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They’re young, successful actor-writers with a TV show of their own. They seem to have charmed lives. But even for Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson, creators (with Pat Bishop) and stars of the
They’re young, successful actor-writers with a TV show of their own. They seem to have charmed lives.
But even for Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson, creators (with Pat Bishop) and stars of the Comedy Central series “Corporate,” life isn’t always easy. They’ve known loss and heartbreak like anyone else. One of the things that helped get them through it: movies. Especially movies that portray the insanity of life.
Says Weisman, “Matt comes from a Texan childhood, a repressed Catholic upbringing. I’m Jewish, and mentally ill, so watching crazy movies is like, “Yeah, this is what life is.”
When it was time to choose their short list, the pair chose “NSFW Movies,” not because the movies are sexual or erotic (though they may be that, too), but because the films’ characters grapple with the pain of living but find meaning through laughter and acceptance.
“Flirting With Disaster,” for example, portrays a road trip where a pair of new parents, played Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquette, goes in search of the husband’s biological parents. He’s grappling with his identity, observes Weisman. “This guy’s trying to figure out who he is based on who created him,” he says. “I think a lot of people can relate to that.
The film holds a special place for Weisman for personal reasons. He saw it while he was in high school, he says, “And it confirmed to me that my parents would eventually get divorced. I was like, ‘Oh, right. They don’t seem to like each other, nobody likes each other.’”
Ingebretson appreciates the work of writer-director David O. Russell. “It’s so naturalistic, and effortlessly funny. This is such a nice grounded, kind of screwball comedy, but one that is based in real human emotion and character.”
“Secretary,” says Weisman, made him feel cool watching it in college. “I was like you’ve got to see this movie. This is transgressive.” But he doubts such a film about a sado-masochistic relationship between employer and employee could be made today. “It would be much more about the abuse of power,” he says. “It would-it would definitely be much more about ‘This is bad.’”
For Ingebretson, the discovery in “Secretary” is that “James Spader is somehow sexual. I never-I never thought of him as sexual, but that’s my mistake. When I watch that movie I was like ‘Oh my God, James.’”
Hal Ashby’s cult classic “Harold & Maude” has less kink than “Secretary” and less infidelity than “Flirting With Disaster.” The story of a romance between a very young man (Bud Cort) obsessed with suicide and a much older, free-spirited woman (Ruth Gordon) is “NSFW” in a different way.
Says Ingebretson, “It was such a relief to watch that movie for the first time, and see that it was okay, or normal, to feel like life was a nightmare constantly, or to hate life. But then what’s beautiful about that movie is it shows you this older woman is able to enjoy life for the same reasons that, uh, Bud Cort’s character is not able to enjoy it. Which is that, nothing really matters that much.
Weisman concurs: “We’re all in so much pain, we should laugh about it. It’s the only way to exist with the pain you have.”
To watch Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson’s “NSFW” films — “Flirting With Disaster,” “Secretary” and “Harold & Maude”*– as well as other movies like these, start your Tribeca Shortlist free, seven-day trial here.
*Titles subject to availability