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DID YOU READ

“Obselidia,” a compendium of indie clichés.

“Obselidia,” a compendium of indie clichés. (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

One of this year’s festival bumpers — the 2010 Sundance motto being “This is the renewed rebellion” — pokes fun of a “The Player”-style pitch for an indie feature that’s part “Royal Tenenbaums,” part “Donnie Darko,” half LSD flashback, a family film about people who “don’t even know they’re a family,” with an Alan Alda-type crotchety grandpa with a substance abuse problem. Then this pitch gets ripped up in favor of new, fresh storytelling! Like “Obselidia,” the debut feature of one Diane Bell, a movie so packed with that very type of Sundancey cliché that you could almost imagine the plot and characters being crowd-sourced, Mad Libs style, at a Park City bar:

Eccentric loner: How about George (Aussie actor Michael Piccirilli), an inert Los Angeles librarian with a vague James Franco/Guy Pearce resemblance whose hobby is compiling an encyclopedia of obsolete things? Among these he counts love, which, he claims is “just a protein.” Will he reconsider? Of course, once he meets his…

Manic pixie dream girl: Sophie (Gaynor Howe), who works as a silent film projectionist, latches onto George after he comes to interview her (on an outdated VHS camcorder, natch) for his project, showing up at his doorstep and cajoling him out on a date despite his resistance. Before you know it, they’re off on a…

Road trip: To Death Valley, where they camp and visit a climate change expert who lives alone in a trailer tending bees. Will one of the characters hang out the car’s sunroof, arms outspread, as they drive? Maybe so. All the better to shake off that…

01212010_obselidia2.jpgUnearned melancholy: And how! It’s unclear as to what, exactly, has made George so mopey, but Sophie suffers from what she calls “nowstalgia,” a tendency to experience nostalgia for things even as they happen. Later, stricken by the scientist’s insistence that humanity will be wiped out by 2100, she weeps, “The world’s going to end, we’re all going to die, and I haven’t really started living my life yet.”

There’s a heartbreaking gap in “Obselidia” between the film itself and the guilelessly chosen references it throws out like a high schooler who’s studied up on what he thinks are the right bands, books and movies to impress a college girl he just met. George and Sophie visit Zabriskie Point and wander through the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and Sophie admits that her last relationship didn’t work out because her boyfriend didn’t like foreign or black and white films. “I just don’t know if I can be with someone who won’t watch ‘Au Hasard Balthazar,'” she confesses.

If I heard someone say that in real life, I would be overcome by an urge to punch that person in the face. Fortunately for me, no one in “Obselidia” bears a resemblance, even in a stylized sense, to any conceivable flesh and blood human being.

“Obselidia” does not yet have U.S. distribution.

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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.