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DID YOU READ

The Directors of Radiohead

The Directors of Radiohead (photo)

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[This article is part of our Radiohead Fanatic Fortnight — check out our box set giveaway here.]

With great bands often come great videos, and Radiohead is one of those bands that matured quickly and garnered talented directors early on. Some directors set out to create a good marketing tool and simply made the members look cool. Others were as cutting edge as the band whose songs they set to the moving image. Here’s a look at some of Radiohead’s more memorable videos and the directors who shot them:

Director: Jake Scott
Video: “Fake Plastic Trees” (1995)

Scott, son of Ridley Scott (and nephew of Tony), seems to have more influences, education and inspiration to draw from than he actually knows what to do with. His film debut, the 1999 feature “Plunkett & Macleane,” may satisfy the urge to indulge in a roguish period picture, but it was also almost terminally frenetic. You’d never guess from watching it that four years earlier Scott directed the video for Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees.” His other standout work, R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” shows more stylistic parallels with “Just,” a Radiohead video from another director [see below], with subtitles moving a mysterious narrative along.

Scott likes the close-up, favoring gratuitous shots of his subjects talking, singing, strumming and striking poses with their heads. But that’s what the kids want in a video — to get closer and more intimate with the rock stars they idolize. “Fake Plastic Trees,” with its whitewashed, saturated colors, may still be his best. Can’t forget that long, bright look at Thom Yorke’s fascinating face. (On the film side, Scott’s next feature, the upcoming “Welcome to the Rileys,” looks to be a considerably calmer drama that stars Kristen Stewart.)

Director: Jamie Thraves
Video: “Just” (1995)

Thraves has done videos for bands like Blur and radio titans Coldplay, but none of his videos has caused more stir than Radiohead’s “Just.” It epitomized the look of rock cool at the time. He nailed it with the Elvis glasses, Yorke’s wardrobe and the hot shots of Jonny [Greenwood]’s string-bending solo. But what’s kept fans talking on forums and blogs over the years is the weighty statement made by the man on the sidewalk that makes the crowd lie down with him, just as the subtitles stop. People have gone so far as to watch it in slow motion with lip-reading experts to determine what the line is. The results? Inconclusive, since the shot cuts away to the band anyway. Neither Jamie Thraves nor the band will say, even if there is actually something to say, since they feel it would defeat the point of the art. But fans still keep asking the question, anyway.

Director: Michel Gondry
Video: “Knives Out” (2001)

Gondry’s wild, fantastical style is apparent throughout all his work, particularly his features “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Science of Sleep.” But the French-born director got his start in music videos, and his filmic language, while evolved, remains rooted in the short form. Playfully toying with the viewer’s frame of reference is a Gondry signature. In his video for “Knives Out,” the camera eventually moves into a TV screen that shows Thom Yorke and a girlfriend (played by actress Emma de Caunes) in a train car. As the couple fight and Yorke eventually offers her an engagement ring, a hand is shown beneath the TV set hitting the VCR’s rewind button to show their relationship play out in reverse through the train window. The scene bears a striking resemblance to the opening of Gondry’s “Be Kind Rewind,” which depicts the real-life jazz musician Fats Waller dying in a train car, as the window reveals a model of the train itself parked at a station outside. The same stylish mind-boggle plays out continually in the video, and indeed in much of his work.

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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.