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"Game over!"
Old, but still worth visiting (we’ve been awfully busy) — the Onion AV Club has a rather superbly snarky list of well-known twist endings (no "Rosebud" though — does that even count?). Regarding "Saw"‘s finale:

Does it work? Good Lord, no. As an out-of-the-blue shock, it’s fairly effective, but it raises a ludicrous number of questions, starting either with "Why didn’t they notice him breathing?" or "Exactly how stupid do the filmmakers think we are?"

Could it work today?
No. Perhaps some day, super-advanced medical technology will enable industrious serial killers to stop breathing for 90 minutes and watch their victims through closed eyelids, but that day has not yet arrived.

The list was of course in honor of our darling M. Night. (And it looks like our guess about "Lady In The Water"‘s ending was way off — the twist is, there is no twist! There’s a mindfuck for you.) At the LA Times, Patrick Goldstein writes about the glee with which much of the media and Hollywood has witnessed the film’s failure, and how it ties in to "The Man Who Heard Voices," which we’re almost certainly going to have to buy.

What makes the book especially damaging, despite its relentlessly sycophantish portrayal of the filmmaker, is that Night violated Hollywood PR Law No. 1: Never let people see you as you really are. In an era when stars hide behind their handlers, who vet writers, limit their access and keep them miles away from any dirty laundry, Night let [Michael] Bamberger see it all — straight, no chaser. If Night weren’t so insufferable, his honesty would almost be charming. In one scene, he is put out that [Disney production chief Nina] Jacobson is late arriving home from a children’s birthday party to meet Night’s assistant, who is delivering a closely guarded copy of the "Lady" script.

As Bamberger puts it, "Night felt the reading of his script shouldn’t be considered work. It should add to the weekend’s pleasure."

Even earlier in the month, Philip Kennicott at the Washington Post sings the praises of the open endings of "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" and "Caché":

These films do to the viewer what parents must ultimately do to
children: force them to shift for themselves. If you’re in a certain
needy frame of mind, this is the very definition of the art-house film
nightmare: to invest hours in a story and have it end like a surly
shopkeeper pulling down the storefront grate. But it’s also a sign of
trust, on the director’s part, to let his children go forth to make
sense of things on their own.

Finally, Ben Davey and Joanna Cohen at the Sydney Morning Herald wrap their weekly top-five column with their top five ‘go out with a bang’ films.

+ "It’s people!": Are twist endings still necessary? (Onion AV Club)
+ Call It Shyamaladenfreude (LA Times)
+ The Surprise Ending? It’s the Absence of One (Washington Post)
+ Top five ‘go out with a bang’ films (Sydney Morning Herald)


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.