Lindsay Lohan and the difference between a movie and music star flame-out.

Lindsay Lohan and the difference between a movie and music star flame-out. (photo)

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Like 3D and the death of criticism, Lindsay Lohan is the column-filling gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday saw two separate articles on La Lohan from The Wrap, and today the AV Club‘s Nathan Rabin examines late-period flops “I Know Who Killed Me” (which is kind of awesome — seriously) and “Chapter 27.”That’s a lot of attention for an actress who hasn’t had a theatrical release in three years.

Much of this coverage is, predictably, a little ghoulish, though what makes it worse is the quasi-paternalistic, first-person direct form of “advice” a few of these columns pride themselves on. “it ist [sic] too late for her to get it together?” asks the sub-hed on the first Wrap column, as if Lohan were the recalcitrant type who’d once turned in her homework on time and was now smoking pot under the bleachers and might not make it into college.

It’s reminiscent of that infamous 2007 letter from producer James G. Robinson chiding Lohan for having “endangered the quality” of “Georgia Rule,” a Garry Marshall movie about an old woman taming a young firebrand’s downward spiral (spare me). At the time, Salon‘s Stephanie Zacharek speculated that Lohan’s behavior might have been “a subliminal, albeit inappropriate, response to this weird, semi-repressive material.”

Lohan’s movies post-2005 have, in fact, repeatedly played off her troubled image. In 2006’s “Just My Luck,” a girl with perfect luck swaps bodies with a guy whose luck is consistently terrible, precipitating a downward spiral through no luck (heh) of her own. In “I Know Who Killed Me” she plays twins that more or less perfectly sum up the Madonna/whore split. So let’s not say that studios didn’t try to take advantage of this for a while.

So what’s the difference between Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan? Certainly not the quality and alarming nature of the freak-outs. The difference is that Spears is still — until she proves otherwise — bankable. Making movies is more complicated (in production, at least) — you have to get insurance, which a particularly wayward star will make impossible.

It’s worth checking out the Lil Wayne doc “The Carter,” which makes it clear that, if it’s in their best financial interests, record companies will stay far away from finding out what their artists are up to in the studio, substance-abuse wise. We expect our music stars to be martyrs to excess for our entertainment — something Salon‘s Brendan O’Neill distastefully but straightforwardedly expressed in an essay five years ago where he scolded British musicians for not taking enough drugs and took Pete Doherty to task for daring to apologize for his drug problems (because apparently that’s not the way to take Tony Blair down?).

Lohan may well be of questionable talent and a trainwreck and so on. But the dogpiling to repeatedly remind us how she’s “blown it” suggests a collective degree of moralizing that has nothing to do with genuine concern — it’s more like everyone in America apparently wants to work for an insurance company. Just imagine what they would have done to Elizabeth Taylor now.

[Photos: “I Know Who Killed Me,” Tristar, 2007. Video: “Georgia Rule,” Universal Pictures, 2007; “The Carter,” Virgil Films & Entertainment, 2009]


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.