Grind this.

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We did have cleverish things to say about the opening weekend box office disappointment that was "Grindhouse," but somehow, yesterday, other things got in the way, and now we’re hard-pressed to care. Here, look at what other people have said:

Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood caught a panicked Harvey Weinstein yesterday morning going on record with ideas about splitting the halves up and adding sex:

"First of all, I’m incredibly disappointed. We tried to do something new and obviously we didn’t do it that well," Harvey told me today. "It’s just a question of how is it going to hang in there. But we could split the movies in a couple of weeks. Make Tarantino‘s a full-length film, and Rodriguez‘s too. We’ll be adding those ‘two missing reels’ that’s talked about in the movie." (At one point in Grindhouse, a sex scene is interrupted because of "two missing reels" — one of the many conceits and indulgences.)

Though we don’t think these things will actually happen, that scoop makes her the winner, according to Stu VanAirsdale at The Reeler, who rounds up and ranks other coverage. Ty Burr, over at the Boston Globe, makes the most grounded point of all: "[I]t’s a three hour movie, which means fewer showtimes (twice as few as the 92-minute ‘Are We Done Yet?’)." Elsewhere, Film Fatale writes that "that marketing campaign was downright nasty," and might have driven away female viewers. Time‘s Richard Corliss, in a review that ran on Friday, astutely noted that "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof," for all their proclamations of exploitation film fandom,  eschew the cornerstone of the genre — easy, sleazy eroticism.

In both "features" of Grindhouse, the MISSING REEL card flashes as a sex scene has just begun. That’s a comment on the old days, but it also proves that when it comes to eroticism, of the true or even exploitation variety, these directors are such cowards. If they use sex at all, it is in the horror-film mode pioneered by Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho. Show a woman in a shower, then kill her. The impulse is both prurient and puritanical; they provide a brief voyeuristic pleasure, then feel obliged to punish the women, and the audience, and themselves.

In the New Yorker, David Denby declares that "Tarantino obviously likes his characters a great deal, but he’s caught in the contradictions of making an hommage à schlock: he has to kill the women in order to set up the rest of the movie. It’s as if he couldn’t decide whether to be a humanist or a nihilist, so he opportunistically becomes both."

In other post-"Grindhouse" pieces flapping around the web, Ryan Gilbey at the Observer writes that "When a film is called a B-movie now, it can only be in reference to its tone or spirit: the B-movie is, to all intents and purposes, dead." (Please! Have they no direct-to-DVD market in the UK?) At Slate, Grady Hendrix grumbles about artificial grindhouse theater nostalgia: "Tarantino loves to brag about his working-class roots, but his screening room sounds more like Marie Antoinette’s le Hameau de la Reine—where she and her friends played shepherdess—than a real grindhouse theater. Does Tarantino also bus in tranny hookers and pay the help to mug his guests in the bathroom?"

Finally, over at the AP, Douglas J Rowe writes an ill-times piece on how "film shall inherit the earth," quoting QT:

"Somewhere along the line, people who were film geeks and people who are comic-book geeks, that kind of aesthetic started all mixing up. I think 20 years ago, if you were talking about film geeks, you literally were talking about people into the French New Wave, into that kind of study. So am I, for that matter, but for people that are the Ain’t It Cool News people, it is about the entertainment cinema," says the director who previously genuflected to genres with the "Kill Bill" movies.

We’d guess "Grindhouse" was the victim of too much faith in that geekery — every less than film-obsessed person we’ve spoken to about it was almost angry about "Death Proof," which may be a brilliant if insular melding of Tarantino’s signature moves with the idling formlessness of a true B-movie, but which is also not fun unless you’re in on the joke. And that, for a film built around the promise of pure, trashy enjoyment, is untenable.

+ EXCLUSIVE: Harvey Very Disappointed; May Re-Release ‘Grindhouse’ As 2 Pics (Deadline Hollywood)
+ The Grindhouse Second-Guessing Scorecard (The Reeler)
+ Where Were the GRINDHOUSE Girls? (How To Hate Away Half Your Audience) (Film Fatale)
+ Grindhouse Is Girls, Guns, Cars — But No Sex (Time)
+ Sleaze City (New Yorker)
+ This Old Grindhouse (Slate)
+ The film geek shall inherit the earth (AP)



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.