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Let’s hear it for the boys.

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Back again.
If you somehow managed to miss it, let us ruin your lucky streak, you crazy recluse, you: this week, two films from extremely public and apparently quite sensitive men are opening. One, Kevin Smith‘s "Clerks II," we’re actually quite looking forward to; the other, M. Night Shyamalan‘s "Lady in the Water," we’ve already devoted enough energy to mocking (we slept like a baby that night).

But in the meantime, Smith’s and Shyamalan’s mugs are inescapable. At Time, Richard Corliss paints a portrait of Shyamalan as puppy-eyed angsty artist, while Barbara Kiviat pitches as few softballs Shyamalan’s way. We like this:

Who do you make movies for?

The collective soul.

Hah! Sigh. Scott Bowles in USA Today covers much the same ground:

There may even be something cathartic about the movie failing, he says. "Maybe what would really help is a complete disaster. Something that would clean the slate. People could trash me to oblivion, say I’m done. Then there are no great expectations. There’s nowhere to go but up."

Meanwhile, Stu VanAirsdale at The Reeler  corners Shyamalan on the red carpet at the film’s premiere, but gets better answers out of cinematographer Chris Doyle and his dates (yes): "’Hell,’ Doyle said. ‘If we don’t enjoy it, who will?’"

At the New York Times, Caryn James examines Shyamalan’s public persona.

And at Cahiers du cinéma, Hervé Aubron groups Shyamalan with Michael Mann:

This shared taste for the lackluster and the dull is fairly remarkable in Hollywood, where the Tarantinian revolution with its brightly colored voracity is never very far off. It is not a question of a simple counterpoint: the worlds of Mann and Shyamalan are gray because they are limbs. Their occupants are already dead.

Oof. Meanwhile, stupid gossip of the day, from Page Six (natch):

Actually, never mind. We were going to quote the whole piece about "Good Morning America"’s Joel Siegel loudly storming out of a "Clerks II" press screening ("First movie I’ve walked out of in 30 [bleeping] years!"), and Smith replying with a MySpace screed, but it makes us feel a little dirty. Here, read it yourself.

Ron Dicker interviews Smith for the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mark Olsen interviews him for the LA Times, but by far more interesting is Mark Caro‘s piece in the Chicago Tribune about Smith’s obsession with his own critics:

That’s what he does. He tracks down every review and every story about him, whether written by a nationally known writer or some anonymous schmo on a Web site. Not only does he read the test-screening reviews posted on Ain’t It Cool News but, until recently at least, also has perused the Talkback section.

This is kind of masochistic-verging-on-nutso behavior because Talkbacks tend to fill up with obnoxious comments no matter the topic. When somebody would talk smack about him, he’d actually post a response.

"I used to beat myself up about it or get in there and respond to each one of them," the 35-year-old filmmaker admits. "And then I’m like, it would be so much easier if I just didn’t read these Talkbacks."

Truer words, Kevin. At least you don’t kill off a critic in your new movie.  And to wrap this hastily and poorly written round-up up (see?), Bob Tourtellotte at Reuters groups Smith’s revisiting of his "Clerks" characters with the latest installment of Edward Burns‘ career-long, unintentional revisiting of pretty much the same characters, "The Groomsmen": "Whatever the psychology, both said that after recent years of making less personal films, it was time to reach back into their own lives for stories about getting married, having kids and moving on."

+ The Man Behind Lady in the Water (Time)
+ M. Night Shyamalan’s Scary Future (Time)
+ Much riding on Shyamalan’s ‘Lady’ luck (USA Today)
+ Night Shift: The Reeler Checks in with Shyamalan and Co. (The Reeler)
+ Directing the Film, Then Its Hype (NY Times)
+ Evénement. Mirrored Images: SHY and MANN (Cahiers du cinéma)
+ Smith’s ‘Clerks II’ is open for business (SF Chronicle)
+ Back to mining the store (LA Times)
+ I read the news today, oh boy (Chicago Tribune)
+ Directors tell Gen X’ers to grow up (Reuters)


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.