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DID YOU READ

“Corman’s World,” reviewed

“Corman’s World,” reviewed (photo)

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Producer/director/schlockmeister Roger Corman famously made over a hundred movies in Hollywood and never lost a dime, in part because he never financed stuff like “Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel.” That’s not to say this documentary about the maverick drive-in movie maven’s life is bad; on the contrary, it’s a breezy, informative ninety minutes with great archival footage and superb new interviews with Corman, his collaborators, and protégés. But c’mon: 90 minutes of people talking about some old guy who made a bunch of movies? That’s not the Corman way. Where’s the sex? Where’s the violence? Where’re the crazy, LSD-dropping hippie biker gangs?

Actually, all that stuff’s in there too, thanks to a heap of clips from Corman’s lengthy career. In a sneakily savvy way, director Alex Stapleton has structured “Corman’s World” to work like Corman movie: you come to satisfy your baser urges, and inadvertently learn a thing or two along the way. In between the shots of Pam Grier shooting her way out of a women’s prison and man-eating piranhas feasting on human flesh, there are legitimately powerful moments here about following your dreams and fighting for your independence.

The world that Corman built was more than the sum of the pictures he cranked out for American International Pictures and later his own New World and New Horizons Pictures. It was also a network of younger artists he mentored and encouraged, and who went on to reshape Hollywood in Corman’s DIY, youth-oriented image — guys like Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, and Jack Nicholson, all of whom appear at length in the film to express their heartfelt admiration and appreciation for the man who gave them the first profesional jobs in the film business. The interview with Nicholson — who doesn’t sit down for this kind of thing very often, especially not in a way that’s this emotionally unguarded — is especially memorable.

If, like me, you already know a little about Corman — if you’ve read biographies about him like Beverly Gray’s “Roger Corman: An Unauthorized Life,” for example — there won’t be a ton of surprises for you in “Corman’s World.” During a couple stretches, the film does feel the documentary version of an greatest hits CD: you get all the hits, but you don’t really have the chance to appreciate the deeper cuts. For that, you have to go to the albums — or, in this case, the movies. I’d recommend starting with “A Bucket of Blood,” the Corman-produced “Death Race 2000,” and a couple of the Poe adaptations like “The Tomb of Ligeia.”

Stapleton probably could have — and maybe should have — probed a little deeper into his subject’s life and motivations. Why, for example, did a guy fight so hard and so long for artistic freedom only to use it to release so much empty-headed schlock? Still, it’s nice to see the greatest hits, and to listen to Corman’s refined paternal baritone as he talks about his work. He even allows Stapleton to film him at work on the set of his latest project, the SyFy Channel’s “Dinoshark.” When he doesn’t like the way the young guys on the crew are doing something, he just steps in and does it himself. Now that’s the real Corman way.

“Corman’s World opens today in limited release. If you see it, let us know what you think. Leave us a comment below or write to us 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.