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DID YOU READ

For your consideration: Sandra Bullock…?

For your consideration: Sandra Bullock…? (photo)

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This weekend, for complicated work-related reasons, I had to watch “All About Steve,” the most-maligned of Sandra Bullock’s three releases this year.

If “The Proposal” is Bullock’s straight-up romantic comedy and “The Blind Side” is a rare foray into playing middle-aged matron, “All About Steve” is a bizarrely misbegotten anti-romcom. She deploys crazed intensity in turning Mary, the ostensible protagonist, into a mass of twitches in a performance that bears as much relation to your conventional female romantic lead as, say, Cuba Gooding Jr. going full retard in “Radio.” Needless to say, it’s not very good.

But that’s not important, because not only is it Oscar season, it’s Thanksgiving week and there really isn’t much else to talk about. So contemplate, if you will, the thoughts of Pete Hammond — formerly Maxim magazine’s resident blurb-whore, which makes him as qualified as anyone to play awards-season swami.

Hammond is convinced that Bullock has a reasonable shot at a Best Actress nomination for “The Blind Side” because, apparently four slots are already locked, the film itself is performing quite well, audiences love it and Bullock’s playing a true-life (or, I guess, “true-life”) person and generally doing all the things Oscar nominees do.

I dunno if any of this is plausible, partly because trying to guess Oscar nominations over two months in advance is not my favorite game, and partly because I have zero intention of seeing “The Blind Side.” (If Warner Bros. wants to give Michael Lewis, who I love, money for turning his book into saccharine feel-good material, I am totally in favor, but that doesn’t mean I have to see it.) I would suggest, however, that if Bullock’s going to be nominated, it makes sense — she’s clearly thought of herself as a brilliant thespian for a long time now.

11242009_theblindside.jpgUnlike Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz — two of her main rivals for queen-of-the-romcoms status — Bullock’s put a lot of effort into alternating her bread-and-butter staples with all manner of supporting player oddities. It’s not just her token serious part in “Crash” (a movie that made a party game out of inviting you to re-evaluate presumably “lightweight” actors). There’s also her small turn in Kevin Bacon’s queasy, quasi-incestuous mother-son ode “Loverboy,” her first effort as a producer on one of her own movies with 2000’s infamous violent flop “Gun Shy,” and her (failed) Oscar-baiting as a flailing alcoholic in the same year’s “28 Days.”

Long ago, Bullock was on her way to being a female action star, with turns in “Demolition Man,” “Speed” and “The Net.” I like to think Bullock’s always been a bit bored with trying to be brunette Meg Ryan. In a weird way, a cast-off like “All About Steve” is her way of attempting a showy performance while still (sort of) giving the people what they want. So, an Oscar nom? Why not. She thinks tics, busyness and overt weirdness are the way to go? Stranger things have won awards.

BTW, did you remember that Sandra Bullock once attempted to fill Melanie Griffith’s shoes for 12 short episodes of “Working Girl”? It’s true:

[Photos: “All About Steve,” 20th Century Fox, 2009; “The Blind Side,” Warner Bros., 2009]

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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.