DID YOU READ

Seven songs about movies.

Seven songs about movies. (photo)

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Yesterday, a coworker asked me if I’d seen the “Event Horizon” music video.

I had not. But it arrived in my inbox a dozen times over the next 24 hours from other friends who, too, found NYC-based band .357 LOVER’s ode to the 1997 sci-fi non-classic, complete with delightfully shoddily greenscreened video, irresistible.

Anyone can Will Smith their way into a plot song about the movie it appears in (usually running over the end credits). It’s a rarer and, often, cheesier tune that apropos of nothing in particular devotes itself to a film. Here are seven selection from the past three decades, from newest on back to the early ’80s.

02242010_eventhorizon1.jpg.357 LOVER – “Event Horizon”
Inspired by: “Event Horizon” (1997)

Those visuals! That endless guitar solo! And those lyrics: “Then we’ll rescue our friends from the gates of hell / Wave back to the rest and wish them well.” Singer Jon Cunningham, better known as Corn Mo, devotes an improbable amount of heartfelt passion to the happenings of Paul WS Anderson’s haunted spaceship Blockbuster rental standard. (I’d be remiss to not mention the band also have a song devoted to “Time Cop.”)

02242010_diehard.jpgGuyz Nite – “Die Hard”
Inspired by: “Die Hard” (1988), “Die Hard 2” (1990) and “Die Hard: With a Vengeance” (1995)

While this 2006 song already sounds oddly Fall Out Boy-era dated, the chorus is still fist-pump catchy: “We’re gonna die (DIE!) die (DIE!) die (DIE!) die hard!” Guyz Nite, who label themselves “Beer Metal” and have testosteroned-out stage names like Guy Manley and Bear Woods, sometimes cheat on their rhymes (“The good cop wouldn’t miss this / Even though it wasn’t Christmas”), but deserve extra points for covering the first three “Die Hard” films (“Live Free or Die Hard” hadn’t come out yet) and working John McClane’s signature profanity into a downright lovely bridge.

022420210_lotion.jpgGreenskeepers – “Lotion”
Inspired by “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

The Chicago-based Greenskeepers had the ingenious revelation that Buffalo Bill’s famous “The Silence of the Lambs” line to Catherine Martin, imprisoned in his basement, scans perfectly, no edits or additions necessary: “It rubs the lotion on its skin / Or else it gets the hose again.” Combine that with a slinky bassline and you have something that could outlast its own serial killer song novelty potential.

02242010_iamthemob.jpgCatatonia – “I Am The Mob”
Inspired by: “The Godfather” (1972)

The late Brit-pop band Catatonia never really made headway in the U.S. market, and if they were going to break through, it probably wouldn’t have been with “I Am The Mob,” an awful song that happens to be, quite unabashedly, about “The Godfather.” “I put horses’ heads in people’s beds / ’cause I am the mob,” sings Cerys Matthews, though you’d imagine Don Vito Corleone would put a more nuanced spin on it. The repeated closing line: “Luca Brasi, he sleeps with the fishes.”

02242010_manontheedge.jpgIron Maiden – “Man on the Edge”
Inspired by “Falling Down” (1993)

Remember “Falling Down,” the Joel Schumacher movie in which a disgruntled Michael Douglas lays waste to a Los Angeles convenience store, fast food restaurant, telephone booth and so on, all the while trying to get home to his daughter’s birthday party? So does Iron Maiden. There are quite a few movie-centric songs in the band’s body of work, from “The Wicker Man” to “Where Eagles Dare,” but “Man on the Edge” both makes its subject into a bellowed chorus (“Falling down! Falling down! Falling down!” sings Blaze Bayley) and manages the following bit of poetry: “Once he built missiles a nation’s defense / Now he can’t even give birthday presents.”

02242010_debaser.jpgPixies – “Debaser”
Inspired by: “Un chien andalou” (1929)

I have no idea what came out of my mouth when I would try to sing along to this song growing up, but it sure wasn’t a conscious Buñuel reference. Black Francis/Frank Black sings about “a movie” and “slicing up eyeballs,” but you’d be forgiven for not getting the gesture toward the surrealist classic — the chorus, in which he declares that “I am un chien andalusia,” as a fan page helpfully explains, “actually mixes English (‘I am’), Spanish (‘un’, which exists in French, but is actually pronounced as in Spanish), French (‘chien’), and something undetermined (‘andalusia’ as such is neither French nor Spanish).”

02252010_neildiamond.jpgNeil Diamond – “Heartlight”
Inspired by “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)

Universal Studios claimed copyright infringement and got $25,000 from Diamond and his cowriters on this syrupy slice of adult contemporary heaven, Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach, even though it never mentions the adorable blockbuster alien that inspired it. Then again, lyrics like “Turn on your heartlight / In the middle of a young boy’s dream / Don’t wake me up too soon / Gonna take a ride across the moon / You and me” didn’t leave Diamond much room to argue he was actually crooning about “The Cannonball Run.”

And? What have I left off? Besides Falco’s “Amadeus.”

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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.