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DID YOU READ

Critic wrangle: “Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten.”

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Strummer.
A few confessions regarding the impossibility of critical impartiality due to Clash fandom precede reviews of "Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten," a doc from Julien Temple, who previously chronicled the Sex Pistols in "The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle" and "The Filth and the Fury." Among those ‘fessing up, Andrew O’Hehir at Salon, who suggests that "Temple’s film will inevitably be viewed by people of roughly my age and with roughly my background as a kind of generational myth, which is likely to irritate the crap out of everyone else," but who nevertheless labels it "the most powerful documentary I’ve seen all year, and one of the two or three best films ever made about an artist or musician." And A.O. Scott at the New York Times writes that "It’s likely that I would have been stirred and moved by ‘Joe Strummer:
The Future Is Unwritten,’ even if it were the straightforward,
VH1-ready rock star biography it might, at first, appear to be." According to him, it’s "much more than a biography of the Clash’s guitarist and lead singer: It’s history, criticism, philosophy and politics, played fast and loud." Nick Schager at Slant, on the other hand, not a Clash fan, finds that
film’s focus on Strummer rather than his music "means that those
unconvinced about the greatness of ‘London Calling’ and ‘Rock the
Casbah’ will likely remain so. Yet the director’s ability to capture
Strummer’s complex, idiosyncratic personality is so compelling that it
barely matters whether one believes what the film is saying; the point
is that one feels it." Armond White at the New York Press suggests that "Temple shows how the music expressed Strummer’s experiences. The ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ sequence ought to set the standard for artistic/biographical interpretation. Every music lover should see it—and so should Todd Haynes."

Glenn Kenny at Premiere quibbles with a few of the interview choices before concluding that "one wondrous thing about the movie is that, true to its title, it doesn’t feel in the least bit nostalgic. At its best, it throbs with immediacy, just as Strummer did." Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly does feel that nostalgia: "The Future Is Unwritten made me long for the era when a rock star could burn — and even burn out — this brightly."

"The Future Is Unwritten is as overstuffed as Sandinista!, but it races ahead like ‘White Riot,’" writes the Onion AV Club‘s Noel Murray, while Nick Pinkerton at indieWIRE declares that the film "is no radical departure in content from most print-the-legend rock docs… What merit it has comes mainly through hooking onto the momentum of the Clash’s music–the editing decoupages archived rehearsal video over excerpts from Zero de conduit, Orwell adaptations, and streetfighting footage, making for a crackling melange of generalized ‘rebellion’ that fits the band’s own fist-in-the-air bosh." Jim Ridley at the Village Voice finds that "The Future Is Unwritten is less a eulogy than a wake, and one in which the subject is startlingly present." A disappointed David Edelstein at New York disagrees, writing that "the late rocker doesn’t carry the movie… You only get a taste of what made the Clash for a brief period the most exciting band on that side of the Atlantic (the Ramones dominated ours) in an early live performance of ‘I’m So Bored With the USA,’ which makes you want to pogo up and down and throw up your fists."

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.