DID YOU READ

It is bitter — bitter/But I like it/Because it is bitter.

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Art is a what, you say?Oscar reactions:

David Carr at the New York TimesCarpetbagger blog:

The Bagger sensed he might be onto something while working the red carpet at the Independent Spirit Awards. James Schamus, the head of Focus Films, which put out "Brokeback" and ran a vigorous campaign behind it, chided him on camera for crushing on "Crash." But after the camera dimmed, Mr. Schamus leaned in and said, "I think you’re right."

Roger Ebert (who may well be delirious from his "Crash" championing triumph, or possibly may have been watching an Oscar broadcast from an alternate universe) at RogerEbert.com:

It was an extraordinary Oscarcast for several reasons. Not just for the quality of the winners, not just for Jon Stewart‘s triumph as emcee, but for the legendary director Robert Altman‘s startling revelation that he had a heart transplant more than 10 years ago. In an industry where rumors of bad health can end careers, it was a statement of unusual courage, typical of Altman.

The overall tone of the Oscarcast was – well, the word is joyous. Perhaps keyed by Stewart’s own high spirits and the infectious grins inspired by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Ben Stiller, Lily Tomlin, Three 6 Mafia and Dolly Parton, the evening was warm and upbeat, and more relaxed than many Oscarcasts.

Nikki Finke, newly a blogger at DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com:

This was the most incoherent, inchoate Oscar telecast in recent memory. Nothing flowed, everything jarred, cut ins and cut outs weren’t preceded by necessary segues. Added up to a butt-ugly broadcast that even the biggest film buff had to gag through.

Stop the misery. End this hell on earth. 365 days is too little time before the next torturous show. Monday’s certain-to-be-dismal ratings will tell the Academy exactly where to shove Oscar. Alas, tonight, they kept jamming it down our throats.

Dan Glaister at the Guardian:

Not the first Oscar host to discover that confronting the fixed faces of the Hollywood elite is not the same as the intimacy of late-night TV, [Jon Stewart] died several small deaths. His best – and worst – moment came when the Oscar broadcast returned from a commercial break to find Stewart mid-sentence: "And that’s why I think Scientology is right not just for this city but for the country," he said, to silence. Whether he will get invited back to the Oscars seems unlikely; whether he will ever work in this town again must also be in doubt.

Dave Kehr at DaveKehr.com:

The real highlight of the evening was the delicious moment during the adapted screenplay awards, when ABC captioned a shot of two handsome gentlemen in tuxedos as "Tony Kushner and Eric Roth," the writers nominated for "Munich." In fact, the image was of Tony Kushner and his husband, Mark Harris, a New York entertainment writer and editor. Meanwhile, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana were taking the stage to accept their award for taking gay love into the American mainstream, at least as long as said love is depicted as guilty, miserable and unfulfillable.

Mark Lisanti at Defamer:

8:23pm: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! God help us all. The sky has opened, Beezlebub has dumped his infernal payload of obvious evil on an unsuspecting Earth. Life as we know it is over. Drive to the desert and start a new civilization, hoping that our horrible, horrible mistakes will not be repeated. This is the end, friends. See you in Hell.

WORST. OSCARS. EVER.

David Poland at The Hot Blog:

The set design looked like Mel’s Diner from the Universal backlot. But worse, the giant TV screen on the top operated in direct opposition to the endless – and unnecessary – message that seeing movies in a theater was the best way. It really said, "Go to the movies and watch your iPod while the movie is going on." And even worse, there were lights on the base of the set, down on the floor in front of the first row of seats, and the upward lighting made the actors look like vampires.

Matt Zoller Seitz at The House Next Door:

The only really embarrassing moment, besides Stewart making fun of Best Song Oscar winners Three 6 Mafia for being boisterous, was that "Crash" musical number that looked like "Night Of the Living Dead: The Musical." But an Oscar telecast would not be an Oscar telecast without an embarrassing musical number, and this one was the silliest since Rob Lowe sang "Proud Mary" with Snow White.

Hank Stuever at the Washington Post:

They’re all predictably thrilled, prepped, dressed, posed. They’re all tiny but somehow huge. They toss little standard vignettes about their moods, their day. They smile, and you smile. All you remember from those few seconds, all you really have, is some small and useless detail rendered huge in your mind: the blue vein barely noticeable on Meryl Streep’s cheek, or a glimpse at her dental work when she’s leans forward to speak into a TV microphone. The slight and brilliant crinkle of crow’s feet and dusting of gray around Eric Bana‘s temple. The warm embrace between Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman when they spot each other — and they seem to need the warmth. Bullock keeps putting her hands in the pockets of her vintage ’50s gown.

Kenneth Turan at the LA TimesThe Envelope:

"Crash’s" biggest asset is its ability to give people a carload of those standard Hollywood satisfactions but make them think they are seeing something groundbreaking and daring. It is, in some ways, a feel-good film about racism, a film you could see and feel like a better person, a film that could make you believe that you had done your moral duty and examined your soul when in fact you were just getting your buttons pushed and your preconceptions reconfirmed.

Stu VanAirsdale, chatting with David Edelstein at the New York Oscar party (swank!) at The Reeler:

We went on to discuss the mystifying momentum of "Crash"; Edelstein said he had watched the film with Armond White, who spent portions of the screening just laughing.

The great Cintra Wilson at Salon (we couldn’t bear to listen to her podcast with Camille Paglia though — some lines must be drawn):

Are there no capital-N Narcissists left in Hollywood? No wonder box-office receipts are so grim. No obnoxiously starlike stars are allowed on campus anymore. I guess the honchos now regard such egocentricity as too problematic to deal with. To be a Hollywood success these days, you have to be reasonable and polite. It really makes me pine for notorious tyrants like Vincent Gallo and Faye Dunaway — sure, they’re impossible, tantrum-throwing wack jobs … that’s the same mental illness that makes them preternaturally fun to watch.

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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…

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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. 

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.

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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.

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Forget Public Wifi

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

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Inter-not

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.

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Self Defense

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

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