DID YOU READ

Requiem For a Macho Man

Requiem For a Macho Man (photo)

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Sad news, children of the ’80s: wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage died this morning after suffering a heart attack behind the wheel of his car. He was 58. According to TMZ, Savage, who was wearing his seatbelt at the time, was driving his “2009 Jeep Wrangler when he veered across a concrete median … through oncoming traffic … and collided head-on with a tree.”

Without exaggeration, The Macho Man was one of my biggest childhood heroes. For a kid who read comic books, when he and Hulk Hogan teamed up to form the Mega Powers it was like tangible proof that super-heroes really did exist. When Macho and the Hulkster broke up (over a woman!), it was like learning Santa Claus didn’t exist. I quickly got over my emotional devastation when I remembered what a great villain Macho Man made. Nobody could piss off a crowd, or cheat when the ref wasn’t looking, like the Macho Man. After he beat “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, the current “King of the Ring,” he finally earned the title he so richly deserved: “The Macho King.” Later, he played a great professional wrestler in Sam Raimi’s first “Spider-Man” film.

In his prime, Macho Man’s work in the ring was so good it invalidated the whole “wrestling is fake” argument. Yes, the matches’ outcomes are predetermined. But Savage’s athleticism was 100% real. His feud with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III is still considered one of the greatest of all time, or so I’m told by Wikipedia. All I knew at the time was it was awesome.

Speaking of the Hulk Hogan Macho Man breakup, back in the ’80s, that was as clear a battle of good versus evil as World War II. Looking back, though, I wonder if we all sided with the wrong guy. The crux of the Hogan/Macho feud was Macho’s onscreen girlfriend (and then real life wife) Miss Elizabeth. Essentially, Macho became jealous of Hogan’s success and was convinced that he was trying to steal his girl. In anger and frustration, he lashed out. Here’s the thing: Macho Man was exactly right. Hogan was kinda horning in on his girl, and Hogan was getting more attention even though Savage could wrestle circles around him. That’s not a cartoon wrestling feud: that’s classic Greek tragedy.

Of course, Savage will be best remembered for his years of outlandish commercials for Slim Jims, which all involved his trademark “OOOOO YEEEEAAAAH!” and his ferocious interpretation of the company’s slogan (“SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM!”). Without question, any person born in America between the years 1980 and 1989 has done their impression of Macho Man selling Slim Jims at least six thousand times. Savage’s commercials were fantastic: anarchic, manic, and hilarious. Pump the Kool-Aid Man full of methamphetamine, sprinkle in a dash of Carrie White’s telekinetic powers, and you start to get a sense of Savage’s pungent pitchman persona: pure, insane adrenaline. Here’s a prime example of his work to snap into.

I haven’t watched wrestling in more than fifteen years, but I still look back fondly at all those childhood Saturday mornings spent with “Superstars of Wrestling” and “Wrestling Challenge.” Unfortunately, it does feel like the story told by Darren Aronofsky in his beautiful and sad film “The Wrestler” has become far too common. Too many wrestlers die young and broke (the aforementioned Miss Elizabeth tragically died in 2003 of a drug overdose). The toll that lifestyle takes on your body, and the price these guys paid — and continue to pay — for our entertainment, is far too high. But I hope the Macho Man knew how much pleasure he gave the kids of my generation.

The Macho King is dead. Long live the Macho King. Oh yeah.

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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.