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A problem like “Marie.”

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The Queen and the princess.
In the Newark Star-Ledger, Charles Taylor wonders what it is about Sofia Coppola that so torments some critics.

The argument being made against Coppola and "Marie Antoinette" — that the film is Coppola’s apologia for rich, empty-headed luxury; that it has no historical or political sense; that it has, God help us, no ideas — is elitism masquerading as populism. "Marie Antoinette," which scores the doomed queen’s story to post-punk bands like Gang of Four and New Order, removes the story from the realm of stultified costume epics, all those stiff, worthy pictures that parents and teachers — and, yes, critics — urged on us because they were "enriching" without ever being pleasurable.

Taylor articulates many of our frustrations with coverage and reviews of the film — most notably the spite and schadenfreude directed at Coppola. Yes, yes, we are all resentful of Ms. Coppola’s daddy and fabulousness and the fact that she was not born like normal human beings but instead sprung fully formed from a Malvasia grape, and we all secretly long for Marc Jacobs to name a purse after us. That does not make reviewing one’s impressions of the director as opposed to the film good criticism.

At the Independent, Gill Pringle talks to Coppola and Kirsten Dunst.

At the Toronto Star, Olivia Ward questions Marie Antoinette’s sudden surge in cultural popularity:

Marie Antoinette’s life draws pity and frustration, in equal measure. Unlike the lives of other royal divas, such as Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I or Catherine de Medici, Marie Antoinette left no personal stamp on history save that of tragic victim. Even Mary Queen of Scots, who also perished under the executioner’s blade, was a tireless political manoeuvre.

And Rachel Abramowitz at the LA Times talks to Antonia Fraser, author of the biography "Marie Antoinette: The Journey," on which Coppola’s film was based:

During the course of filmmaking, the writer also acted as an Antoinette oracle for some of the actors, such as Mary Nighy and Jason Schwartzman, who crossed the Channel to discuss their characters. Schwartzman plays Marie Antoinette’s husband, Louis XVI, who was considerably portlier than the vulnerable idiosyncratic star of "Rushmore" and "Shopgirl." "I thought, ‘What’s this attractive man doing playing Louis XVI? And also, he’s very well made, but he’s not totally fat… and he kept saying he had to eat, he had to eat," Fraser said. "But what I thought in the film he captured was sort of a nerdy quality. Which is right."

+ Attacking Marie — and Sofia (Newark Star-Ledger)
+ Marie Antoinette: Sacrebleu! – a right royal rumpus (Independent)
+ Pop culture’s unlikely heroine (Toronto Star)
+ What’s all this about conceit and cake?
(LA Times)


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.