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“Monopoly” as bad advertising.

“Monopoly” as bad advertising. (photo)

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There’s too many stupid movies these days based on comics, video and board games and theme park rides, but I’ll skip the dearth of originality preamble and, well, just pass go and collect $200. That’s because there’s a new movie based on “Monopoly” in the pipeline and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Suck it up. For the edification of the Los Angeles Times‘ Geoff Boucher, writer Frank Beddor explains how Ridley Scott came to be attached: it was all thanks to the originality and hypnotic qualities of Beddor’s scenario. He “created” a “lovable loser” (the first in film history) who isn’t a very good real estate broker but is — oh sweet irony — really good at “Monopoly,” and awakens one morning to find himself in “Monopoly City.” Of course, it’s not really about money: “it’s more a metaphor for life, the taking of chances and this character through this process learns that he can do a lot of things. He’s completely brave and strategic and risk-taking while playing this game but in real life he’s a mess. He won’t roll the dice. That’s the character and journey he has to take.”

I won’t mock it; it’s too easy. If Ridley Scott really thinks it’s a good idea to follow up his utterly unnecessary “Robin Hood” redo with a board game adaptation, that’s his problem. I do, however, question the marketing logic behind this. While recent toy tie-ins like “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” have tapped into the nostalgia for the ’80s, “Monopoly” stirs up different kind of memories: Beddor claims Scott signed on in part because of how super-wicked-awesome the script was, and in part because he had “these epic ‘Monopoly’ battles with my family when I was young.” Which is adorable. I would, however, point out, that Scott is 71 this year; Beddor has kept his age off the Internet, but if he graduated high school in 1977 (as, to be fair, only an unsourced Wikipedia line claims), he’s close to 50, and their fond memories of endless, protracted (“epic”) board games with their lovely families may not match the memories of anyone slightly younger, such as anyone forced to spend hours with their family in forced “bonding” time. (In my opinion, it’s the family that jams “Rock Band” that stays together rather than the family sulkily huddled over “Monopoly,” but what do I know?

Beddor’s precedent logic — that “Pirates of the Caribbean” was just a theme-park ride, and it was turned into incredibly successful (and maddeningly boring) movies — doesn’t apply here, simply because I doubt that a vast majority of the blockbuster hordes who saw it actually had any knowledge whatsoever of the actual, dated Disneyland ride and although “Monopoly” is still here — in video game form – do people really want to spend much time at Park Place? As I said before, it’s inevitable, just as one should expect “Monopoly: The Movie: The Game” any day now.

[Photo: “Monopoly” video game for Wii, Electronic Arts, 2009.]


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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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GIFs via Giphy

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.”


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. 


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.