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DID YOU READ

Odds: Thursday – “Unfinished Life,” “Katrina: The Movie”?

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"Rawr, rawr, rawr...no one understands you, she-bear!"It’s hardly worth the time to pick on Lasse Hallström‘s "An Unfinished Life," probably the most glossy and expensive of the films Miramax has dumped this summer. But we did anyway: see our review of the film here.

Over at MSNBC‘s gossip column "The Scoop," Jeannette Walls claims that, according to an unnamed source,  Michael Moore is "seriously considering" making a documentary on Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath.

Also at MSNBC, Erik Lundegaard has a rather great, if quietly seething piece on how Hollywood portrayed terrorism before 9/11:

Watching these movies, in fact, one wonders all over again about right-wing attacks on Hollywood. These movies encourage patriotism, faith in our leaders and an-eye-for-an-eye. They encourage a simple absolutist view of the world. There are good guys and bad guys and never the twain shall meet. The hero is always right, and the people who disagree with the hero are always wrong, and if the hero needs to — and he usually does — he can go it alone. Sometimes the hero is the President of the United States. Sometimes he wears a flight suit. Sometimes he says tough things like "Get off my plane!" I know: It’s all so anti-Republican.

On that note, Bruce Schneier at Wired News suggests that homeland security is hampered by the fact that they seem to think of terrorism only along the lines of movie plots.

In the New York Times, Dinitia Smith talks to reclusive author S. E. Hinton, who wrote "The Outsiders" at age 17 and who consented to the interview only to promote Warner’s release of a recut version of Francis Ford Coppola‘s (terrible…oh, you know it’s true, don’t be so sentimental) 1983 film version of the novel.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Coppola said he recut "The Outsiders" to be truer to the book, and retitled the new version "The Outsiders: The Complete Novel."

In the original film, Mr. Coppola went quickly to the main action at the drive-in, but he has restored an early scene in which the Greaser characters are introduced one by one as they are set upon by Socs. "Very often the solution is to get to the second reel fast," he said.

Mr. Coppola also restored a scene in which Sodapop comforts his brother, Ponyboy, in bed. It was cut because, though innocent, early audiences snickered.

Nancy Mills at the New York Daily News talks to Elijah Wood about his hopes that his upcoming roles as an angry hobbit in "Green Street Hooligans" and a pensive, Jewish hobbit in "Everything is Illuminated" will lead to his getting beyond the role of Frodo Baggins.

And, in the most awesome piece of the day, former baseball player Jose Canseco has hired a manager to make…him…a…movie star! When we were mini, we (and everyone other kid in the East Bay) got Jose Canseco to autograph a softball (it was all we had, we weren’t so sporty) for us, because, if we recall, it was part of a community service requirement in order for him to avoid jail time for some incident. Lots of great quotes in the piece. Two of our favorites:

Here’s how the pitch sounds. "I’m only 41 and in great shape for my
age," Canseco said. "I don’t think I’ve lost a beat at all. Because of
my physique and my look … I fit in the natural action-hero role."

Canseco already has a little experience in front of the camera,
having appeared in VH1’s celebrity-driven reality show "The Surreal
Life."
But the demo tape is helping. "I think there is strong potential
for his future in this business," said Pamela Shae, senior vice
president of talent and casting for Spelling Television Inc. "He seems
very committed to this next chapter in his life. I truly feel that
[casting him] is something I want to entertain. I was very, very
excited to meet him."

+ Bearly there: Lasse Hallstrom’s "An Unfinished Life" (IFC News)
+ Will Moore turn Katrina into film? (MSNBC)
+ "Saddam Hussein is bombing us!" (MSNBC)
+ Terrorists Don’t Do Movie Plots (Wired News)
+ An Outsider, Out of the Shadows (NY Times)
+ Kicking the Hobbit (NY Daily News)
+ Taking some mighty swings (LA Times)

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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.