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Odds: Wednesday – Famouser and famouser.

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"Did you and Dad have fun getting stoned?"
At The Hot Button, David Poland has his third annual survey laying out the current "biggest stars in the world." But why look at that when you can skip straight to the opiate-level-addictive Famousr, which has you choose which of two randomly selected celebrities is more famous, and then, enigmatically, informs you of whether you are right or wrong. You’re meant to guess what the group thinks (which we suppose is fair, given the nature of the evaluation), but this immediately poses some prickly questions, as some of the celebs are iconic but also hardly making the current tabloid rounds. Which Keaton is more famous, Buster or Diane? According to Famousr, Diane. We know.

The monks are on fire — Philip Gröning‘s three-hour near-wordless Carthusian monk doc "Into Great Silence" has been a great success in its run at the Film Forum. Michael Schulman at the New Yorker talks to Carthusian Father Michael Holleran, who’s been brought in to conduct Q&As after certain screenings:

He doesn’t regret his time as a monk, but, after two decades of near-speechlessness, he began to doubt the spiritual benefits of isolation. “The monastic archetype is in all of us, but I’m not sure that living it out for your entire life is really a viable thing,” he said. Plus, he found wearing an ankle-length robe all the time “a little hard to bear,” and wanted to catch up with the modern world. (He particularly likes neon signs and the “Lord of the Rings” movies.)

At Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty has a long essay on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of "Porky’s" ("In 1982 — year zero in the T&A sex-romp belle époque — hordes of horny onscreen teens set out on ridiculous Arthurian quests to lose their virginity or risk being doomed to nerd status forever") that gathers unexpected if bizarre poignancy given director Bob Clark‘s untimely death.

At the Independent, Maggie Cheung tells Bob Flynn she may be done with film: "I know this sounds awful, but since I won in Cannes, I feel fulfilled as an actress. I don’t have any dreams of winning an Oscar. I don’t have those goals any more."

According to Ed Meza in Variety, "The Lives of Others" has now made more money in the US than any other German film before it, save "Das Boot," which has the added punch of its 1997 director’s cut re-release.

And at the LA Times, Glenn F. Bunting reports that screenwriting guru Robert McKee‘s appearance as an expert witness in the Clive Cussler/"Sahara" case (Benjamin Svetkey at EW has a good chronicle) last week was an echo of his fictional pissy fit in "Adaptation"

McKee saved his harshest invectives for the July 2002 screenplay turned in by Cussler.

"The writing is very bad," he testified. "How bad? I have thought of phrases like ‘seriously flawed’ [or] ‘fatally flawed.’ But it is beyond all of that, because when something is flawed there is an implication that something else about it is good."

When cross-examined about other screenplays he finds lacking, McKee "acknowledged that he felt ‘Titanic’ was ‘poorly written,’ ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was a ‘flawed’ work, and the classic ‘Citizen Kane’ was ‘heartless,’ ’emotionally empty’ and ‘cold.’"

+ The Third Annual THB Survey (The Hot Blog)
+ Sh-h-h (New Yorker)
+ Virgin Territory (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Maggie Cheung: Why the Asian star is turning her back on film (Independent)
+ ‘Lives’ chases U.S. record (Variety)
+ Cussler’s writing is taken to task (LA 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.