DID YOU READ

The Wes Anderson Happy Meal.

The Wes Anderson Happy Meal. (photo)

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It’s expected that a blockbuster like “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” get nonsensical tie-ins like Strawberry-Peanut Butter M&Ms — junk movies spawn junk food. And we don’t squawk in protest at “Twilight: New Moon” band-aids, if only because it takes a certain amount of wit (or, uh, greed) to propose using a vampire’s face to stop bleeding. But then there are our auteurs, our artists, whose work is challenging, unusual, not just empty entertainment. Clearly, they, of all people…do not deserve marketing and merchandising?

McDonald’s has a “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Happy Meal, which brought out the fiend in the Guardian‘s Ryan Gilbey, who fumed that this wouldn’t “be noteworthy in the slightest if the film in question were some DreamWorks piece of junk, or a knock-off directed by a hack,” but that Anderson “should not be getting into bed with McDonald’s, and using his work to lure young children into destructive eating habits,” because he taints his work. “True art, it seems, can co-exist after all with moist, defeated cheeseburgers and limp, glossy French fries,” he snipes. “I do hope Cahiers du Cinema got the memo.”

Well, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” has plenty of animation and action for the kids, but the dialogue also makes zero compromises for them, so from a studio perspective the McDonald’s tie-in makes a lot of practical sense — it’s an attempt to get people to see the film as just another kid’s flick. The Anderson fans are accounted for already (and aren’t enough by themselves to make the movie profitable), it’s everyone else that needs persuading.

Arguably, filmmakers have an obligation to do everything they can think of to get people to see their films if they want to work with larger budgets (for, say, a pricey stop motion feature) and be financially responsible. But also, Gilbey’s assumption that because Anderson is famously controlling he has major say over what the studio does with his film once its been completed is naïve. Anderson’s last few films haven’t been huge box office draws — why would he be able to insist his film be excluded from a corporate deal Fox made in May?

McDonald’s is a (deservedly) easy target; no one seems to be whining about, say, “Where The Wild Things Are”‘s tie-in Uggs, not even the kind of overwrought college activists who cover themselves with fake blood to protest the fact that the boots are made of sheepskin. (Personally, I’d like them more if they claimed they were made from the fur of actual wild things.) The issue here isn’t the “ethics” of getting in bed with McDonald’s as one evil corporation in particular. It’s really about the old issue of “selling out.”

“Selling out,” incidentally, is something the music kids got over years ago, the moment bands realized they could quit their day jobs if they sold their music for ad use. And film is a much more expensive business. It would, admittedly, be sad if those previously skinny kids who are fans of Anderson somehow got sucked into a french fry spiral of obesity because of this partnership. Now then: would you care for a Margot Tenenbaum Menthol?

[Photos: “Twilight: New Moon” bandages. Available now at Hot Topic and elsewhere]

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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.