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The New York Times Magazine goes to the movies, war.

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"Too much has happened. Someone's got to be hurt. The only question is who."Maybe it’s that we’ve never been big on the war movies, or maybe it’s just general malaise due to our having had to wrestle with the computer all day, but we’re at a big of a loss with what to say about the New York Times Magazine‘s Hollywood Goes to War! issue.

Or maybe that’s just because the issue itself is steeped in a sense of malaise. From Matt Bai‘s glum assessment of the fading power of Hollywood to Lynn Hirschberg‘s interview with the solidly practical Terry Press ("Today audiences want to be transported. But it’s tricky: audiences want
happy endings, but they won’t buy a fake happy ending. Audiences have
become cynical."), there’s a general sense of disillusionment — such are our times, we suppose. Honestly, what the hell is a modern war movie supposed to look like? "Jarhead"? As OIB Peter Sarsgaard puts it in Hirschberg‘s interview with him, "The fantasy of who a marine thinks he is is what I am interested in," which seems to be the recent, prevailing obsession we’re coming to grips with. It’s certainly never been a revelation that, in war and in all other things, self-image can be a striking contrast with reality, but, as Manohla Dargis points out in her essay, it’s the inherent paradox between our filmic portrayal of war and the often simplistic messaging behind it that we’ve yet to settle.

American movies give us the dangers of war, but only the cheaper ones ("Rambo," ad nauseam) readily admit to its pleasures. The problem for movies about Vietnam, like Oliver Stone‘s "Platoon" and Brian De Palma‘s "Casualties of War," is that movie violence is so irresistibly cinematic. These films try to draw a line between the soldier who kills because it’s his job and the soldier who kills because the war has brought out something wrong in his head, heart and soul, like the satisfaction of the kill. We are urged to love the warriors but not their war – and yet the truth is, we love the violence too. Steeped in pain, such films preach the horrors of combat even as the filmmaking solicits us to thrill to its spectacle; even the most heartfelt objection to war, it seems, is no match for a vicarious blast of napalm and a fountain of blood.

No such thing as an antiwar film indeed. We also feel we should point out Susan DominusHenry Rollins-on-USO-tour interview, because, you know. And it’s v. strange.

At the Guardian, John Patterson takes issue with "Jarhead" and its mash-up nature when it comes to the war films that predated it. A similar issue:

Judging by "Jarhead," the American war movie isn’t growing up much, but it is adapting to the times. Once upon a time, back in the Good War and after, it was John Wayne, lock-and-load, no doubts, no blood, and lashings of the Andrews Sisters. Then came Vietnam, fought on the myths those earlier movies promulgated, and everything went all "frag the lieutenant!", ears for souvenirs, the smell of napalm in the morning, and nothing but blood and doubt, all pumped up by Creedence and Stax. Everything was green and brown, an iconography of jungle and rice paddy, monsoon and mosquitoes. Of course, before Americans saw all this in the movies, they had to watch it on the news every night for a decade.

David Thomson at the Independent argues that there is an American war film of true complexity: Stanley Kubrick‘s "Paths of Glory."

In fact, I think even in 1957 and certainly now, there is an audacious
stylistic contrast between the wretched careerism of the officers and
the implacable panache of the way it is shot. This is a great work of
satire in which Kubrick’s camera is as chillingly controlled as the
prose style of Jonathan Swift.

+ The Movie Issue (NY Times Magazine)
+ Phoney war movie (Guardian)
+ Who doesn’t like a man in a uniform? Kubrick, for a start (Independent)


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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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.