DID YOU READ

Oscar melancholy.

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Telling me what?
We ended up having to put ourselves to bed at 11pm on Sunday, and missed seeing the bulk of the major awards handed out to their expected recipients. Given that we had successfully called the triumphs of both "Happy Feet" and "The Lives of Others," we felt a reassuringly smug warmth that we’d turn out to be correct on most of our other predictions, though that might have just been the rather high fever we were running. Sadly, post-Oscar coverage is lacking in any similar smug warmth, and seems instead, after an admittedly deathly boring ceremony, to be suffused with a decided end-of-season melancholy — a sense of "we spent so much time talking up… that?"

"On this broadcast of ‘the most international of Oscars,’" sighs Stephanie Zacharek at Salon, "Penélope Cruz was mistaken for Mexican, the Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs" was cited as being Japanese, and George ‘Turkey Neck’ Lucas called Stephen Frears ‘Stephen Fears.’ Film: It really is the international language, but some of these names are damn hard to pronounce." "What a damp squib of a night for Britain," writes the Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw, who’d been hoping for "monumental British renaissance in Hollywood."

"The letdown began long before the evening wrapped up, but that was to be expected," posits Alessandra Stanley at the New York Times. "Oscar night is the new Christmas, a commercialized tinsel-and-treacle holiday for adults." And her colleague Dave Carr has composed a piece suffused with even more forlorn, "A Charlie Brown Christmas"-style sentiments:

Out of a mutuality of interests — we both serve our publics — the stars smile, I smile and we call each other by name. But the pantomime is difficult to sustain. I remember walking outside for a smoke during the Screen Actors Guild Awards show and seeing the carpet that just a few hours ago had hosted all manner of glamour and star-power. Already the ropes were down, the bleachers had been struck, and the carpet was being rolled up for the next event. The moveable feast is so, so fleeting. Very little was left besides the empty water bottles.

Sarah Rodman at the Boston Globe darkly prophesies obscurity for Jennifer Hudson: "Try to imagine for a moment Hudson in another role, especially a non-singing one. Take away the parts played by Queen Latifah over the last few years and what can you picture her in?" Patrick Goldstein at the LA Times, on the other hand, halfway argues for a place in the canon for "The Departed" on the basis of its not often award-friendly genre nature. As happy as we are that Scorsese won, we can’t see "The Departed" sticking around as more than a footnote in his career. Goldstein may be right in arguing that genre films age better, but "The Departed" just lacks that spark of life that gives so many of the films he namechecks in his article lasting appeal.

Finally,Tim Teeman at the London Times found Ellen DeGeneres‘ hosting to be more than a little off, writing that she "seem[ed] neutered by the demands to act as respectably as possible while also mocking the audience and the absurdities and excesses of the world of film." You must admit, it’s a thankless job.

+ Regarding Oscar (Salon)
+ The Oscars: a final verdict (Guardian)
+ Bringing a Touch of Daytime to Hollywood’s Biggest Night
(NY Times)
+ Red Carpet Confidential (NY Times)
+ Will ‘Dreamgirls’ song stop their show? (Boston Globe)
+ Welcome to the club (LA Times)
+ A rush, a crush and … a par-tay? (LA Times)

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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.