DID YOU READ

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver Separate

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver Separate (photo)

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All right, let’s get all the lame jokes out of the way first. No, they might not be back. Yes, we can consider that a divorce. Jeez, I thought that Sad Arnold site was just a clever goof. Did the guy who built it have some insider info or something?

The Los Angeles Times reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have separated after 25 years of marriage. In a statement the coupled provided to The Times, they said:

“This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us. After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship. We are continuing to parent our four children together. They are the light and the center of both of our lives. We consider this a private matter and neither we nor any of our friends or family will have further comment. We ask for compassion and respect from the media and the public.”

Normally, I wouldn’t post something about a story like this, even with my well-established obsession with all things Arnold. But this is a major development in Schwarzenegger’s dramatic return to Hollywood. After the couple married in 1986, Schwarzenegger credited Shriver with helping him broaden his acting choices beyond the so-called “genocide-flicks” that were his bread and butter through the mid-1980s. In 1990, right around the time Shriver’s influence was becoming evident in movies like “Kindergarten Cop,” Schwarzenegger told Time‘s Richard Corliss, “Maria has very good instincts. She reads fast, she analyzes and — boom! — she has notes. Like an agent.” In fact, the “Kindergaten Cop” script was a Shriver discovery. According to Schwarzenegger on the film’s press tour, “[Maria] is instrumental in everything that I do… the script came to my home when I was in Mexico filming “Total Recall.” She told me that she loved it and that it would be the perfect family film for me to make. I agreed.”

Schwarzenegger’s marriage to Shriver, and the birth of their first daughter Katherine in 1989, had a major impact on his career. All of the action films he made before that time were about men separated from their families, a reflection of a personal filmmaking ethos that Schwarzenegger summed up in Playboy in 1988 by saying “In most action movies, women are in the way.” So Schwarzenegger played guys like “Raw Deal”‘s Mark Kaminsky, who fakes his death to get away from his drunken wife and go undercover in the mob, or “Commando”‘s John Matrix, who only goes on a kill spree after his daughter is kidnapped. Sometimes his characters had no private lives whatsoever, and their films were set far away from so-called civilized society in jungles, private islands, and futuristic prisons (where women couldn’t get in the way, you see).

After one last bachelor’s hurrah with “Total Recall” — a sci-fi fantasy in which a man remembers a past life as a secret agent, saves the world, and kills his wife so he can live happily ever after with a foxy prostitute — things changed quickly. “Kindergarten Cop,” “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” “Last Action Hero,” and “True Lies” all came between 1990 and 1994. Now the guy who once said “I have a love interest in every one of my films: a gun,” was playing opposite stronger female leads like Penelope Ann Miller, a newly buff Linda Hamilton, and especially Jamie Lee Curtis in “True Lies.” These women weren’t in the way: they were kicking ass right alongside their man.

These movies were mainstream entertainments, but for Schwarzenegger they were also deeply personal and oftentimes ambivalent reflections on his transition from killing machine to family man. The physical and emotional transformation Schwarzenegger’s John Kimble undergoes in “Kindergarten Cop,” from gun fetishizing supercop to warmhearted kindergarten teacher, was essentially the same transformation the star was undergoing in his private life. The fact that the transition wasn’t always easy — in many ways “True Lies” is a film about guy who is reluctant to let women in the homosocial world of superspies — is a big part of what made those movies so interesting.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver’s separation suggests that crucial voice guiding his choices and expanding his horizons is gone, at least for now. Does that mean he’ll go back to “genocide-flicks?” Maybe, although his first confirmed movie, “Cry Macho,” sounds like a project Shriver would have approved. Today’s news is an unfortunate development for the couple and their family, and a fascinating one for the actor’s fans. Because Schwarzenegger will be back in Hollywood. But the question still remains how exactly he’ll do it.

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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.