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Sundance 2009: “The Carter.”

Sundance 2009: “The Carter.” (photo)

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“The Carter” doesn’t try to argue that Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., is, as he himself has claimed, the “best rapper alive.” “Best” and “alive” aren’t always long-lasting qualities in the world of hip-hop anyway. Instead of making the case for Wayne the artist, Adam Bhala Lough’s documentary focuses on capturing the incredibly, frighteningly of-the-moment ocean of celebrity through which he wades, a diminutive 25-year-old from New Orleans with a multi-platinum album and, for now, all the talent and swagger in the world, as well as one of its more distinctive drug habits. “The Carter” follows Lil Wayne unblinkingly on tour, as he bounces from Amsterdam to Atlanta and back again, apparently unmoored and eternally on the road, recording in hotel rooms and buses with the equipment that’s always with him, high all the time on weed, on codeine cough syrup cut with soda. That’s why Wayne’s manager and friend refuses to ride of the bus with him — he can’t stand to see Wayne as groggily fucked-up as he occasionally gets during the film.

But Wayne’s not the careening most-likely-to-become-the-next-music-biz-casualty he could be. For one, it’s the music he really cares most about, recording like a man possessed, over a thousand songs, he estimates, telling a reporter he doesn’t have time for sex, just music and money — and if you don’t quite take him at his word, you do take his point. And for another, Wayne’s knows that half of the people gawking at him would gawk the same way at his tattooed, codeine-soaked corpse. “The Carter”‘s biggest hat-tip to DA Pennebaker’s “Dont Look Back” is its love of footage of Wayne sparring with interviewers at every stop on the road, sullen in some, playing up the persona in others and tossing the guy who would musicologically force “Tha Carter III” into some New Orleans tradition out on his ass with no further explanation. They tend to sound ghoulish, the journalists — circling his outlandish lifestyle, asking about the “famous syrup,” about whether he’s thought about how he’s going to die, asking about the time he accidentally shot himself — and Wayne’s aware that his fame can be commodified without him being around to benefit from it. He doesn’t write his lyrics down, he says, because he doesn’t want the papers auctioned off a la Kurt Cobain. And whether or not you think that he’ll retain that type of fame in ten or 15 years — I’m pretty ambivalent, myself — Wayne’s certainly enjoying what he has now, never better exemplified than in the stunner of an opening shot of him preening in the spotlight, eyes upraised, or in the moments when he turns to the camera and doesn’t-quite-lip-sync along to his own tracks, his life as close to a music video as you can get. As fast as adoring fans can turn into devouring crowds, or worse, indifferent masses, it looks pretty good to be Lil Wayne right then.

[Photo: “The Carter,” QD3 Entertainment, 2009]


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.