DID YOU READ

Movies for book people, books for movie people.

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Flora Cross.As Time magazine’s arts crew points out, "tis the season when Hollywood gets literate." This prompts them to launch into a blow by blow comparison of the major literary adaptations vying for awards and box office dollars this year, and whether or not they live up to their generally beloved source books. If you’re wondering, they say "Brokeback Mountain" the short story was better, and we’d agree — of course, it’s one of the best short stories we’ve ever read. They also like "The Ice Harvest," the novel and "The Ice Harvest," the film equally well. We’re a little intrigued by the book, despite mixed feelings on the film — also, Terry Armour at the Chicago Tribune reports that, for all the film’s general bleakness, its ending isn’t nearly as dark as the book’s:

"The novel ended even more darkly than the film and the original script did," [Harold] Ramis said. "Everyone who ever looked at the original script–even Scott Phillips and the screenwriters [Richard Russo and Robert Benton]–said, `Gee, can it be so bleak at the end and have any commercial life?’"

On the topic of two other high-profile (though ultimately not-so-successful) literary adaptations, James Mottram at the Independent holds up "Bee Season" and "Where the Truth Lies" as prime examples of what can go wrong when successful indie types head over to Hollywood, though both films he addresses are technically indie. Mottram oddly ignores the whole adaptation angle, which is the basis of why "Bee Season" got made, passing up a prime chance to remind the world of "Where the Truth Lies" author Rupert Holmes‘ previous songwriting career. Really, then, why even bother?

Pat H. Broeske at the New York Times reports on Lasse Hallström‘s "The Hoax," about Howard Hughes’ supposed biographer Clifford Irving, whose book turned out to be a complete fabrication:

Mr. Irving is already complaining that the film takes so many creative liberties, that it will be "a hoax about a hoax."

Also at the Times, Broeske revisits the claims of Melvin Dummar, the Utah gas station operator who allegedly once found a solitary Hughes lying near the side of the road in the Nevada desert. After Hughes’ death, a handwritten will was discovered at the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In it, "Melvin DuMar" is left one-sixteenth of Hughes’ estate. The will was ruled a forgery, but Broeske writes that Gary Magnesen, a former FBI agent, has just published a book supporting Dummar’s story.

Once more at the Times, Dana Stevens has an interesting piece in which she reviews two books about black actors working during the period when the only roles open to them were terrible caricatures (this seems to be the issue haunting us today): Jill Watts’ "Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood," about  the actress best known for the role of Mammy in "Gone With the Wind"; and Mel Watkins "Stepin Fetchit : The Life and Times of Lincoln Perry," about the vaudeville and early talkies actor who created the controversial character he named after a racehorse.

And at the Hollywood Reporter, Gregory McNamee digs up some of the good gossip in "Live Fast, Die Young : The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause," which, authored by two Us Magazine vets, appears to have plenty. Hoooo, yes.

+ Books Vs. Movies (Time)
+ Inside an ‘Ice Harvest’ secret (Chicago Tribune)
+ Why some indie directors fall on their faces in Hollywood (Independent)
+ Based on an Untrue Story (NY Times)
+ Melvin and Howard and Now Gary (NY Times)
+ Caricature Acting (NY Times)
+ Live Fast, Die Young (Hollywood Reporter)

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.