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Odds: Tuesday – Jane Austen to Jackie Brown.

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"That scared me a little bit."
"Becoming Jane," a Jane Austen biopic that’s caused some fuss among Austenites due to its focus on the author’s alleged doomed romance with an Irish barrister, opens in London. According to the Daily Mail, star Anne Hathaway didn’t show, but her co-star, the ubiquitous James McAvoy, did, and defends director Julian Jarrold‘s choice for leading lady: "When you find a British person playing some great American icon no one bats an eyelid." Over at the Sydney Morning Herald, Angela Bennie discusses the historical likeliness of this premise with Austen scholar Jon Spence. The film will be getting a release in the US from Miramax in August.

Andrew Pulver at the Guardian‘s Film Blog reports on a London Bafta discussion of "the role of the film critic in the digital age," and, naturally, where blogging fits in:

Nick James, editor of Sight and Sound, took the intellectual high ground, pointing out the difference between "reviewing" and "criticism" – the former being a consumer service, and the latter a lengthy analysis of a film – and saying that he saw no reason to despair for the future of criticism: he wanted Sight and Sound, he said, "to be the vinyl to the bloggers’ iPod".

On this side of the Atlantic, members of Film Comment continue to make clear their publication’s feelings on the subject. In the new March/April issue, Amy Taubin writes that among "the most trying aspects of Sundance ’07" was:

[T]he omnipresent hype, not for the films themselves, but rather for that ineffable, high-altitude Sundance experience and for you, you, and you, oh my God, actually present at the most happening American film event, where, as one blogger gushed, the thrill was not in seeing the merchandise but in watching Harvey Weinstein make a deal. (Has that blogger taken a good hard look at the garbage The Weinstein Company has acquired of late?)

At the Telegraph, Bobcat Goldthwait discusses Peter Jackson‘s "Braindead" with Sheila Johnston:

"I guess there are some big classic themes in Braindead too," he concludes. "It’s a real Oedipus story with some weird mom thing going on. My own movie ["Sleeping Dogs Lie"] is dedicated to my late mother, although I don’t believe she was dominating. It was a sick joke initially, but then I warmed to the idea and in a strange way it made sense."

Prompted by "The Queen," Ed Caesar at the Independent runs down which famous people have seen the films they’re the subject of. Apparently Anna Wintour has seen "The Devil Wears Prada" (press screening, not premiere); Richard Nixon probably did not see "All the President’s Men."

And Quentin Tarantino writes for himself over at the London Times:

I don’t want to be a professional. I’m not in the Directors Guild; I don’t want to be. I like holding on to my amateur status. I wanted to be a professional in all the right ways, but I didn’t want it ever to be a job. I even asked: “Would I die for Jackie Brown?” I would have died for Reservoir Dogs. I would have died getting a shot for Pulp Fiction. I don’t know if I would have died, would have thrown myself into that kind of harm’s way, for Jackie Brown, and that scared me a little bit. I think the reason was that that film was based on a novel; it wasn’t an original thing, born from me. Whether it’s hardship or ruin, or hardship or good times, or happy or sad, or profitable or destitute — whatever the deal is, you go down the road today, and maybe your rewards are today, or maybe your rewards will be tomorrow, or maybe in another life, but you’re going your own way.

+ Becoming Jane star misses world premiere (Daily Mail)
+ An affair to remember (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ Whither the film critic in the blogosphere? (Guardian Film Blog)
+ FESTIVALS/SUNDANCE: The Sweet Smell of Success (Film Comment)
+ Filmmakers on film: Bobcat Goldthwait (Telegraph)
+ Famous lives on screen: Did the queen see ‘The Queen’? (Independent)
+ I call the shots here (London Times)



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.


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…


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.


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.