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MUSIC FLICKS: Anvil! The Story of Anvil

MUSIC FLICKS:  Anvil! The Story of Anvil (photo)

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Ever see the movie about the legendary metal band that gives unprecedented access into their personal lives? The one where a whole bunch of good ol’ fashion drama unfolds as they work on their latest album?

Nope. I’m not talking about Metallica’s Some Kind Of Monster.

(left to right: Robb Reiner and Lips from the Canadien metal band, Anvil.)

Ever see the documentary about a group of highly influential musicians, who were discovered years after their heyday–a group of men that could still outplay artists half their age?

Uh-uh, not the Buena Vista Social Club.

How about the 1980s mockumentary that masterfully hits just about every rock and roll idiosyncrasy on the head?

No, not This Is Spinal Tap.

I’m actually talking about, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, think of it as all of the aforementioned movies rolled into one. First time director (but no stranger to film), Sacha Gervasi, documents the rise and fall–or I guess I should say, fade into oblivion–of Canadian metal band Anvil (Gervasi is not only a fan of the band, but used to be one of their roadies in the ’80s).

If you’ve never heard of Anvil, the first ten minutes of the film may lead you to believe that it’s some type of mockumentary–yes in the same vein as the one mentioned above. Metal legends, Lemmy, Slash, and Lars–almost deadpan to a fault–heap praise on the ferociously rockin’ band from the great white north. Slash laments, “Everyone ripped ’em off and left ’em for dead.” Wait a second, is this for real?

Anvil! The Story of Anvil begins with the group playing a stadium show–in the early 1980s–alongside Whitesnake, The Scorpions, and Bon Jovi, pointing out that all of these acts sold millions of albums worldwide–except one. Guess who?

Gervasi’s documentary then gives us an all access look into the lives of the band’s founding members: Lips, the group’s guitarist and frontman, and Robb Reiner (yes, just like the director of the mockumentary we keep talking about), the band’s drummer. In between Anvil gigs Lips delivers cafeteria food and Reiner works in construction; a far cry from the rock and roll dream of hot tubs and super models. It’s okay though, cause we’ve seen that story before, but how many times have we been given the perspective of a band that hasn’t made it?

If you’ve never heard of a band before (especially one that’s been together for over 30 years), there’s usually a good reason for it. Furthermore, if we didn’t care about a band a couple decades ago, why in the hell would we care about them now? In Anvil’s case, it’s simple: You want to cheer for them. In a documentary that could have easily been a snoozer, Lips (who you can’t help but love), makes you believe in his band and makes you want to champion his cause. After getting a glimpse into Anvil’s headbanger’s-approved live show, while Reiner points out that the band is still in prime playing and writing shape, you think that maybe Anvil does have a chance of obtaining rock glory. Once you believe, you’re hooked.

As with any great story, Anvil! makes you want to cheer, as well as slap yourself on the forehead, especially when one of their fans, a European lady named Tiziana, becomes their tour manager. Let’s just say she has good intentions. You also want to jump through the screen and shake the guys when they begin going door-to-door, shopping their latest album to record labels. With dreams of inking a deal that will bring them fame, fortune, and a guitar-shaped swimming pool, someone needs to wake them up from their 80s daydream and tell them that things don’t work like that anymore. Someone tell them that the recording industry is in disarray–for God’s sake, someone point them to the internet!

Fortunately for Anvil, it seems that things are finally working out for them. Though one of their fans turned out to be a horrible tour manager, another one happened to craft a critically applauded documentary, one that’s going to get them more attention than signing to a failing record label. It may also bring a smile to Lips and Reiner’s face to know that if they’re ever able to quit their day jobs, at least they’ll be someone to fill them (and I’m not talking about Whitesnake).

+ IFC’s David Hudson’s, “Anvil! The Story of Anvil”

+ IFC’s Matt Singer’s “Sacha Gervasi Lifts Anvil”


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.