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Matthew Broderick’s Wonderful World

Matthew Broderick’s Wonderful World (photo)

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Still boyishly handsome at 47, actor Matthew Broderick (“The Producers,” “Election,” and, lest anyone forget, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) continues to split his workload between stage and screen. In the last few years, however, his film career has been more low-key, from voiceover work (“Bee Movie,” “The Tale of Despereaux”) to indies like “Then She Found Me,” “Diminished Capacity” and “Finding Amanda.” Could it be that “Inspector Gadget” himself no longer finds Hollywood roles as satisfying to the soul?

His next stop in Indiewood is writer-director Josh Goldin’s bittersweet debut “Wonderful World,” which premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Broderick stars as bitter misanthrope Ben Singer, a failed children’s folk singer and divorced dad who only seems to find solace in smoking too much pot and playing chess with his Senegalese roomie Ibou (Michael Kenneth Williams). After Ibou is hospitalized, Ben begins a heartfelt but frivolous lawsuit against the city for “depraved indifference,” and begins his ascent from rock bottom with the help of Ibou’s sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan). Broderick called me to chat about pessimism, marijuana, still being Ferris Bueller and his 2010 resolutions.

Ben’s glass isn’t just half-empty; the water itself is probably poisoned in his mind. What are you pessimistic about in these turbulent times?

Well, that’s a big question. I can be pessimistic about show business. As soon as I don’t have a job, I think I won’t work again. I’m definitely one of those. I don’t know if I’m all that pessimistic, but I am about show business. I think things aren’t going to work out right: “Oh, this play won’t work. This movie won’t be good.” I tend to do that too much, but I fight it. I don’t like to bring others into my world of negativity.

01072010_wworld1.jpgJosh Goldin claims that the character was inspired by his own cynical demeanor. What’s the reality of that confession, and what led you to trust and work with this first-time director?

We’ve been friends for, like, 20 years. I don’t see him as particularly cynical, but he says he’s from a long line of that. His grandmother was 90, and basically said before she died, “This has really been a terrible century.” He’s very funny and charming, fun to hang out with, so I’m always a little surprised when he says how cynical he is. He’s opinionated, and doesn’t like a lot of things. But his demeanor is cheerful, until something bad happens, and then he thinks that was of course going to happen.

The funniest people I’ve ever met in my life have mostly been cynical.

You’re supposed to see through the fake stuff to be funny, I guess. I don’t know, “cynical” makes me think like he’s pretending things are worse than they are.

Have you ever had career aspirations that flat-out failed, either because of bad timing, or it simply wasn’t your forte?

Sure. I’ve had parts that I read for and wanted and didn’t get. I’ve certainly had disappointments, so I can relate to that. It’s never gotten to the point where I just dropped out the way Ben does. Something good has always come about, but I can see that feeling. It’s not just his professional life. His divorce and the trouble with his daughter — there are a lot of grim things in his world, including his personal outlook. You don’t know how much he’s bringing on himself, or if it’s just circumstances.

01072010_WonderfulWorld4.jpgBen imposes that gloomy outlook on his daughter, which makes me curious if there are any beliefs or truths you have reservations about telling your kids while they’re still young?

My son is right at an age when you start to realize, “Wow, he’s learning how to deal with things by the way I’m doing it.” I am the example for him, and it’s hard. I’ll lose my temper with the dog, and he says, “Why were you so angry at the dog?” I wasn’t so angry. You just start having to be very careful. They really suck it in from what you do. The arguments you might have in the family, they’re going to remember all that forever. I wish I had a solution as to what to avoid with children, and what not to. I can relate to Ben. It’s hard to know what kind of worldview to give a kid.

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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.