Jimi Hendrix and the elusive music biopic.

Jimi Hendrix and the elusive music biopic. (photo)

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For every Frank Sinatra or Ray Charles biopic that gets made there are a dozen more in the works. And for every “Control,” or “Walk the Line” or “Amadeus” there are countless films that never get out of development. Music flicks have special obstacles along with the usual ones faced by all films, not least of which is finding the right actors to play what tend to be very recognizable people.

People with real, tangible, talents too. It’s challenging enough portraying Richard Nixon or Harvey Milk, but what if you have to play piano convincingly or sing well too? Audiences may be entirely forgiving about how much Philip Seymour Hoffman actually looks like Truman Capote, but the same attitude is less apt to apply to a rock star with an iconic look.

Worse for the music biopic is the licensing of all those songs, that without, make the picture pointless. And then there’s the estate to come to terms with, even bring on board as producers or meddlers as the case may be. Variety lays out many of the pitfalls faced by recent attempts, as well as some ongoing developments – the one that caught my attention is a possible new Hendrix venture that seems to be getting developed backwards, with the estate courting filmmakers as opposed to the other way around.

Janie Hendrix, half-sister to the late guitar hero, retained control of most of the Hendrix estate in a 2004 court battle with Jimi’s little brother Leon Hendrix, and is now seeking to get a film off the ground.

Rather than entertaining offers by potential filmmakers looking to make a biopic, she decided to reach out to specific filmmakers with whom she’d like to work. “The plan is to see if we have the same vision,” she says. “And we’ll go from there.”

Who and how and most importantly, will it be cool? remains to be seen. About his lifestyle and the drugs, she added:

“We all knew Jimi experimented with drugs; it was the ’60s,” says Hendrix. “But on the other hand, he was a workaholic when it came to his music. We want people to really remember Jimi for his dedication and his gift to the world: his music.”

Fair enough. Though I was not that impressed with an interview she gave last month to Seattle Weekly where she talked of a decade of coming Hendrix releases (with Sony) from a vault admitting no understanding of what Jimi intended and giving no indication of any creative or wondrous ways in which they intend to bring some of these gems to light in a way Jimi would have dug. She also said “No” a lot and gave a contrary answer about her estranged brother Leon, who was shut out from any estate inheritance, saying “I support my brother,” and in the next breath, “I’m not sure about supporting, you know. He was offered a job years ago, and he didn’t want it.”

Producer Thomas Tull, who’s been involved/responsible for everything from “It Might Get Loud” to “Watchmen” to yesterdays turd, “Clash of the Titans” is working on an untitled Jimi Hendrix project – whether Janie is on board yet we don’t know. Maybe this will be the one. But who could play such a legend?


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…


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. 


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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