DID YOU READ

Harmony Korine’s found footage film.

Harmony Korine’s found footage film. (photo)

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Whatever you think of art film’s designated provocateur, it’s hard to imagine anyone less famous than Harmony Korine getting a movie into major festivals that was conceived of only four months before, shot in two weeks, and consists mainly of dudes in old-person masks fellating tree branches, drinking wine bottles and — yes, indeed — humping trash. But such is “Trash Humpers,” 74 plotless minutes that gain value from a dedication to the shoddiest of VHS aesthetics; the film was edited on anachronistic VCRs, and it shows in good, nostalgic ways. It’s oddly painless, but provocative in a too easy way: Ugliness is truth, and truth ugliness.

Korine was calm and unruffled when facing the press after the screening, and they in turn asked only respectful questions. He addressed his inspirations in order. “With this movie, what happened was I grew up really close to — and live now close to — where we filmed,” Korine explained. “My wife bought this little black dog and made me walk it two or three times a day, so I would walk it in these back alleyways. Generally I like to walk at night, and I remember as a kid I spent most of life in abandoned parking lots and back alleyways and under bridges, and they now are just littered with garbage. Sometimes when I’d walk through these alleyways they would resemble humans, the way they would be laying with these things blowing over them. I don’t know what happened, I just started imagining what it’d be like to hump them. At the same time, when I was a kid there used to be a group of elderly guys who would sometimes peep through windows in the neighborhood. I’d always look through my window and catch them looking at the girl next door in this yellow house. It was a common thing.”

As for the VHS: “Sometimes when I would travel to movies, people would give me films or hand me tapes or a bird’s nest or something, and someone came up to me and handed me a video tape and told me to watch it, that they had found it in a thrift store. Usually I throw the stuff away because I’m scared to look at it, but this one I kept. A couple of months later my wife was there with her friend and they said to put a movie on, so as a joke I put this tape in. And what I saw was mainly these kids driving around, punching each other, playing tuba, screaming at each other, just things that were kind of silly and mundane, but they both started yelling at me to take it off and I said ‘Why?’ And they said, ‘because someone’s going to get murdered.’ It was a strange reaction for them to have, but then I thought it was an interesting idea, to make an idea that was like a VHS tape, that was like something that was found.”

Those were the money quotes, and they were genuinely entertaining: the rest of the conference was less so, with Korine giving many variants on the vague, art-school-y statement “They only want to take evil and make it somewhat beautiful or transcendent.” He repeatedly said he wasn’t sure if “Trash Humpers” even qualifies as a movie. He meant it in a good way, because conventional movies are boring. I’m not so sure.

[Photo: Korine at press conference. Photo courtesy of Jason Shawhan.]

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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.