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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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.