DID YOU READ

The Best Double Features of 2010 (Updated With Reader Suggestions)

The Best Double Features of 2010 (Updated With Reader Suggestions) (photo)

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The double feature is the moviegoing ritual most deserving of a comeback. It’s the stuff of movie palaces, drive-ins, and getting more bang for your entertainment buck. The double feature is that magic that happens when two totally separate movies get juxtaposed together and begin talking to one another in strange and exciting ways. As part of IFC.com’s year-end hullabaloo, I decided to list the five most interesting hypothetical double features of 2010, along with five more runners-up. In no particular order, they are:

12072010_fighttown1.jpgMoney, Family, and Escape in Modern Boston
“The Town”
Directed by Ben Affleck
with “The Fighter”
Directed by David O. Russell

Though these films are from totally different genres — one a classic one-last-job heist movie, the other an inspirational boxing film — they share a common theme at their respective cores: a working-class man’s obligation to his friends and family and his realization of his need to escape its stifling grip. Both feature exceptional use of real New England locations, both come fand both feature enormously talented ensembles. Plus if you’re a stickler for bad Boston accents, you’ll appreciate Affleck and “Fighter” star Mark Wahlberg’s ah-ganic ah-thenticity.

The Monsters are US!
“The Crazies”
Directed by Breck Eisner
“Monsters”
Directed by Gareth Edwards

Pairing these two films together certainly makes thematic sense: both movies tell stories about Americas blighted by horrifying creatures and even more horrifying governments. But each film also exposes the strengths and weaknesses of the other: “The Crazies” could use more of “Monsters”‘ elegiac imagery and naturalistic cinematography while “Monsters” would benefit from performances as good as Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell’s and a bit more oomph in the scare department. Each movie is good but flawed. Together, they’re a damn good night of spooky scares and military paranoia.

Banks Suck
“Inside Job”
Directed by Charles Ferguson
with “The Other Guys”
Directed by Adam McKay

We’ve all been affected by the financial crisis. We all want to understand how it happened and why, and what we can do to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Charles Ferguson’s documentary about corruption and greed inside the banking industry may provide the answers, but it might also leave you a tad enraged in the process. So what better way to vicariously relieve some of that anger than by pairing the film with “The Other Guys,” the underrated Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg buddy cop comedy set against the backdrop of corruption and greed inside the banking industry. The two films mesh pretty well; Steve Coogan’s oily CEO could have appeared as a talking head in Ferguson’s doc saying “I don’t believe I have to discuss that with you,” and “The Other Guys”‘ chart-laden closing credits sequence that takes us right back inside the horrifying details of our economic collapse. But at least now the absurdity of it all has you smiling about it. (Note: weirdly, both films were released by divisions of Sony.)

12072010_dragonwolf1.jpgSupernatural Fathers and Sons
“How to Train Your Dragon”
Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
with “The Wolfman”
Directed by Joe Johnston

It’s a classic story: the father who can’t bear the son who he sees as a disappointment; the son who forever tries to impress a father for whom nothing will ever be good enough. Two movies this year took that archetypal framework and added layers of supernatural surprise and suspense. “How to Train Your Dragon” went light while “The Wolfman” went dark, but both explored very similar narratives: a father and son bonding and feuding as they come to understand the monsters that threaten their isolated community, whether they’re Vikings or Brits (were they Brits? With Benicio Del Toro’s accent(s), it’s hard to tell). The two films also offer a study of the highs and lows of the modern studio system. When CGI animated films like “How to Train Your Dragon” work, they represent the factory model of filmmaking at its best: creators and executives at the top commanding enormous brigades of artists and craftsman all working together to execute a single vision. When big budget remakes of old properties like “The Wolfman” don’t work they represent the factory model of filmmaking its worst: shoddy goods cobbled together from shabby raw materials assembled by a workforce with a severe disconnect between management and labor.

(Kind Of) Playing Yourself Onscreen
“I’m Still Here”
Directed by Casey Affleck
with “Alamar”
Directed by Pedro González-Rubio

The line between fiction and documentary got awful blurry in 2010, never more so than during these two films. One got a lot of attention, one went almost unnoticed but both employed nearly identical stylistic techniques: real people playing fictionalized versions of themselves in the hope of reaching some Herzogian ecstatic truth about the worlds in which they are set: Hollywood and celebrity culture in the case of “I’m Not There,” a simple fishing village on the Chinchorro Reef in the case of “Alamar.” The most interesting contrast here is the outrage that greeted the former and the indifference that met the latter, even though all the charges leveled against one could just as easily be applied to the other. Apparently, famous people can never play pretend or experiment with their own lives, a fact that may have been Affleck’s point all along.

Five Additional Possibilities:
Reality and The Documentary: “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “Catfish”
Repression and Repulsion: “Black Swan” and “Dogtooth”
Celebrating And Ridiculing 80s Action Nostalgia: “The A-Team” and “MacGruber”
Craven Filmmaking: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “My Soul to Take”
Angelina Jolie Mistaken Identity Thrillers: “Salt” and “The Tourist”

Great Reader Suggestions
Lonely, Tech-Savvy Nerds: “The Social Network” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (from @EAKEN)
The World is a Video Game: “Inception” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (from @jeuneski)
Heroic Animated Villains: “Megamind” and “Despicable Me” (from @returnofsmith)
The Beginning, Middle, and End: “Babies” and “The Human Centipede: First Sequence” (from @neoprag)
“Send Help Please” Triple Feature: “Frozen,” “Buried,” and “127 Hours” (from @fisackerly)

Have your own favorite possible double feature from 2010? Share it with me on Twitter and I’ll add it to this list.

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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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GIFs via Giffy

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.