The musical coincidences of “Up in the Air.”

The musical coincidences of “Up in the Air.” (photo)

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Director Jason Reitman has famously created a pie chart of all the repeat interview questions he’s been receiving as he’s been on the press circuit for “Up in the Air.” But it isn’t only the questions that he or audiences will hear over and over again. Here’s a quick primer on the many music-related coincidences that have cropped up with regard to his latest film, along with the one thing that can’t be replicated:

There will be two Ryan Binghams this awards season.
Not only is it the name of George Clooney’s plucky protagonist, but Ryan Bingham also happens to be the real-life musician who penned tracks for the hard-charging Spirit nominee and Oscar hopeful “Crazy Heart.” Although the gravelly-voiced frontman for the Dead Horses appears in the Jeff Bridges drama as part of down-on-his-luck country singer Bad Blake’s backup band, it’s the songs that Bingham co-wrote with “O Brother Where Art Thou” music mastermind T Bone Burnett, including the film’s theme, “The Weary Kind,” that give an extra weight to Bridges’ acclaimed performance and have a shot at hanging around in the spotlight until February 22nd.

Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” has become the anthem of successful, but emotionally stunted middle-aged men everywhere.
Blame this on the Paramount marketing department, but those buoyant “La La La La Lalala La”s have turned the 1977 track off “Lust for Life” into the tune of choice for ads trying to sell audiences on dramedies about men of a certain age caught between the pressures of their professional and personal lives. (And the marketers at Paramount are feeling such pressure themselves, pouring hours into “Air”‘s campaign.) If the “Up in the Air” ads seem familiar, it’s because Paramount tried the same trick with the equally bittersweet Nicolas Cage character study “The Weather Man” four years ago. Granted, in this case, “The Passenger” makes a little more literal sense.

Young MC is collecting some big royalty checks this fall.
Not since the summer of 1989 has “Bust-A-Move” been so prevalent. If you’ve seen “The Blind Side,” you know that the song underscores one of the film’s big turning points, despite the fact that it would have been unlikely to hear on a car radio during the early ’00s, when the Sandra Bullock starrer is set. But Reitman went so far as to call in the rapper to hold court at a corporate retreat crashed by Clooney and Vera Farmiga for one of the film’s most exuberant scenes. The good news: It looks like Marvin Young kept the weight off since he appeared on “Celebrity Fit Club 3.”

12082009_kevinrenick.jpgOne name you probably haven’t heard of is Kevin Renick.
The one track on “Up in the Air”‘s soundtrack that’s inimitable is Renick’s, the St. Louis singer/songwriter who was one of the many unemployed who talked to Reitman before production started on the film. During a Q&A at Webster University, Renick handed Reitman a cassette with a song called “Up in the Air,” a lilting ballad that shares a passing similarity to the last artist the director championed in “Juno,” Kimya Dawson. Reitman joked in Toronto that he had to scramble to find something that would play the tape, settling on the cassette deck in the car of a P.A., but even in cramped quarters, he chose the song to play over the closing credits because he felt it was “authentic.”

[Photos: Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air,” Paramount Pictures, 2009; Kevin Renick]


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…


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. 


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



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.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.