Odds: Wednesday – “Brokeback” appeal, Oprah and Ebert.

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"You boys sure found a way to make the time pass up there."There’s much to love about Choire Sicha‘s feature on "Brokeback Mountain" at the New York Observer, first and foremost that it’s written by Choire Sicha, but beyond that, that he takes some issue with the generally accepted truths about the film’s boundary pushing laid out in Anne Thomson‘s Hollywood Reporter column. Sicha:

[T]he eight years it took to make Brokeback suggests something else: Hollywood isn’t leading, it’s lagging. Newsweek, in its Nov. 21 issue, described how Hollywood producers thought playing gay would trash the careers of Mr. Gyllenhaal and Mr. Ledger when they took their parts. Yeah, they’re way ahead of the social curve out there…

If Hollywood’s so damn liberated, well then, what’s everyone so worked up about?

Sicha also points out that the romance and the eroticism of the film are aimed at women ("’Brokeback Mountain’ declares that boy-on-boy is the new girl-on-girl.") and even cites yaoi manga in his attempt to analyze the appeal (to the female population) of Jake and Heath in hot lip lock, which treads into anthropology dissertation territory. We’re seeing the film ourselves next week (woo!), but must confess we have no idea how it’ll be received — our instincts tell us that no one will make a fuss in the face of the glory that is quivering, emoting hotyoungactorflesh, but then there are things like this hilarious Drudge Report "news flash" from last week on the following shocking revelation:

Arriving with nudity and explicit gay sex scenes between two cowboys, UNIVERSAL/FOCUS FILMS’s BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN has quietly become an award season frontrunner, interviews with Academy members reveal.

Our favorite part is less the awesome lateness of the report (Dude, Salon ran a feature on the then-still-in-planning film in January of last year!) than the "quietly," which is just silly.

Elsewhere: Roger Ebert on how he’s responsible for Oprah‘s syndicated television empire:

It begins early one morning in Baltimore, where Gene Siskel and I are scheduled to appear on a morning talk show hosted by a newcomer named Oprah Winfrey. The other guests on the show include a vegetarian chef, and four dwarfs dressed as chipmunks, who will sing "The Chipmunk Christmas Song" while dancing with Hula-Hoops.

Trailer for Terry Gilliam‘s "Tideland" up on its official site. According to festival chatter it was terrible, but we maintain a feeble sense of hope.

At the Washington Post, "Syriana" director Stephen Gaghan takes questions from the crowd.

Anne Thompson points to Matt Welch‘s piece on Reason on the death of the celebrity profile, and weighs in herself ("At last month’s Reuters panel on celebrity and the media, I argued that the well-written celebrity profile had been killed by too-ardent publicity wrangling."), and we’d just like to say, good lord, yes. We’d rather read five thousand words of George Clooney talking about his favorite meatloaf recipes than see yet another near-identical Q&A about meeting him from coffee from a day of his making the rounds pushing his film.

Several people have pointed out Eric Alterman‘s response to Matt Bai‘s New York Times Magazine piece on the death of the Hollywood liberal, and we join in the chorus — it’s sure worth reading.

Also, a new issue of Reverse Shot‘s up. We haven’t had a chance to do more than look over the table of contents yet, but to hell with us, you’ve got David Hudson at Greencine Daily.

+ Chokeback Mountain (NY Observer)
+ Ang Lee’s ‘Brokeback’ explores ‘last frontier’ (Hollywood Reporter)

+ How I gave Oprah her start (RogerEbert.com)
+ Trailer: Tideland (Official site)
+ Movies: "Syriana" (Washington Post)
+ Celebrity profiles (Risky Biz blog)
+ Hollywood homies hammered (MSNBC)
+ Reverse Shot. Autumn 05. (Greencine Daily)


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.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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