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Playing House gave me 2 new best friends

29 May

Playing House is a breath of fresh air that has reinvigorated the half hour comedy. It’s about two best friends who reunite after some unfortunate (but hilarious) circumstances. I’ll let IMDB do the talking for me here: “Childhood best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) have shared countless adventures growing up together. Now, Maggie and Emma are in store for one of their biggest adventures – raising a baby.” That’s a very broad overview, but the story isn’t really what’s important. It’s the characters that drive this show and have solidified its place in my heart.

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Ass Backwards is Subversive Fun

1 Oct

This darkly humorous movie will make you laugh, cringe and feel just the tiniest bit better about your own life. Ass Backwards is Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion without the gloss and glam. If Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino had come from the wrong side of the tracks (and maybe had some sort of substance abuse problem), you would have Kate and Chloe.

Ass Backwards Car

I don’t want to oversimplify the hilarity of this movie, but if you did enjoy the trials and tribulations of Romy and Michele, and you want to see how things would go if the duo’s lives were a bit less like a fairy tale, you will enjoy Kate and Chloe’s journey in Ass Backwards.  It’s a road trip movie starring two lovely ladies whose friendship is the heart of the film, and who happen to be ridiculous people. Ass Backwards is the perfect name for it, because it constantly throws the viewer for a loop. Nothing is as it seems, and so I’m hesitant to describe too much of the movie and ruin any of the magical twists and turns. I will say that an important part of a road trip is the music, and this particular road trip has stellar music in spades. In the hierarchy of things to consider before embarking on a road trip, it goes snacks > music > are you going to let people take their shoes off in your car?

June Diane Raphael (Kate) and Casey Wilson (Chloe) really can do anything. Not only did they write the movie together, but they starred in it and funded it through Kickstarter. One of the rewards offered was “Casey and June will call you every day for a week and read your horoscope to you!” Oh, how I wish I had seen this project when it was still getting funded. I will take this regret to my grave.

These two women are fast friends and it shows. Since moving to LA a few months ago, I’ve seen them at various comedy events around town. Their participation in The Realest Real Housewives at UCB, where they recreated famous Real Housewives scenes, remains one of the funniest things I have ever experienced (and I work at the Laugh Factory). Both women have been part of some of my favorite television projects. I knew Casey Wilson best from her starring role in Happy Endings, one of the most perfect shows of all time, and June Diane Raphael as the scene-stealing reality show contestant in Burning Love. I adore them both and so I was very excited when I saw there would be a screening of this movie near me. The only thing better than seeing a great movie is seeing a great movie free of charge.

Ass Backwards Poster

I saw a screening at Outfest with a room packed full of exhausted people who had already seen multiple movies and were on their way to see more. I have never heard so much laughter in a theater. From the surprise reveal in the opening scene to the last of the credits, there was a constant stream of guffaws and snorts. After it ended, Casey and June came out for a Q&A, where they continued to be witty and the greatest. They were also very sweet when I approached them after the screening to confess my undying love. I’m currently planning the perfect road trip for the three of us.

You can rent Ass Backwards now on VOD and iTunes. You can see it in theaters starting November 8th. Oh, and did I mention Alicia Silverstone is in it? Because she is. Get to it!

If you want to help me plan my road trip with Casey and June or share your thoughts on Ass Backwards, I’m all about the Twitter: @emhig.

Lake Bell’s ‘In A World…’ is about to be your new desert island movie

29 Jul

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring 5 movies with you to watch forever somehow (on a coconut Gilligan’s Island style I guess), what would those 5 movies be?

In A World… might have just earned a spot on my list. I say “might” only because, were I faced with this desert island dilemma, it’s possible that I would just choose 5 Sandra Bullock movies.

I went to the Hello Giggles In A World… screening with no expectations.  I had watched a trailer for this film months ago at the recommendation of a friend and remembered that it had to do with voice-overs. I sort of forgot about it until I saw that there would be a screening with Lake Bell present. Lake Bell wrote, directed, produced and starred in In A World… and I was very interested to hear what she had to say.

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If you won’t listen to me, at least listen to Sundance.

