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“Waiting For Forever”‘s Intriguingly Disastrous Reviews

“Waiting For Forever”‘s Intriguingly Disastrous Reviews (photo)

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I’ve said this many times before, but I subscribe to the theory that all movies can be placed along a bell curve of quality. At one end are the rare great movies. At the other, the equally rare awful movies. In the middle, the vast majority of mediocrities. My interests lie in both of the extremes, because the extremes, both good and bad, are where the unusual lives. At the middle of the curve, everything looks the same. At the edges, you get surprised.

I wrote about the last time a barrage of disastrous reviews suggested a movie’s so-bad-it’s-good promise, last November’s “The Nutcracker in 3D” (which I still haven’t seen, dammit). This week we’ve got another contender, and it’s the new indie film “Waiting For Forever.” It’s about…well, I’ll just the folks who’ve seen it explain what it’s about, starting with Stephen Holden’s description from The New York Times:

“Wearing plaid pajamas, a Chaplin bowler hat and a vest, Will [Tom Sturridge] has been hitchhiking around the country, clowning and juggling for spare change while tracking the peripatetic movements of his childhood best friend, Emma Twist (Rachel Bilson). Somehow — it is never explained — he has been able to remain apprised of her comings and goings without sending up any red flags. Some might call it stalking.”

In other words, instead of telling a sad story about a mentally ill guy’s obsession with a childhood friend, “Waiting For Forever” apparently paints Will’s hunt for his lost love as charming and adorable rather than stalker-y. As our friend Aaron Hillis wrote in The Village Voice, the film seems “strangely unaware of its overt creepiness.” Over on Movieline, here’s what Stephanie Zacharek had to say on that subject:

“The movie… insists on painting Will as a lovable misfit. Emma has no idea how Will feels about her; she hasn’t seen him in years — he worships her from afar, but doesn’t have the guts to approach her. So when he arrives back home, he does stuff like lurk outside her family’s house, waiting for a glimpse of her. When he talks about her, he says things like, ‘In my dreams I breathe her in. I feel her in the blood in my heart,’ and the female characters (among them a longtime friend played by Nikki Blonski) swoon, while the male characters — wisely — go ‘Eeww!’ At least someone’s got the right idea in this godforsaken movie.”

James Rocchi from MSN Movies doesn’t mince words either:

“‘Waiting for Forever’ isn’t just bad; it’s fascinatingly bad. Sturridge’s every line of dialogue is delivered in a hesitant, hushed, heartfelt tone with his eyes half-closed and his mouth half-open. This does not make Will look like a sensitive dreamer; it makes him look like he’s constantly on the verge of a sneeze, a stroke, or an orgasm.”

I guess you could say the acting in this film was orgasmic, then. I don’t want to, but you could. Tell me more, Nick Schager from Slant:

“Keach expects us to delight in Will, a happy-go-lucky innocent who sees only the joy and magic in life, an attitude he expresses via his pajama pants, his sappy declarations of love (he analogizes his feelings for Emma as a desire to literally enter her aorta), and his habit of randomly hopping and flittering about like a bohemian sprite. Whereas Will’s simpleminded optimism is meant to be endearing, it instead tests one’s gag reflex, and proves all the more maddening for being embraced by virtually everyone he encounters, including the featureless Emma, who is soon unable to resist Will’s indefatigable good cheer and so-so juggling skills.”

Yeah, in real life women are not impressed by juggling. And don’t ask me how I know that.

Currently, “Waiting For Forever” has a single positive review on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s from Pete Hammond at Box Office Magazine, who was quite taken with Will’s pajamas-wearing pursuit:

“While Emma is bitten by the harsh realities of life, the ever-idealistic Will is an eternal optimist. Having lost both his parents in an accident when he was only ten, the childlike Will has never emotionally grown up, but he’s innocent rather than disturbed, a true believer rather than a stalker. How refreshing to see this movie doesn’t drift into stereotypical areas similar flicks have, but instead keeps the focus on ideas and the harsh divide between the realities of life and the frustrations that remind you things could be so much more.”

Hammond also adds that “box office prospects could be bright if the right audience is aware of it.” From deep on the outer fringes of the movie bell curve, I’m doing my best.

If you’re still on the fence, here’s the film’s trailer. It opens today in New York City.

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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.