(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: They Came Together
Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max
The Pitch: Spoofing seemingly every New York romantic comedy from When Harry Met Sally to You’ve Got Mail, director David Wain, and his frequent comedy cohort Michael Showalter (the guys who brought you Wet Hot American Summer) both make a mockery of and pay tribute to all the tropes of the genre. From the brownstone homes to the holiday gatherings, watch as Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd meet, fall in love, break up, and get back together, all while the comedic style of spoofs like Airplane! and Young Frankenstein keep the laughs coming in fast and fierce.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: They Came Together has the most formulaic and clichéd storyline, but that’s the point. Told in flashbacks, the movie recalls how Molly (Amy Poehler) and Joel (Paul Rudd) came to fall in love, despite the fact that the former owns a little sweet shop that’s about to be put out of business by the latter’s employer, a massive candy conglomerate. Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper listen intently as the couple recount all the details of their complicated relationship, putting the goofiest spin on all the scenes you’ve seen in countless New York romantic comedies before, so much that it’s almost like New York is a character throughout the movie. Read More »
Next month will mark 25 years since the MTV sketch comedy series The State went off the air. Named after the comedy troupe at the center of the series, The State featured Kevin Allison (Flight of the Conchords), Michael Ian Black (Another Period), Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!), Todd Holoubek (The Ten), Michael Patrick Jann (Little Britain USA), Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!), Joe Lo Truglio (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Ken Marino (Childrens Hospital), Michael Showalter (The Big Sick) and David Wain (Role Models) starring in a variety of comedy sketches. Now they’re all getting back together for a virtual reunion on Zoom where they will read classic and never-before-seen sketches to benefit a couple organizations. Read More »
David Wain (pictured right) is one of the oddball comedy minds behind Wet Hot American Summer and the romantic comedy parody They Came Together. Along with his frequent collaborators, Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black, he’s been responsible for some genius and weird comedy that often plays with the format of stand-up comedy, film and television in a very meta way. And he’s about to try something that narrative comedy has never attempted before.
WarnerMedia has ordered a pilot for a new comedy series from Jax Media called Today’s Special, created by David Wain and A.D. Miles, head writer for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and supporting star in many of Wain’s projects. But this isn’t your average pilot order. Instead, it includes an initial order for four episodes because the series is intended to be shot and aired daily, not unlike soap operas and late night talk shows. Just the premise for the show sounds like something worth checking out. Read More »
If you love the hit Sundance comedy Wet Hot American Summer, and you’ve always wanted some insight into the creation of the film’s script, an annotated version of the screenplay will be released this fall.
Wet Hot American Summer: The Annotated Screenplay will provide commentary and details from behind the scenes of the cult favorite comedy. In addition to notes on the script, there will be photos, some of the bad reviews the movie got, marked up script pages and even more. Find out more about the book below. Read More »
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, John Williams conducts the orchestra during a recording session for the Star Wars: The Last Jedi score. Plus, learn how National Lampoon co-creator Doug Kenney changed the face of comedy forever, and see the amazing visual effects in the Best Picture winning Call Me By Your Name. Read More »
Director and sometime performer David Wain has a long and successful history of directing beloved comedies with large ensemble casts, going back to his earliest days with sketch-comedy team The State and such feature films as Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, Wanderlust, and They Came Together. But with A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Wain tackles the seemingly impossible task of covering the professional life of comedy writer and National Lampoon magazine co-creator Doug Kenney (played by Will Forte) in about 100 minutes. Kenny also was the man behind National Lampoon’s Animal House and Caddyshack (the making of both is detailed in Wain’s movie as well).
The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson (as Kenny’s partner in crime Henry Beard), Emmy Rossum, Natasha Lyonne, Seth Green, Martin Mull, Joel McHale, Matt Walsh, Thomas Lennon, Matt Lucas, Joe Lo Truglio, Paul Scheer, and Finn Wittrock.
This interview took place at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where A Futile and Stupid Gesture premiered. Director Wain was joined by two of the film’s producers, Peter Principato (also an executive producer on the series “Black-ish”) and Jonathan Stern (also an executive producer on “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.” /Film spoke with the three about the process of making comedy from the ’70s and ’80s feel relevant today and the process of making the creative process cinematic. A Futile and Stupid Gesture is available on Netflix right now (read our review right here).
Read More »
The rise and fall of the subversive comedians at National Lampoon was already extensively covered in the Sundance selected documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon. But director David Wain (They Came Together, Role Models) has taken a completely different approach in his dramatization of the creation of the humor magazine turned radio show and movie production house.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture is based on Josh Karp’s book of the same name, and it follows the founding of the wildly successful National Lampoon as it unfolds in the biographical story of co-creator and comedian Doug Kenney. However, David Wain doesn’t simply use this as an opportunity to craft a traditional biopic. Instead, the movie is a meta, self-aware retelling of Doug Kenney’s story in the same comedic style of National Lampoon, with a vibe that’s a lot like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy meets Man on the Moon. Read More »
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?
This week we take a look back at the Super Bowl Shufflin’ Crew, look back further on the National Lampoon, get excited for something stupid, schmoke schome weed, and hit our shin on a Razor scooter. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
National Lampoon, the humor magazine that eventually jumped into the movie business, now has its own biopic courtesy of Wet Hot American Summer filmmaker David Wain. A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which hits Netflix next month, focuses on National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney, played in the film by Will Forte. The trailer provides a look at the film and reveals that it’s not going to be your standard biopic.
Read More »
Today brings the highly anticipated sequel series Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later to Netflix. It fulfills the promise from the end of the original movie that debuted in 2001 that the counselors of Camp Firewood would reunite in 10 years to see what their lives had become. The whole star-studded gang is coming back, except for one person, but that absence comes with a hilarious explanation that is perfect for Wet Hot American Summer.
Bradley Cooper was unfortunately unavailable to reprise his role as Ben, the secretly gay theater nerd who had been dating Susie, played by Amy Poehler, while really being in love with fellow camp counselor McKinley (Michael Ian Black). But since Michael Showalter and David Wain had already come up with a storyline for his character that they just couldn’t abandon, they did the next best thing: replaced Bradley Cooper with Adam Scott. How will this be addressed on the show? Since this is Wet Hot American Summer, the answer is ridiculously and hilariously.
Find out why Adam Scott replaced Bradley Cooper on Wet Hot American Summer and how it’s explained below. Read More »