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Dickens and Capote.

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Roger Ebert has been sweating to establish himself as "Crash"‘s head cheerleader, but his latest missive, which claims the film is in the tradition of Charles Dickens, has been raising eyebrows and "for fucksake!"s all over the internet. At the Reverse Blog, cnw calls it "the worst attempt at a logical argument this side of a Pulitzer Prize: ‘Dickensian narratives are contrived and caricature-laden; ‘Crash’ is contrived and caricature-laden; ergo, ‘Crash’ is Dickensian!’ (Note to Roger Ebert: Just because ‘Gangs of New York’ was overlong and narratively incoherent, no one went around calling it Proustian)."

Dave Carr at the New York TimesCarpetbagger blog runs with Ebert’s argument that "Crash," like Dickens, was created to effect social change: "[A]pparently if ‘Crash’ lands with any impact, it should lead to fundamental changes in Los Angeles laws, including outlawing driving, racism and creaky plot points."

We hate to harp on this damn film…oh, we don’t, really, so we’re going to strum away for a sec. Ebert is "Crash"’s biggest fan, and even he has to acknowledge the film’s lousy characterizations and inept narrative? Even if we could believe that Paul Haggis‘ film was really made with grand intents to, oh, we dunno, remind people that they’re racist, rather than just being a lazy, smug swipe at an awards-friendly hot-button topic, that doesn’t excuse the film itself. The reason we still read Dickens is that he was a great storyteller — we don’t know what the hell we’d call Haggis.

While we’re on the literary bent, Bryan Appleyard at the London Times recounts the mythology of Truman Capote and the impact "In Cold Blood" had on America and journalism, along with the odd, excellent anecdote:

I have always remembered one story about him, which I hope is true. At the height of his fame, a lady spotted him in a restaurant, rushed over and asked him to autograph her breast. Capote did so. Her husband, incensed, strode over, took out his penis and suggested Capote might like to autograph that too.

"Well," responded Capote, "perhaps I could initial it…"

David Thompson at the Independent uses Capote and "Capote" to launch into an essay on how "most writers are quietly ashamed of the persistence with which the movies have struggled to present authors as heroes," ending with the suggestion that even Bennett Miller‘s rather unflattering portrait has a touch of this:

"Capote" wants to suggest that Truman was so horrified by his own treachery towards the Holcomb killers that he never recovered. I wonder if he ever noticed. He lived on, a gratified celebrity, and there were others he would betray before he slept.

And at the Guardian, John Patterson goes from "In Cold Blood" to rounding up the best of the British crime fiction it inspired.

+ ‘Crash’ owes a debt to Dickens (
+ Great Expectations (Reverse Blog)
+ The Little Dickens (NY Times)
+ The Truman show (London Times)
+ What lesson did Truman teach us? You should never trust a writer… (Independent)
+ Blood type matches (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.