Tonight on the /Filmcast, we are stoked to be joined by Paul Scheer from MTV’s Human Giant, VH1’s Best Week Ever and the 2009 summer comedy Year One. Tune in live, 10 p.m. EST!!!
Welcome to another edition of the Slashfilm Playlist. This is where we ask writers, directors and stars we dig about their favorite movies and taste in film. This week we have comedian and actor Paul Scheer, whose work on the hit MTV sketch comedy show, Human Giant, is embedded in genre movie culture. Whether he’s sending up Superman 2‘s General Zod with his cast-mates, Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel, as the omnipotent idiots the “Space Lords,”or playing an actor whose dedication to playing a Worf-knockoff culminates in a permanent (and totally effed) surgical procedure, Scheer makes us do spit-takes. This Playlist proved to be suitably epic.
/Film: Hi Paul. So, why are you nervous about appearing on the /Filmcast?
Paul Scheer: Since Slashfilm’s podcasts are getting so popular on iTunes, Terry Gross from NPR is getting worried you might usurp her throne for most downloads. I heard a rumor that she’s personally executing anyone who appears on the show…I heard Stephen Toblowsky narrowly escaped her death grip, so I’m afraid for my life.
/Film: As soon as we’re finished here, I’ll alert Peter Chen. Both seasons of Human Giant make lemonade out of September 11th, with your huge box office failure, Lil’ 9/11, and the proposed TV series Osama bin Diesel. What is your fave 9/11 movie that does or does not star Nicolas Cage…
Paul: My favorite September 11th film has to be High School Musical, which takes the focus off the events and acts more as an allegory of that day. Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) is clearly Osama bin Laden, and her attempts to take over the “musical” clearly parallel Al Qaeda’s attacks on America. Tisdale’s fights with Zac Efron (George W. Bush) and Vanessa Hudgens (Mayor Giuliani) teach us an important lesson. No matter what happens to the musical (America), the show must go on. It did and so do we. Thank you Disney Channel for painting a clear and succinct tribute to that day.
/Film: So clear. Among your TV show’s many superlatives is its insurmountable kid death toll. I counted 108 murdered kids in one “Kidtentiary” skit alone. Modern films like Tropic Thunder tend to cop out. Human Giant also has a soft spot for kid villains, including Gage from Pet Semetary. Mr. Paul Scheer, you’re the coach. Who do you draft for your Kid Villain All-Star Team?
Paul: Here’s my team. Michael Oliver from Problem Child. He’s like an evil version of Sam from Different Strokes; Vicki the Robot from Small Wonder (Tiffany Brissette). Although she’s technically good, she’s one malfunction away from being a T-1000; The Grady Daughters from The Shining. Pure Double Trouble. Plus, they are snazzy dressers; Haley Joel Osment in anything, he creeps me out. He’s too in touch with otherworldly phenomena.
Of course, the team’s leader would be the baddest of the bad. Technically he’s not a kid, but he loves teaching kids to be bad: enter Cobra Kai Sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) from The Karate Kid.
/Film: Nice draft picks. At this very moment, what are your three favorite films of all time? And what movie have you watched more than any other?
Paul: This is always a tough question, but I’m basing my list solely on pure enjoyment and re-watchability. So, basically these are the movies that if they came on TV, I’d stop and watch them no matter what: Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. My alternates: Die Hard, Point Break, Goonies, Bad Boys 2, Magnolia, The Jerk and Cool Hand Luke. The movie I’ve probably watched the most…it’s a tie between The Empire Strikes Back and Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. The latter is just because my parents had HBO and I think they played Remo Williams every day after school for about two years. Sadly, Remo Williams’s adventure began and ended all in one film.
More Playlist after the jump, including Paul’s popcorn-and-M&M’s recipe and Bruce Willis’s sex scenes in Color of Night.
/Film: You play a bricklayer in Harold Ramis’s upcoming Year One. Tell me something that the rest of the Internet doesn’t know about this movie that will impress or shock it.
