Matty Simmons: Fat, Drunk, & Stupid: The Inside Story Behind The Making Of Animal House 

For morbid kicks, it’s hard to beat the acknowledgments of the bizarre oddity Fat, Drunk, & Stupid: The Inside Story Behind The Making Of Animal House. Animal House producer Matty Simmons is almost breathtaking in his lack of insight about the film, and one clue as to why comes early on, when he thanks his oldest…

The best books we read in 2011 

Every year, The A.V. Club embarks upon elaborate voting rituals to determine the sorta-consensus best films, albums, and television of the year. But finding the best books of the year is a different experience. Since we cultivate the most eclectic selection of tastes we can for the book-review section in order to…

Short paths to the canon: 22 influential artists with tiny bodies (of work)

1. Sex Pistols
Ask the average Joe to name the first punk band that comes to mind, and he’ll most likely say “Sex Pistols,” possibly with an aggro, faux-Cockney accent. There’s no question as to whether the band has been massively influential: Rock historians can even name-check a specific gig—Manchester’s Lesser Free…

Of 30 Rocks and Studio 60s: 38 TV doppelgängers 

1-2. 30 Rock and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (2006)
Nearly every TV season sees two or three new series that were seemingly cut from the same cloth. Fall 2011 just seems to be an exception because there are so many freshman shows with overlapping premises, themes, or reference points: Grimm and Once Upon A Time each…

In space?: 17 film franchises that took strange left turns

1. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)
The fourth entry in the Leprechaun franchise retains little beyond the concept of a diminutive, demonic, wisecracking Irish stereotype (Warwick Davis) picking off meatheaded Americans. Pretty much everything else goes out the window in a space “epic” with ClipArt visual effects, a…

Preston Lauterbach: The Chitlin’ Circuit And The Road To Rock ’N’ Roll 

“The chitlin’ circuit” has been a much-used phrase in music writing, referring to the linked chain of black, largely Southern small-town bars and roadhouses where longstanding soul, R&B, and blues artists make their living and everyday people take a load off from theirs. But amazingly, no one has looked into its roots…

Well, Smurf me with a chainsaw: 11 movies that twist the English language for their own purposes

1-2. Juno/Jennifer’s Body
There’s a reason why writers of films and television shows about young people love slang: It’s an unbeatable way to convey the divide between kids and adults in linguistic terms, hooking in sharpies hip to the newfangled jive while alienating oldsters. Writers wanting to go one step further…

Only thing about us is the way we walk: 24 songs about dancing that you can't dance to

1. Iggy Pop, “Nightclubbing”
For a song about hitting hot spot after hot spot with David Bowie, learning new dances and meeting new people, Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing” is surprisingly undanceable. Maybe it’s the slow, slogging rhythm, which suggests tired, drugged-out, vaguely blissy club-hoppers reaching the end of…