DID YOU READ

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)
+ CRITIC FLEES ‘SMUT’ SCREENING (NY Post)
+ 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)

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.

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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.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

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.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.