DID YOU READ

Fantastic Fest 2008: “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

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09242008_ithinkwerealonenow.jpgLike “American Movie” and “Billy the Kid,” Sean Donnelly’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” makes you squirm at its relationships with its subjects and its audience. I wouldn’t say that, as a documentary, it’s unethical, but it does focus on two people who suffer from unknown degrees of mental illness and, watching it, you have to wonder why they ever agreed to be filmed in the first place.

Jeffery Deane Turner and Kelly McCormick are obsessed with, and in the case of the former, have also stalked former ’80s star Tiffany. Tiffany is the faded pop center of their troubled lives — Turner, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, claims to be in a loving relationship with her and able to communicate with her via radionics, while McCormick, who’s intersex and transitioning to female, believes she’s fated to be with the singer after having a vision of her while in a 16-day coma following a severe bike accident.

Donnelly rarely plays up his pair for laughs. The further the film goes, the less that even seems possible. Turner, who at first looks like merely a moon-faced, talky Santa Cruz eccentric, unveils whole realms of crazy as he expounds on showing up at Tiffany’s emancipation hearing with a sword and chrysanthemums, straps on a helmet to commune with her “nonphysical essence,” explains that her Playboy spread is a declaration of her love for him, and reveals his beloved’s ability to travel through time and to negotiate with aliens. And McCormick, whose physical appearance alone has marked her a social outcast, comes across as less stable still, living in a house with walls bare of anything other than shots of the pop star, drinking heavily, talking of drug use and howling “My destiny is that I’m supposed to be with Tiffany! I have the right to love and be happy!”

Tiffany’s never interviewed in the film, and there’s no real need. For both Turner and McCormick, she’s an ideal, a blank on which to fixate and to project their frustrated longings for someone to adore and understand them. The fact that her heyday was two decades ago, that she’s now performing at free outdoor concerts and in Las Vegas gay bars and signing autographs at pin-up conventions, is never the issue. Their love is eternal, at least until Turner moves on to Alyssa Milano.

Donnelly gives the pair a fair enough shake, but there’s no way around the fact that they come across as grotesques. There is one moment, however, in which he does them a documentary injustice, and that’s when the two are put in contact and end up rooming together and squabbling in Vegas. Both Turner and McCormick are incredibly disturbing and compelling figures already; no extra prodding was needed for that.

[Photo: “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Awesome and Modest/Greener Media, 2008]

+ “I Think We’re Alone Now” (Fantastic Fest)

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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.