I worked til 6:30PM the day of the movie and sped over to The Grove to catch the 7PM screening, worried that they would have already filled up. Luckily, I was one of the last few to be let in. I am so glad that I made it. In A World… is one of the most original movies I’ve seen in years. The last time I was this excited leaving the theater was when I saw 500 Days of Summer. As I walked to my car, I texted several friends and sent an email to my parents telling them to keep an eye out for this movie on the east coast.

Here’s the pitch I gave my friends and family: “It’s about the voice-over industry and a girl trying to become a movie trailer voice person.” I know, I have a way with words. Honestly, I think people should experience this movie the way I did: with no expectations. Not because it won’t live up to your wildest dreams (spoiler: it will), but because it’s such a cool concept and I don’t want to spoil how all the stories weave together with my attempted plot summary when you can go watch it play out on-screen so beautifully.

I don’t know much about screenplays or scripts or even writing, but I do know this movie was incredibly well-done. Like 500 Days of Summer, something about the interactions between characters felt much more realistic and relatable than so many other dramedies. These were real people who just happened to be on a movie screen. Lake Bell’s character was charming but a bit of a mess. She stumbled over her words when excited and joked around with her family the way anyone would.

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Overalls have been proven to make a person 20% more adorable on average.

That brings me to the cast. Lake Bell was wonderful, endearing and hilarious in the film and in real life. I’m so happy I got to see her answer questions, because she is clearly so passionate about this film. She hung around after chatting with people and taking pictures and overall being super friendly and cool. I’d share our picture together, but I’m actually so pale I don’t appear on film.

Michaela Watkins played her sister. I love Michaela Watkins. She’s one of those people who makes whatever she’s in better. She pops up in the most random projects and always steals all her scenes. Her movie husband Rob Corddry is now officially in the running to be my future real life husband. He plays the character of sweet and doting husband very well and with a dash of humor. Ken Marino is always amazing. I’ve loved him since his Vinnie Van Lowe days on Veronica Mars, and he’s a master of being smarmy yet somehow still likable. Demetri Martin was awkward and adorable. Fred Melamed’s voice will make you fall a little in love with him. There were also amazing appearances by Geena Davis, Jeff Garlin, Tig Notaro, Alexandra Holden and Nick Offerman. After that sentence alone, how can you not see this film?

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These are only some of the geniuses in the film and it’s already too much greatness to handle.

I need more movies like this. We need more movies like this. Sure, I’ll be in the theaters watching Iron Man 67 if they make it, but I can’t subsist on sequels alone. Truly original, well-done movies aren’t  making it to the big screen as often as I’d like. When In A World… hits theaters near you this August, go see it. Take a friend. You won’t regret it. I’ll be seeing it again as soon as it’s out, and I’ll also be anxiously awaiting Lake Bell’s next creation.

If you want to talk about In A World…, my courtship with Rob Corddry or my new BFF Lake Bell, hit me up on Twitter @emhig.

Popular Is Still Amazing, As Is Its Cast

1 Oct

Before Glee and The New Normal, Ryan Murphy was breaking television ground with Popular and it was magical. Ryan Murphy’s first show was sarcastic, occasionally dark and always poignant.

Though I choose to reminisce about this show and its hilarity in my private life just about every day, I’m finally sharing my love with the world to promote a good cause: the wonderful cast of Popular is reuniting for AIDS Walk Los Angeles. Before I go any further into adoration mode, here is a link where you can donate to their team: http://bit.ly/QHOgyK. Share it with your friends!

Good looking AND good people!

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5 Unintentionally Terrible Leading Men

21 Aug

There are some great leading male characters on television. This article is not about those men. It is about the jerks who seem more like the villains of their stories than the heroes. Guys who make me wonder how the audience is supposed to get behind their struggles when maybe if they whined a little less and spent a little less money on hair gel, they could get what they wanted.

I am not including awful individuals like Ray Romano and Seinfeld because I’m going to choose to believe that I’m supposed to hate them. These are characters that other people love and that receive a lot of the show’s focus.

I do not love Raymond

I know that there needs to be an everyman who the typical audience can relate to. These guys aren’t the goofballs or the comic relief, they’re ordinary and responsible. Many people do relate to the characters I’m about to harp on, but that doesn’t convince me they’re not terrible.I thought about calling this article “5 Worst Straight Men” because they are the “straight guys” playing against each show’s jokers, but realized that might have other connotations…

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