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Odds: Friday – Shut up, M. Night Shyamalan.

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OMG, you mean the village exists in the present day?!There’s already been lots of discussion, much of it smart, about M. Night Shyamalan‘s statements at ShowEast against collapsing windows and the releasing of films simultaneously on DVD and in theaters, about the need to preserve the grand theatrical experience, the great collective hallucination of a film on the glorious large screen. You won’t hear it from us, though — we’re just going to be petty.

Shyamalan trotted out to the exhibitor’s convention to give a speech asking for "zero tolerance" on studios trying for day-and-date releasing, something most of the large chains represented there have already committed to.

First, Shyamalan said, "Story is king. Storytelling is an ancient
art form that has always been told to a group, and the reason is that
we need to see the story through each others’ point of view, like
sitting next to someone whose sense of humor is different than yours.
That’s the way we grow. We can’t disregard the effect we have on each
other when we see a movie. I make them for a room full of 500
strangers, not a singular individual who only has a life experience
like mine. That would be asinine."

Second, he proposed an economic motivation. "I’m out to prove that
not only is it the morally right thing to do, but it’s the financially
right thing to do," he said. "Even if you didn’t go see a film, and I
went and told you about it, you now benefit from my group experience.
Films have to exist in the world in their ideal form before you can
exploit them … (so) if chewing gum with a movie’s logo makes more
money than the movie, don’t get seduced by the chewing gum."

Oh, for fuckssake. Those "the Alfred Hitchcock of our time" comments have surely gone to someone’s head for that someone to wax so eloquent about the art of storytelling when that someone’s every film to date has rested entirely on some cheap-ass final plot twist. If you’re so concerned about the value of this "ancient
art form" then perhaps you could make films with more to them than the equivalent of a narrative jab to the ribs for a finale, Mr. Shyamalan. We clearly love collective moviegoing as much as anyone has, but Shyamalan’s comments, which also cover piracy concerns and various other ostentatious declarations ("Acknowledging that he had benefited from DVDs, he added, ‘‘The Sixth
DVD bought my house. You know what? Take my house,’ a remark
that drew a big cheer from the crowd.") make us a little nauseated. Mostly because we feel that he’s full of self-important shit. But also because the day-and-date release format being championed by 2929 Entertainment and (our employer, so there goes our credibility) Rainbow Media is currently the providence of indie films that would never see the inside of a theater in much of the US — day-and-date is a means of better promoting small films, because the theatrical run serves as further promotion for the DVD/VOD, and marketing can be unified behind the simultaneous release rather than having a limited marketing budget spread over the two dates. We suppose in the end we’re sputtering for nothing as much as Shyamalan is — those theater chains wouldn’t carry indie films anyway.

So, over at the Independent, Nicola Christie talks to Steven Soderbergh about his extremely anti-Shyamalan present:

Soderbergh plans eventually to cut the studios out altogether. This, he says, is what digital technology can unleash. "You’ll see named film-makers self-distributing their own films. That’s where this is going to go. If I can go to the bank and get money to make the movie, and in two to four years’ time the digital changeover has happened in the US and all the theatres are digitally projecting, I’ll just go right to the theatres and make a deal with them. I’m certainly going to pursue that."

Eugene Hernandez at indieWIRE‘s got the list of the 58 countries/films up for the  foreign language film Academy Award.

+ Shyamalan: Day-and-date ‘life or death to me’ (HR)
+ Steven Soderbergh: The director’s cut (Independent)
+ Films From 58 Countries Vying For Oscar Nod (indieWIRE)



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.