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DID YOU READ

Death of the theatrical re-release.

Death of the theatrical re-release.  (photo)

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UK citizens who feel like “Valentine’s Day” is still not enough Garry Marshall will be able to flock to a re-release of “Pretty Woman,” celebrating its 20th anniversary abroad but not at home. Aside from last year’s successful re-release of the first two “Toy Story”s in converted 3D, it’s been a long time since theatrical re-releases were part of multiplex fare. Which is a shame, even if it’s not surprising.

Disney did well with the “Toy Story” double-feature re-issue, which served two key functions: it brought in relatively inexpensive 3D revenue and gave parents an excuse to take a generation of children too young to have seen the films in theaters, thereby creating a base of prepubescents totally primed for “Toy Story 3.” Disney used to be profligate in re-releasing all their big animated hits once every 10 or 15 years, which helped to build in new generations of fans (while appealing to parents who secretly wanted to check in with their childhoods) while establishing continuity between every generation’s childhood moviegoing memories. No more.

Generally speaking, straight up re-releases — no gimmicks, “directors’ cuts” or effects touch-ups — have been dead in the water here in the U.S. for a while. They’re mostly for those in the arthouse know, even when the movies in question were popular — “The Graduate,” the 18th-highest grossing film of all time domestically, adjusted for inflation, made all of $75,702 on its 30th anniversary re-issue.

02112010_grease.jpgI can count on two hands all the big, non-arthouse re-issues I can remember since I started paying attention: a 20th-anniversary “Grease” that did fine for itself (about $28 million) without any new footage or gimmicks, the sexed-up “Exorcist” recut that took in nearly $40 million in 2000, the mildly-successful 20th-anniversary re-issue of “E.T.,” the crash-and-burn of the stupidly recut “Alien” in 2003 (just under $2 million). (The “Star Wars” re-issues are the exceptions that prove the rule, though they were massive.) In fact, there’s little compelling financial incentive to re-issue movies on a mass scale when even the biggest of former blockbusters seemingly have no theatrical life 20 years on.

I suppose people just don’t get that big a kick out of re-visiting films the way they first saw them, when the most re-issuable films (from a financial standpoint) are now the most easily available. It’s also relevant that moviegoers under 40 now are people who have trouble remembering when most things weren’t available for easy home viewing in one format or another: the whole idea of movies occasionally returning to where they began isn’t even a setting for them, since their loyalty to the theatrical experience is shaky at best. And cable reruns have made re-issues at least a little redundant: some days I suspect there’s so many people willing to claim “Goodfellas” as the greatest movie of all time because it’s near impossible to find a week when basic cable isn’t rerunning it.

That re-issues continue in other countries I’m forced to attribute to either people not having yet set up their HDTV home theaters or cultures that still privilege the theatrical experience as an end in itself. Most Americans don’t, or even see a meaningful difference between seeing a movie in a theater or at home. So the theatrical re-issue is dead, barring 3D gimmickry; do not expect to see “Forrest Gump” on its 20th anniversary back on the screen, or even “Titanic” in 2017. From now on, it’s all rep (ironically, since the movies previously most likely to be re-issued are the popular ones least frequently revived) or home video.

[Photos: “Pretty Woman,” Touchstone, 1990; “Grease,” Paramount, 1978]

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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.

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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.