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Odds: Tuesday – Hefty reads and going against the grain.

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"The tender boughs of innocence burn first."
In the new issue of the Threepenny Review, there’s a selection from Greil Marcus’ new book, "The Shape of Things To Come: Prophecy and the American Voice," in which he writes about the America of "Twin Peaks." It’s almost too sprawling and free-form to be called an essay, but it is a nice read:

The film noir city seems to be Manhattan or Los Angeles. At the heart of the form, whether in the movies or in the crime novels inspired by them, just as the most emblematic noir story is that of the soldier back in his hometown after the war to find the place a swamp of corruption, in the Forties and Fifties the most emblematic noir location is a small, vaguely Midwestern city. It is Midwestern culturally even if not exactly geographically—"They say native Californians all come from Iowa," Walter Neff says in Raymond Chandler‘s script for Double Indemnity —as in Chandler’s The Little Sister, where Los Angeles is at least half Manhattan, Kansas, a place Philip Marlowe finds far more terrifying than anything in Hollywood.

In the new issue of Cineaste, Jared Rapfogel writes about Maurice Pialat and "A nos amours" ("Pialat has always resisted categorization, even if time has demonstrated that he ultimately created a category of his own, one elaborated upon by Téchiné, Assayas, and their ilk"); Sandy Flitterman-Lewis celebrates "Army of Shadows"; Patrick McGilligan has a piece on what constitutes "great" acting that’s an immensely more down-to-earth improvement on Lynn Hirschberg’s NY Times Mag musings; Jonathan Rosenbaum reviews Simon Callow’s "Orson Welles:  Volume 2: Hello Americans."

At Stop Smiling, Nick Pinkerton is happy to let the "Mutual Appreciation" bandwagon go rolling by. Interestingly, he briefly takes director Andrew Bujalski to task for not delving appropriately into the film’s Williamsburg setting — we live in Williamsburg and are fond of the neighborhood, but would rather gouge our eyes out (out, vile jelly!) on the pomade-encrusted crest of our next-door neighbor’s fauxhawk than watch a feature film realistically depicting life there. Pinkerton writes:

Bujalski is not Eric Rohmer, not even Kevin Smith. The great artists grouped under the tent of Naturalism — Rohmer, Dreiser, Pialat, Harold Frederic (the diversity of their talents reveals the ambiguity of the word) — deserve celebration because they reintroduce us to the world; much of the undeserved reputation that’s been attached to Bujalski is limited to the facile familiarity of his situations.

Armond White, at the New York Press, was also (as expected) displeased with "Mutual Appreciation"; in signature fashion, he triumphs "Crossover" as the better film.

And at MSNBC, Sarah D. Bunting tries valiantly to defend the acting abilities of Orlando Bloom, while Michael Ventre makes the argument that Brian De Palma is "just a gifted gun for hire riding on the reputation of an occasional popular success."

+ Picturing America (Threepenny Review)
+ Fall 2006 (Cineaste)
+ In defense of Orlando Bloom (MSNBC)
+ Brian De Palma is simply a gun for hire (MSNBC)


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.