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The trends that shape our lives.

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"This is Dave Beeth Oven."
Ability to become a giant, remote star fading, must settle for being accessible satellite/pocked moon: According to Mark Hooper at the Independent, there’s a shift occurring in what it means to be a star: "If Hollywood is beginning to question if it needs its Tom Cruises, think what that means for the Lindsay Lohans. This is partly to do with a loss of mystique. The movies are about escapism, and it’s easier to escape when you can commit your imagination fully to the film’s conceit rather than concentrating on the people you saw in the gossip rags this morning." As if to hammer this point in, Jonathan Bernstein at the Guardian has a terrifying interview with blogger Perez Hilton:

He scrolls down his computer and begins to quote himself: "We get asked about our hateration for Maniston a lot and, in this interview, we answer the question quite nicely. Interviewer: What is your problem with her? Perez: I just don’t think she’s a nice person. I think she doesn’t have a sense of humour. I think she’s marginally talented, adequately good-looking, doesn’t do anything to make the world a better place …"

NYC video stores — ded: Alex Mindlin in the New York Times writes an elegy to the New York City video store in general and Movie Place in particular:

Mr. Dennis of Movie Place, who named his 7-year-old daughter, Ava, in honor of Ava Gardner, has probably never been asked a film-related question he cannot answer. Once, a woman who was leaving her husband at home for the weekend asked Mr. Dennis, “What are the movies he’d want to watch that I’d hate?” Mr. Dennis’s recommendations: “U-571,” a 2000 submarine thriller set during World War II, and “The Seven-Ups,” a 1973 police drama.

Beethoven — biopic-resistant: Also at the New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin wonders if "there may be something about the nature of the Beethoven myth, and the
bare facts of his biography, that challenges fictionalization in a way
the Mozart myth doesn’t." We would argue that the problem is that as pictured in popular culture, Beethoven, with the hair and the scowl and hearing problem, is inherently silly. Consider: Is there any film portrayal of Beethoven that lingers more than Clifford David‘s grinning, oblivious version of the composer in "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure"?

Sympathy for Mr. Nazi: Nick Hasted at the Independent writes that we’re entering an era of humanized and more complex portrayals of Nazis in film and literature:

Influenced by a Dutch revisionist history book, Chris van der Heyden’s Grijs Verleden (2001), ["Black Book"] is [Paul] Verhoeven‘s corrective to his own popular tale of Dutch resistance heroics, Soldier of Orange (1977). "I wanted to show what reality was like then," he has said. "Not black and white, but in shades of grey. That is what makes our film so provocative. Nobody has yet shown how we treated our prisoners in 1945."

Children in thematic peril: John Horn and Chris Lee at the LA Times write that films like "Babel" and "Pan’s Labyrinth" are "reworking the troubling narratives laid out ages ago in the works of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Dickens. And like those authors, some of the filmmakers are using children to make political points. Others find that putting children into jeopardy gives their dramas more of an emotional wallop."

+ How Hollywood’s power elite lost the plot (Independent)
+ Meet the most vicious man in Hollywood (Guardian)
+ Lights Out (NY Times)
+ Beethoven as Popcorn Idol (NY Times)
+ A subject for sympathy: Germany’s rehabilitation (Independent)
+ Fairy tales for a mean new world (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.