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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)


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.