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4 items from 2016

Aubrey Plaza and Her ‘Pistol Shrimps’ Team Explain How Ragtag Basketball (And a Doc) Brought Them Together

16 June 2016 12:09 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

If you don’t know who the Pistol Shrimps are, you’re going to want to very soon.

Brent Hodge’s new documentary “The Pistol Shrimps” follows the eponymous all-women recreational basketball team, led by players like Aubrey Plaza, model/actress Melissa Stetten, comedian Molly Hawkey (who you may know as “‘The Bachelor’s oldest-ever contestant”) and many other incredible players just might be one of the funnest and funniest films of the year. During the film’s Los Angeles premiere, the laughs never slowed, but it also became apparent that this documentary isn’t about basketball. It’s about what basketball means and can do for these women as individuals and as a group of friends, empowering them, inspiring them, encouraging them and much more.

After screening Wednesday night at The Theatre at Ace Hotel, the Shrimps, their coaches, their announcers and director Hodge sat down for a Q&A. Like their team name implies — and they would suggest to look up what a pistol shrimp is — each woman’s personality popped like the crack of a pistol shrimp claw. They laughed at many of the high jinks that unfolded the season depicted in the doc, but also got real about how, no matter the small scale, the team is vastly important to them. That’s something that’s also evident in the documentary, as the film makes sure to highlight many of the team members, their personalities and how the team affects their lives.

Read More: SXSW: 10 Totally Random Minutes with Aubrey Plaza

The team itself came together in a rather interesting way. According to the film, it was a bit tough to get the league together, as there wasn’t really a league at all before they came along. In the Q&A, Shrimp Amanda Lund explained how the struggles of making a web series sparked the idea in the first place. “I remember the moment when Maria [Blasucci] realized she needed to start a sports team. We had made this web series ‘Ghost Ghirls’ that no one was watching. So we made our own flyers and started flyering in the streets, saying, ‘You got ghosts? Watch this web series.’ So we were handing out these flyers and Maria was like, ‘This is so fun being out and doing an activity.’ And then she was like, ‘I’m going to start a sports team.’”

But why basketball? Recounting a rather momentous and crazy achievement in her early life, Shrimp founder Blasucci said, “I used to play in grade school and one time, I was dribbling the ball in the park league on the Pacific Palisades Sparks and I lost my shoe at halfcourt as I was dribbling the ball. And I went to shoot the basket and I made it, but my shoe was still at halfcourt. It was a real whirlwind.” 

Unfortunately, the ragtag group didn’t start off with success, with only a few members ever having played the sport, let alone in an organized way, and others not entirely knowing how the sport works. Originally, they came together with a shared sense of trash talking and putting down their haters to offset this lack of success. But during the documented season, the Shrimps went on to win the championship.

This did, however, come at a cost to their original skills. One of the Shrimps said, “I think it goes to the root of self confidence and when you don’t have a lot of self confidence, it’s very easy to talk trash. So when we finally got the skills, the trash talking went away. It’s like when you don’t dress for the job you have, you dress for the job you want and so we talked trash when we couldn’t play basketball.”

Read More: The 22 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

After seeing the original trash talking chemistry, filmmaker Hodge knew he had to make a movie about them, telling the crowd, “One of my friends went to the games and he was like, ‘Dude, this whole thing’s a film. There’s a coach with a unicorn costume on, you’ve got to film this.’ And then we just started filming.”

He even theorized that the crew is why they won, explaining that “this is the only season you guys have won, so we’re like your lucky charm. And I don’t think we would’ve had a film unless they won.” Shrimp Molly Hawkey pleaded, “I was wondering if you could come out to the rest of our seasons because we didn’t do so well this season.” This past season, the Shrimps won only three games and lost seven.

But it wasn’t always easy for Shrimps. There were a lot of antics and even drama between teams during the season, exemplified in the documentary when Aubrey Plaza tore her Acl playing undercover in a second game on her sister’s team. The recovery, which Plaza described as taking “a couple steps forward, a bunch of steps backwards and I’m trying to just get forward again,” and the taste of the other team led her to test the market.

“I’m going to be playing for the Spice Squirrels in the fall. After my injury, I had a lot of time off and I just decided to test free agency,” she said. “I had to make the best choice for my family and my basketball career. And I just felt like the Spice Squirrels have a lot to offer me.”

Toward the end of the Q&A, founder Blasucci touched on an empowering point about the team, an aspect that was the documentary’s most lasting impression.

