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DID YOU READ

MUSIC FLICKS: Meeting People Is Easy.

MUSIC FLICKS:  Meeting People Is Easy. (photo)

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This weekend I decided to revisit Radiohead’s stylized 1997-98 tour documentary, Meeting People Is Easy–or as the DVD’s packaging reads: A film by grant gee about radiohead.

Over a decade later, the look of the film still holds up, with its audio bleeps and blips artistically edited together with performance footage, surveillance camera shots, and random cityscape still frames. Its fuzzy video and fan-perspective-concert-views predate YouTube, so not only does Meeting People is Easy feel current, we can see it was years ahead of its time.

Gee’s film takes us behind the scenes as Radiohead tour behind their critically gushed over OK Computer album, the musical equivalent of a good-looking teenage girl finally realizing she’s good-looking–with the rest of her classmates (especially all the schoolboys) thinking the same thing. As expected, Radiohead have a hard time dealing with all of their newfound attention.

A few minutes into the film we realize that its title is used for the sake of irony. Meeting people–especially for Radiohead–is anything but easy. Bassist, Colin Greenwood accepts interview after interview only to awkwardly discuss how awkward he is during interviews. His brother Johnny is even more reluctant to speak, as he uncomfortably tells the documentary cameras that he doesn’t like to do interviews at all, and then there’s drummer, Phil Selway, who only appears in the film during the band’s performances and photo shoots. Guitarist, Ed O’Brien, is the most personable member of the group, and finally we have the star of the film, frontman, Thom Yorke–Radiohead’s most tortured soul.

Yorke grumbles about problems many bands wished they were lucky enough to have. He looks miserable performing on the Late Show, can’t sing his band’s hit song “Creep” without a look of scorn tethered across his face, and responds to having a #1 critically acclaimed album by calling it a “head fuck.”

One of the most painful parts of the film to watch is when Radiohead tape various acceptance speeches for awards shows. (“Sorry we couldn’t be there, but thanks for voting us _________!”) Yorke–almost as if he’s being tortured by having his fingernails ripped out one by one–struggles to simply thank the NME for giving Radiohead the award for Best Album. After one of the takes, Yorke turns to his bandmates and says, “I fucked up.” The guys quickly reassure him, “Oh no, that was good.” It wasn’t good, it sucked! Just thank the fans like a normal human being! My wife, who was casually watching the film while doing work around the house, turned to me and pleaded, “This is so miserable, do we really have to watch this? Please turn it off.” (Ironically, she bought me the DVD years earlier.)

There’s another scene where a black-and-white surveillance camera catches Yorke all alone in Radiohead’s dressing room while the rest of his bandmates are enjoying a post-show after party. The back-and-forth editing makes it appear that Yorke is some type of rat locked in a cage, but considering his discomfort in front of people, you’d think that being all alone in a dressing room would be an ideal location? The only time Yorke seems at peace in the film is–surprise–during sound-check (when he doesn’t have to meet or interact with people).

Watching Meeting People Is Easy can actually make you feel guilty for being a Radiohead fan. Considering I bought OK Computer on the first day it came out and also saw Radiohead tour in 1997, I guess there’s some blood on my hands too. I–like many of you–helped to create the band’s seemingly miserably existence. I just thought they made really good music, that’s all. I didn’t intend on ruining anyone’s life.

If Radiohead thought the media scrutiny was tough back then, you could only imagine what a sequel to this film would be like today. Not only do you have music journalists both praising and slamming you, but any smart-ass kid with a keyboard and an internet connection.

Though revisiting Meeting People Is Easy did make me roll my eyes a lot more than the first time I saw it, it is refreshing to watch a tour documentary where dudes aren’t getting shit-faced-drunk and telling fart jokes on a nightly basis. It also does provide a very interesting insight as to why Radiohead never made an album so mainstream-friendly again. Their next two releases, Kid A and Amnesiac, were obvious reactions to the public’s response to OK Computer.

With subsequent releases, Radiohead managed to shake off some of the johhny-come-latelys, but they still couldn’t out run the love of music critics (like I said before, if only every band could be so lucky to have these kind of problems).

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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.