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DID YOU READ

Sympathy for the multiplex.

Sympathy for the multiplex. (photo)

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In “My Winnipeg,” there’s a moment where Guy Maddin, for once, ditches the faux-archival black and white footage to register his disgust at the destruction of the old Winnipeg Arena. His father worked in the Arena, Maddin has memories of the place, and it was demolished in 2004.

For Maddin, this destruction is such an outrage he can’t even recreate it. He instead cuts to ugly video footage of the arena’s destruction before ranting about how the MTS Centre, which replaced it, is charmless and will never house childhood dreams. He does overlook one thing — the MTS Centre may look like a cross between an airport and a mall, but the old Winnipeg Arena, with its boxy brick walls, looking like an out-of-date public-school, was no beauty either. The two buildings are ugly in different ways, but Maddin’s fondness for the old arena is entirely subjective.

This all came to my mind while reading Elizabeth Meyer’s article at PBS.org about the ever-increasing struggles of non-multiplex movie theaters — the arthouses, the old cinemas, the single screens, the ones with their silent-era organs intact.

05052010_multiplex.jpgTo be sure, an old theater is a beautiful thing. Yet it’s not necessarily to demonize the multiplexes driving them out of business. The corporate machinations behind that are one thing, but the actual theaters themselves are perfectly capable of sustaining love and affection for their otherwise unremarkable spaces.

Depending on where you live, for example, you might still have access to those weird transitional theaters built in the ’80s and ’90s, when seven screens counted as a full-blown multiplex. There was one like that in Austin when I was growing up, and its biggest auditorium could seat 500 people — it wasn’t old-school majestic, but it was close. At the back, meanwhile, were the tiny theaters, that looked like glorified screening rooms, so small as to make it seem a rip-off to be charged full price. Personality aplenty.

Even the sprawling, 16-to-32 screen behemoth — where, unnerving, layouts can mean that you won’t encounter another soul for a quarter-mile at a time — has its charms. There are the opportunities offered for easy, all-day theater-hopping, the broad array of crap to chose from, and the fact that if you’re growing up in the suburbs, there’s not always a whole lot else to do. You don’t have to love the idea of the multiplex to love your own particular multiplex, just as anything you have to put up with for a while becomes, one way or another, part of the fabric of your life.

[Photos: MTS Centre via Wikipedia Commons, photo by Lee Fehler, 2009; AMC Multiplex in Ontario, California via Wikimedia Commons, photo by “Coolcaesar,” 2005]

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.