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Laughs, Loathing and Lyme Disease

Laughs, Loathing and Lyme Disease (photo)

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This week finds a couple of small screen favorites treated to big screen outings, comedies both black and blacker, as well as the ballad of the real-life Spinal Tap.

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“Anvil! The Story of Anvil”
With its singer’s proclivity to play the guitar with a dildo, a disastrous tour managed by a churlish Swiss-Italian fan with little professional experience, and a drummer really named Robb Reiner), comparisons to the 1984 mother of all music mockumentaries are inevitable. But ladies and gentlemen, this really is Spinal Tap, and so much more. First-time director Sacha Gervasi, who served as Anvil’s roadie for a time in the ’80s, follows the legendary underground Canadian rockers throughout their ill-fated European tour in preparation for their 13th studio album. Still chasing the dream and that ever-elusive break, they subsist on a strained friendship, bad food and blind optimism to the tune of “at least there is a tour for everything to go wrong on.”
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Dragonball: Evolution”
Over the course of his varied and underrated career output (go rent “Space: Above and Beyond” and thank us later), writer/director James Wong has shown, amongst other things, that he’s adept at handling both mythology and elaborately cartoonish live-action set pieces. As luck would have it, these are two things crucial to preventing this FX-heavy adaptation of the beloved Japanese comic book series from becoming just another digitally induced headache. From producer Stephen Chow, “Dragonball: Evolution” centers on the headstrong young Goku (Justin Chatwin), who embarks on a dangerous quest to obtain the seven mystical Dragon Balls following the death of his grandfather at the hands of sorcerer Lord Piccolo (James Marsters). Hard to believe it’s not in 3D, really.
Opens wide.

“Hannah Montana: The Movie”
With Disney alum Christina Aguilera going dirrty and her fellow Mouseketeer Britney going barmy, it’s left to little Miley Cyrus to fly the white flag of purity for the Mouse House’s tween target audience, reminding good little girls that the fame game is a sham and it’s friends and family that count. This mildly meta big screen outing for “Hannah” finds her real-life alter ego Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) letting things go to her head, culminating in some devilishly diva-esque antics involving Tyra Banks and a shoe store catfight. Deciding his daughter needs an extended time out, father Robby (Billy Ray Cyrus) drags Miley back to the farm and her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee where her childhood pals Lilly (Emily Osment) and Oliver (Mitchel Musso) bring her back down to Earth.
Opens wide.

“In a Dream”
Winner of an audience award at last year’s SXSW, director Jeremiah Zagar’s intimate documentary is both a tribute and a love letter to his wildly eccentric father Isaiah, a street artist who’s enriched the lives of thousands with his inimitably beautiful designs along the streets of Philadelphia, even though few know him by name. The younger Zagar showcases his father’s great works of tile, glass and shard that are at once striking and beautiful, as well as the fractured genius behind them — a man who’s spent much of his life putting his considerable talents to work giving back to his beloved city and fracturing some of his closest relationships in the process.
Opens in limited release.

“Lymelife”
From “Blue Velvet” to “American Beauty,” one thing that’s become abundantly clear is that beyond the white picket fence of suburban bliss lurks unimagined horror and volatile repression. The talk of Toronto last year, where it scooped the coveted International Critics Award, “Lymelife” marks the directorial debut for Derick Martini, who, with his brother Steven, fashioned a darkly comic script from their own experiences growing up in 1970s Long Island. In addition to serving as a producer, Alec Baldwin stars alongside Jill Hennessy as the mutually loathing parents of Jim (Kieran Culkin), who prepares to ship out to war, and Scott (Rory Culkin), who idly watches their marriage deteriorate as an outbreak of Lyme disease sparks paranoia throughout the neighborhood.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on April 17th.

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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.