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DID YOU READ

Harry Potter and the Future of “Part 1” Movies

Harry Potter and the Future of “Part 1” Movies  (photo)

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In his review of the new and (sorta) last Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” New York‘s David Edelstein writes, “In all seriousness, there’s nothing wrong with the 146-minute ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ that couldn’t be solved if this were, as the Brits would say, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Full Stop.'” It’s a sentiment that’s being echoed by several critics reviewing the new “Potter.” Richard Corliss from Time writes, “For an hour of its 2 ½-hour expanse it sticks three young people in the woods with little to do but wait for awful things to happen. It’s like a minimalist indie horror film — ‘The Blair Witch and Wizard Project’ — on a $200 million-plus budget.”

Overall, reviews for “DH1” are positive. And even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t matter. At this late stage in the series, a “Harry Potter” film is not only critic-proof, it’s opinion-proof. If you’ve seen all six previous entries — even if you hated the last couple — you will see this one, just for the sake of completing the story. But comments like the ones from Edelstein, Corliss, and others bring up an important point: Warner Brothers has turned the final book in the series into two “final” movies. “Part 1” opens today; “Part 2” on July 15 of next year.

At 750-plus pages, J.K. Rowling’s novel of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” would be a tough story to tell in a single film. But most of the books in the series, particularly the later ones, are long. The fifth book, “The Order of the Phoenix,” is a hundred pages longer than “Deathly Hallows,” yet the film version of it was shorter than just the first part of “Deathly Hallows.” At the time Warner Brothers announced the decision to split “Deathly Hallows,” they stated that if they were going to be faithful to the book, they had no other choice. Producer David Heyman told The Los Angeles Times, “Unlike every other book, you cannot remove elements of this book. You can remove scenes of Ron playing Quidditch from the fifth book, and you can remove Hermione and S.P.E.W…. but with the seventh, that can’t be done.” Alan Horn, president and COO of Warner Brothers Entertainment told The Times, “This way, we have an extra hour and a half, at least, to celebrate what this franchise has been and do justice to all the words and ideas that Jo has put in the amazing story.”

Edelstein and Corliss might find fault with the film’s telling of that amazing story, but from a business perspective, “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is a brilliant move for Warner Brothers, who get two guaranteed blockbusters for the price of (a bit more than) one. It’s a move that others in Hollywood are starting to copy. There have always been sequels, but instances of one piece of source material being divided into multiple films have been comparatively rare. Until now. In addition to “Harry Potter,” the release calendar also includes Bill Condon’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1” and Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: Part 1.” When Jackson first joined the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, the plan was to turn the three original novels into just two films. If they were made today, that plan might have looked a great deal different.

No doubt Harry Potter fanatics, who obsess over the “accuracy” of the films, are glad for their decision. For them, a two-part “Deathly Hallows” represents an opportunity for the most literally faithful movie in the franchise. Same goes for Condon and Jackson, who are working for fan bases as rabid and loyal as the Potterites. For some of the fans of these immersive, fantastical worlds, quantity seems preferable to quality, so that two decent movies are better than one perfect one. Any chance to spend more time with the characters they love. Warner Brothers will be happy to give it to them.

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.