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DID YOU READ

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]

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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.