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DID YOU READ

Continuity is boring.

Continuity is boring.  (photo)

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One of the most famous edits in film history is “Lawrence of Arabia”‘s pun-tastic “match cut” — a term normally referring to edits that keep objects and people in the same spatial area, but in this case a legendary cut from a match being blown out to a hot desert sun.

But that wasn’t important in film school, when a professor pulled out the laserdisc and asked the students to identify the blindingly important continuity error in the scene that builds up to that. Peter O’Toole and Claude Rains are chatting and — in a very discreet cut — something in the background changes location. The person who saw this took great glee in pointing it out — more so than in the actual pleasure of the legendary cut.

The odd thing is that I’ve been looking at this part of the film over and over for ten solid minutes now — it’s around 7:40 here — and can’t find it. If you do find it, congratulations! You’re now smarter than David Lean!

This kind of self-assertion is the pettiest kind of assertion of self over film, the technical equivalent of saying some widely beloved classic isn’t actually all that because it’s “boring.” It comes dressed in the clothing of objectivity. Hence a site like MovieMistakes.com, which exists for the sole purpose of pointing out problems. The people behind this — if Barry Newman’s profile in the Wall Street Journal is any indication — are all certifiably insane, preferring to scour the background for continuity problems rather than actually paying attention to the bulk of the film’s actual content. The argument is that such mistakes “yank you out” of the film (or something) — especially when freeze-framing in high resolution is easier than ever — but it’s nonsense. It’s a decision made by the viewer to prioritize “good technique” over all else.

03252010_pickpocket.jpgIts that kind of film-school mentality that can drive otherwise sane people completely round the bend, like a friend of mine who declared he couldn’t get into Bresson’s “Pickpocket” because the lighting was too simple and amateurish. It’s the kind of thinking that leads to strange threads about how Martin Scorsese is a lousy filmmaker because his cuts don’t match. (I can think of plenty of things to object to in Scorsese, but that’s not one of them.)

And it’s nonsense, finally. You think critics have big egos? Whatever. But what could be more egotistical than the death of a thousand cuts these viewers inflict upon movies in the name of “good production values”? It’s absurd.

[Photos: “Lawrence of Arabia,” Sony, 1962; “Pickpocket,” New Yorker Films, 1959]

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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.