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More critics groups go for “The Artist”

More critics groups go for “The Artist” (photo)

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In film nerds circles, yesterday is what’s known as “Super Sunday,” when a whole bunch of critics groups all announce their award winners on the same day. Do a couple of press releases qualify the day for an adjective reserved for presidential elections and internationally televised football games? If your movie wins something, absolutely.

Yesterday, the big winner once again with the silent film pastiche “The Artist” which earned Best Picture honors from The New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics. It also got a “special award” from the American Film Institute, a particularly impressive (or suspicious) honor considering the AFI only considers “incontrovertibly American” films and “The Artist” was made by a French cast and crew.

The other major critics groups who announced their winners on Sunday went for two other awards season favorites. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted for Alexander Payne‘s “The Descendants” while the San Francisco Film Critics Circle went for the full highbrow and picked Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree of Life.” All three films are Oscar frontrunners at this point; I’d be surprised if any of them don’t receive nominations next year.

At this point, the race is tightening, the actual end of the year is drawing closer, and the number of movies that can realistically shove their way into the conversation is shrinking. Still, it is nice to see the occasional surprise amongst the parade of wins for “A Separation” for Best Foreign Language Film and Emmanuel Lubezki for Best Cinematography for “The Tree of Life” (both admittedly deserving awards). Instead of giving Meryl Streep yet another accolade for “The Iron Lady,” LAFCA chose to honor the wonderful Yun Jung-hee from the South Korean film “Poetry.” Instead of giving Brad Pitt another slap on the back for “Moneyball” — where, let’s face it, he basically looked handsome and ate junk food for 100 minutes — the New York Film Critics Online showed some love to Michael Shannon for his unforgettable and far more impressive work in “Take Shelter.” And both the NYFCO and BSFC gave Best Supporting Actress honors to Melissa McCarthy for her scene stealing performance in “Bridesmaids.” Comic actors are so rarely recognized for the good work that they do. A supporting actress nomination at the Oscars still seems like a longshot for McCarthy, but it would be a delightful change of pace if it happened. Plus then we can all make jokes about taking craps in the Kodak Theatre bathroom sink.

The full list of Super Sunday winners is below.

AFI’s Top Ten Films of 2011
“Bridesmaids”
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“J. Edgar”
“Midnight In Paris”
“Moneyball”
“The Tree Of Life”
“War Horse”
AFI Special Awards: “The Artist” and “The Harry Potter Series”

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Picture: “The Artist”
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
Best Actress: Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, “Moneyball”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Best Documentary: “Project Nim”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Incendies”
Best Animated Film: “Rango”
Best Film Editing: Christian Marclay, “The Clock”
Best New Filmmaker: Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Best Ensemble Cast: “Carnage”
Best Use of Music in a Film: Tie: “Drive” and “The Artist”

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
Best Picture: “The Descdendants”
Best Director: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Best Actor: Michael Fassbender, “A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Shame,” “X-Men: First Class”
Best Actress: Yun Jung-hee, “Poetry”
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Coriolanus,” “The Debt,” “The Help,” “Take Shelter,” “Texas Killing Fields,” “Tree of Life”
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Best Score: The Chemical Brothers, “Hanna”
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti, “Hugo”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Best Foreign Language:“City of Life and Death”
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
Best Animation: “Rango”

New York Film Critics Online Awards
Best Picture: “The Artist”
Best Actor: Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter”
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Best Breakthrough Performer: Jessica Chastain, half the movies of 2011
Best Debut Director: Joe Cornish, “Attack the Block”
Best Ensemble Cast: “Bridesmaids”
Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
Best Foreign Language: “A Separation”
Best Animated: “The Adventures of Tintin”
Best Cinematography: “The Tree of Life”
Best Use of Music: Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”

NYFCO’s Top Ten of 2011
1. “The Artist”
2. “The Descendants”
3. “Drive”
4. “The Help”
5. “Hugo”
6. “Melancholia”
7. “Midnight in Paris”
8. “Take Shelter”
9. “The Tree of Life”
10. “War Horse”

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Picture: “The Tree of Life”
Best Director: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Best Original Screenplay: J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”
Best Animated Feature: “Rango”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Certified Copy”
Best Documentary: “Tabloid”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”

What’s your favorite movie of 2011? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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.

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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.