “two self-aware characters in a Call of Duty-style video game struggle with their screwy, frustrating existence.” Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon’s demon-house comedy Hell Baby, featuring a whole lot of funny people (Keegan-Michael Key, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Leslie Bibb, Rob Corddry) and road-trip comedy Ass Backwards, co-starring and co-authored by June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson (and featuring Alicia Silverstone!), round out the lineup. 

The ‘Children’s Hospital’ Video for ‘It’s Only Life’ Far More Terrifying Than Original

Anyone with an aversion to gratuitous amounts of blood, to clown makeup or to The Shins should probably just skip over this post, as they will find it incredibly upsetting. The cast of the cult Adult Swim web-short hit Children’s Hospital made a video of sorts set to The Shins’ breezy single "It’s Only Life" off of Port of Morrow featuring a rather gory blood drive gone awry. Patch Adams-lampooning protagonist Dr. Blake Downs (played by Rob Corddry), introduces the sanguine appeal, only to be interrupted by his nurses having an IV fight. The show returns for its fourth season on August 9th. 

As mega-gross as the clip is, it does look like it was crazy fun to film. Roll it.

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Rob Corddry on ‘Childrens Hospital’ and His Own Mortality

You probably don’t remember the first time you saw Rob Corddry. It may have been on a random, mid-aughts episode of The Daily Show, or in a minor role on some decent studio comedy, or maybe even in the magnificent yet underrated Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, in which he starred and proved he was more then just a funny face. However, you definitely remembered him, as Corddry’s ability to play a hilarious son-of-a-bitch, drunk, asshole, pedophile, or moron is currently unmatched in Hollywood (with all due respect to Danny McBride).

Throughout his career Corddry has regularly stolen tough scenes opposite proven comedic masters, as well as produced genuine laughs in movies calling themselves comedies that are generally considered absolute turds. That ability has made Corddry a commodity in Hollywood, landing him juicy bit-part roles roles in films like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Universal’s surprisingly enjoyable and touching apocalypse dramedy due out this Friday, and at least another six films coming out next year. Yet his greatest achievement so far may be Childrens Hospital, the medical drama-mocking Adult Swim series which he created, writes. and stars in as a clown doctor. The series, which began on the WB.com, is quietly entering it’s fourth season this summer and is arguably the best comedy on television no one watches. Corddry and I sat down to talk about this, among other things. Like death.

So let’s talk about death, since that’s the main antagonist in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
Great. I know a lot about death. Thought a lot about it.

Do you remember the moment when you realized that one day you were going to die?
I don’t know if I’ve really realized that I’m going to die. I’ve had this talk with my wife a lot. And she claims to be completely cool with death. I believe her, too, after having 10 years of conversations about it off and on. She has a knowledge of her own mortality that I, clearly, lack. I know I want to lead a good life and follow my own moral compass for whatever reason—probably just because that’s what my biology tells me I should do.

So you are, or aren’t, afraid of death?
I’m not afraid of it in the sense that I think about it and worry about it, but I bet you that when it comes down to that second before you die, you would be terrified of it. When I was a kid and I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to do a death scene because I wanted a moment where you see complete fear and then… acceptance. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that happens to be in just about every single movie with a death scene.

Would you be the drunk, cheating, drug-using character you play in this movie if you only had a short amount of time before the apocalypse?
I would probably be my character for about eight or nine hours. Then I’d be hung-over and that’s no way to spend the apocalypse. The character I play does have a sort of awakening—though it’s not a positive one. The great thing about Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, however, is that it’s basically a road movie that travels to a number of different apocalypse movies, all of which would be great movies in their own right.

Have you seen Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia yet? It’s kind of like the dark, art house take on the apocalypse, while Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is the more upbeat, studio take.
I have not, though I am planning on watching it between interviews. I’m getting a lot of questions about it. However, I can say that Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a lot funnier then Melancholia.

In my humble opinion, you have one of the more unique senses of humor. Where do you think it comes from?
I don’t think of my sense of humor as being different. However, when I am writing something, like say Childrens Hospital which is all joke based, the ultimate goal is to come up with a completely unfamiliar joke. It’s next to impossible but when you are able to pull it off and there’s nothing more satisfying when you do. So I guess my sense of humor is trying not to copy, which is almost impossible not to do consciously in the world of comedy. Unless, of course, you’re Carlos Mencia.

