Post-Toronto days.

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"Two medical emergencies the very first screening!"The Toronto wrap-ups are rolling in — a few selections:

Roger Ebert:

Although the Toronto Film Festival lacks an official competition, lots of awards are handed out on closing day. As they were announced Saturday, I felt like I was standing on the pier waving sadly as the ship sailed. Although I saw 43 of this year’s films, either here or at Telluride, Cannes or Sundance, I managed for the first time to get through the entire festival without having seen a single film that won a prize.

David Poland (who also picks his top twenty from the festival here):

I saw four unmitigated disasters this year at TIFF. (I didn’t catch "Tideland," so I remain hopeful.)

All four of the car wrecks were high profile. Part of that is because everything ugly is uglier under a microscope, and part of it is that I’m not real interested in shredding small, helpless indie films whose birth already left enough marks for the filmmakers. Still, the most disastrous directing debut of the festival was that of Stephen J. Mavilla, whose pre-show "no cameras/no cell phones" piece for Motorola was universally despised, marking the fastest rise and fall of a career in movie history, not just TIFF’s history. You shouldn’t have put your name all over that thing, Steve. So change your name or start writing documentary grant applications.

If you’re wondering, his disasters picks are: "Mrs. Harris," with Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening; "Elizabethtown" (nothing but bad buzz about that one — heh, Cameron Crowe!); "Edison" (Justin Timberlake‘s acting debut); and "Revolver" (Raising the question: when would you call time of death on Guy Ritchie‘s career? Now, or around "Swept Away"? Or when he married Madonna? You burned bright, Mr. Ritchie.). Also, you can watch Mavilla’s piece here.

(Also, baaaad buzz for "Tideland" (sniff!). At a screening the other day we heard someone refer to it as "career suicide for Gilliam.")

Sharon Waxman on the new film investors:

[Several of the big studio acquisitions] are "independent" in the most basic sense: paid for by these individuals and a few other investors who believed in the material. And if Hollywood has expressed skepticism about the affluent neophytes who have entered the business in the past few years – mainly Internet, retail and trust-fund tycoons – this, their first real crop of movies entering the marketplace, may indicate that they have a future in the industry.

Patrick Goldstein on SPC’s old-school biz style:

In an era when most studio films vanish from multiplexes in a matter of weeks, Sony Classics will patiently work a film for months to find a broader audience. "Triplets of Belleville," which was released in November 2003, was still in theaters on July 4, 2004. "That’s our mantra," says Barker. "The longer you keep a film in the theaters, the more value it’ll have down the line."

Eli Roth (who directed "Cabin Fever"), writing to Empire about screening his latest gory horror (gorror?) flick "Hostel" at the festival:

At the first screening…we had not one, but TWO medical emergencies. One guy left
in the middle because he was so distraught and dizzy, and he passed out
and fell down the escalator outside the theater! Paramedics were called
and, luckily, the guy was fine, although if he had died it would have
been a better story.

About 15 minutes later, a woman flees the theater thinking that the film’s
giving her a heart attack! She’s having chest pains – so the festival
people called the paramedics again!!! Turns out she was fine, too. Oh
well, serves ’em right for leaving in the middle!

Tim Robey of the Telegraph on falling for an unexpected film:

[T]here’s no way of summarising [Curtis Hanson‘s] "In Her Shoes" without making it sound like bog-standard chick-flick mush, but it really isn’t.

Hanson has always been a skilled actor’s director…and this movie really is the reinvention of Cameron Diaz. She isn’t afraid to make Maggie a total hair-flicking pain even past the point when the film strictly needs her to be, but we always know there’s something in the character worth redeeming. [Shirley] MacLaine, who has done little but chew scenery for the past decade, reins it all back in to give us a lovely, contained supporting turn.

But even so, it’s [Toni] Collette‘s film, all the way. Rose is more sympathetic than a dozen Bridget Joneses, and this sublime actress – so good at romantic frustration, welling emotion, and outbursts of giggly euphoria – is the reason why.

We dunno about you, but we’re feeling positively positive about film again, possibly because we saw "L’Enfant" this morning, but mostly because of all the good words reaching us from TIFF. ’bout damn time.

+ Toronto #8: The winners (RogerEbert.com)
+ TORONTO WRAP UP (The Hot Button)
+ TORONTO WRAP UP. PART 2 (The Hot Button)
+ And the Film Deal Goes to . . . an Outsider (NY Times)
+ Savvy kings of the art house (LA Times)
+ Hostel Causes Hospitalisation (Empire)
+ Toronto Film Festival: when feelgood is actually very good (Telegraph)



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.