DID YOU READ

Defeating Darth Weinstein.

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03252008_fanboys.jpgHillary Clinton may be the Harvey Weinstein of politics, but Harvey Weinstein remains the, well, Harvey Weinstein of Indiewood. That Oscar mojo seems to be gone, but the man still knows how to grandly mistreat a film — take “Fanboys,” that long-anticipated comedy about four “Star Wars” megafans who embark on a 1998 road trip to Skywalker Ranch, intending to break in, steal “The Phantom Menace” and become the first fans to have seen the film.

Written for fans, by fans, “Fanboys” was attracting buzz on the web and in the “Star Wars” community back in 2005, with early footage being shown to adoring crowds at Comic-Con. George Lucas gave it his blessing; Kevin Smith wanted a cameo. The Weinstein Company picked up “Fanboys” for an August 2007 release… which turned into a January 2008 release, which turned into no release date at all — a cancer storyline was considered problematic, and there were reshoots with a different director — “Drillbit Taylor”‘s Steven Brill. Word got out that two versions of the film, one de-illnessed and raunched up against the wishes of the original filmmakers, were being tested for audiences. According to the Hollywood Reporter: ” ‘Harvey feels it’s hard to market, especially with this cast,’ an insider said. ‘He wants to market to a more teen audience. The filmmakers wanted a dramedy along the vein of ‘Stand by Me.’ ‘”

It’s a familiar tale of woe for those who’ve tracked Weinstein’s tendencies to shelve and chop, but the “Star Wars” contingent has proven itself to be a force (hyuck!) to be reckoned with, and might even have Harvey on the run. Rallying behind the website Stop Darth Weinstein and threatening a boycott of all Weinstein Co. films — including a planned protest at this week’s opening of the studio’s latest, “Superhero Movie,” not a feature that looks like it could stand up to much ire — fans frightened the Weinstein Co. into responded yesterday. A press release assured that both versions of the film would be released on DVD, though nothing solid regarding a theatrical release was committed to.

Not enough for the people behind the site, who are planning on going through with protest, with two particular big locations in mind: The AMC Empire 25 in New York and the AMC Century City 15 in L.A. at 7pm on the 28th. Eric Kohn at Stream observes:

The case of Fanboys is ultimately a unique one, marking the evolution of the audience into something more powerful than it has ever been before. At SXSW, Four Eyed Monsters co-creator Susan Buice suggested, at a roundtable discussion hosted by Bside Entertainment, that “fans” no longer exist; they have been replaced by “peers.” Consumers now feel that they have the power to interact directly with their chosen mode of entertainment. In the case of Fanboys, these peers are creating their own personalized democracy. More power to ’em.

Wired has a feature on “Fanboys,” talking to screenwriter Ernie Cline about the power of fandom:

In 1993, a conversation at Gen Con, the convention for tabletop-game aficionados, devolved into a volley of quotes from the Arthurian spoof Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cline had a revelation: “I said to myself, I bet every person at Gen Con knows the movie by heart. I bet I could ask people to get up onstage and reenact it on the spot.’ And I was right.”

Cline hastily assembled an amateur cast to act out the entire film from memory. The impromptu performance drew huge crowds. It was instructive for Cline. “I learned that I could tap into this,” he says. “I could enlist other fans to assist in my insane ideas.”

[Photo: “Fanboys,” Weinstein Company/MGM, 2008]

+ Fans press Weinstein on ‘Fanboys’ (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Stop Darth Weinstein
+ Helping Fans with ‘Fanboys’ (Stream)
+ It’s a Wrap! Ernie Cline Has Written the Ultimate Star Wars Fan Movie (Wired)

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.

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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.

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Forget Public Wifi

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

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Inter-not

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.

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Self Defense

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

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