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Alex Jones vs. “Machete.”

Alex Jones vs. “Machete.” (photo)

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Robert Rodriguez is one of the only directors whose highest aspiration is creating instant camp trash — for him, disposability is immortality. And yet, the so-called “illegal” trailer for the upcoming “Machete” cracked me up far more than its origin, as an over-obvious fake-exploitation trailer in “Grindhouse.” What started out as another Rodriguez cheapie has had the resonance of a real immigration law added to it, and all the racial jokes suddenly seem relevant (even if nothing is funnier than the words “Introducing Don Johnson”).

Nothing about “Machete” in its original form provoked conservative complaint. But the “illegal” “Machete” trailer begins with Danny Trejo’s announcement that he has a Cinco de Mayo message for Arizona, which set off alarm bells. When the movie comes out, it won’t be a big deal. (There’s scarcely been a conservative protest in the past 20 years to match the contentious release of “The Last Temptation of Christ.”) Still, for now, this is a faux-talking-point, and there’s a simple reason for this: Alex Jones got involved.

For those unfamiliar, Alex Jones may best be remembered as one of the highlight of “Waking Life”, ranting against the age of “slavery incorporated,” sounding merely like one of Linklater’s most vehement slackers. If you were in Austin in the ’90s, Jones was probably the best late-night AM host to stay up with in the area — his ramblings about a one-world government and black helicopters hovering over the rural areas were eminently listenable. But he’s blown up from local oddity to syndicated AM guy, still a firm believer in the idea that a “new world order”/”one world government” is trying to take over, Jones is actually to the right of Glenn Beck, who on a recent broadcast had the nerve to mock “tinfoil hat people.” He believes in “global governance,” not “global government.” This is how far right Jones is: Beck disputes him over semantics.

05202010_jones.jpgOne of the reasons Austin became a popular place in which to make movies in the late ’90s/early ’00s was, in part, to do with both generous tax breaks for filmmakers, but also with the establishment of the Austin Studios by the Austin Film Society — co-founded by Richard Linklater in 1985, and whose efforts were aided by Robert Rodriguez, who seems to have shot every movie he possibly can in Austin or at least Texas, including “Machete.”

Then Jones’ site “Infowars” screams that “Machete” is a “racist film” about “race war” being funded by Texas — apparently “Machete” is no longer a cheeseball spoof but a “Do The Right Thing”-esque incitement to blood in the streets — which makes a $20 million budget (and tax credits) spent in Austin unacceptable.

Jones must know how important film production has become to Austin in recent years. But every anti-“Machete” editorial op-ed you read will be based off his “research.” Just be aware where the talking points are coming from here — there’ll be no racial wars, but Texas will benefit economically.

Here’s Jones on the film and what he believes it will incite:

[Photos: “Machete,” 20th Century Fox, 2010; “Waking Life,” 20th Century Fox, 2001]


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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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GIFs via Giphy

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.