This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

DID YOU READ

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

Posted by on

"C'mere. I wanna show you my night stick."
27 years after being pounced upon by critics and demonstrated against by thousands of protesters, William Friedkin‘s "Cruising" gets a standing ovation at Cannes, a deluxe DVD edition and a small theatrical re-release. The film, which stars Al Pacino as an undercover cop chasing down a serial killer in the New York leather scene, is also getting plenty reconsidered. "Cruising" is exactly the type of film that begs to be called an unfairly slighted masterpiece; controversial, derided and financially unsuccessful in its time, it stars an iconic actor in his prime (even if he stays silent on the subject of the film) and was directed by someone whose filmmaking reputation is critically appreciating. Still, most critics are finding it more cultural curiosity than lost masterpiece.

Andrew O’Hehir at Salon writes that "Viewed from almost three decades’ distance, ‘Cruising’ now looks like a masterly work of psychological disorientation, guilty only of a certain insensitivity — in putting the most extreme imaginable example of gay sexual subculture into a mainstream film — but innocent of any homophobic intention." Michael Koresky at indieWIRE disagrees, claiming that "’Cruising’ remains a work of unparalleled, unedifying discomfort," and offering this rebuke:

Some may let "Cruising" off the hook today–looking at it through a 2007 filter, its schlocky score, dated characterizations, and gritty ’70s New York time-capsule feel make it safely irrelevant. Yet it’s also far too easy for its filmmakers to now plead innocence, painting the 1980s as some dark unenlightened age during which they were stunned by the gay community’s organized protests. Recouping this one amounts to nothing more than taking part in a Friedkin vanity project. "Cruising" has been freshly dug up for a new generation of luckily clueless viewers; but, as we know, children shouldn’t play with dead things.

At the Village Voice, Nathan Lee tallies the protests and furor that met the production in 1979 (led by Voice writer Arthur Bell), concluding that "Cruising is a mediocre thriller but an amazing time capsule—a heady, horny flashback to the last gasp of full-blown sexual abandon, and easily the most graphic depiction of gay sex ever seen in a mainstream movie." Nathan Rabin at the Onion AV Club
agrees, adding that "In a strange way, Cruising has come full circle
and become a part of gay history, a creepily affecting time capsule of
a subculture the mainstream otherwise ignored completely," while Armond White at the New York Press sees doom and gloom: "Cruising is the antecedent of such hideous, self-loathing contemporary gay films as Mysterious Skin. Our worst fears have become a cultural average."

Matt Sussman and Jason Shamai at the San Francisco Bay Guardian offer two perspectives on the film’s staying power, while Johnny Ray Huston interviews Friedkin:

[T]he murders in Cruising are not solved. There’s more than one
killer. I say that right upfront now. I never said that when the film
first came out, and so people were confused and angry because the
murder that happened at 9 o’clock wasn’t solved at 12 o’clock.

Today, I just reveal the truth: there’s more than one killer. Most of
the murders are unsolved, just as the murders that I based this film on
were unsolved.

Paul Wilner at the LA Times excavates a quote from MPAA ratings chief Richard Heffner on first seeing the film: "What did I think of it? That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t have enough Xs to go around to rate this movie."

+ Beyond the Multiplex (Salon)
+ REVIEW | Return of the Repressed: William Friedkin’s "Cruising" (indieWIRE)
+ Gay Old Time (Village Voice)
+ PANIC IN THE STREETS (NY Press)
+ My Year Of Flops Case File #63 Cruising (AV Club)
+ Stormy leather (SF Bay Guardian)
+ Who’s Cruising Who?: A Talk with William Friedkin (SF Bay Guardian)
+ ‘Cruising’ ventures into lion’s den (LA Times)

IFC_ComedyCrib_ThePlaceWeLive_SeriesImage_web

SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

Posted by on
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.”

via GIPHY

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. 

via GIPHY

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.

Neurotica_105_MPX-1920×1080

New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

Posted by on

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_CC_Neurotica_Series_Image4

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.

Neurotica_series_image_1

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.

Posted by on
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?”

via GIPHY

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).

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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