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SXSW 2009: “Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be the Same.”

SXSW 2009: “Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be the Same.” (photo)

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After watching “Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be the Same,” a documentary about an artist preparing for his first New York solo show, I got into a fight. Two of us who’d seen it loved it, others had disliked it, and one insisted it was a travesty of a supposed nonfiction film that had to have been completely complicit and staged. I don’t agree, but the more I dwelt on it, the more beside the point it all seemed. Brock Enright is the kind of guy who’d never forget that he’s on camera, and who’d act equally outsized whether director/DP Jody Lee Lipes had storyboarded each scene with him in advance or, as he says, captured it all vérité-style as it unfolded.

The problem, if you want to look at it that way, is that “Brock Enright” doesn’t contain the visual cues we associate with docs. Lipes, who’s responsible for the remarkable cinematography of “Afterschool,” frequently shoots on a tripod, his composition careful and lovely, qualities that, combined with the natural staginess of his subject, can give the film the air of a rarefied relative of “The Hills.” Which, you know, awesome. Like so many other people who end up on the pointy ends of cameras these days, Enright’s major talent seems to lie in convincing people he does in fact have talent, the art he makes a muzzy mix of provocative video installations and pile-of-trash/installation conundrums he’s unable to explain the meaning of to his not entirely convinced patron. “It has to be one of those things where you don’t know too much what you’re getting yourself into, because then you could be fighting something that could be better than what you were thinking of doing, so I’d rather not know what I’m doing,” he tells the camera at the film’s start, and you believe it right through the end.

But Enright, who made a name for himself in 2002 designing kidnapping experiences tailored to a client’s worst fears, knows that the best way to convince people of your genius is to couch it in a solid dose of crazy — when someone from the gallery comes to visit the Mendocino house at which he’s camped, he all but holds her hostage until she agrees to secure more funding for his work. Meanwhile, his girlfriend and collaborator keeps harshing his mellow by pointing out that they don’t have enough money to pay rent when they get back to Brooklyn, and her family, which whom the pair are staying, are unimpressed by his painting his body white and dancing nude in the forest in the name of his craft.

The show does go up — it was reviewed in, among other places, the New York Times — but we never see it in the film, the shot we instead get a slow artist’s-eye-view of the crowd at the opening, smiling, taking photos. It’s tempting to read the omission as a dismissal, on Lipes’ part, of the final product, and certainly “Brock Enright” comes across as a very good film about a subject who’s less so, but it’s probably meant more to reinforce the film’s focus on process. A coda taking place a year later reveals a development in sly close-ups of materials around an apartment that could in the same way be read as doomed or a sign of progress. Optimist that I am, I’d prefer to think the latter, and that what we’ve witnessed is a portrait of the artist on his way to becoming a tolerable human being.


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.