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DID YOU READ

The Miami Heatification of the Action Genre

The Miami Heatification of the Action Genre (photo)

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According to Todd Brown over at Twitch the franchise formerly known as “The Fast and the Furious” is not content to rest on its laurels. Having every actor who’d appeared in the franchise return for “Fast Five” and now for “Fast Six” and “Fast Seven” wasn’t enough. Brown reports that Universal’s “entering into preliminary conversations with Jason Statham to explore the possibility of the action star joining one or both films.”

Think about this for a moment. They might not all reappear in “Fast Six,” but “Fast Five” already featured Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Paul “I Don’t Have a Nickname” Walker. That’s already a bounty of beefcake. Now you’re going to cram Jason Statham in there as well? Don’t get me wrong — I’m an irrationally big fan of Jason Statham. But how are you going to divvy up all the screentime for these guys? They’re going to have to ditch the characters and call each other by their real names to save time on exposition.

It is interesting that Statham is the guy they’re targeting to boost “Fast Six”‘s all-star cast since he’s already a part of the other current all-star cast in action movies, “The Expendables.” That Sylvester Stallone jam featured Statham alongside Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, and more. “Expendables 2” is just getting underway with most of the original cast, plus Jean-Claude Van Damme, plus Chuck Norris, plus Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis expanding their cameos from the first movie into bigger supporting roles.

It’s also interesting that “The Expendables” premiered last summer on August 13, just over a month after LeBron James announced on a primetime television special that he was taking his talents to South Beach and joining up with fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. All three guys formerly anchored their own teams; now all three would play together. Forecasters predicted short-term doom: the team couldn’t afford decent role players to fill out its roster and its bench was thin. Surely former alpha dogs like James and Wade couldn’t figure out how to coexist. Early season troubles seemed to validate those theories, but they figured it out well enough to make the NBA Finals in just their first year together. If the NBA can solve its lockout, other teams are going to have a lot of trouble solving the Miami Heat for years to come.

The timing is coincidental but curious. Between “The Expendables” and “Fast” franchises, are we seeing the Miami Heatification of action movies? It doesn’t seem like it’s enough for an action film to feature one studly actor these days — it’s got to feature all the studly actors in Hollywood. Even Statham’s last solo project, “Killer Elite,” brought in two other headliners, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, to play his wingmen. If the goal is to make a movie to appeal to the widest possible audience, then the strategy makes perfect sense. By tripling your star power, the thinking goes, you triple your potential audience. But where do you draw the line? Will the veritable arms race between the “Expendables” and “Fast” series heat up until they join together into one mega-movie? Will we be talking about “The Fast and the Expendable” starring Stallone, Diesel, Statham, Walker, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Van Damme, and the ghost of Lee Marvin in 2015?

I don’t know. I do know that this looks more and more like a cinematic trend. A spirit of competition has been replaced by a spirit of merger and acquisition. You could argue “bigger is better” is one of Hollywood’s default ideas, and it kind of is. But this is something different. It’s hard to imagine Magic Johnson and Larry Bird playing together back in the day, and it’s equally hard to imagine Schwarzenegger and Stallone making a movie together back in the day. They were so obsessed with determining who was the biggest movie star they would have never joined forces (except to own Planet Hollywood, and we know how that turned out). Now, whether it’s because of their own mortality or the economics of securing increasingly elusive funding from the international market, they’re teaming up. Action movies are just the tip of the iceberg, too: check out the new wave of star-studded romantic comedies. Last year we had “Valentine’s Day” with Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Lautner, and many more; this year you can look forward to “New Year’s Eve” with Katherine Heigl, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Biel, Halle Berry, and Hilary Swank.

Magic and Bird did play together at one point: on the Dream Team. And what did the Dream team do at the Olympics? Conquer the entire basketball world. There wasn’t a ton of drama in their games, but sometimes a guaranteed win can be fun to watch (as long as you’re rooting for the winning team, of course). There’s a similar philosophy behind these new action franchises: if we all work together, this is a guaranteed win. And a sure thing is always better than a risk, in sports or in movies.

Do you think action movie casts are just going to get bigger and bigger? 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.