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National Film Registry Class of ’11 includes “Silence of the Lambs” and “El Mariachi”

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Every year the Library of Congress selects 25 films of “enduring significance to American culture” for preservation as part of the National Film Registry. 550 films have joined the Registry since it was first started by congressional order in 1989, and yesterday 25 new titles were added to their prestigious ranks. They are, in alphabetical order:

“Allures” (1961), directed by Jordan Belson
“Bambi” (1942), directed by David D. Hand
“The Big Heat” (1953), directed by Fritz Lang
“A Computer Animated Hand” (1973), directed by Ed Catmull
“Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment” (1963), directed by Robert Drew
“The Cry of the Children” (1912), directed by George Nichols
“A Cure for Pokeritis” (1912), directed by Laurence Trimble
“El Mariachi” (1992), directed by Robert Rodriguez
“Faces” (1968), directed by John Cassavetes
“Fake Fruit Factory” (1986), directed by Chick Strand
“Forrest Gump” (1994), directed by Robert Zemeckis
“Growing Up Female” (1971), directed by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein
“Hester Street” (1975), directed by Joan Micklin Silver
“I, An Actress” (1977), directed by George Kuchar
“The Iron Horse” (1924), directed by John Ford
“The Kid” (1921), directed by Charles Chaplin
“The Lost Weekend” (1945), directed by Billy Wilder
“The Negro Soldier” (1944), directed by Stuart Heisler
“Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies” (1930s-40s)
“Norma Rae” (1979), directed by Martin Ritt
“Porgy and Bess” (1959), directed by Otto Preminger
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), directed by Jonathan Demme
“Stand and Deliver” (1988), directed by Ramon Menendez
“Twentieth Century” (1934), directed by Howard Hawks
“The War of the Worlds” (1953), directed by Byron Haskin

As is usually the case, the Registry selected an eclectic mix of films this year: mainstream and avant-garde, silent and sound, a century old and relatively contemporary. The earliest films, a pair of silents called “The Cry of the Children” and “A Case of Pokeritis,” were made one hundred years ago. The most recent is 1994’s “Forrest Gump.” Now we can all rest easy knowing that future generations of Americans will be able to learn about life through the metaphor of a chocolate box.

You might even say that the National Film Registry is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. According to an article in The Washington Post, the selections are made by just one man: Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who makes his choices based on the recommendations of an advisory board and regular movie fans (got a movie you want on the Registry? Submit it here). Artistic merit is good but cultural merit is better. Hence “Airplane!,” which helped inspire an entire genre of spoof comedies, made the cut last year while “The Naked Gun,” an even funnier but less influential film from the same directors, remains cruelly overlooked. Some day, Enrico Palazzo, your time will come.

According to the Post, films selected by the Registry “are preserved at the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, or through collaborations with archives, studios and independent filmmakers” and “most of the films named to the National Registry can be viewed by reservation at the Library of Congress’s reading room on Capitol Hill.” So if you live in the DC area, and you don’t feel like paying $3 to rent “Night of the Living Dead,” you can always try there.

Also: am I crazy, or is Librarian of Congress kind of the sickest job title on the planet? “What do you do?” “Oh, I’m a Librarian…OF CONGRESS.”

What movies deserve to be preserved by the National Film Registry next year? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook 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.