Paul: First of all, it was a dream come true to work with Harold Ramis. He’s amazing. Basically every great comedy of the ’70s and ’80s has some link to him, and even with that he is one of the absolute coolest and funniest guys you’ll ever meet. And he’s got the best stories about everyone and everything you could possibly want to know about.
I can’t tell you too much about the movie, it’s a big secret. I can tell you that it will premiere next summer and that in the movie I get dirty and I wear very little clothes.
/Film: Ramis is one of the greats, without a doubt. Let’s talk about Ghostbusters. How do you feel deep down inside about a hypothetical reboot of the franchise with Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd? Would you rather see a “new gen” reboot or a direct sequel? Which Ghostbuster—or son of—would you play given the choice?
Paul: Ghostbusters is my favorite movie, so any reboot makes me extremely nervous, but in the right hands it could be awesome. Right now I’m just really psyched about the video game, so I’m taking it one step at a time. And clearly I’d be great as the son of Winston (Ernie Hudson).
/Film: We’re both avid fans of Bruce Willis. Where do you rank his sexual performance in Color of Night?
I saw Color of Night with my folks and after that there was no need for a “Birds and Bees” discussion. Man, doesn’t he have sex with a 12-year-old girl in that? Or she just looked 12? Either way it was wrong. But he did have sex with her very realistically so I give him a 10-out-of-10.
/Film: Impressive. Which Die Hard sequel is your favorite, and do you consider Die Hard 4 part of the franchise proper? I consider it a lame Hollywood reenactment of John McClane’s later heroics.
Paul: Die Hard 2 is my favorite Die Hard sequel; not enough Reginald Vel Johnson for my liking but bringing back William Atherton more than made up for it. I treat Die Hard 3 and Die Hard 4 as Fan Fiction.
/Film [mumbles]: Is Justin Long funny?
Paul: Yes! Justin Long is the best. He’s hysterical in Galaxy Quest, Dodgeball, Idiocracy, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, and Dewey Cox [Walk Hard]. Plus, I defy you to tell me that Jeepers Creepers isn’t awesome.
/Film: It’s a’ight. As a gangsta enthusiast who also does comedy, do you prefer CB4, Fear of a Black Hat, Tales from the Hood, or I’m Gonna Git You Sucka? Who is your favorite rapper and rapper/actor?
Paul: Wow! I didn’t realize I was a gangsta enthusiast, I’ll take that title. I need to be on a panel at a hip hop museum debating the merits of The Fat Boys. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka…was amazing. As a kid I didn’t even know what they were making fun of but I loved it. It’s not like these stupid parody movies that are out now, where everything is a reference to something that was in another movie that came out three weeks before this one was released [Ed. – Fuck you Disaster Movie]. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka did it right; they actually had a plot and jokes along with the parody.
And Rudy Ray Moore (aka Dolemite) is my favorite all around rapper/actor and karate expert, followed closely by Method Man. He was awesome on The Wire and the [short lived] Fox sitcom Method & Red.
/Film: Yeah, Method Man was great for all two secs in Cop Land. Here are a bunch of cute little questions. What is your favorite movie theater, operating or not? When is the last time you watched a movie on VHS? Laserdisc? And what are your favorite movie-watching snacks besides Corn Chowder?
Paul: Favorite theater has to be The El Capitan, the Disney theater in Hollywood. Not only do they transform the theater to the film they are showing, but they give you a live stage show and laser light show. Plus, it’s attached to an Ice Cream Shoppe. It’s awesome. VHS…five years ago. Laserdisc…in college. Favorite Snacks: Twizzlers, Dibs, and Sour Patch Kids. I also like mixing Peanut M&Ms with warm popcorn, it’s awesome. Dump those M&Ms in and shake it up for a tasty treat. So good.
