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DID YOU READ

Cannes 08: “Wendy and Lucy.”

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05242008_wendyandlucy.jpgI’ve seen films about genocide at this year’s festival, I’ve seen films about corruption, about terrible crimes, about war and about murder, but nothing cut me to the quick like “Wendy and Lucy,” which is about a girl who loses her dog. The second third film from Kelly Reichardt, whose superb “Old Joy” was one of the few bright lights on the American indie landscape of the past years, is, like that last feature, deceptively simple and brief. Over the course of 80 minutes, Wendy (a very good Michelle Williams) drives into a shabby Oregon town with her dog, Lucy. Every penny is s precious, so she tries to shoplift some dog food, but she’s caught, and, per the store’s policy and the insistence of an over-zealous young employee, prosecuted. Getting back a few hours later, she finds that Lucy’s missing.

“Wendy and Lucy” is a microscopic tale of suspense about how, when you’ve got next to nothing, seemingly navigable setbacks like a car breaking down or a dog running away become insurmountable catastrophes. When Wendy runs into genial, hippie-ish vagrants by the railroad, one of them “Old Joy”‘s Will Oldham, their stories make her decision to head to Alaska to look for work seems like a good one, like freedom. But she stranded in town when her car won’t start, and while it’s in the shop she has no place to sleep, and she has no phone number to give the pound should Lucy turn up, and without an address she can’t get even a temporary job to sustain herself, which seems an impossibility in the economically depressed area anyway. The people around Wendy are mostly indifferent to her perilous descent into homelessness, with the exception of a security guard at the Walgreen’s by which she’s been staying, whose small acts of kindness and concern are heartrending.

Michelle Williams is in every scene of “Wendy and Lucy,” and ably carries that burden — with her dark pixie haircut and cut-offs, she looks frighteningly vulnerable, an indie urchin stuck in circumstances both dire and mundane, her open face registering every frustration, triumph and terror despite her efforts otherwise. Reichardt’s approach in the film is similar underplayed — by refusing to wring out easy sentiments from the script, which, like “Old Joy,” is co-written and based on a short story by Jonathan Raymond; her actors; or her style, which is elegant and unobtrusive, the only music Wendy’s own humming, she’s created something of incredible emotional genuineness that’s one of my favorites in the festival.

[Photo: “Wendy and Lucy,” Film Science/Glass Eye Pix, 2008]

+ “Wendy and Lucy” (Festival-Cannes.fr)

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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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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.