Disc Covering: “Airline Disaster,” and What a Disaster It Is

Disc Covering: “Airline Disaster,” and What a Disaster It Is (photo)

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Last week’s disc-covery proved that all you need are some clever ideas and and a bunch of passionate, talented craftsman to make a straight-to-DVD movie that’s worth watching.

This is not last week.

“Airline Disaster”
Directed by John J. Willis III

Tweetable Plot Synopsis: A high-tech airplane on its maiden voyage gets hijacked with remarkable ease by white supremacist terrorists. (Supremorists? Suprerrorists?)

072010_airlinedisasterdvd.jpgSalable Elements: Absolutely none that I can think of, which is weird. Usually movies that are on the low-end of the DTV world like “Airline Disaster” have some kind of immediate hook connected to a current Hollywood hit — a la “Transmorphers” instead of “Transformers” — or a couple name actors with built-in brand appeal. “Airline Disaster”‘s got neither. It doesn’t even have an eye-catching title. “Airline Disaster”? It sounds like something by Friedberg and Seltzer, and their films are titled that way as jokes.

Plus the title’s not even accurate! “Airline Disaster” suggests some sort of massive, company-wide problem, but the movie is about an incident on a single plane. I mean, sure, the hijacking of this newfangled Starquest thingie probably didn’t do Coastal Airlines’ stock price any favors. But it’s not like the movie pays any attention to that sort of thing. Which means it should have been called “Airplane Disaster,” but of course that makes you think of “Airplane!” and that implies that the film is a comedy. Which “Airline Disaster” is, just not intentionally.

Biggest Success: The only recognizable name in “Airline Disaster”‘s cast is “Family Ties” star Meredith Baxter as the President of the United States. Though Baxter is in a movie of near-limitless stupidity, she plays her role straight without an ounce of visible embarrassment or camp. I wouldn’t necessarily call her performance “presidential” but I would call it “committed,” and for that, I give her credit.

07202010_airline2.jpgBiggest Failure: Simply put, this movie has no reason to exist. The plot, obviously lifted from “Die Hard,” involves a bunch of terrorists with ulterior motives, necessitating the heroics of a lone police officer (or, in this case, Secret Service agent) in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since “Die Hard” was set in an office building, reconfiguring that plot to work on an airplane might have been enough of a novelty to justify this movie’s existence if only a whole bunch of mid-90s “Die Hard” knockoffs like “Executive Decision” hadn’t already done it more than a decade ago. Those movies had bigger stars and bigger budgets and they’re readily available on DVD, so I don’t know why anyone would watch this low-rent version with inferior acting, stunts, action, direction, effects, and dialogue. I’m not sure why anyone would make it, either.

I Question: how ten armed Nazi terrorists could sneak aboard the first flight of a state-of-the-art airplane. If it were me running an airline and I had a new plane, I’d be extra careful who I left on. I would not hand out free tickets willy-nilly at Klan rallies. But hey, I’m old-fashioned.

Seriously, who was the baggage screener who let all these people on the plane? Cause I’m pretty sure they need to be fired. These terrorists all have guns in their luggage and bandages on their faces hiding their conspicuous teardrop tattoos. Neither of those things are red flags? “Hm, a lot of passengers on this test flight seem to have brought a lot of ammunition aboard! And quite a few of them have cut themselves shaving, including several women! Oh well — don’t want to hold up the line!”

07202010_airline3.jpgSpecial Features: include a blooper reel and the five minute “Making of ‘Airline Disaster.'” In it, McKeon explains the difficulties she faced playing Agent Vitale. “The role was a bit challenging for me,” she says, “because [she’s] a Secret Service agent, and I’ve never done that.” Yes, as opposed to all the actresses who have a background working security for the leader of the free world.

Later on in the making-of, one of McKeon’s co-stars compares the thrill of appearing in “Airline Disaster” to an orgasm. Which begs the question: is there any chance this movie was originally conceived as a porno? Maybe one called “Airline DisASSter?” And then later they just cut out all the sex scenes and repackaged it as a thriller? It would explain a lot.

Worthy of a Theatrical Release? No.

For Further Viewing: watch the trailer for “Airline Disaster.” Note that it advertises the appearance of two Emmy nominees: Baxter and McKeon. Note also that it doesn’t mention that McKeon was nominated for a Daytime Emmy.



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.


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…


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.


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


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