/Film: You are God…and The Rapture has ended, finally. Time to party. How do you repay Kirk Cameron for starring in your Left Behind movies and Fireproof?
Paul: I let him totally pick first when we play Madden 09 on my Xbox 360.
/Film: Hah. Okay, so you are no longer God but you are in charge of the Point Break sequel. What’s the tagline? And do you resurrect Gary Busey a la Crank 2? Lori Petty?
Paul: Okay, Point Break‘s original tagline was…”100% Pure Adrenaline.” So, I have a few ideas for the sequel’s…
“100% Pure Adrenaline Squared!” or “101% Pure Adrenaline!” or “BUSEY TIME!”
And my Point Break sequel would revolve around Gary Busey. Surprise! Gary didn’t die. All the alcohol and cocaine in his system healed the bullet wounds that were inflicted at the end [of the original film]. Now he wants revenge on Keanu Reeves who left him for dead. So, this time he’s the bank robber. And his gang dresses like characters from The Simpsons, and he is unstoppable. John C. McGinley has to pull Keanu back into the police force to stop him but he can’t do it alone. He has to work with Bodhi—yeah, he survived the wave—in prison. Hannibal Lecter-style. And Lori Petty, she makes a brief cameo in the beginning. We’d see Keanu and her running a surf school in Fiji.
/Film: Jan de Bont, take notes. Okay, which are you most anticipating? List in order from most-to-least: JJ Abrams’s Star Trek, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, Mike Judge’s Extract, David Fincher’s The Curious Cast of Benjamin Button, Judd Apatow’s Funny People, Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards.
Paul: Oh man, this is really hard. I want to see all of these. No Quantum of Solace? I’m going to pretend they all came out on the same weekend. This is the order I’d see them, but I’d see them all opening weekend: Star Trek, Inglorious Bastards, Funny People, Where the Wild Things Are, Kick-Ass, Extract, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
/Film: Okay, continuing our water-boarding. Justify your top two choices…
Paul: I’m a huge Star Trek nerd. I even liked Deep Space 9, which people never understand, but c’mon, Sisko, he’s the best! Star Trek definitely needs a good kick in the ass to get it back to at least being on par with Battlestar Galactica and JJ Abrams is the perfect choice. I love Alias, Lost, and M:I 3, so I’m in. Honestly, If he remade The Golden Girls I’d be first in line to see it. And Inglorious Bastards. What more do you need for a great movie? You got Quentin Tarantino, Nazis, and it’s an action movie. This is going to be like The Dirty Dozen meets Pulp Fiction, I can’t wait.
/Film: You live in L.A., right? What is the definitive insider or industry movie? And feel free to choose an unrelated film that’s a perfect metaphor/allegory.
Paul: I’m new to L.A. I’ve lived in NYC for most of my life. But based on my limited time here, I guess I’d say that Beverly Hills Cop is pretty realistic. You come here as a young fresh faced kid from Detroit. Nobody wants you around, but you stay, you check in at the Beverly Hills Hotel, go to a strip club, make some friends, find some cocaine. And then shoot a guy in the head. Finally after you’ve done all that, L.A. says, “You know what kid? You’re okay after all, you should stick around.” And you say, “Nope, I’d rather hang out with Paul Reiser.”
Paul: I’d say Magnolia and Chinatown. The latter because I’m always getting myself involved in private eye investigations that end up opening a whole can of worms within the city of Los Angeles and the woman I try to protect gets killed and her sister goes off to inevitably get raped by a weird old man, but that might just be me.
Many thanks to Paul Scheer. You can check out Paul’s Tumblr here and IMDB page here. Here’s a recent pic of Paul and Lauren Conrad. Human Giant airs Tuesdays at 11 p.m. EST on MTV. The first season is available on DVD. For more info, videos and full eps, go here.
This interview was conducted, edited and condensed for Slashfilm by Hunter Stephenson, the aborted step-son of Deborah Solomon.