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DID YOU READ

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)

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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