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Shia’s not shy about criticism.

Shia’s not shy about criticism. (photo)

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In Cannes promoting his new film, Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” Shia LaBeouf publicly criticized the last film that brought him to the glamorously carpeted steps of the Grand Théâtre Lumière, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” According to The Los Angeles Times‘s Steven Zeitchik, LaBeouf opened up about his dissatisfaction with both his performance as Mutt Williams and with “Indy 4” as a whole. “I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished,” LaBeouf said. The “Transformers” star also singled out the infamous Tarzan-esque vine swinging sequence (“The actor’s job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn’t do it. So that’s my fault.”) and added that Harrison Ford shared his view of the film (“We had major discussions. He wasn’t happy with it either.”).

I get a big kick out of LaBeouf’s comments, and not just because I hated “Crystal Skull.” (In fact, I thought the first two-thirds of it were rather fun; I’m with Shia on the Tarzan stuff though.) No, I’m particularly entertained because LaBeouf’s being honest and candid at a time when honesty and candor are probably the least valued elements of film coverage. As a guy who’s attended a lot of press junkets — the place where most of the interviews like the one between Zeitchik and LaBeouf happen — I can tell you: these are not places for probing, hard-hitting reportage. Mostly, they are the home to a cautious, anxious dance between filmmakers (looking to get the most and best publicity) and journalists (looking to get the most and best access). Video interviews rarely last longer than five minutes; print interviews longer than 20. There’s danger on both sides: if actors say something dumb, it winds up all over the Internet; if reporters ask questions they’re not supposed to ask, they find themselves uninvited from future junkets.

05172010_shia2.jpgThough it’s been decades since most reporters had unfettered access to stars, it seems like a few Hollywood actors are, like LaBeouf, beginning to grow weary of the Hollywood code of silence. Former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl has become almost as famous for her derogatory comments about her work as the work itself; she famously called “Knocked Up,” her breakthrough from television to film, “sexist,” and described her character as a “killjoy” and “a bitch.” Earlier this year, Matthew Goode told The Daily Telegraph that his recent romantic comedy “Leap Year” was a “turgid” movie and a “bad job” that he took so he could “come home on weekends.”

And it’s possible that in speaking out, LaBeouf was taking a cue from his “Transformers” co-star Megan Fox who, while promoting “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” on “The Early Show” said of the movie, “I’m in the movie, and I read the script, and I watched the movie, and I still didn’t know what was happening. So I think if…you see it and you understand it, I think you might be a genius.” Fox also broke another unwritten rule during her eventful “Revenge of the Fallen” press tour: she publicly bashed her director, Michael Bay, comparing him to Hitler and Napoleon in a single soundbyte. (LaBeouf wisely tempered his criticism with several well-chosen, butt-kissing compliments about “Crystal Skull” director Steven Spielberg.)

Social media sites like Twitter are breaking down the publicist-erected wall between fans and stasr more and more every day; Jim Carrey recently drew headlines for criticizing Tiger Woods’s wife Elin Nordegren on his Twitter account. All of these factors may force studios to tighten the reins on their talent even further. Personally, I’m hoping, somehow and someway, we get back to the days when a guy like Roger Ebert could write a story about Lee Marvin hiding other women’s panties from his girlfriend and threatening to kill his dog.

[Photos: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” Paramount Pictures, 2008.]


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.