DID YOU READ

Leelee Sobieski’s Blissful Adulthood

Leelee Sobieski’s Blissful Adulthood  (photo)

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It’s tempting to still think of Leelee Sobieski as that underage ingénue from “Deep Impact,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” “The Glass House” and her Emmy-nominated role in the TV miniseries “Joan of Arc,” but according to the fair-skinned beauty (who turns 27 this month and, as of December, is a new mother), the opposite is true: “People think that I’m older than I am because I’ve been working since I was 11. They think, ‘Oh, she’s been around forever. She’s in her mid-30s.’ But I’m not.”

In the new indie comedy “Finding Bliss,” written and directed by Julie Davis (“Amy’s Orgasm”), Sobieski stars as Jody, a naïve film school grad who fights against her conservative impulses when she takes an editing gig at an adult film company, specifically to take advantage of their filmmaking equipment after hours. Surrounded by silicone-enhanced toys and talent (plus a full-frontal Jamie Kennedy), Judy is forced to confront her suppressed sexual desires, and even finds an unorthodox romantic partner. I spoke with Sobieski by phone about having old-fashioned values, the first time she ever saw porn, and the bodily remnants of a dead filmmaker she keeps in a box.

Have you ever felt as prudish in your values as Jody?

I’m a little bit strange, because I have two different sides to my personality. There’s a side that’s like my father, and a side like my mother. My mom sees the world in a very moral, “this is good and this is bad” way. My father is French and from a different generation. So I like to have the chair pulled out for me if I’m at a romantic dinner, or the door opened, these certain old-fashioned, male-female roles. At the same time, I like to be an equal, but sometimes I can be looked upon as old-fashioned.

06022010_FindingBliss5.jpgSpeaking of gender roles, “Finding Bliss” was written and directed by a woman, which is interesting since the adult film market is predominantly male. What was your initial take on Julie Davis’s project?

For some reason, I’ve worked with a large number of female directors, which is great, because there really aren’t that many. I hope to be a director myself one day. Julie is fun and excited by all the naughty stuff, but then she’s a mother, a wife, and very traditional in the home and family. Her son comes first before everything.

On the other hand, she had all these wild jobs before, and is totally fascinated with this subject. When I read the script — years ago — it was a fresh subject. It was hard to shoot because our budget was so low. We were shooting in Spokane, WA, which made it difficult to capture the right energy, especially visually.

Do you remember the first time you ever saw a porno?

Yes. I was 15, and I was filming “Joan of Arc.” [laughs] I was at the Hotel InterContinental in Prague, and there was a glitch in the computer system, so for a month, there was free porn on four channels. It was really confusing to me, especially after coming home from working such long days. There weren’t that many channels in English — at a certain time, there were cartoons in English on the highest channel. The channel right above that happened to be all the porn, so I would constantly — perhaps accidentally, perhaps not — stumble upon it. It was very jarring in the context of what I working on.

I don’t think it really affected me. I was old enough. Children find it because kids are using the Internet so young now, and so much better and faster than adults. I wonder what happens when they see it before they’re even aware of a kiss, when that’s the first image they see.

06022010_FindingBliss3.jpgYet even though it’s more accessible, we still live in a puritanical society in which talking about sex in public is risqué or even taboo.

I always felt that talking is good. If you talk about a taboo subject, it doesn’t become as exciting. I went to a school in New York City that [taught] sexual education in third grade. That was too young, I think. Maybe it worked for me because I was innocent for a long time, longer than any of my peers. I would pride myself on being one of the boys and talking about women in a macho way. I thought it was cool to analyze women with the dudes. I never included myself in that, or any of my girl friends.

One of the reasons why I felt comfortable talking about [sex] and yet stayed quite prudish for a long time was because I was able to discuss anything with my parents. If I wanted to go to a party at a friend’s house, my dad and mom would say, “You can go, but why would you want to — what’s this kid going to do with his life? Do you really care if these kids think you’re cool or not? You can go, but it’s silly.” I would think, well, I don’t want to be thought of this way. I want to make my parents proud and not go to this stupid party.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.