DID YOU READ

Seagal’s “On Deadly Ground” an unexpectedly hot topic after last week’s UK shooting.

Seagal’s “On Deadly Ground” an unexpectedly hot topic after last week’s UK shooting. (photo)

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In the early hours of last Wednesday afternoon, an English taxi driver named Derrick Bird watched the Steven Seagal film “On Deadly Ground” at a friend’s house, left and embarked on the worst mass shooting in Britain since 1996.

“On Deadly Ground” is the infamous Steven Seagal cult classic about environmentalism; it is not a film that anyone has ever taken seriously in their entire life. For the purposes of the media, though, it’s been cleaned up into “an action film involving multiple killings.” You could almost hear the staff of the Guardian — if not exactly pleased about the tragedy — at least mulling over how much copy they could get out of the link: “The debate over the effect of violent films looks set to be revived,” they wrote. “The film […] involved multiple scenes of graphic violence involving a range of firearms.” Sure. Why do we have to argue about this again, exactly?

The last time the connection between violent films/music/games and real life violence was given intense media focus was during the wave of school shootings that scared the hell out of everyone in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Lawsuits were filed against the producers of “The Basketball Diaries” and people fretted about “Doom” and Marilyn Manson and so on.

06082010_beavis1.jpgBefore that, much of the ’90s were spent worrying about whether or not “Beavis & Butthead” would destroy society after a boy set fire to a mobile home. Before that, John Hinckley got a little too obsessed with Jodie Foster and set off on his date of destiny with Ronald Reagan.

The temptation to link violent pop culture — i.e., Culture You Don’t Like — to the worst society has to offer has always been tempting. But, like Chuck Klosterman wrote about the two young men who shot themselves after listening to Judas Priest, “Even as an adolescent, I understood that the kind of kid who thought Bruce Dickinson was telling him to worship Satan was the same kind of kid who would have been corrupted by the hum of a refrigerator.” It’s hard to responsibly draw a link between a movie that’s been watched by millions and the one guy who does something right afterward.

But it persists, and reporters continue to pick up on the apparently salient detail — are they trained to ask everyone what the last movie the perpetrator watched was? What’s this urge to draw a direct connection between a movie and its most violent adherent (especially when that movie is, c’mon, one of the more widely mocked of the ’90s)?

06082010_thematrix.jpgA decade after “The Matrix” was being tied to Columbine (shootings in black trenchcoats!), it shows with monotonous regularity on basic cable; no one’s died from it since. Nor has the culture at large gotten significantly less violent, nor have all the common-sense arguments made any headway; there has yet to be a single definable case of a movie pushing a sane person over the edge completely.

It’s natural to look for causes, explanations for these terrible acts. And it’s easy to pin them on whatever was last in someone’s DVD player. But it’s a debate that’s driven by fear, not reason. And it looks like we’re about to have it again.

[Photos: “On Deadly Ground,” Warner Bros., 1994; “Beavis and Butt-head,” MTV, 1993; “The Matrix,” Warner Bros., 1999]

Weird Al in Milo Murphy’s Law

News of the Weird

“Weird Al” Yankovic to Get Animated In New Disney XD Series

"Weird Al" debuts as Comedy Bang! Bang!'s new bandleader this spring on IFC.

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Photo Credit: IFC/Disney XD

It’s hard to imagine Comedy Bang! Bang!’s newest bandleader any more animated than he already is, but “Weird Al” Yankovic will soon loosen the shackles of the physical world and become a cartoon. The parody singer has been cast to voice the lead character in Disney XD’s upcoming animated series Milo Murphy’s Law, the new show from the creators of Phineas and Ferb. 

As Milo, “Weird Al” plays an accident-prone jinx who suffers from “Extreme Hereditary Murphy’s Law Condition.” True to the age-old saying, everything that can go wrong for poor Milo does in hilarious fashion. And Al’s dulcet tones won’t be sacrificed either: Milo will occasionally bust out a tune throughout the show and Yankovic will also compose the intro’s theme song.

Of course, “Weird Al” is no stranger to the animated realm. Check out his 3D-rendered ’80s form in UHF’s parody of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.” And check back for more updates about Al’s debut as Comedy Bang! Bang!‘s new bandleader and musical cohost.

Spotlight

Catch the Spirit

See the Complete List of 2016 Spirit Award Nominees

Catch the 2016 Spirit Awards live on IFC Saturday, Feb. 27th at 2P/5E.

