Long live Thomas Lee.

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Neighbor, how stands the Union?
The other day Page Six reported that the Alec Baldwin‘s long-lost directorial debut "The Devil and Daniel Webster," a Stephen Vincent Benét update and adaptation which was originally shot in 2001, has not only been recut and retitled "Shortcut to Happiness" for its release tomorrow but will be billed as the pseudonymous work of one Harry Kirkpatrick. The film, which stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as we’ve always wanted to see her — as Satan — was mired in legal issues for years, and has acquired the mythology of an epic disaster of a flick. As it’s opening in Las Vegas, Rochester, Fort Myers, Columbus, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it won’t be reviewed by most major critics. (There’s a trailer here.) Alas. Xan Brooks at the Guardian‘s Film Blog is prompted by the Kirkpatrick news to reflect on the retirement of Alan Smithee, the now infamous pseudonym of choice for those who’d rather not put their own name on a film: "These days I like to picture Smithee on a golf course somewhere,
resplendent in sun visor and roll-neck as he lines up for a putt and
reminisces about the good old days."

Brooks also wonders if Kirkpatrick will replace Smithee. Forgive us, but we believe that Thomas Lee was the DGA-blessed Smithee alternative that was settled on after Walter Hill‘s name was removed from 2000 flop "Supernova" (a film that was finished up by Francis Ford Coppola in a re-edit). We’re pulling for Tommy — he’s got the double e’s that made Smithee so appealing, but is less aggressively Anglo, reminding us that all peoples, whether their drive be ego, artistic sensibility or economics, are able to wage war against a major motion picture studio.

In honor of messieurs Kirkpatrick, Smithee and Lee, some quick kitsch:

The New York Times loves "Xanadu," at least in Broadway form. Writes Charles Isherwood: "Can a musical be simultaneously indefensible and irresistible? Why, yes it can."

There’s a direct-to-DVD remake of "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure" in the works, according to Jay A. Fernandez at the LA Times, who turns up this tidbit:

More than a decade later, [the films’ original writers] actually tried to get a third "Bill & Ted" feature made, with the idea of checking in with the guys as middle-aged men. Actors Keanu Reeves (Ted "Theodore" Logan) and Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.), now both in their 40s, were reportedly game until Reeves’ manager advised his client, by then a major movie star (although still on-screen climbing in and out of phone booths), against revisiting the material.

Edgar Wright is one of the directors musing over vintage genre trailers (in his case, Mario Bava’s "Danger Diabolik" and Freddie Francis’ "Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors") at Trailers From Hell.

And Emily Dugan at the Independent reports that a new book on Clark Gable contains details on how Marilyn Monroe was dirrty. Literally. The author, David Bret, claims that "She could not have been less fastidious regarding her personal hygiene. Like Jean Harlow, she bleached all her pubic hair and never wore panties… she suffered from what today would be described as irritable bowel syndrome."

(NY Post)
+ Is Harry Kirkpatrick the new Alan Smithee? (Guardian Film Blog)
+ Heaven on Wheels, and in Leg Warmers (NY Times)
+ Bill and Ted adapt to 2007 (LA Times)
+ Danger Diabolik (Trailers From Hell)
+ Glamorous, gorgeous, flatulent – the secret history of Marilyn Monroe (Independent)


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.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.