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)


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.