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Tom Cruise’s celebrity rehab, by way of the MTV Movie Awards.

Tom Cruise’s celebrity rehab, by way of the MTV Movie Awards. (photo)

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Normally, celebrity rehab is reserved for MTV’s sister network VH1. In the case of Tom Cruise, it’s taken on a literal meaning in a series of ads for this year’s MTV Movie Awards. You’ve probably already seen Cruise resurrect his stocky, foul-mouthed “Tropic Thunder” studio chief Les Grossman to berate his younger self in “Risky Business” or the male stars of “Twilight.”

And though it seems a bit behind the times for MTV to resurrect a character from a two-year old movie, it’s all part of an intricately calculated effort to make you forget the events three years prior on Cruise’s infamous “Mission: Impossible III” press tour while he’s out talking up “Knight and Day,” his summer action comedy with Cameron Diaz.

Unlike his last film, “Valkyrie,” which was a tough sell of swastikas and self-importance even without the added weight of being Cruise’s first post-media meltdown starring vehicle, “Knight and Day” is the type of slick popcorn flick that will rely on Cruise’s devilish grin and charm to sell tickets. In recent weeks, he’s been pulling out all the stops — he’s on the cover of Esquire, he hopped onstage at a Black Eyed Peas concert in London to push the film’s theme song, and allowed himself to be kicked in the chest by Cameron Diaz in a studio-sanctioned viral video from the set. (This PR goodwill tour is so comprehensive you have to wonder if wife Katie Holmes’s well-received turns in “The Extra Man” and “The Romantics” were somehow part of the master plan.)

Still, the MTV Movie Awards has long been a centerpiece in Cruise’s press campaigns, so much so that it was his appearance in Ben Stiller’s “Mission: Improbable” spoof back in 2000 that likely paved the way for his comeback:

Stiller, who was SNL’s go-to Cruise impersonator for “Celebrity Jeopardy,” christened himself “Tom Crooze,” the actor’s stunt double, and mugged his way through a faux press kit video for “Mission: Impossible 2” where he chortled alongside Cruise and made director John Woo wince. The irony is it turned out to be a high point for both men — following the spoof, Cruise and Stiller would enjoy the career bests of “M:I:II” and “Meet the Parents,” respectively, but of course, as Cruise would become known for couch-jumping and an ill-fated attempt to revive United Artists, while Stiller was embraced by families who could take their children to see “Night at the Museum” and teens who would endlessly quote “Zoolander.”

Realizing this seesaw in perception, Stiller gave Cruise an opportunity to deliver punchlines rather than be one in “Tropic Thunder.” He’s also attaching himself to the still-unmade “The Hardy Men,” in which he and Cruise would play bickering, grown-up versions of the crime-solving Hardy Boys. And now Cruise is returning the favor to MTV, reprising his role as the belligerent Grossman and hanging out with Taylor Lautner in a bid to stay relevant, which says as much about the state of the network is as it does the actors involved.

As Vadim Rizov wrote when this year’s nominations were announced for categories like as “Best Scared as SH*T Performance” and “Biggest Badass Star,” the MTV Movie Awards are one of the more frivolous ceremonies out there, but let it not be said that it hasn’t changed the course of careers. Hugh Grant had Jay Leno’s couch, Chris Klein had Funny or Die and Tom Cruise has the MTV Movie Awards.


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.