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Five movies that should never be watched on a Valentine’s Day date

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If there’s anything that’s universally understood in the world of dating, it’s that Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to show your date some truly disturbing movies. Oh, wait a second. It’s not? Hmm. What is true about Valentine’s Day, though, is that it is a great day to take your date out to a nice meal followed up by a fun, romantic movie. They actually do love that. Some guys, however, wouldn’t know a romantic movie if it proposed to them from the top of the Empire State Building. That’s where we come in with a little assistance. And while we’re not going to give you a list of romantic movies you should pop in the Blu-ray player on February 14th, we are going to give you a list of five movies that should never find their way into your Valentine’s Day plans. Heed our warnings, fellas.


“I Spit on Your Grave” (1978)

Don’t let the original title of Meir Zarchi’s 1978 controversial shocker fool you. “I Spit on Your Grave” may have first been released under the title “Day of the Woman,” but this is one of the last movies you’ll ever want to show your lady on any day, let alone Valentine’s Day. The exploitation flick is an unabashedly tough look at what could arguably be called the worst day a female has ever had in a film. Writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) decides to rent an isolated house by a lake, deep in the countryside but her plan of getting some work done goes awry when she crosses paths with a group of local men hell bent on doing whatever they want to the poor girl. She’s tortured and raped by the men in some of the most disturbing ways possible before escaping back to the rental to endure yet another round of torture and rape. All this before Jennifer finally gets herself together and decides to lure the men in one by one and take them out in extremely brutal and degrading ways. It’s a feel good movie, you see!

Zarchi has been defending the film for over thirty years now – he claims the film is a feminist critique of sexualized male violence – but he can talk until he’s blue in the face; it doesn’t make “I Spit on Your Grave” any easier to watch. Remade in 2010 by Steven R. Monroe the film follows nearly the same exact trajectory as the original and it’s well made but mostly forgettable aside from a standout performance by Sarah Butler in the Jennifer Hills role. Nevertheless, you’re going to want to stay as far away as humanly possible from these films if you plan on getting lucky on Valentine’s Day (or ever again).


“Irréversible” (2002)

If your idea of a good time on Valentine’s Day is actually making your date physically sick, then go ahead and pop in Gaspar Noé’s 2002 told-in-reverse French film “Irréversible.” The sadistic (and talented) directed didn’t want to just assault viewers’ eyes with the contents of the film, but he actually recorded portions of the film using extremely low-frequency sound (you know, the kind the SWAT team uses to quell riots), which causes the audience to experience disorientation and nausea. Physical symptoms aside, the film itself is enough to make many people ill. There’s a hyper-realistic scene right near the beginning that includes a fire extinguisher and a head that would send most people running from the theater. In fact, it’s the only scene in my cinema-loving life that actually gave me a panic attack while watching.

Oh, yeah, and then there’s that whole eight-minute-long subway rape sequence in which Noé decides to place the camera on the floor and just leave it there for the viewer to watch. The perspective and the fact that it takes place in one continuous shot make the scene one of the most difficult to watch in the history of film. Throw in the fact that you’ll probably have to subject your date to the film more than once if she actually wants to understand it (thanks to that pesky reverse narrative) and you’ve got quite a romantic evening planned.


“Cannibal Holocaust” (1980)

Found footage films like “The Blair Witch Project,” “Cloverfield,” and most recently “The Devil Insid”e might be the current cinematic craze, but Ruggero Deodato precedes them by over twenty years. Released in 1980, “Cannibal Holocaust” used the found footage technique to introduce the world to one of the most horrifyingly realistic, controversial, and disturbing films of all time. Filmed in the Amazon Rainforest, “Cannibal Holocaust” tells the tale of a documentary film crew who had traveled to the Amazon to film indigenous tribes and come home with some truly sensational footage. The only problem… they never came home.

So why wouldn’t you and your lady want to sit down with a roaring fire, a nice glass of wine, and “Cannibal Holocaust” in the DVD player? Well, here’s a short list of some of the degradation that takes place in the film: mutilation, rape, murder, beheading, and animal cruelty. The most disturbing thing on that list, however, might just be the animal cruelty as the filmmakers infamously killed several animals on screen including a large turtle. The film has been banned, at one time or another, in nearly every country and not only garnered Deodato death threats, but it also landed him in an Italian prison when authorities thought he’d actually murdered his cast. What better way to say, “I love you” on this special day than to show your girl a woman getting skewered on a pike.


“The Woman” (2011)

It’s frightening that Lucky McKee’s “The Woma”n is probably the least disturbing of all the films on this list. Don’t get me wrong here; the film is highly disturbing but, unlike the other films listed, it’s not an endless assault on the senses. Starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Angela Bettis (a McKee favorite), and Sean Bridgers, “The Woman” tells the story of a successful lawyer living in the country who stumbles across a feral woman (McIntosh) while in the woods. He decides to capture the woman in an attempt to “civilize” her, but his actions ultimately put his clean-cut family in harm’s way. Now, that description might not sound all that disturbing to you, but once you realize just how he plans to “civilize” this woman – namely through rape, control, and degradation – you get a clearer picture of why the film has been so controversial.

Controversial, you say? Surely you’ve seen the video of guy who walked out during the film’s Sundance premiere and proceeded to go on a six-minute rant about how McKee’s film is degrading and terrible. While the guy’s reaction is clearly exaggerated and overblown (I actually think “The Woman” is not only an excellent film, but it’s also one of the best horror films of 2011), it’s a testament to just how the film raises some extremely strong emotions in viewers. And if there’s anything you want on Valentine’s Day, it’s to watch a film that can spark a nice, long fight with your date! Well, you’re in luck: The Woman is now out on Blu-ray and DVD. Happy fighting!


“The Last House on the Left” (1972)

“The Last House on the Left” is a film that may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but it’s most important contribution to cinema will clearly be that it’s the film that launched the career of horror legend Wes Craven. Without Krug (played to creepy perfection by David Hess) we would probably never have had Nancy Thompson (of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” fame), and for that we forgive “The Last House on the Left” for all its inadequacies, controversy, and disturbing imagery. Not to mention, the film basically kick started a subgenre (Slasher Films) that’s still thriving over thirty years later. “The Last House on the Left” might be a truly depraved film, but it’s also an important one.

Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 Swedish film “The Virgin Spring,” the story told is a familiar one with a few clever twists: Innocent girls run across really bad guys. Really bad guys do really bad things to innocent girls. Everyone is shocked. There’s some revenge. The end. Okay, okay. The film is obviously more nuanced than that, but you get the idea. It’s all about shock value, realism, and depravity here. There’s plenty of violence, torture, and rape involved (are you seeing a pattern with this list yet?), and there’s also a good deal of gore. Craven leaves it all in front of the camera for the viewer to gawk at, which only works to make the film that much more difficult to watch. Remade fairly successfully in 2009 with Monica Potter and Sara Paxton in the role of those innocent girls, you wouldn’t really want to show either version of “The Last House on the Left” to your Valentine. Trust me on this… The last image you want her having in her head is that of the truly creepy David Hess. Yikes.


Which film do you think should never be shown on Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments below.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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