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Sundance Spin for 1/29: “Delicious” Isn’t Tasty, “Blue” Is Bought

Sundance Spin for 1/29: “Delicious” Isn’t Tasty, “Blue” Is Bought (photo)

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We’re calling it a day in Sundance, but keep looking at our Sundance home page and Cheat Sheet for continuing coverage from this year’s fest. Since returning from Park City, we’ve already posted new photo galleries from the “Get Low” and “Winter’s Bone” premieres, and more is on the way. In the meantime, check out Matt Singer’s review of “Sympathy for Delicious” and our roundup of Sundance and Slamdance award winners, news of who will be distributing the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams romantic drama “Blue Valentine” and other Sundance flicks, and where you can see some clips of those films right now.

Matt Singer wasn’t very sympathetic to Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut, “Sympathy for Delicious.” Here’s an excerpt from his review, which can be found in full here:

The Lord may work in mysterious ways; “Sympathy For Delicious” does not. The only thing that’s mysterious about this unsubtle film about the nature of healing and faith is the thought process behind the raft of bad decisions made by director/star Mark Ruffalo, a great actor making a disappointing directorial debut working from a script by his friend and co-star Christopher Thornton. Despite an intriguing premise taken to some unexpected places and some strong supporting performances, “Sympathy For Delicious” is a gangly mess of a movie.

Thornton plays Dean, a.k.a. Delicious D, a paraplegic DJ living on Skid Row. The night after an unsuccessful visit to a faith healer, Dean wakes up with a strange sensation in his hands and soon realizes he’s acquired the ability to heal almost anyone with a single touch. Dean doesn’t know what to make of his newfound powers – and is furious that he can’t use them to repair his own injured spine – but Father Joe (Ruffalo), who runs a local soup kitchen, believes Dean’s healing touch is a gift from God. As Father Joe tries to convince Dean to use his power to help the people of Skid Row, Dean tries to convince the members of an up-and-coming rock band to hire him to be their DJ.

From there, the worlds of rock ‘n’ roll and religion begin to mix in some interesting ways, particularly in one very effective scene that shows Dean healing people as part of a full-on rock concert. But just when “Delicious” starts to approach something really interesting, it backs off. Instead of truly exploring the implications of a rock band with a faith healing stage show, it becomes a ludicrous and extremely abbreviated episode of “Behind The Music,” careening through Delicious D’s rise, fall, and redemption arc in a matter of minutes. Just about every rock star cliché gets thrown in: from the jealous frontman (Orlando Bloom) to the crass, manipulative band manager (Laura Linney). Some of these scenes border on the unintentionally comic; after their first big gig as a band, Linney, the unambiguous devil figure in this religious parable, stokes the group’s egos with lines like “You were like an angel! You had wings on your back. I could see your wings.” (Angel! Faith healing! Religion! Get it?) She suggests they take the show on the road and call it “Healapalooza.” Shockingly, she’s serious. Even more shockingly, the band loves the idea. Even more even more shockingly, Ruffalo and Thornton don’t seem to realize just how silly the whole thing is.

01292010_BlueValentine.jpgNew clips from… MakingOf.com has unveiled plenty of exclusive clips from hot Sundance titles including “Blue Valentine,” “The Tillman Story,” Adrian Grenier’s “Teenage Paparazzo,” Josh Radnor’s romantic comedy “HappyThankYouMorePlease” and “Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil.”

Acquisitions: The Weinstein Company picked up the rights to the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams relationship drama “Blue Valentine” in a deal reported to be in the low seven figures and the Amir Bar-Lev doc “The Tillman Story” about the late NFL star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman. Wolfe Releasing picked up the World Cinema Dramatic Competition title, “Contracorriente” the Peruvian drama about a man struggling between revealing the truth about his gay love affair or saving his marriage and upholding local tradition. Despite exceptionally poor reviews, the Joel Schumacher-directed Chace Crawford drama “Twelve” was picked up by the upstart Hanover House for a reported $2 million. Newmarket, who is currently distributing the Paul Bettany drama “Creation,” picked up the rights to the Joseph Gordon-Levitt starrer “Hesher”. In documentary news, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network picked up the rights to Chico Colvard’s “Family Affair” to premiere as part of the new “Documentary Film Club.”

Award Winners: A new episode of Funny or Die’s “Drunk History”, “Douglass Vs. Lincoln” featuring Don Cheadle and Will Ferrell, took home the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking. Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland’s “The Six Dollar Fifty Man” (a clip can be seen here), about a young boy who battles bullies, won the Jury Prize for International Short Filmmaking. A list of the honorable mentions can be found here. Meanwhile, over at Slamdance, Charles-Olivier Michaud’s “Snow and Ashes” won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film while Mark Claywell’s “American Jihadist” earned the Jury Prize for Best Documentary. A full list of winners can be found here.

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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.