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Halliwell’s Top 1000.

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One of the most popular sports among film buffs is compiling the definitive list of greatest hits, an activity that reveals rather more about a person than they might care to admit. For a critic it’s like being asked how much you are paid. People’s eyes glaze over at your
brilliant and utterly obscure choices. They wince at your passionate case for "Withnail & I." And they are horrified that you haven’t seen "Once Upon a Time in the West." Mostly they wonder how on earth you got the job.

That would be James Christopher in the London Times on "Halliwell’s Top 1000," hitting shelves June 13 (in the UK at least, no word on the US though you can order it online) — and that would be top 1000 films of all times, yes. As you may know, we loathe magazine stunt lists, but this hardly falls in that category. Compiled by John Walker, "Halliwell’s" is a smart, obsessive cinephile’s dream, ballsy enough to feel no need to include a movie made in the last twenty-five years in its top ten (unless you count "The Godfather Trilogy"’s final segment, but we don’t). The ten:

1. Tokyo Story
Japan, 1953, Yasujiro Ozu

2. La Règle du Jeu
France, 1939, Jean Renoir

3. Lawrence of Arabia
GB, 1962, David Lean

4. The Godfather Trilogy
US, 1972, 1974, 1990, Francis Ford Coppola

5. The Seven Samurai
Japan, 1954, Akira Kurosawa

6. Citizen Kane
US, 1941, Orson Welles

7. Raging Bull
US, 1980, Martin Scorsese

8. Vertigo
US, 1958, Alfred Hitchcock

9. Some Like It Hot
US, 1959, Billy Wilder

10. 8½
Italy, 1963, Federico Fellini

Ozu! Ozu! ♥! And kicking "Citizen Kane" down to sixth place when it’s been the boring, de facto answer for top film for ages. The only inclusion we find fault with is "Some Like It Hot," which we’ve never been that fond of, and which has become the kind of comedy version of "Citizen Kane," occupying undeservingly high spots on top tens and such because it’s a safe comedy title (and comedy is so much more subjective than drama).

As with all lists, "Halliwell’s" is clearly intended to spark debate. What we love is that by picking an undeniably excellent but fairly obscure Japanese film for number one, Walker has ensured the only people who’ll be interested in debating this list are twitchy, passionate film types. Because we wouldn’t want to hear from anyone else.

To confirm this, Walker himself has an article, also in the Times, in which he defends his choices, pointing out that:

Writing about critics’ reactions to the TV soap-opera "Crossroads," the 1970s epitome of wobbly sets and wobblier acting, an academic researcher claimed that it was wrong to take no account of the feelings of viewers. Apply that to the cinema and the greatest movie would probably be "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith," closely followed by "Titanic" and the other five "Star Wars" films (the original trilogy can be found at No 70).

This variance may result from most audiences’ limited experience of film. They go regularly from their teens, stop in their late twenties and tend to think that cinema begins and ends with their own immediate experience.

This is snobby, but lists are all about being snobby. What infuriates us about the group lists done by magazines are that they pander to ideas about what movies deserve spots on lists (without thinking about why) and also insert controversial choices just to get attention.

The Times has the top 100 according to Halliwell. For the record, the most recent five entries in the top 100 are "Toy Story" (#25), the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (#30), "Breaking the Waves" (#39), "Gosford Park" (#71) and "Fargo" (#88). The oldest in the entire list is 1915’s "Birth of a Nation" (#232).

+ The best film ever? (Times)
+ Halliwell’s best movies 1-100 (Times)
+ The movies you must see before you die (Times)



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


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…


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.


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


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