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Psssst! The lion is like, Jesus!

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La lion.We’re wary of beating a dead horse here (we prefer them live and trying to run away), but more on two much-discussed issues regarding films opening tomorrow: the gayness of "Brokeback Mountain" and the Christianity(ness) of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe."

First, and we know you’ve been just pining away — our review of "Brokeback," written with Matt Singer. Then to MSNBC, where Dave White has a mildly funny but mostly smug "straight dude’s guide to ‘Brokeback.’" White is gay and apparently gleeful about the image of dozens of straight guys shifting unhappily in their seats after having been dragged to the film by their girlfriends…we suppose this is sort of a refreshing attitude in light of the general self-congratulation in Hollywood on allowing such a film to get made, with its one sex scene and its cuddling and emoting and its shiny awards-worthiness. Anyway, on the topic of said girlfriends, Mackenzie Dawson Parks at the New York Post revisits the bar conversation everyone’s already had and tries to make an article of it: if, like, guys like to watch two girls make out, why don’t girls, you know, like to watch two guys make out? Maybe they do, Parks muses, turning to the quotable public for some much-needed analysis:

"Cowboys are hot," says Alexandra De Toth, a 28-year-old photo editor.

"Jake and Heath as cowboys; even hotter. Jake and Heath as cowboys making out — get the extinguisher!"

To the wardrobe! At the Christian Science Monitor, G. Jeffrey MacDonald scopes out the debate on what type of Christian CS Lewis was, a heated discussion recently renewed by Lewis’ improved stance as a potential posthumous box-office draw:

Laying claim to Lewis’s legacy is serious business in the diverse world of 21st century Christianity. That’s because 42 years after his death, this Irish-born Oxford University instructor still sells books like hotcakes: "Mere Christianity" alone has sold almost 1 million copies since January 2001.

Through a corpus that includes more than 30 books, Lewis explains and popularizes a faith that now nurses painful fractures along political as well as theological lines. Whichever of the competing strains can lay claim to his legacy stands to enjoy the fruits of association with a widely loved giant of Christian faith.

At Salon, Laura Miller take a less angry look at how Christian the Narnia books and their author really are. She cites some interesting points, particularly from a study by scholar John Goldthwaite:

[C]loser to the heart of this critique lies Goldthwaite’s assertion that "whenever a professed Christian feels he must create some wholly other world to explore the meaning of his religion, he is flirting with bad faith. When he fills that world with the make-believes of other religions, he is playing at polytheism. When he further sets sorceresses to rule over it, and werewolves, incubuses and wraiths, he is dabbling in Manichaean dualism, the idea that standing opposed to God’s good creation is another, separate and equal, or nearly equal, creation given over to evil."

Still, we feel like Miller’s stretching for it a little — and regardless, Lewis is way dead. The way we choose to skew his work now is what’s interesting…perhaps too much. From  Stephen Applebaum‘s Independent interview with director Andrew Adamson from a few days back:

But didn’t they hold special presentations, I ask Adamson, at least one
of which he took part in, to assure Christians that Lewis’s vision
would reach the screen intact? (Interestingly, as well as the
soundtrack, a separate CD of music performed entirely by Christian acts
inspired by the Narnia stories has been released.) "We assured a lot of
fans of the book, both faith-based and not," says Adamson, clearly
becoming irritated by the subject.

And John Patterson at the Guardian thinks there aren’t nearly enough religious-entangled films: "If Baptists and
Catholics made movies as bad as the Scientologists’, we might see an
end to religious observance in a matter of weeks."

+ Eat Drink Man Man (IFC News)
+ The straight dude’s guide to ‘Brokeback’ (MSNBC)
+ Christians battle over ‘Narnia’ (CS Monitor)
+ The Jesus symbol, the witch and the wardrobe (Salon)
+ Andrew Adamson: The man bringing Narnia to the big screen (Independent)
+ Cult followings (Guardian)


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.