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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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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.