DID YOU READ

Getting It On At Sundance

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By Andrea Meyer/IFC News

There’s been a lot of talk about the graphic sex at Sundance. Filmmaking dynamo Michael Winterbottom tried his hand at art-house porn, getting his actors to really do the deed in his explicit relationship saga “9 Songs.” Doc darlings Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato got inside the most notorious and profitable X-rated flick of all time with “Inside Deep Throat.” Festival audiences fled theaters as comedian after comedian told the dirtiest joke ever in “The Aristocrats.” A hot older woman—oh my God, she’s 32—does little besides bang her 19-year-old boytoy in the raunchy Korean romance “Green Chair.”

What I noticed about Sundance 2005, though—besides the criminal non-existence of swag for non-celebrities, not even a Sony baseball cap or Palm Pictures tote in sight—was the sex, sex, sex that was gushing (or occasionally just hovering around the edge of the frame) in this year’s teenager flicks. These movies were all about tasting it, craving it, using it to get what you want and, especially, losing it.

In Rebecca Miller’s lyrical dad-and-daughter love story “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” the titular teenage girl (Camilla Belle) is so pissed at her dad (Daniel Day-Lewis) for inviting his girlfriend and her sons to move in, she convinces one of her reluctant stepbrothers to deflower her—and hangs her bloody sheets in the yard as evidence. Troublemaking slut Maggie Gyllenhaal snags a young lad’s virginity in “Happy Endings,” though said lad is not so supportive: The only benefit he sees in the unpleasant turn of events is his dad might not realize he’s gay.

In Noah Baumbach’s award-winning (best screenplay and best director) “The Squid and the Whale,” two Brooklyn boys have different ways of coping with their parents’ divorce: 12-year-old Frank (Owen Kline) starts drinking booze and wiping his ejaculate on books in the school library. His 16-year-old brother (Jesse Eisenberg), on the other hand, tries to play tough and detached with his first girlfriend, a difficult task while suffering the humiliation of coming in six seconds and being told he uses too much tongue when they kiss.

If Baumbach’s scenarios are disturbingly familiar, Miranda July, winner of a special jury prize for originality, uncovers the offbeat in everyday lives in “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” in which sons deal with their parents’ divorce. 14-year-old Peter is a willing judge in the neighborhood girls’ blowjob-giving contest, and 7-year-old Robby gets involved in the funniest cybersex ever committed to celluloid.

While sexual firsts can make for great, comic, cringe-worthy entertainment, there are also unsavory and much more serious possibilities. In Gregg Araki’s haunting “Mysterious Skin,” two boys are sexually abused by their baseball coach. Both flailing to make sense of the experience later in life, one (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) becomes a hustler while the other (Brady Corbet) convinces himself he was abducted by aliens. In order to make sure nothing similar happens to her, the teenage bombshell (Ellen Page) in David Slade’s midnight movie “Hard Candy” orchestrates a sinister revenge plot for the older man she encounters on the Internet.

Even when early sexuality seems sweet, nothing is simple in adolescence. Lou Pucci is astounded when his beautiful girlfriend announces she’s only using him in Mike Mills’ smart coming-of-age tale “Thumbsucker.” A precocious blonde’s sexual sophistication provokes lust, awe and rage in the boys of a southern France town—to horrific results—in Ziad Doueiri’s “Lila Says.” In “Pretty Persuasion,” a satire in which three high school girls accuse their teacher of sexual harassment, nobody is innocent. Ringleader Kimberly (Evan Rachel Wood) uses her sexuality—and her oral sex skills—to manipulate and deceive everyone around her.

While not a movie about teenagers, it seems wrong to leave “Murderball” out of a roundup of sexual firsts. Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro’s film enters the real lives of guys who have been sexually active for a while, but have had to learn how to make love all over again. One of the funniest sequences in this documentary about quadriplegic rugby is where the athletes—manly men who have limited use of all four of their limbs—discuss the wonderful world of quadriplegic sex: the hard-ons they still proudly get, the early awkwardness and experimentation, the positions that work the best, the women that love them (and want them and boink their brains out) all in spite of their disabilities. Suburban teens could learn a lot from the brave, confident, sexy young men in this film.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.