Trailering: SXSW Film

Trailering: SXSW Film (photo)

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We’re just two weeks away from the kick-off of South by Southwest 2011 — and while I’m prepping for our big Spirit Awards weekend, I’m also trying to really dig into this year’s SXSW schedule. Thankfully, SXSW’s YouTube channel has almost 100 trailers uploaded. I picked out five of the more intriguing looking (but maybe a little lesser known) films to share here. This is what I picked:

Directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 4:30 PM, Vimeo Theater

The newest documentary from the directors of “Gunner Palace” is the story of what a baseball fan like me would describe as the “minor leagues” of Mixed Martial Arts: the training ground where young fighters are made or destroyed. MMA is a huge part of the modern sports scene but it’s been almost completely unexamined from a documentary perspective, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this.

“Surrogate Valentine”
Directed by Dave Boyle
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 1:30 PM, Alamo Ritz

This film has one of those irresistible hooks: a musician (Goh Nakamura) plays himself in a film he co-wrote. Nakamura plays Goh, a down-on-his-luck San Francisco singer/songwriter who gets the opportunity to teach a TV star (Chadd Stoops) to play guitar for a part in a friend’s movie. The trailer promises pretty black and white photography and prettier acoustic ballads.

“Turkey Bowl”
Directed by Kyle Smith
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 11:15AM

Ah, the siren song of the real-time movie: so powerful when it works, so painful when it doesn’t. Can’t say I’ve seen a lot of real time comedies, which makes “Turkey Bowl” particularly enticing. It’s about an annual football game between old friends, and it lasts as long as the game does, a little over one hour. SXSW.com has an interview with director Kyle Smith, who made the film with many of his own buddies and encouraged his actors to improvise their dialogue, particularly in the realm of game-time trash talk.

“Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja”
Directed by Billy Corben
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 9:30 PM, Vimeo Theater

Billy Corben, director of “Cocaine Cowboys,” tackles the Southern Florida marijuana trade of the 1970s, when out-of-work fisherman turned to pot smuggling to feed their families. The trailer looks like it’s got a ton of interesting characters and twice as many interesting beards.

“A Mouthful”
Directed by Sally Rowe
SXSW Premiere: Sunday March 13, 11:00 AM, Vimeo Theater

I don’t have time to watch a lot of television, but I’m fascinated by cooking shows, which is weird because I don’t cook. This documentary looks like the best cooking show ever mixed with a “mad genius” documentary like “Man on Wire”: Paul Liebrandt was the youngest chef to ever receive a three star review from the New York Times but still managed to find himself unemployed and floundering. And, yes, by God, that was a fish pun.

Also: here’s a little coming attraction from myself. It is cold and rainy here in New York City. Can’t wait for some of that Austin sunshine. And by sunshine, I mean barbecue sauce.


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.


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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



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.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.