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Photo Credit: Kerry Hayes/©Open Road Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

Will Carol charm its way to awards season glory? Will Spotlight steal the spotlight? These and more questions will be answered when the 2016 Spirit Awards air live on IFC Saturday, February 27th at 2P/5E.

From the intense Beasts of No Nation to the blistering drama James White (featuring Comedy Bang! Bang!‘s Kid Cudi), the nominees comprise the best of the past year of independent filmmaking. But before you fill out your office Spirit Awards poll (that’s a thing, right? It should be!), take a look at the full list of nominees below. And be sure to check back for more updates on the 2016 Spirit Awards.

Best Feature
Anomalisa
Beasts of No Nation
Carol
Spotlight
Tangerine

Best Director
Sean Baker, Tangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes, Carol
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Best Screenplay
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk

Best First Feature
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
James White
Manos Sucias
Mediterranea
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best First Screenplay
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Emma Donoghue, Room
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend

Best Male Lead
Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine

Best Supporting Male
Kevin Corrigan, Results
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Best Supporting Female
Robin Bartlett, H.
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Mya Taylor, Tangerine

Best Documentary
(T)error
Best of Enemies
Heart of a Dog
The Look of Silence
Meru
The Russian Woodpecker

Best International Film
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Embrace of the Serpent
Girlhood
Mustang
Son of Saul

Best Cinematography
Beasts of No Nation
Carol
It Follows
Meadlowland
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best Editing
Heaven Knows What
It Follows
Manos Sucias
Room
Spotlight

John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature Under $500,000)
Advantageous
Christmas, Again
Heaven Knows What
Krisha
Out of My Hand

Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble)
Spotlight

Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award
Chloe Zhao
Felix Thompson
Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck

Piaget Producers Award
Darren Dean
Mel Eslyn
Rebecca Green and Laura D. Smith

Kyle MacLachlan as Portlandia Mayor for Facebook Q&A

Man of the People

Check Out Highlights From Kyle MacLachlan’s Facebook Q&A

Catch Kyle MacLachlan on a brand-new Portlandia this Thursday, Feb. 4th at 10P on IFC.

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On this week’s brand-new Portlandia, Fred leaves Portland for the ex-pat life. One thing he’s likely to miss is Portland’s mayor, ably played by the amazing Kyle MacLachlan. Fortunately for us, Kyle took to Facebook to answer questions about Portland’s rat problem, tasty coffee and much more. (There’s even a David Lynch reference in there for hardcore fans.)

Check out some highlights from Kyle MacLachlan’s Facebook Q&A below, and be sure to catch him on a brand-new Portlandia this Thursday at 10P on IFC. (Click here to find IFC on your TV in your area.)

1. “Is the pay better as mayor or a federal agent? Asking for a friend.”

KM: the FBI pays pretty well…and the coffee’s good

2. “What’s the longest time you have waited in line for brunch?”

KM: 3 days

3. “Serious question: how much coffee is too much coffee?”

KM: I’ll let you know when I get there.

4. “Dear Mr. Mayor, What do you think about Portland’s hipster rat problem? How will it be fixed? Do you think everyone can live happily together?”

KM: as long as the rats wear some form of hat/cap/snood…there should be no problem.

5. “I found a human ear in the park. What should I do with it?”

KM: bag and tag

6. “When are you going to be a guest on The Pedal Powered Talk Show? It’s America’s only talk show on a bicycle and you’re America’s only Kyle MacLachlan!”

KM: could I use a seat cushion?

“YES! Let us know when you’re in Portland next! We’ll pedal to you!”

KM: you got it!

7. “With mayorial [sic] elections coming up in 2016, the role of fictitious mayors has become increasingly important for our fair citizens in Portland. How will you attempt to influence the election in favor of the collective ideals of Portlandia and its world citizens? Thank you and best of luck.”

KM: what was the question again?

8. “the ‘my portland’ song is probably one of my favourite clips of portlandia / tv in general. Were you at all nervous at all having to make up the song on the spot?”

KM: terrified. and thank you :-)

9. “Does Portlandia want to become a sister city with Honolulu? I’d love to see that happen :-) Sending love from Hawaii! Can’t wait to visit the city!”

KM: mahalo!

10. “With the influx of people moving to the area from neighboring states, how will you, the mayor, handle presmoerving the super awkward moments on the Tri-met? Why haven’t you shown the true awkwardness that is the max lines?”

KM: I will speak to Fred…I’m sure he’s already planning something.

Want more Portlandia? Catch up on full episodes right here on IFC.com and on the IFC App.

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