DID YOU READ

Indiana Jones and the razor-sharp criticism

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“The Adventures of Tintin” might not be setting the world on fire at the box office, but it should. In a lot of ways, the film is the best “Indiana Jones” sequel Steven Spielberg ever made. It’s great globetrotting fun, with dazzling action setpieces, iconic visuals, and charming supporting characters. The story isn’t going to set the world on fire, but “Tintin” is still a hell of a lot more entertaining than 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” a movie so miscalculated it inspired a new variation on “jumping the shark.” Now the moment when franchises officially run out of good ideas, they “nuke the fridge.”

Perhaps that makes this new video review from Red Letter Media — the guys who brilliantly and savagely skewered the entire “Star Wars” prequel trilogy — inevitable, but it doesn’t make it any less welcome. As usual, angry old man, Pizza Rolls enthusiast, and wife-murder-joke-maker Mr. Plinkett’s criticism is silly, funny, and full of razor-sharp observations.

It’s also surprisingly even-handed. Plinkett (yes, I know he’s a character and not a real person, but whatever) avoids the easy targets — there’s hardly a mention of Mutt Williams swinging through the trees with monkeys a la Tarzan — and he even goes out of his way to praise the parts of “Crystal Skull” that work, including theperformance of Shia LaBeouf as Mutt and the underrated motorcycle and car chase scene around the campus of Marshall University. Plinkett doesn’t even make fun of the nuke the fridge moment; he actually praises that scene for its clever comedy and striking visuals. Rightfully so; I always thought the fridge nuke got a bum rap; it’s way better than any of the chases or suspense scenes in the film’s CGI-laden second half. But I guess crystal skulling the kingdom doesn’t have the same ring as nuking the fridge. Here’s the video, in two lengthy parts.

Editor’s Note: The embed function on the videos appear to be broken at this time. If they are still down, please visit Red Letter Media here to watch the videos in full.

The videos are silly, and there are still too many moments of misogynistic humor for my taste, but don’t let those fool you: the Red Letter Media guys are no dopes. Their examination of the Indiana Jones character is right on the money. As much as we love the old movies, the appeal of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” isn’t the character of Indiana jones; it’s the idea of being Indiana Jones that’s appealing. And an older Indiana Jones who has trouble running down stairs and reconnects with an old flame isn’t as appealing a character for vicarious thrills. If they were going to introduce Indiana Jones’ son as a possible torchbearer for the future of the franchise, they might as well have just cast him as a full-on Indiana Jones Jr. Give him the whip, let him wear the hat, and call him anything but Mutt Williams. And, no, it doesn’t make it any better that Indiana was named after a dog.

That’s why “Tintin” is a better movie than “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” even if it’s made with the kind of cartoonish CGI that marred “Indy IV.” Admittedly Tintin is not as cool a hero as Indy in his prime. He doesn’t have the whip or the hat, and he doesn’t have much of a love life. Like Indy, though, Tintin’s fearless, clever, and he has a job that seemingly doesn’t care if he spends weeks or months away from the office in search of adventure. Unlike Indy, he’s made entirely in a computer, which means he never has to worry about getting older. That may be the most appealling part of all.

What’s your favorite “Indiana Jones” sequel? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.