Musician Bob Schneider and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez were two local legends destined to cross paths in Austin, the chilled-out city they love to call home. Naturally, when they finally did, a breezy, fast and loose music video was the result. For “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet),” the first single off Schneider’s latest album “Lovely Creatures,” Rodriguez took a weekend off from his wild post-production schedules on “Predators” and “Machete,” called up actress Kat Dennings (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” “Shorts”) and took to the streets to film it.
Although reuniting the two on the phone proved more difficult — I spoke to each of them separately when a conference call was thwarted — thanks to the magic of editing, it’s as if we were all there at the same time talking about how cool Austin is, how Schneider’s music became Rodriguez’s personal soundtrack on “Predators” and why Rodriguez would have to kill Schneider if they didn’t work together on something.
But first, here’s the exclusive premiere of “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)”:
How did you two come to work together on this video, do you know each other from Austin?
Robert Rodriguez: Yeah, I know him from Austin. Bob and I met a few times over the years. I worked with his producer a lot on [film] scores, I was producing more of them locally, using local musicians. I would always buy Bob’s albums — I dug that he stayed in Austin. When this last album came out, “Lovely Creatures,” I took it with me on location to Hawaii to go shoot “Predators.” It was the only CD I had, so I was listening to it a lot! [laughs] It’s a terrific album. When I came back, I invited him to see my Troublemaker Studios, ’cause I realized I had never invited him over.
Bob, we know Robert is a versatile filmmaker, but when I think of him, I don’t think of “Spy Kids.” I think of blood and guns, of “El Mariachi” and “Sin City.” Did you think Robert had the chops for something sweet and romantic?
Bob Schneider: Actually, I wasn’t really thinking sweet and romantic when this whole video process began. He told me a little bit about his new movie “Machete” — there are posters of the movie up on the walls [at his studio] and it looked like fun. I’d seen the trailer, of course, in “Grindhouse,” and the idea that I had was to see if he’d be interested in editing some of the footage from “Machete” into a video for “40 Dogs.”
RR: And I said, “Oh, you don’t have a video? Why don’t we just make one that actually goes with the song!” [laughs] People usually make videos that have nothing to do with the music whatsoever, so why don’t you just tell that story, or have that feeling that you get when you listen to the music.
Robert, did you bring in this generational theme — analog versus digital, 16mm projector versus iPhone — to the video?
RR: Yeah, I wanted to mix different mediums. I have my old wind-up film camera that I shot my first film “Bedhead” with, and that’s the one he’s using. Bob represents “older guy” like myself; I was just projecting myself in there even though I’m high-tech — I have old-fashioned values. He really likes this girl, who’s more evolved. He’s kept his son under wraps until the time is right. And she being more evolved just accepts him right away. I wanted that to be a layer of it, not so much about the technology, but more about how much more the younger generation is willing to accept things.
The kid in the video is great. Is that Bob’s son or Robert’s? I know how you operate.
RR: Bob’s son has very, very blond hair, so I thought, that might not look like he’s your son! I told my son, “Hey, go stand next to Bob, say hello to your new dad.” [laughs] So that’s my son. This one hadn’t been in anything yet, so he was excited.
What did you do to prepare for this? Aside from listening to the song while shooting “Predators,” which is hilarious.
RR: [laughs] Exactly. I usually have a couple of projects going on that are different. A “Sin City” while I’m doing a “Spy Kids” at the same time. I need different things going on. On this one, a bottleneck of two very hard, R-rated movies [“Predators” and “Machete”], I needed a palate cleanser and this really helped right in the middle when I needed it.
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.