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DID YOU READ

You’re Never Too Old…

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By Andrea Meyer
IFC News

When the newly widowed Mrs. Henderson remarks that she’s bored to tears, her lunch guest Lady Conway suggests taking a lover. “I’m nearly 70,” Mrs. Henderson protests. “But you’re rich,” counters her cheeky friend. “The two cancel each other out.”

Unconvinced, Mrs. Henderson settles for the next best thing: a hobby. After dabbling in charity (it’s a yawn) and needlepoint (a snooze), Mrs. Henderson does what any rich, energetic, old broad (with a splash of the visionary in her) would do. She buys the out-of-use Windmill Theater and sets out to revolutionize the London stage by putting on a vaudeville in which women appear stark naked.

Stephen Frears’ deliciously snappy “Mrs. Henderson Presents” (in theaters December 9), stars Dame Judi Dench as the real-life theater maven and Bob Hoskins as Vivian Van Damm, the man she hires to run the place. Hot, nasty sparks crackle between this odd couple — so much so that Van Damm initially turns the job down, until the smooth Mrs. Henderson bribes him with total creative freedom, an offer no producer can refuse — even if it means having a ball-breaker in floor-length mink as a boss.

After a few rounds sparring with this stout, brassy younger man, Mrs. Henderson realizes she’s in love with him. While he’s married to another woman and their connection goes largely unacknowledged and unconsummated, the affair is invaluable. It awakens Mrs. Henderson to her sexuality, which she had taken for dead along with her husband and makes the young flesh onstage more alluring. The glowing grand dame teases the dancers about their love lives, even setting her favorite up on a date with a soldier, and in one oddly moving sequence dances suggestively in the flamboyant solitude of her room.

Mrs. Henderson is not the first cinematic woman of a certain age to feel sex sneaking up to bite her on a sagging buttock. In the extraordinary love story “Fear Eats the Soul” (1974), director Rainer Maria Fassbinder borrows heavily from Douglas Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows”(1955), in which a widow falls in love with a much younger gardener played by Rock Hudson, to the horror of her friends and family. Fassbinder updated Sirk’s story of an affair that suffers under disapproving eyes, by moving it to 1970s Munich, where a sixty-year-old charwoman first swoons at the taut, brown bod of a young Moroccan immigrant, then marries him. Fassbinder upped the ante by throwing race into an already bitter brew of age and class discrimination (an idea that was taken up again by Todd Haynes in his 2002 retelling “Far From Heaven,” in which Julianne Moore’s well-behaved housewife with a gay husband falls for a black gardener).

In Brad Anderson’s wonderfully wistfully romantic “Next Stop Wonderland,” depressed, just-dumped Erin’s (Hope Davis) existential gloom is thrown into relief by her mother (Holland Taylor), a classy, hot-blooded jetsetter who refuses to let her beloved husband’s death get in the way of her sex life. While Erin attempts to find herself, her mom runs a personal ad for her daughter and proceeds to bed one hot young thang after another in swank hotel rooms from New York to Par-ee.

It doesn’t take a dead husband to kill a sex life. As muscles shrivel and boobs sag, so the libido and lust for life can take a dive, leaving some older couples in a sexual wasteland that requires something drastic to recharge. In Ron Howard’s sci-fi heartwarmer “Cocoon” (1985), Joe (Hume Cronyn) and Alma (Jessica Tandy) still love each other but don’t do a whole lot of bonking. When aliens move pods into the swimming pool where Joe and his retirement community buddies swim, they soon realize that a dip with the pods has a rejuvenating effect. As fast as you can say “first erection in decades,” Joe’s got Alma taking the plunge, too. Unfortunately, he gets so randy he’s not only doing it with his wife, but he’s making the moves on all the other grannies in town — and Alma’s wishing they could return to the days of hot cocoa, Lawrence Welk and a peck on the cheek before lights out.

The most celebrated — and sexual — of the cinematic over-the-hill crowd has got to be Maude, the sassy eponymous heroine of Hal Ashby’s cult black comedy “Harold and Maude” (1971), about a repressed, death-obsessed teenager (Bud Cort) who falls for an exuberant octogenarian played by Ruth Gordon. Maude has the morbid loner falling madly in love with life, by introducing him to its many delights, including those of the flesh. Needless to say, Harold’s family goes ballistic, but the boy walks away with one hell of a notch in his bedpost. Nothing like an experienced, older woman to make a guy realize that life is a beautiful thing.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.