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“Twilight” offers a new dawn for alt-soundtracks.

“Twilight” offers a new dawn for alt-soundtracks. (photo)

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The dominant narrative about movie soundtracks points to the ’90s as the key moment when the all-original score was tossed aside in favor of soundtracks stringing together disconnected B-sides and one-offs from bands (that didn’t even need to be in the movie) — another key source of revenue in the ever-expanding merchandising race. “Singles” was perhaps the first movie whose soundtrack was (for better or worse) more culturally important than the film itself. Another gold standard was the “Batman Forever” soundtrack, which persisted long after the film had become a pop culture punchline: it had a big U2 single (“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”) and attempted to blow up The Flaming Lips by throwing the wildly incongruous “Bad Days” onto the soundtrack.

In recent years, Wes Anderson (among others) has been (unfairly) accused of making movies for the sole purpose of issuing soundtrack mixtapes, but the “Twilight” movies have taken this mentality to a whole new level. The first “Twilight” soundtrack sold like crazy, Linkin Park tracks and all. Someone made a decision, though, to “Juno”-fy the soundtrack for “Twilight: New Moon” — and lo and behold, kids who have zero interest in a duet between Grizzly Bear and Beach House’s Victoria Legrand bought the damn thing anyway.

In anticipation of the third film, someone in marketing decided to unveil the third soundtrack’s selections track by track over seven-and-a-half hours — suggesting that both rabid “Twilight” fans and certain kinds of indie nerds share a common bond in their willingness to click refresh over and over for the tiniest scrap of information on the franchise or the latest round of dream team artist pairings and one-offs.

05132010_nick.jpg“Juno” probably kicked it off, with its slow-burn platinum success of a soundtrack. It was the first chart-topping soundtrack since “High School Musical 2,” from which it couldn’t be more diametrically opposite. Naturally, less than a year later, the floodgates opened with “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” which arrived as a calculated (if kind of cute) attempt to cash in on melodically oriented indie rock’s percolation into the mainstream. While music supervisors won’t rock the boat with truly avant garde choices, it’s an arrangement that works well for both parties: the music isn’t as obvious or ubiquitous as pop fare and gives the film a boost in indie cred and if people like the movie, bands can sell better than they ever have before (and, quite possibly, better than they will again).

And it means something else: movie soundtracks are about to get a lot more tolerable, less fixated on adducing chart-toppers by sheer force of will. Since album sales are way down in the dumps anyways, event soundtracks work for everyone; it’s the presumable rareness/obscurity of those involved (whose worth was already proved in the movie) that moves the product. This is one of those few times everything works out well for everyone without being evil to anyone.

[Photos: “Singles,” Warner Bros., 1992; “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” Sony, 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.