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Oscars and BAFTAs and Bears

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Outstanding British Film of the Year?
Oh my.

Oscars: The highlight we’d pick from the deluge of Oscar features this weekend is unquestionably Jacques Steinberg‘s New York Times piece on the tough time Jon Stewart and his loyal band of writers should be having with Stewart’s Oscar-hosting gig — everyone gets their quip in.

Somehow, Mr. Stewart and his writers must be arch enough to bring along
the 1.4 million viewers who lap up "The Daily Show" each night on
Comedy Central, while being broad enough to win over perhaps 40 million
other people who typically watch the Oscars but may never have seen
"This Week in God," a sendup of religion that is a "Daily Show" staple.

"We’re hoping to disappoint fans of ‘The Daily Show’ and similarly
disappoint new fans who had no idea who Jon was," [Ben] Karlin, now
executive producer of both the Stewart and Colbert shows, said in an

Also in the New York Times, Terrence Rafferty praises Robert Altman while explaining why the honorary Oscar he’ll be getting this year will be his first.

A squib in the New York Post confirms that, rather than casting off lesser nominees to receive their awards in the aisles, producer Gil Cates will have nominees move up to specially reserved seats in the third and forth rows just before each award, a system not unlike the one implemented by Mrs. Langenberg at the piano recitals of our youth, except (probably) with fewer botched renditions of "The Entertainer."

At the LA TimesOscar Beat, Steve Pond takes a closer look at this year’s elusive nominated shorts: animation, live action, and documentary.

Xeni Jardin at Wired News reports on the Sci-Tech Awards, while Caryn James tackles the best foreign film nominees in a decent piece that doesn’t attempt, for once, any strained trend analysis beyond "In this year of politically themed best-picture contenders like ‘Munich’ and ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ the foreign films have a similar urgency." Maria Elena Fernandez at the LA Times chats up reality show producers for ideas on how to make the Oscar broadcast more interesting.

And Roger Ebert goes live with his Oscar predictions.


BAFTAs: British Academy Film Award winners are here. Meh. We don’t think "Brokeback Mountain" winning over "Crash" signifies anything — Haggis‘ film doesn’t have nearly the same critical following in the UK that it does here. And odd but satisfying to see "Wallace & Gromit: Curse Of The Were-Rabbit" be named Outstanding British Film of the Year over "A Cock and Bull Story" and "The Constant Gardener" — as if the award were a measure of a film’s sheer Britishness, and "Wallace & Gromit"’s Plasticine sweater vests and tea cozies carried the day over even period-perfect non-empire waist gowns. At the Guardian‘s Culture Vulture blog, Xan Brooks runs down the lessons he learned at the BAFTAs this year.

Bears: At the close of Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Bear went to Jasmila Zbanic‘s "Grbavica" (Eugene Hernandez at indieWIRE has the complete list of award-winners), while over at Greencine Daily, David D’Arcy writes that:

Although it only won a second prize at the Berlinale, a Silver Bear for direction, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross‘s new film certainly won the exposure award. As soon as "The Road to Guantanamo" screened in the Competition, the film and its emphasis on the fact that some 500 prisoners are still held at Guantanamo without charges were all over the media.

BBC reports today "The Road to Guantanamo"’s actors were stopped and harassed at the Luton airport on their way back from the festival: "One of the actors, Rizwan Ahmed, said a police officer asked him if he intended to make any more ‘political’ films."

+ A First-Time Oscar Host in Search of That Fine Line (NY Times)
+ Robert Altman’s Long Goodbye (NY Times)
+ Spotlight on the shorts, part one: animation (LA Times)
+ Spotlight on the shorts, part two: live action (LA Times)
+ Spotlight on the shorts, part three: documentary (LA Times)
+ Gizmos Trump Gowns at Nerd Oscars (Wired News)
+ Five Oscar Nominees: Foreign, Not Alien (NY Times)
+ Let’s add some dirt to all the glitter (LA Times)
+ Ebert’s Oscar predictions (
+ Reflections on the Baftas (Guardian)
+ "Grbavica" Wins Golden Bear At 2006 Berlinale (indieWIRE)
+ Berlin Dispatch. 12. (Greencine Daily)
+ Guantanamo actors held at airport (BBC)


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.