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DID YOU READ

LOOKBACK AT A SOUNDTRACK: Rocky

LOOKBACK AT A SOUNDTRACK:  Rocky (photo)

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The Original Motion Picture Score of Rocky holds a special place in my heart, because it was the first album I ever remember listening to as a child. Yep, my first favorite album was a movie soundtrack–I guess, technically, a movie “score.”

How many kids do you find rockin’ music scores on their iPod these days? And speaking of scores, how many boast a #1 Billboard hit song? “Gonna Fly Now” helped Rocky accomplish this feat in 1977.

(left: Dun-dun-du-du-dun-du-du-dun-dun-dun!)

The reason Rocky is held so near and dear for kids who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s (who I’m sure have pushed it on their kids by now), is that the score–masterfully composed by Bill Conti–was our first workout music. If you owned a gray sweatsuit, all you needed was the Rocky album to complete your Rocky-Balboa-self-starter kit.

I remember neighborhood girls had workout sets that came with cassette tapes, brightly colored leg warmers and rubber-covered, half-pound dumbbells. Wearing a raggedy pair of sweatpants, while listening to the sounds of Rocky, seemed to be a little more edgy, a little more punk rock if you will (heck, it’s black-and-white album cover even looked like a punk rock concert flyer).

When I put the needle on the record (yes, literally), you better believe I was Rocky Balboa. “Gonna Fly Now” was my training anthem, and when the actual song of the Rocky vs. Apollo fight, “Going The Distance,” came on, my two younger brothers became real-life punching bags. When I won the fight (which was not keeping in theme with the movie) I would dance around the living room to “The Final Bell.”

Without question, “Gonna Fly Now” is the smash hit from Rocky. Who in America (and maybe even the world) can’t hum this tune? Go on YouTube right now, and it may take you a full week to sit through everyone’s Rocky parody set to its unforgettable theme song. In 2004, the American Film Institute rated the top 100 songs used in American cinema, and “Gonna Fly Now” clocked in at #58 (in case you’re wondering, “Over The Rainbow” was #1).

Other instant goodies are “Going the Distance,” which you may remember was sampled by Puff Daddy on his song “Victory” (No Way Out), and as I mentioned before; a good song to beat up your brothers to. If you can’t decide between “Gonna Fly Now” and “Going The Distance,” you can have ’em both in the medley, “Fanfare For Rocky.”

Most of the other songs on this score are slow piano ballads that didn’t sound good to my ears until I got older. And a look back at the Rocky soundtrack wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “Take You Back,” the a capella, street corner number performed in the movie by Sylvester Stallone’s brother Frank. Go to any diehard Rocky fan–tone deaf or not–ask them to sing this song, and they’ll give you a pitch-perfect rendition of its main hook (snaps and all).

When I’m running or working out, Bill Conti’s Rocky compositions will occasionally shuffle through my iPod, and even though I’ve heard these songs for 30 years, I still get a boost from them. As I said before, kids don’t listen to scores much these days, but if they did, and they had one as good as Rocky, maybe childhood obesity wouldn’t be such a problem in America. (Or maybe there’d be a bunch of younger brothers with bruised ribs and black eyes.)

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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.