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DID YOU READ

Sundance 2009: “You Wont Miss Me.”

Sundance 2009: “You Wont Miss Me.” (photo)

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“You Wont Miss Me” is all about Shelly Brown, a girl with the kind of problems plenty of 20-somethings dream of moving to New York for the express purpose of having: substance abuse, reckless hookups in her bedraggled Williamsburg apartment with shaggy boys who mistreat her, sudden fights with friends and strangers, an unseen actress mother who doesn’t pay her enough attention, and no job beyond auditioning for roles herself. But the film, the second from Ry Russo-Young, isn’t your average chronicle of dabblings in urban self-destruction, because Shelly, as she’s begun to realize herself, can’t turn down the volume. She’s not crazy — the film is structured around fractions of her exit interview with the psychiatrist tossing from a mental hospital because she doesn’t belong there — but she’s the kind of person who gets called that behind her back, her emotions and moods always slipping out of her control, her intense and frightening need for connection driving away whoever she reaches out to.

Poignantly, pitifully lonely and vulnerable, but also given to wearisome self-defeating bursts and bouts of self-pity, Shelly isn’t exactly lovable, and how much you become invested in her anyway will be the measure of how well you like the film, since she’s in every scene, sometimes providing voiceover musings during dreamlike dialog-free shots walking along the sidewalk or riding on the road. In episodic segments, chronology uncertain, Shelly picks up a photographer at a party, a boy in an elevator, a motorcyclist… somewhere. She convinces the best friend she’s in love with to spend the weekend with her at her mother’s house, though he unexpectedly brings along his new girlfriend; shoots a film someone she met in the hospital; heads to Atlantic City to see The Virgins, only to fail to hold the interest of the lead singer afterward and to lash out at her friend in frustration; auditions for two plays and a movie and in general acts out. Shelly’s played by Stella Schnabel, daughter of Julian, in a fearsomely committed performance that’s at least partially based on improv — she’s given a cowriting credit. She’s too fierce-looking to be traditionally pretty, though there’s something enthralling about her unfiltered intensity — you understand why the talky director holding the last audition she attends would want to cast Shelly in his film, even as he expresses concerns about her ability to distinguish fiction from reality.

“Orphans,” Russo-Young’s first film, was grouped into mumblecore more because of its premiere at SXSW 2007, the Woodstock of the movement, and her role in Joe Swanberg’s “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” than any stylistic similarities. Swanberg, along with Aaron Katz, Greta Gerwig and other familiar faces from those films, appear in that last audition scene, with Katz as the director who wants to see everyone in motion in acting exercises. It’s awkwardly funny, though it also seems like a rebuke of the crippling self-consciousness, the niceness that’s the affliction of all mumblecore characters: Shelly’s far from self-conscious or safe. As he delves into this, the would-be filmmaker attracts Shelly’s wrath, and she escalates quickly, calling him pretentious and telling him she doesn’t want to be in his movie, while he maintains a bloodless calm and responds as if they’re still engaged in an even-keeled conversation. There are prices to pay in feeling too much, “You Wont Miss Me” assures, but there are also times when people really ought to scream.

“You Wont Miss Me” currently has no U.S. distribution. See all of IFC.com’s Sundance coverage here.

[Photo: “You Wont Miss Me,” Helavanna Productions, 2009]

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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.