DID YOU READ

“White Wedding,” Reviewed

“White Wedding,” Reviewed (photo)

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I learned several things about South Africa in “White Wedding,” an entertaining but forgettable comedy about two men and one woman roadtripping from Johannesburg to Cape Town, but the most interesting fact I discovered was that their films are just as susceptible to cliches as their American counterparts. The accents may change, but the stereotypes of roadtrip and wedding movies remain exactly the same: the traditional parents who clash with their forward-thinking children, the crotchety old relative with weird superstitions, the effeminate wedding planner, the bride who has to choose between love and security, the woman who misinterprets a man’s bad luck as a fear of commitment. Since “White Wedding”‘s ultimate lesson is one of universality, this choice is weirdly appropriate. We all want love. We all fear commitment. We all like reassuringly familiar narratives that juxtapose literal journeys of low-stakes danger with metaphorical journeys of personal discovery.

And when I say low stakes I mean really low stakes. This film is as suspenseful as a beer commercial. Gregarious Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi) has to get to Cape Town by Saturday to marry the lovely Ayanda (Zandile Msutwana), but he’s beset by one disaster after another: a missed bus, a flaky best man named Tumi (Rapulana Seiphemo), a broken car axle, a surly goat, even a stowaway named Rose (Jodie Whittaker) who tags along in order to catch a flight back home to England. Though the primary theme is marriage, a lot of the screenplay by Nkosi, Msutwana, and director Jann Turner is about broken relationships: Rose’s with a fiance who cheated on her, Tumi’s with a girl he cheated on, Ayanda’s with a man who left her for America but now wants her back. Of course, love has a way of conquering all in a movie like this, and “White Wedding” is less about its impossibility than its necessity, even in the face of insurmountable odds. That message will strike you as either reassuring or cloying depending on your own personal attitude, as will the absurd scenes involving racist Afrikaners who reverse beliefs they’ve held their entire lives after a couple of beers with Elvis and Tumi.

Then again, there is something innately likable about Nkosi and Seiphemo. The actors are long-time friends — they even took a road trip similar to the one portrayed in the film along with Turner some years ago — and their bickering, fraternal relationship is one of the few parts of “White Wedding” grounded in reality rather than fantasy. They, along with the absolutely beautiful scenery of South Africa, held my attention.

There’re worse ways to spend your time, and worse movies to spend your money on, than “White Wedding.” For a price substantially smaller than a plane ticket to South Africa, you’ll see many of the country’s sights and hear many of its languages, including Afrikaans, Tswana, and Zulu. And, of course, the language of film, which is universal.

“White Wedding” is now playing in New York and L.A.

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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.