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The women of summer.

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It's a little-known fact that one requires superpowers to pull off such fabulous hats.On the heels of the success of "Batman Begins,"  Tanya Gold in the Guardian devotes her DVD player to a weekend’s search for a blockbustery heroine equivalent. And she fails, fails, fails. To be fair, her selection was rather dismal: "Catwoman," "Elektra," "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" and "Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle" are not the stuff to which screenplay or directing awards are given. After watching this hellish marathon, she concludes:

Superwoman can’t have a super relationship or super contentment and the pay-off for her super gift is isolation, loneliness, misanthropy and, eventually, no doubt, super-arthritis.

It’s an amusing read, though we have to wonder if Gold has seen any of the male superhero movies she’s indirectly writing about ("Under their masks, I saw only sickness; under the corsets only high-quality breast augmentation. Batman has won," she closes), because their heroes are as equally moody, lonely, self-hating and taut-stomached. Honestly, no superhero can have a nice home life or a healthy relationship — it would doom the franchise! Directors have to be able to toss the latest starlet/beefcake in there to bring in the kids who want to ogle, and they can either die dramatically or fade from the series and our memory as the credits roll (and before you bring up the "Spider-Man" movies, we all know that by the third one he’s going to be back in romantic angst again, because otherwise, ugh!). The problem with these films is that no one’s figured out what a blockbuster heroine should be like (Hildy Johnson‘s public domain, darlings, pick up a copy and study, work in the martial arts later) — out of the four films mentioned in the article, two of the heroines are essentially grunty comic book men transposed into lingerie-clad hard bodies, broody blank slates on which to project one’s own hopes for any signs of personality; one is a drag queen attempting to channel Eartha Kitt; and the others are retarded puppies in slingbacks. We’ll let you figure out which is which yourselves.

In the Toronto Star,
Peter Howell
looks at the portrayals of women, superhero or not, in this summer’s blockbusters, and finds them lacking if not regressive. He suggests that this is a by-product of Hollywood’s single-minded coveting of the teenage boy demographic. As a quoted gender studies professor points out:

Nora Ephron directed "Bewitched," and she wrote it with her sister Delia, and they did it like a 25-year-old Hollywood male screenwriter who isn’t conscious of what he’s writing. They came up with the same kind of stereotypical roles and images that women are supposed to have in these kinds of Hollywood movies.

Howell also speculates interestingly (though unfoundedly) that it’s women’s lack of interest in this season’s offerings that’s causing the much-discusses box office droop.

+ I need a heroine (Guardian)
+ Women are going backwards (Toronto Star)


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.