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Hearts on fire.

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Valentine’s Day — a time to spend with your significant other, or, failing that, to spend sitting at a bar weeping into your drink. We’ve always held it to be a particularly special holiday, as our birthday is tomorrow, and we can sit tight anticipating that some shameless, cheapskate friend will inevitably unload a bunch of leftover, discounted candy on us. In the meantime, we thought we’d reflect on a hurried, scattered selection of some of our favorite painful romantic moments committed to celluloid:

"He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not": Laetitia Colombani‘s directorial debut rest on a film studentish gimmick, but as a counterpart to Jeunet’s charm-oversaturated "Amelie," it’s indispensable. Audrey Tautou once again plays an extra-winsome romance-seeking waif, but two-thirds of the way through, the film turns away from her point of view and she’s revealed as the loony stalker we always knew was hiding under that damn pixie cut. Extra points for the uncomfortable scene where she approaches the object of her affection at a party, but can’t bring herself to do more than gaze at him, wide-eyed and grinning.

"Head-On": Yes, we’re a trifle obsessed, but self-destructive romance in film is so often a function of characters being monstrous or just very fictional — Cahit and Sibel have lives that seem to be constantly spilling out of their grasp, but that also never seem less than genuine. And we love when they pogo around the apartment yelling "Punk! Is! Not! Dead!"

"Lawless Heart": We can’t think of a film as gently wise about the nature of mourning as this understated British gem about a family bobbing about in the wake of a loved one’s death. Of the three stories, it’s Nick’s (Tom Hollander) that’s the most compelling — with his lover, Stuart, gone, he’s left to deal uneasily with Stuart’s not-unsympathetic, but certainly incomprehending family. He stumbles into a friendship with warmhearted, heedless party girl Charlie (Sukie Smith), one complicated by his isolation and grief into something that, in one heartbreaking scene, he mistakes for romance.

"Manon des Sources": It’s been a while since we’ve watched Claude Berri‘s two-part epic of multigenerational vengeance out in the picturesque French countryside, but the image of Daniel Auteuil‘s Ugolin sewing Emmanuelle Béart‘s ribbon to his chest hasn’t faded. Ouch.

"Point Break": Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze tussle in the surf on Bells Beach. "Vaya con Dios." "Kiss! Kiss!" the audience yells. But…they never do.

"Shallow Grave": The trio of friends Danny Boyle trails to destruction in his first film are all horrible human beings, but the flirtation between Kerry Fox‘s Juliet and Ewan McGregor‘s Alex, which flutters between jealousy, jockeying for power, sadism and, possibly, real feeling, comes to a head in what, if you look at it the right way, you could call a  supremely memorable consummation. Romantic!

Elsewhere: Kim Adelman at the San Francisco Chronicle picks her ten favorite bedroom scenes, while Kevin Maher in the London Times writes about David Lean‘s 1945 "Brief Encounter" and argues that romantic films are always better when consummation occurs off-screen (or not at all):

Romantic movies all have the same dramatic motor: the overcoming of obstacles on the path to love. With speedy consummation of passion now more acceptable both in society and on screen, modern films have a problem: how can they keep their love-struck protagonists as far apart as possible?

And if you’ve ever wondered which films Film Threat‘s Chris Gore finds romantic, today is your day.

+ Mattress Dancing (SF Chronicle)
+ Darling, please. Not in front of the cameras (London Times)


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.