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DID YOU READ

Taking on the sacred films of an ’80s childhood.

Taking on the sacred films of an ’80s childhood. (photo)

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A Melbourne man named Luke Ryan has taken it upon himself to write a list of the“Top ten films that you shouldn’t rewatch as an adult.”

This is a brave thing to do, given that a) his title isn’t a bait-and-switch b) his titles include “Labyrinth,” “The Dark Crystal,” “The Goonies,” “Spaceballs” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.” In some parts of the country, and many more parts of the internet, denouncing those movies could get you stoned to death. Setting aside Ryan’s gratuitous slur of the most-awesome “Gremlins” (everyone’s entitled to their opinion), his list is unusually idiosyncratic. Most lists are designed to flatter readers’ familiarity with the titles involved, on the same principle that tells most reasonably intelligent people who know how to play guitar that they should pander to people their age. He takes the opposite tack, insulting the tastes of most who read him.

Lists are like pulling out a guitar for a singalong. For ’70s kids, play “Cat’s Cradle” and neutered Zeppelin; for the ’90s, you can never go wrong with Weezer and Blink-182. Similarly, most lists stick to a pre-selected pool of movies, infinitely reshuffled: to sing, once more, the praises of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” or “The Big Lebowski,” secure in the knowledge no one has seen any movies other than those you’ve seen. Name anything else, and you’ll risk being pilloried as pretentious.

It’s clear that children of the ’80s and ’90s never got over their childhoods — you’ll rarely catch ’70s kids rhapsodizing over, say, the Disney movies of the era, or even a touchstone like “The Bad News Bears.” It’s the generations after that fetishize what they grew up on as things to be revived infinitely — otherwise, we’d all be sitting around listening to ’40s radio serials forever and ever.

03312010_ooz.jpgIt’s fascinating that movies like “The Goonies” or “The Secret of the Ooze” can maintain cultural power for ten, maybe even 20 years — far more than their initially disposable intent. And it’s even more interesting that they can become culturally totemic items simply because they were part of people’s childhoods. More so than in the past, generations can agree on shared experiences’ value simply because mass-marketing dumped everyone there at the same time.

And that’s freaky, implying a degree of cultural solipsism, where a degree of shared cultural experience matters more than whether or not someone two decades later will be interested in those movies. It’s the same impulse that, say, led Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody to show “Labyrinth” (one of the most popular midnight movies ever) and “Pretty in Pink” when she got a chance to program a slate for the New Beverly Cinema, knowing nostalgicists will always find each other and everyone else is just a poser.

Here’s my question. One decade’s pop artifacts aren’t worse than another’s. So why is it that only recently kids have grown up to belligerently champion their experiences and media as greater than any other? Just because media has unified and made it easier than ever to relate to other people? When did lousy movies becomes inviolable landmarks? Will the adults of 20 years on harbor such fanatical loyalty to “Shrek 2”?

[Photos: “The Goonies,” Warner Bros., 1985; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze,” New Line Cinema, 1990]

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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.