Will this new season of Childrens Hospital be bigger and baderrer this season?
Badderer and worserer. We’ve lost the ability to know what a normal Childrens Hospital is now. This is good and bad. It’s good in the sense that this season has evolved exponentially that it has now become the show I wanted to do. It’s bad in the sense that there will probably be a lot of arguments as to where the show will go from here.

What shows on TV are you specifically mocking this season?
There have been different ones every season, like I watched House for the first time before we started doing the third season and that was a big inspiration. Now we’re kind of mocking drama in general, but now we tell stories a lot more. We used to be a joke delivery system and now I’ve realized that the best way to deliver a joke is to come up with your own story.

So you’re telling multiple storylines per 15-minute episode now?
Sometimes we’re telling five storylines per 15-minute episode. But a lot of our storylines don’t have resolutions. They, being the gods of storytelling, say a character can get into a tough situation via coincidence, but if you get a character out of a situation via coincidence, it’s a cheat. Not on Childrens Hospital because we only have eleven minutes and fifteen seconds.

Who’s the best character on the show? Don’t avoid the question.
I was really fascinated by the clown character two seasons ago. But now I am sick of him. I really am into Malin Akerman’s character, Dr. Valerie Flame, right now because we set up first that she was actually a man—Jon Hamm—and she’s related to Arthur Childrens, who established Childrens Hospital in the show. And now we’re finding out that she might not even be human, that she’s a malevolent being.

Could Childrens Hospital survive the apocalypse?
If Adult Swim were killed in the apocalypse, I think we’d probably die, yes. If we somehow survived, and I’m not saying we would, we’d become a travelling vaudeville roadshow in, like, Road Warrior.

      

Rob Corddry on ‘Childrens Hospital,’ ‘The Daily Show,’ & Knowing Funny

Depending on what city you live in, you could have seen the fantastically sinister ads in subway stations or on buses, featuring the slightly depraved glare of a clown that’s part Heath Ledger’s Joker, part John Wayne Gacy. Look a little closer, and you might recognize that it’s actually the painted face of Rob Corddry, former Daily Show correspondent (and one of the most popular in the show’s history), star of Hot Tub Time Machine, and all around funny guy. The ads are for Childrens Hospital, the comedy Corddry created and stars in, which is now in its third season on Adult Swim.

The show, which uses absurd humor to parody medical dramas, features an ensemble cast of Corddry’s friends, including familiar faces like Malin Akerman, Lake Bell, Megan Mullally, and Henry Winkler. We recently got Corddry on the phone to talk about those ads, his comedic process, and what separates his show from the rest of the pack.

Have you seen the huge painted mural of your face in Williamsburg? It’s pretty freaky. Yeah, my friend who lives in Williamsburg tweeted it. It’s pretty cool, man. I’m pretty tickled by this whole thing. I’m getting a lot of emails and a lot of texts from all over the country. I’m really glad my creepy face has infiltrated…

Was the intention of that image to be scary? Well, yes. It’s definitely engaging, depending on your attitude toward clowns. We kind of realized after the first couple of seasons that we have a pretty strong marketing image here, and Adult Swim has really picked up the ball and ran with it.

What is the biggest difference since the show has been on TV, as opposed to just the web? To be totally honest with you, there’s no difference at all. We cannot say “cunt,” but that’s about it.

Do you keep up with other medical dramas to get ideas for storylines on your show? I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy a while ago. This season I was really inspired by House. It’s not really a medical show, it’s a detective show set in a hospital. It’s based on Sherlock Holmes. So now I feel like I need a new one to get my juices flowing, and I don’t know what to watch. I might have to go back and watch old ERs or something. But I think we kinda got it now anyway. We’re more into spoofing TV drama in general.

Speaking of which, I read you bought Breaking Bad a few weeks ago. How far are into it are you? Zero minutes. I’m still in the middle of season 2 of Mad Men, so I barely can find time to watch even that. Breaking Bad is next in line, but now my wife got me addicted to So You Think You Can Dance? And that’s on twice a week, so what am I supposed to do?

Your show is known for having a lot of guest stars. Who would you like to get for future seasons? To tell you the truth, we are searching for a way to somehow get Michael Cera’s face on the show, rather than just his voice. We want to do that in a cool way. I sort of feel like I should cut down on the amount of guest stars, because I have this great cast and I would like to use them rather than someone else.

