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Sweden, the award-winningest country.

Sweden, the award-winningest country. (photo)

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If you’re tired of reading about all the awards being bestowed on “Up In The Air,” “The Hurt Locker” and all, well, there are alternatives.

For example: we could celebrate the sheer multiplicity of awards for their own sake, like the Swedish Film Institute, who today invited “local producers and filmmakers” to show up and celebrate a new domestic record: 145 international awards for 56 shorts, documentaries and features. “Up by 62 wins from 2008,” indeed.

I admire the bowling-score approach taken here: at least it’s honest about what’s at stake. But I’ve never actually heard of the two score-leaders: “Patrick 1,5” (12 awards) and “The Girl” (ten awards, linked-to trailer NSFW), which were apparently bigger awards-getters than “Let The Right One In.”

“Patrick 1,5” is a wacky gay comedy of the “Heather has two daddies” variety. In Dennis Harvey’s quietly unenthused Variety review, we learn that it “delivers a formulaic-sounding conceit with enough unpredictability and downplayed sentiment to earn the heartwarming emotions that might too easily have arrived on cue.” The premise: Goran and Sven accidentally adopt a surly homophobic teenager instead of the cute infant they were expecting. (15 instead of 1.5 years, lulz.) The awards and festival appearances came strictly, it would appear, from the easier-pleased gay and lesbian film circuit. Color me politely disinterested (American release is set for next year, for those who are).

12212009_thegirl.jpg“The Girl” seems more promising, for its lyrical trailer, strong reviews and the endorsement of David Byrne, whose taste in film is generally as immaculate as in music. As part of the jury at the Estoril Film Festival, he helped split the second prize between “The Girl” and “Eastern Plays.” As Byrne says, “This is a beautifully made and shot film about a young girl in a rural house who is left in the care of a young aunt while her parents go on a good works trip to Africa. Soon enough, the young aunt abandons the girl as well — and she has to fend for herself, which isn’t completely bad, as most of the adults seem like jerks.” So like “Tideland,” but nicer?

Cineuropa’s write-up notes that “Many festival programmers who have been viewing Nordic films over the last couple of years agree that within Scandinavia, it is no longer Denmark but Sweden that produces the most innovative films.” Who knew there was a cinematic rivalry between the two nations? I’m reminded of the insanely xenophobic Swedish Dr. Helmer (Ernst-Hugo Järegård) in “The Kingdom,” who constantly delivers monologues on the subjects of how much he despises the Danes. “Here, Denmark. Shat out of chalk and water. There, Sweden. Hewn out of granite. Danish scum. Danish scum!”

[Photos: “Patrik 1,5,” Here Films, 2008; “The Girl,” Acne Film, 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.