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Nothing new under the cineplex.

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Caveh Zahedi and co.
The word back from industry convention ShoWest seems to be fairly distressed: via Sharon Waxman at the New York Times:

"There is a general recognition that the world of entertainment is
opening up in ways that we can’t imagine today, we are launching into a
whole new era," [Frank J. Rimkus, the chief executive of Galaxy Theaters] said. He added, with a note of self-confession: "We
are trying to understand what the public wants. And Galaxy does not yet
have a handle on it."

But we seem to remember everyone being at the same place six months ago at ShowEast, though perhaps with less a sense of glum urgency. Where’s our revolution, by golly?

Scott Bowles at USA Today sees less grimness than what may be delirious denial:

"We see all of this hand-wringing, people saying that it’s the end of theaters," says Peter Brown, president of AMC Theatres, the nation’s second-largest movie chain. "And, to be honest, we’re laughing a little. Business is actually pretty good."

And another money quote:

"The movie business is a little like the drug business," says Greg Laemmle, president of Laemmle Theaters, which operates 16 theaters in Southern California.

"We are the pushers, and our customers are the users. Even if business is good, you have to keep giving people what they want."

Mark Caro at the Chicago Tribune is tickled by MPAA chief Dan Glickman’s plans for a "Pork: The Other White Meat"-type campaign touting the movie industry as a whole:

We all love movies, right? So let’s help Hollywood out and come up with a really nifty slogan that will get the theater turnstiles spinning by the time "Dallas: The Motion Picture" hits the multiplexes.

I’ll go first:

"Movies: They Can Be Excellent!"

And Wired NewsScott Kirsner, checking in on the digital projection front, sees reluctant cinema owners more excited about the new dark-chocolate Raisinets ("two thumbs up").

At the Hollywood Reporter, Anne Thompson devotes a column to the state of day-and-date (not a popular topic at the conference), turning up some interesting tidbits, including the fact that Ben Rekhi‘s widely reported high numbers distributing his film "Waterborne" on Google Video success were actually the result of a programming glitch, and that "Bubble" "was a sleeper hit in hotels, where it was the third-biggest seller last month."

And at his blog, filmmaker Caveh Zahedi, who published a manifesto on the pleasures of self-distribution in Filmmaker before going on to set up a distribution deal for "I Am A Sex Addict" with, yes, IFC Films and their fledgling day and date program First Take, mildly recants.

Well, I still agree with what I said, but it’s also true that having an established distribution company on your side is also fun, and is also arguably less alienating, more organic, and more human than doing it all yourself. Because while self-empowerment may be an asymptotic ideal (however eloquently Ralph Waldo Emerson may argue for it), we are all ultimately parts of a larger human community and the do-it-yourself ethos is ultimately a myth. No one makes a film alone, and no one distributes a film alone.

+ When Moviegoers Vote With Their Feet (NY Times)
+ What, movies worry? (USA Today)
+ Hollywood needs a catchy slogan (Chicago Tribune)
+ Digital Cinema Show ‘n’ Tell (Wired News)
+ Distributors hold firm against day-and-date (Hollywood Reporter)

+ Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Caveh Zahedi Blog)


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.