How did you get Lake Bell in there? I feel like she’s a largely undiscovered comedic talent. Meaning she gives you a boner? She is just a good friend of mine. Everybody in the show I’ve worked with before, and gotten along with well, and that’s how I cast it. who do I want to work with every day and hang out with. To work with friends is the best.

Do you consider the show to be an undiscovered thing, or are you surprised it has found the audience that it has? A little of both. I am consistently surprised by our numbers, because they are very good, but then again, I am always surprised when a journalist calls it “the best show you’re not watching.” I say, “But tons of people watch our show!” But not really. Really, it’s .000001% of the population that watches the show, so it’s a bit of a mind fuck.

Are you critical of your own work? I’m very happy with it. This season is very good. I was more critical last season, and I still am. A lot of stuff that makes me cringe. But this season I think we really figured a lot of stuff out.

A lot of comedy shows hit their stride after a season or two. Yes, definitely. The first season was on the web so we were barely thinking about it. The second season we perhaps thought a little too much about it. We felt the burden of writing the show bible—this is how the show works. And this season it was easier. I feel like some things were cemented, and we knew what we were doing.

When you want to make something funny, is there ever a sure thing? Well the answer to that is dicks and farts, but not really. I guess I know that if we say anything ridiculous with a straight face, it’s going to be funny.

How do you know when something works and something doesn’t? Well you definitely know when something doesn’t work—that’s easy. You just feel it. And then when something really works, you know it as well, sort of on the same instinctual, gut level. But most things you’re just kind of hopeful about. You just do what makes you laugh, and hopefully it makes everyone else laugh too.

And you can never really know, because you’re not watching this show with an audience of hundreds of people. Exactly, it’s very insular at times. Well, shit. There’s just four of us in the room editing the show. What do we know?

Can you gauge audience reaction on the web? Not really. I get a lot of comments on Twitter, and I get a general feel for how people like the show. There’s this point in editing when things are pretty tight, and we’re almost done. And that’s when I go in with a new eye. It’s impossible to put myself in the mind of a viewer, but I watch it and if I get a bad feeling about the smallest thing, I say stop, and talk about it. What is it about this moment that made me say stop? That’s what I really love — dealing with the minutiae.

Is it nice to be only doing shorter episodes? Do you think you could pull off a regular half-hour show? We could pull it off production-wise, I just don’t think it would be funny. I think this kind of relentless joke-after-joke comedy isn’t sustainable for 30 minutes.

30 Rock does it. Well, they also have way more story and character than we do. And some heart. We don’t have heart. We have enough story and character to be an engine for the jokes. We are joke-based show and they are a character-based show. Totally different.

Do you still watch The Daily Show? Yes, here and there. It’s on way too late for me, and it’s kind of like sports. I don’t like to watch current shows on DVR. But when I watch it, I Hulu it. And also I still have a lot of friends on the show, so if I know there’s going to be a good episode coming up, I’ll watch that. I would love to be able to watch it regularly, but I don’t.

Do you think the show has become more popular since your departure? I’d say yes. It definitely hasn’t slowed down. It’s by virtue of Jon’s passion for this kind of stuff.

Do you think the rise of Fox News has had anything to do with the show’s increasing popularity? Well, no, actually. I wouldn’t say Fox News. I’d say it’s as much Fox as it is MSNBC and CNN. Just because those guys have a liberal view, doesn’t mean they are not retarded.

You’re currently shooting the Steve Carrel film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Tell me about that. The movie is basically about what you would do if you knew the end of the world is coming in two weeks. The movie follows Steve Carrel wandering in and out of these people’s lives, dealing with it in different ways. And I am just one of the first people he comes to, and I am dealing with it probably the way many people would, just by giving up, getting drunk, and having sex a lot.

How many days are you doing that? Just two.

Do you like doing that? Playing a character part and coming on set for five days, doing your thing, and moving on to the next? Well, yes and no. I would much rather be in a movie where I’m shooting every day. Because you get comfortable, and you get more creative and have more fun. It’s stressful always being the new guy. First days are always hard, and I have a lot of first days.

Are you going to be doing any larger feature work in the future? Yea, what you got? I’ll do it.