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Steven Soderbergh refuses to retire retirement rumors

Steven Soderbergh refuses to retire retirement rumors (photo)

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Like an infectious virus in a house full of nose pickers, here is a news story that just refuses to die. Way back in December, news reports began to surface that Steven Soderbergh was planning to retire after his last batch of movies, including the upcoming disease disaster flick — or diseaster flick, if you will — “Contagion.” They were sparked by these quotes from Matt Damon:

“”He wants to paint and he says he’s still young enough to have another career,’ Damon said. ‘He’s kind of exhausted with everything that interested him in terms of form. He’s not interested in telling stories. Cinema interested him in terms of form and that’s it…after this movie we’re doing ‘Liberace’ next summer with Michael Douglas, and then he might do one more movie after that with George [Clooney], and then after that he’s retiring.'”

Stories to that effect bubbled along for weeks and months, until Soderbergh finally put all the rumors to rest last month at San Diego Comic-Con. At a panel for “Contagion,” Soderbergh said (according to Entertainment Weekly):

“Matt Damon is about as discreet as a fourteen-year-old girl…I had this drunken conversation with him in Chicago shooting Contagion,” he said, adding then he read the reports in the paper a few days later. While he praised the actor’s good memory (“he remembered it almost verbatim”), he said that he wasn’t as serious as he had implied. “I was just sort of going off,” he said. In this economy, “No one wants to hear about someone quitting a good job. It got blown out of proportion. That’s Matt’s fault!”

Okay, so end of story? No! Never end of story! Now when there are potentially uncommercial movies about death and disease to market! In a profile over the weekend about “Contagion” in The New York Times, Soderbergh apparently proved that while Matt Damon may be as discreet as a fourteen-year-old girl, he’s also as honest as a Girl Scout. According to the Times piece, Soderbergh’s Retirepalooza 2K12 is back on:

“Mr. Soderbergh was speaking last month in his office space-cum-painting studio in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, where, having announced his imminent retirement from directing, he will soon be spending a lot more time. Propped against the walls are some of his recent pieces: a pair of striped canvases in red and gray hues and a portrait of the abstract painter Agnes Martin. Mr. Soderbergh, 48, sounded matter-of-fact about the career change. ‘I’m interested in exploring another art form while I have the time and ability to do so,’ he said. ‘I’ll be the first person to say if I can’t be any good at it and run out of money I’ll be back making another ‘Ocean’s’ movie.'”

Doesn’t sound like the story got blown out of proportion to me, sounds like Soderbergh was just mad that Damon spilled the beans. According to the Times, after “Contagion,” the already completed spy thriller “Haywire,” and three more projects — a drama about male strippers with Channing Tatum, an adaptation of the 60s spy show “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” and a Liberace biopic, Soderbergh is officially done.

Soderbergh has the right to do whatever he wants; he’s a phenomenally talented filmmaker, and I’m sure he’ll be a talented painter. If he does retire from directing, it will be a huge blow to American film culture. That said: the guy needs to make up his mind. Following this story is like reporting on a one-person game of schoolyard tag (“I’m retiring! Psyche! I had my fingers crossed the whole time, I’m totally quitting! Hold on, I called backsies!”). I can’t keep up with this stuff anymore. While I’ll be upset if the day ever actually comes, I’m announcing it publicly right now: I’ve officially retired from blog posts about Steven Soderbergh’s retirement.

(Until he decides to make another “Ocean’s” movie. But that should go without saying.)

What do you think? Will Steven Soderbergh actually retire? Do you care? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.