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DID YOU READ

Weekend catch-up: Quotables.

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"Everything interesting begins in the mind." Cough.
It may be apparent we’re still bobbing about in the wake of the past terrible work week — so how do we even begin on what was also a banner week for reviewers, headed up by that genitalia-revisiting gem of a follow-up, "Basic Instinct 2"? We…don’t. But we’d like to point out two highlights:

Roger Ebert‘s attempt at reviewing Stone’s Tramell retread prompted all sorts of philosophically difficult questions:

"Basic Instinct 2" resembles its heroine: It gets off by living
dangerously. Here is a movie so outrageous and preposterous it is
either (a) suicidal or (b) throbbing with a horrible fascination. I
lean toward (b). It’s a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. I
cannot recommend the movie, but … why the hell can’t I? Just because
it’s godawful? What kind of reason is that for staying away from a
movie? Godawful and boring, that would be a reason.

And Armond White delivered a review destined for the Armond annals of fame, coming up with one of those enigmatic critical arguments that so endears the crazy bastard to us (and leads us to occasional talks with Matt Singer of a "What film will Armond champion this month?" pool):

Commercial filmmakers could do worse than update Shakespeare as the makers of "She’s the Man" have done. They could pretend to be hip by being fashionably superficial as in the horrible new hipster bloodbath "Brick" which disgraces the teen-movie genre that John Hughes revolutionized. Through coarse imitation of film noir clichés cynically transferred to a high school setting, "Brick" disgraces basic social ideas. But "She’s the Man" enlivens the basics of falling in love and of sexual maturity by sweetly adapting the premise of Shakespeare’s "Twelfth Night."

It’s doesn’t quite have the wild-eyed irrationality of his hoisting up of "You Got Served" ("proudly pop, a hiphop musical with muscular dancing that expressed the sexual and political energy of a not-yet calcified culture"), but then again, his heart’s clearly not in it with "She’s the Man" — it’s just another way to take a swipe at "Brick" (♥!) which is far more about film noir than about high school, anyway. But…anything to keep the phantom hipster menace at bay, huh, Armond?

And we’re very late on this, but it was (weirdly) Sara James in fashion trade rag Women’s Wear Daily who broke the news that the New York Times has chosen to nominate Manohla Dargis for the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, along with art critic Michael Kimmelman and architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff. Foolish accompanying unnamed-source bitchiness:

"By no means do you ever hear that [Dargis] is the best critic [the Times] has," said one person who’s worked with her there. "She’s known for synopsizing and giving stuff away. You’re not supposed to read her if you don’t want to know what’s going to happen."

We won’t touch upon any of the issues of basic journalism that require at least a hint of a synopsis in one’s review — we’ll just leave you to wonder what would be left of, say, Stephen Holden’s reviews, were he to be no longer allowed to summarize. Ah, whatev, as they say back in our homeland — clearly, we’re fans of Dargis, but the only film critics to have won the prize are Ebert (back in 1975) and the Wall Street Journal‘s Joe Morgenstern (last year).

+ Basic Instinct 2 (RogerEbert.com)
+ GROW UP—OR JUST SHUT UP (NY Press)
+ Memo Pad: Everyone’s A Critic … Look Alive (WWD)

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SO EXCITED!!!

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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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.