Secret homophobia, liberal guilt: It’s the Oscars!

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Goin' fishin'.
How important are these so-called "Winter Olympics" anyway? Could anything, even 80+ years of international winter sporting tradition, possible justify dragging Oscars discussions on for so goddamn unbearably long?!

Sorry. Excuse us a second while we scrub the glaze off our eyes.

So…"Brokeback." Johnny Diaz at the Boston Globe talks to the two Emerson students who made "Brokeback to the Future." And then there’s the New Yorker cover (a wag at Gothamist drawls that "’Brokeback Mountain’ references are soooo 2005"). John Patterson at the Guardian observes, semi-seriously, that "it warms the heart to note that these are officially the Gayest Oscars Ever":

"Brokeback Mountain" really is the movie of the cultural moment, and gay cowboys are an irresistible metaphor for the state of gayness in the US. Religious right leaders decided not to dignify it with a boycott, aiming instead to let it rot in the multiplexes. It wouldn’t have made a whit of difference – most Americans have passed their sort by. "Brokeback Mountain"’s broad-based acceptance proves it, and in this instance Hollywood is far closer to the mainstream than the media gives it credit for.

LA Times columnist Al Martinez presents a kind of average Joe, "I winced a few times but hey! young people like it, and that’s great" look at the film, while Tom O’Neil at the LA Times‘ Envelope hints darkly, and somewhat oddly, at a possibly homophobia-based "Brokeback" backlash amongst Academy voters:

The academy is comprised mostly of straight white guys with white hair
who know it’s intolerable to bash gays in lavender-friendly, liberal
Hollywood. But I really don’t think it’s that in any large way.
Instead, I think it’s the same frustration non-Jews feel when there’s a
glut of Holocaust films leading the Oscar pack in Jewish-friendly
Hollywood. They want to exclaim, "Enough already with the Holocaust
films!" This time I suspect many straight Hollywooders — who are
totally cool with gay people in general — are fighting the urge to
shriek, "Enough already with the gay persecution films!"

Peter Howell at the Toronto Star ponders the same issue:

[I]n all the discussion, I have yet to see anyone asking whether the movie represents a genuine shift in public attitudes towards homosexual unions, or whether it’s just another passing fad.

Part of me thinks it may prove to be the latter, because the reaction by supposedly liberal Hollywood towards the movie has been oddly conservative, almost to the point of Red State redneckery. There have been little whispers throughout the Oscar campaign that many older Academy members not only aren’t going to vote for Brokeback, they can’t even bring themselves to watch the damn thing, even though they’ve all received personal DVD copies of it.

Andrew O’Hehir at Salon announces his own prize: the "Liberal Guilt Awards, otherwise known as the Guilties." Ah, Salon and its long tradition of acting unbearably snide towards the Oscars — as if the awards were ever anything but bloated and self-congratulatory. But O’Hehir’s piece is a very funny read, particularly when he gets to clear winner "Crash": "I had high hopes for that scene when it appeared they might have to
shoot Sandra Bullock‘s eterna-whiny rich-bitch character. After that,
it was all downhill."

The New York TimesDave Carr points out the truth about the "indie Oscars": "Sunday at the Oscars, directors, actors and producers from a handful of small films will pick up the majority of the big awards. The winners will talk about courage, about independence, about the women and men who were willing to step forward and triumph over the big Hollywood machine. So they will be sticking it to the man. Except, of course, they are the man." He doesn’t think that we’re in a new age of Important Indie Films, more that we’re entering the era of the Niche Film, and that that’s what the studios will have to figure out a business model around.

David Thompson at the LA Times thinks that the Oscars need more than Jon Stewart to connect to the kids these days: he’s cut sound, costume and art direction, song, the shorts, the docs and the foreign films, and push technical achievement and promotional campaigns. Oof.

Sharon Krum at the Guardian writes about the "Queen Kong" billboard on Sunset and Cahuenga, which lists the disturbing statistics that "Women directed only 7% of the top 200 films of 2005. No woman has ever won the best-director Oscar. Only three have been nominated."

At the Observer, Paul Harris tries to explain Jon Stewart to the British, while Emma Forrest has an interesting, if frustrating piece on the "Paradise Now" situation: she brings up some worthy points about the film’s aestheticizing of its lead potential bomber while also presenting what seems to us to be a clear personal bias under the guise of a straight news report.

And, given how punch-drunk we’re feeling at the moment, we can’t find it in us to say more about Kim Voynar‘s Oscar predictions at Cinematical than: Inspired!

+ For ‘Future,’ Emerson students parody until the wee hours (Boston Globe)
+ The pink vote (Guardian)
+ A molehill to a ‘Mountain’ (LA Times)
+ Is secret homophobia fueling a possible ‘Crash’ upset? (LA Times)
+ Howell: Willie singing a different tune (Toronto Star)
+ Introducing the Guilties! (Salon)
+ The Big Man Still Reigns in Hollywood (NY Times)
+ Oscar needs a high-tech remake (LA Times)
+ Beware! Queen Kong is coming (Guardian)
+ The Oscar for best satirist goes to… (Observer)
+ Suicide bomb film set to shake Oscars (Observer)
+ Cinematical Oscar Predictions: Pin the Oscar on the Donkey (Cinematical)


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.