Red carpet chatter with some folks from “Backwash”

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If, like me, you grew up a weird kid compulsively watching the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and, yes and alas, the Three Stooges, then you might well enjoy “Backwash,” an enjoyably dippy web series with its final episode to be uploaded on Crackle this Monday night, December 20. The series stars Joshua Malina, who also wrote it, as the grumpy and conniving Val, who is, for whatever reason, charged with the care of the childlike and lovably idiotic Jonesy (Michael Panes). When they accidentally rob a bank with a sausage — you kind of have to be there — and hook up with a flamboyant ice cream truck driver, Fleming (Michael Ian Black, who I was unable to nab for a quick interview), the on-the-lamb trio begins a cross-country odyssey of sorts.

The enjoyably lowbrow but sometimes surreal silliness is book-ended by introductions from a rogues gallery of comic and acting talent, the funniest being a mysteriously bearded Jon Hamm, Allison Janney, John Cho, Dulé Hill, and Sarah Silverman. Somehow, Victorian author William Makepeace Thackeray is maligned as being the originally author of this more or less contemporary travesty lovingly directed by Danny Leiner, who also helmed “Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle.”

It was my privilege to chat with with some of the actors and creators of “Backwash” at the theatrical premiere of a somewhat shortened feature-length version of the web series. I started with Josh Malina, an actor I’ve been rather fond of since I stumbled over “Sports Night,” the show that convinced me that the writer of “The Social Network” was something more than an entertainingly glib semi-hack, actually a lot more.

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Know your ghost writers

Via EW’s Mandi Bierley, we have a French trailer (that’s why the subtitles and that errant F-word) for the upcoming film from a director you may have heard of named Roman Polanski. And, yes, it’s possible to think Polanski fully deserves more jail time and to pay to see a movie directed by him in totally good conscience. It’s also possible to buy a record produced by Phil Spector without remorse, and I hope we can all agree that what he did was actually a lot worse. Anyhow, here is the trailer for “The Ghost Writer.”

And, just to make life a bit confusing and interesting, it turns out that there’s also a recently released apparently more or less direct-to-video film called “Ghost Writer,” a solo-feature directorial debut from the always entertaining actor Alan Cumming, who also co-directed a movie called “The Anniversary Party” I quite liked back in 2001. Under a different title, “Ghost Writer” seems to have divided the very few critics who’ve seen it, but it definitely does not look dull. Both movies have very interesting casts.

  

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