DID YOU READ

Not a fan of “Toy Story 3”? The internet suggests you keep that to yourself.

Not a fan of “Toy Story 3”? The internet suggests you keep that to yourself. (photo)

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Audiences and critics love “Toy Story 3” so much that it’s become news when anyone dares not to. Friday, movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes logged their first two negative “Toy Story 3” reviews, and movie sites went into attack mode against the two evildoers who’d dare to besmirch the beautiful utopia of 145 other critics in perfect agreement.

Writer Cole Smithey called the film “wrongheaded and overtly mature for young audiences.” He probably meant overly mature, but whatever; he’s got a point that the film is a “hard G” and probably too intense for very small children.

And, not surprisingly, but not so surprisingly that some folks were actively anticipating it, New York Press film critic Armond White dismissed “Toy Story 3” as well. “The ‘Toy Story’ franchise isn’t for children and adults,” he wrote in his inimitable style. “It’s for non-thinking children and adults.”

Responses quickly poured in from venues ranging from the Wall Street Journal to FilmDrunk.com. Slashfilm posted a lamentation entitled “‘Toy Story 3’ Finally Gets Negative Review, Becomes the Second Best Reviewed Movie of All Time,” as if that designation a) could be accurately measured and b) would mean anything even if it could actually be ascertained.

06192010_ts5.jpgWhat’s perhaps the most strident response came from Josh Tyler at Cinema Blend in his article, “Meet the Only Two People Who Hate ‘Toy Story 3.'” The amount of outrage some people can summon over a movie they had no part in creating always blows my mind; did these folks watch “Toy Story 3” or make it?

Maybe some of these writers do feel some kind of ownership. If the film earned an arbitrary title like “The Best Reviewed Movie of All Time,” and they were a member of the group that got it there, then they could claim some small part of its success as their own. Certainly, for some, enjoying the film is not enough. Sharing that enjoyment with others isn’t satisfying enough either: nothing less than complete and total consensus will do. In his piece, Tyler didn’t just disagree with White, he declared White’s opinion invalid:

It’s impossible for an opinion to be wrong. Most of the time. Sometimes though, something is so self-evident that it moves beyond opinion. When everyone in the world gets together and agrees that yes, this is really good, that one lone voice standing in the corner and shouting the opposite isn’t just a different opinion, it’s a wrong opinion… An island of wrong. Hundreds of film critics have proclaimed their love for ‘Toy Story’ over the course of three movies and the two baldies who hate it can’t really tell us why. Most of the time film is subjective. This time it’s not.

Let’s ignore the fact that Tyler’s “one lone voice standing in the corner” is already two different negative reviews. Does an opinion gather weight — and even objective truth — as more and more people believe it? For thousands of years, thousands of people believed the earth was flat. Did the fact that an overwhelming majority agreed upon it make them any more correct? Certainly, it can be comforting to have one’s opinion confirmed by the opinions of others. But someone’s agreement or disagreement doesn’t make that opinion any better or any worse than any other.

White gets a kick out of diminishing internet critics. Most of his complaints are uninformed and out of line, but whenever White stirs sites’ ire with his unpopular beliefs, the over-the-top reactions of his targets validate his stereotypes. Ironically, while web commenters are trying to figure out ways to get White and Smithey’s reviews thrown off Rotten Tomatoes, the traffic they’re driving to White’s New York Press review in particular will only ensure he’ll be around to bash the things they love for a long time to come.

White and Smithey’s opinions do nothing to change the fact that “Toy Story 3” has a profound effect on the vast majority of people who see it. Nor does my belief that “Toy Story 3” is easily the weakest in the series change the fact that Tyler thinks it’s perfect (feel free to denounce me after our review podcast goes up on Monday — update: here it is). Instead of grabbing our pitchforks and torches, let’s leave the comfort of objectivity to people who cover sports. The opportunity for individual interpretation is what makes film special. Let’s embrace that. Let’s choose discourse over dismissal. Film can’t — and shouldn’t — be boiled down to a box score.

[Photos: “Toy Story 3,” Pixar/Disney, 2010]

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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.