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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: May 18th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Once,” Fox Searchlight, 2007]

A round-up of the best (or worst) $10 you’ll spend this week.

“Brooklyn Rules”

Michael Corrente’s “coming of age” drama finds three Brooklyn friends struggling to live a mafia lifestyle and us somewhat perplexed to see 90s teen heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr. trying to act all tough ‘n shit, nawutimsayin? But hey, at least it can’t be as bad as “The Black Donnellys.”

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (official site).

“Even Money”

Right off the heels of the wildly successful “Lucky You” (yeah, right…) comes this ensemble drama about a group of characters played by slightly faded Hollywood actors — with the exception of that Forest Whitaker guy — struggling with gambling addiction and its disastrous effects on their lives. It’s all courtesy of “On Golden Pond”‘s Mark Rydell.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Fay Grim”

The sequel to Hal Hartley’s beloved 1997 indie “Henry Fool” finds Parker Posey’s title character working (and then running from) the CIA in order to locate notebooks belonging to her former husband — ones that may compromise the security of the United States. We’re bemused by Hartley’s choice to create such an offbeat sequel for what’s certainly one of his best movies, but any opportunity to see more Parker Posey is good enough for us.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Flanders”

The latest effort from arty and divisive director Bruno Dumont (“Twentynine Palms”) won the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film details the unrequited love between a lonely farmer and his childhood friend before they are separated by an impending, unnamed war.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Hollywood Dreams”

A young Iowan girl travels to LA in search of fame and stardom as a Hollywood actress but falls into a complex relationship with an up-and-coming young actor. While the film’s plot may sound as if it were lifted straight from a 1940s studio picture, its director, Henry Jaglom, has remained a staple of the independent cinema scene, recently helming “Festival in Cannes” in 2001. In true indie fashion, Justin Kirk plays newcomer Tanna Frederick’s love interest.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Memories of Tomorrow”

Ken Watanabe stars as a successful advertising executive whose life starts to unravel due to early onset of Alzheimer’s in this drama from Japanese director Yukihiko Tsutsumi.

Opens in New York (IMDb page).

“Once”

Director John Carney’s latest film made a splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award for World Cinema and warming the hearts of jaded critics across the spectrum. This modern-day musical follows a busker (Glen Hansard, lead singer of The Frames) and a single mother (newcomer Markéta Irglová) whose shared dream of making music results in a love story with its own soundtrack — Zach Braff, eat your heart out.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Private Property”

Isabelle Huppert provides another strong performance as a divorced woman who dreams of leaving her ex-husband and twin teenage sons to start a life with a new lover and open a bed and breakfast. The film was directed by “Private Madness” director Joachem Lafosse and was nominated for a Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Severance”

“Shaun of the Dead” for the slasher film? Christopher Smith’s new horror thriller sounds more like an episode of “The Office” gone horribly, horribly wrong. A team-building weekend for the sales division of a multinational weapons company is sabotaged when a group of maniacal killers starts picking off the company’s employees one by one. Early reviews suggest the film is a bloody good time (nyuck nyuck nyuck!).

Opens in New York (official site).

“Shrek the Third”

While the third go-round for the big green ogre offers a tempting supporting cast (Amy Poehler as Snow White? Ian McShane as Captain Hook? John Krasinski as Sir Lancelot?), we’re thinking this franchise is starting to feel a bit winded. The film runs a mere 81 minutes, which to us is already too much Mike Myers to handle. And can we really take more Eddie Murphy schtick? Has it really only been three months since we were sick of him in “Norbit”? And Shrek gives up his throne to a character voiced by the guy who introduced us to the term “SexyBack”? Sigh…we’ll probably see it anyway.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Wendell Baker Story”

Nearly four years after it wrapped production, Luke Wilson’s directorial debut (a credit shared with his brother, the lesser-known Andrew Wilson) finally finds a theatrical release. Wilson plays a goodhearted conman whose latest scam lands him in jail and alienates him from his girlfriend (Eva Mendes), best friend (Jacob Vargas) and even his dog. Upon his release, he gets a job at a retirement home and befriends a group of residents, hoping to win back his girlfriend and battle the retirement home’s head nurse (Owen Wilson).

Opens in limited release (official site).

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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