“I went to an all girls high school and I learned that girls can be the best of friends if they allow themselves to kind of let go of all the claw,” she said. “You know, ‘Ah, I need to get ahead of you!’ If you could just let that go, you can have such deep relationships with girls and I feel that with all of you girls and I, at no point, ever feel jealous or envious or anything. I just feel 100% support and I feel grateful and it’s wonderful. I suggest any girl out there that doesn’t have a tight group of girlfriends to really search for that, because as hard as it may be, you find these people that are so important to you and I feel that with all of these girls and I’m really grateful.”

Read More: Morgan Spurlock on Why Documentaries Matter More Than Ever

“Pistol Shrimps,” which is the first original feature film released by Seeso, an ad-free comedy streaming service, premieres today, June 16, on The film was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year and was executive produced by Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker behind “Super Size Me.” Check out the trailer below!

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- Kyle Kizu

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Aubrey Plaza Hits the Basketball Court in First Trailers For ‘The Pistol Shrimps’

13 June 2016 12:28 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

While she’ll be seen in comedies both on the indie and studio side this summer (Joshy and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, respectively), Aubrey Plaza will also be featured in a documentary. The Pistol Shrimps follows her all-female basketball team, also made up of Melissa Stern, Maria Blasucci, and more, as they compete in last year’s recreational season. Coming from producer Morgan Spurlock and director Brent Hodge (I Am Chris Farley, A Brony Tale), the first trailers have landed ahead of a release this week.

We said in our review, “As far as sports documentaries about female friendships, there are too few and Pistol Shrimps, as enjoyable as it is, really is exactly what it is — like the league and the podcast it’s something to do. Surely one’s free time can be better spent elsewhere screening a film that’s more profound, but that is not what this is, the same way this rec league is not the Wnba.”

Check out the trailers and poster below.

The Pistol Shrimps” is the fun new documentary following the 2015 season of the popular all female basketball team called The Pistol Shrimps – made up of actors, comedians and models in La. Comic actress Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), model Melissa Stern and actress/writer Maria Blasucci (Ghost Ghirls) are part of the ragtag team of trash-talking, hard fouling, wisecracking women who bring a much-needed edge to the game. Off the court, these women are also making it happen as writers, musicians, actors, comedians, moms and wives, who always have time on Tuesday nights for their games. The Pistol Shrimps are truly fearless women who are both ballers on and off the court.

The Pistol Shrimps arrives on SeeSo on June 16th.


- Leonard Pearce

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‘Convos With My 2 Year Old’ Stars Branch Out With New Channel

9 May 2016 3:49 PM, PDT | | See recent Tubefilter News news »

In 2013, Matt Clarke and David Milchard scored a hit with Convos With My 2 Year Old, in which Milchard combined the adorable sayings of Clarke’s two-year-old daughter with his own adult body and mannerisms. Almost immediately, Clarke and Milchard vaulted to YouTube stardom, and they now have nearly 800,000 subscribers.

Three years later, Clarke and Milchard are still cranking out new Convos (they’re on season six now), but at the same time, they are branching out. They have launched a new channel called Cocomilk TV, on which they are working with various producers to explore new projects. Specifically, a press release describes Cocomilk as “a platform that will specialize in formats and be a venue for audiences who are looking for unique, irreverent and good-ole- silly-fun- time content.”

The first show to arrive on Cocomilk is Paranormal Solutions, which premiered in April. It is a comedy about occult investigators, a la Deadbeat or Ghost Ghirls, »

- Sam Gutelle

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TV News Roundup: ‘Spartacus’ Actor Cast in ‘The Expanse’ & More

2 May 2016 3:56 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

“Spartacus” alum Nick Tarabay has been cast in Season 2 of Syfy’s “The Expanse.” Plus, the cast of “Happy Days” will guest star on Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob Squarepants.”


“Spartacus” alum Nick Tarabay has been cast in Syfy’s “The Expanse” for Season 2, Variety has exclusively learned.

Tarabay joins the series in a major recurring role and will appear in at least eight episodes. He will play Coyter, a former spy now working in the private sector who is approaed by Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) about working undercover for her.

Aside from Starz’s “Spartacus,” in which he starred as Ashur, Tarabay’s credits include “Castle,” “Longmire,” “Person of Interest,” “Arrow” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” He is repped by Abrams Artist Agency.

Guest Appearances:

Happy Days” alums Henry Winkler, Michael McKean and David Lander are venturing down to Bikini Bottom later this week for a guest appearance on Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob Squarepants. »

- Alyssa Sage

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