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Odds: Monday.

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"Did you lose anyone?"Oy. New issues of Midnight Eye and Senses of Cinema are up. We can’t be bothered to break them down today — meet us back here later this week and we’ll talk.

Slate Wars redux: this is getting juicy. Salon‘s Stephanie Zacharek weighs in on the Tim Noah/David Edelstein debate as to whether or not Steven Spielberg’s references to 9/11 in "War of the Worlds" were exploitative, meaningful, or meaningless.

But even though science-fiction is allowed to be, or even expected to be, about larger issues, moviegoers have every right to bristle when a filmmaker uses images of real-life suffering — in this case, images of a tragedy that, for the citizens of New York at least, is still pretty raw — for something so puny as dramatic effect. There’s nothing inherently wrong with invoking 9/11 metaphorically (and many artists have already done so); but using it as a cheap prop, as Spielberg does, makes him clueless at best and callous at worst.

John Patterson in the Guardian wishes "Europeans would stop thinking they can make better movies about America than Americans." Word, John, word. And maybe we could force Lars Von Trier to take a vacation from movie making for a while? Like, a long while? Every kid coming out of film school dragging a DV camera wants to make an overly simplistic critical grand view of America — what makes him think we need to import any at the moment? Particularly self-important slop like…anyway, anyway, what actually sets Patterson off here is Bruno Dumont‘s "Twentynine Palms."

David Carr in the New York Times pays a visit to the set of the explosion of Americana that is Robert Altman/Garrison Keillor production "A Prairie Home Companion," and answers some of the rumors floating around about Paul Thomas Anderson ghost-directing the film:

A thin young man kept popping up on Mr. Altman’s shoulder during shooting recently, offering bits of advice. Paul Thomas Anderson, director and Altman-phile, is ostensibly on the set for insurance purposes; Mr. Altman is 80, so a backup director is part of the package. But he stays keenly involved because, he said, "it is invaluable to spend as much time around Bob as I can." He has no position as to whom the movie belongs to, other than that it is not his.

"Whatever chef is going to take credit for it, it is going to be a very spicy dish that I will be more than happy to dine on," Mr. Anderson said.

A month after her death and Aida Edemariam’s profile in the Guardian, Chris Lee in the LA Times offers a considerably less romanticized look at Domino Harvey, the subject of Tony Scott’s upcoming film:

A mythology grew up that like her mother, Domino was a model and that, unlike her mother, she had turned her back on the glamour of the runway for a fringe existence. But according to several family members and friends, Harvey never worked as a model.

According to Lee, Harvey was not upset about the film, as previously reported: "family and friends say Harvey was delighted with the movie."

And Anne Thompson in the Hollywood Reporter turns to Joss Whedon‘s "Serenity," and the art of marketing a film with a built-in cult fanbase (apparently, you should make good use of your blog).

+ New issue (Midnight Eye)
+ Issue No. 36, Jul-Sept 2005 (Senses of Cinema)
+ "War" skirmish (Salon)
+ The States we’re in (Guardian)
+ Lake Wobegon Goes Hollywood (or Is It Vice Versa?), With a Pretty Good Cast (NY Times)
+ The fall of a thrill hunter (LA Times)
+ Whedon flock ready for ‘Firefly’ resurrection (HR)


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



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.