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DID YOU READ

Four Inevitable Disney Live-Action Remakes

Four Inevitable Disney Live-Action Remakes (photo)

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This week’s “Race to Witch Mountain,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino, is the latest remake– ahem, modern reimagining from Walt Disney Studios. Though the Mouse House’s animated classics remain sacrosanct (if the jumping-off point of direct-to-DVD sequels), the live-action library has been pillaged for endless redos intended for theaters or the Disney Channel, which is where a previous remake of “Escape to Witch Mountain” starring Robert Vaughn and Brad Dourif premiered in 1995. Nothing is safe from the remake button over at Disney, so here are four more properties we fully expect to receive the same treatment in the near future, and proposals on how best to bring the projects into the 21st century. The only reason the immortally cheesy “Tron” didn’t make the list is because they’re already shooting a sequel.

03182009_theblackhole.jpg“The Black Hole” (1979)
Directed by Gary Nelson

One of the least kid-friendly casts in Disney history (including hep cats Robert Forster, Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, and the voices of Slim Pickens and Roddy McDowell) play the crew of a spaceship that discovers a mad scientist perched on the precipice of a massive black hole in this unusually idea-centric science-fiction affair. Oh, sure, there are a few obligatory laser gun battles, and some fight sequences between robots held aloft by noticeable strings. But the vast, bloated — some might call it “Borgninian” – midsection of the film is devoted entirely to middle-aged white people dressed like Russian diplomats sitting in a Victorian-style sitting room (on a spaceship?) debating the ethics and etiquette of space exploration instead of actually exploring anything. And what’s with crazy Dr. Zhivago’s evil scheme?

He spends 20 years designing a ship that can resist the black hole’s gravity in order to… stop resisting the black hole’s gravity? Disney would probably love to take a mulligan on this whole project: save all the salable elements — how can you go wrong with laser guns and angry robots? — and inject some much-needed youth and excitement into the film. Certainly the availability of CGI would give the whole affair a much more appealing look: the ensemble of robots, for instance, would no longer have to look like a bunch of extras doing the robot dance while dressed like fencing instructors on their way to a funeral. The remake could maintain the original’s epic feel (there’s even an overture of composer John Barry’s original score) while actually including people doing, y’know, stuff.

03182009_flightnavigator.jpg“Flight of the Navigator” (1986)
Directed by Randal Kleiser

Disney’s always looking for more projects for their beloved Jonas Brothers, and this material is tailor-made for them. In the original, 12-year-old David (Joey Cramer) falls into a ravine while chasing his annoying little brother Jeff (Albie Whitaker) through the woods and awakens a short time later to find the entire world has believed him to be dead for eight years. Now, Jeff is 16 (and played by Matt Adler) and ready to pay back all those wedgies. Our updated “Flight of the Navigator” casts middle Jonas Joe as David, and Nick and Kevin as the younger and older Jeff respectively. Appealing to the tweenyboppers’ enormous fan base of young girls will help the boy-centric material gain footholds in the female audience. Plus, the original, though a nostalgic favorite for children of the ’80s, has at least one noticeable flaw worth correcting. After David awakens in 1986, NASA brings him in to help explain the mystery surrounding a downed UFO. Later, he takes the ship for a spin around the earth while conversing with its artificial intelligence, Max. But after the ship downloads some information from David’s brain, it suddenly begins talking – and, even worse, laughing – like Pee-wee Herman. It’s nothing against Paul Reubens; Pee-wee just didn’t belong in this otherwise mysterious and atmospheric fantasy adventure. If we’ve absolutely got to have a crazy Max voice to appease the nostalgic fanboys, we’ll get a less manic comedian: Seth Rogen was the right age to enjoy the original “Flight of the Navigator,” maybe he’d be interested.

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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.