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Getting It On At Sundance

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By Andrea Meyer/IFC News

There’s been a lot of talk about the graphic sex at Sundance. Filmmaking dynamo Michael Winterbottom tried his hand at art-house porn, getting his actors to really do the deed in his explicit relationship saga “9 Songs.” Doc darlings Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato got inside the most notorious and profitable X-rated flick of all time with “Inside Deep Throat.” Festival audiences fled theaters as comedian after comedian told the dirtiest joke ever in “The Aristocrats.” A hot older woman—oh my God, she’s 32—does little besides bang her 19-year-old boytoy in the raunchy Korean romance “Green Chair.”

What I noticed about Sundance 2005, though—besides the criminal non-existence of swag for non-celebrities, not even a Sony baseball cap or Palm Pictures tote in sight—was the sex, sex, sex that was gushing (or occasionally just hovering around the edge of the frame) in this year’s teenager flicks. These movies were all about tasting it, craving it, using it to get what you want and, especially, losing it.

In Rebecca Miller’s lyrical dad-and-daughter love story “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” the titular teenage girl (Camilla Belle) is so pissed at her dad (Daniel Day-Lewis) for inviting his girlfriend and her sons to move in, she convinces one of her reluctant stepbrothers to deflower her—and hangs her bloody sheets in the yard as evidence. Troublemaking slut Maggie Gyllenhaal snags a young lad’s virginity in “Happy Endings,” though said lad is not so supportive: The only benefit he sees in the unpleasant turn of events is his dad might not realize he’s gay.

In Noah Baumbach’s award-winning (best screenplay and best director) “The Squid and the Whale,” two Brooklyn boys have different ways of coping with their parents’ divorce: 12-year-old Frank (Owen Kline) starts drinking booze and wiping his ejaculate on books in the school library. His 16-year-old brother (Jesse Eisenberg), on the other hand, tries to play tough and detached with his first girlfriend, a difficult task while suffering the humiliation of coming in six seconds and being told he uses too much tongue when they kiss.

If Baumbach’s scenarios are disturbingly familiar, Miranda July, winner of a special jury prize for originality, uncovers the offbeat in everyday lives in “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” in which sons deal with their parents’ divorce. 14-year-old Peter is a willing judge in the neighborhood girls’ blowjob-giving contest, and 7-year-old Robby gets involved in the funniest cybersex ever committed to celluloid.

While sexual firsts can make for great, comic, cringe-worthy entertainment, there are also unsavory and much more serious possibilities. In Gregg Araki’s haunting “Mysterious Skin,” two boys are sexually abused by their baseball coach. Both flailing to make sense of the experience later in life, one (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) becomes a hustler while the other (Brady Corbet) convinces himself he was abducted by aliens. In order to make sure nothing similar happens to her, the teenage bombshell (Ellen Page) in David Slade’s midnight movie “Hard Candy” orchestrates a sinister revenge plot for the older man she encounters on the Internet.

Even when early sexuality seems sweet, nothing is simple in adolescence. Lou Pucci is astounded when his beautiful girlfriend announces she’s only using him in Mike Mills’ smart coming-of-age tale “Thumbsucker.” A precocious blonde’s sexual sophistication provokes lust, awe and rage in the boys of a southern France town—to horrific results—in Ziad Doueiri’s “Lila Says.” In “Pretty Persuasion,” a satire in which three high school girls accuse their teacher of sexual harassment, nobody is innocent. Ringleader Kimberly (Evan Rachel Wood) uses her sexuality—and her oral sex skills—to manipulate and deceive everyone around her.

While not a movie about teenagers, it seems wrong to leave “Murderball” out of a roundup of sexual firsts. Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro’s film enters the real lives of guys who have been sexually active for a while, but have had to learn how to make love all over again. One of the funniest sequences in this documentary about quadriplegic rugby is where the athletes—manly men who have limited use of all four of their limbs—discuss the wonderful world of quadriplegic sex: the hard-ons they still proudly get, the early awkwardness and experimentation, the positions that work the best, the women that love them (and want them and boink their brains out) all in spite of their disabilities. Suburban teens could learn a lot from the brave, confident, sexy young men in this film.


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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.”


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. 


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.