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DID YOU READ

Having it both ways with “Lovers of Hate.”

Having it both ways with “Lovers of Hate.” (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.

“Why don’t you just help me?” Rudy Lucas (Chris Doubek) pleads of his brother Paul (Alex Karpovsky) at one point in “Lovers of Hate.” It’s a simple question, but it takes nearly Bryan Poyser’s entire movie to answer. Strangely, this is long after our awkward first impression of Rudy, a shaggy, unsuccessful middle-aged writer living out of his Ford Escort in Austin after being kicked out by Diana, his wife of 12 years (Heather Kafka). He’s having trouble finding a place to clean himself, settling on an elderly woman’s home during his dull day job as a survey taker of sorts when he realizes he only has so long to lather at a local car wash. Paul, on the other hand, is in town to promote his latest in a series of popular children’s fantasy novels, “Maximillian and the Incredible Kids: Rift Warriors,” which by no means is suggested to be a classic of the written word, but has certainly been a financial success.

Knowing that his marriage to Diana is the only thing that would impress Paul, Rudy coerces Diana to pretend that they’re still together, and Paul lends credence to this by saying at the end of their evening together, “It somehow recalibrates my sanity every time I see you guys.” And that’s where the insane part of Bryan Poyser’s dark domestic comedy begins, as a suspicious Paul learns that Diana left Rudy two weeks earlier and whisks her off for a weekend in the snowy slopes of Utah, with Rudy sneaking into lare house to keep tabs.

This is an extremely bad idea, but that’s what Poyser specializes in, if this and his Spirit Award-nominated “Dear Pillow” are anything to go by. As well-told as the latter was — a coming-of-age story tied to a young man looking for a career in writing pornography — the irony of “Lovers of Hate” is that it took a story that is largely confined to a house (albeit a very big house) for Poyser to expand the world that his characters inhabit.

03162010_LoversofHate2.jpgFrom the opening frame of “Lovers of Hate,” the film never feels small, yet when the action moves from the haze of Rudy’s scrappy life in Austin to the brighter, snow-covered plains of Park City, Poyser is able to use every ringing cell phone, unflushed toilet and cutting remark for uncomfortable laughs and a deeper understanding of each of the central three characters. Rudy skulks around the house hoping to go unnoticed by Paul and Diana, who can’t keep their hands off each other.

Poyser gets to have it both ways — using Doubek’s sad-sack Rudy as an agent of sabotage for the potential long-term prospects of Paul and Diana’s relationship, as well as an observer that can bring the audience in to feel more intimate with the couple’s ever-changing feelings towards each other than most dramas usually allow for. During the Q & A, someone asked why Poyser just didn’t make a horror film when the premise is so ripe for scares, but the film’s originality stems from how scared the characters are of their own shortcomings.

Eerily enough, one can already watch the film via video on demand, a fact that led Poyser to gently kid the audience before the film that they were all “suckers” for coming to see it at the Paramount. Yet the big screen rarely sees films these days that are as ultimately rewarding as “Lovers of Hate,” the type of smart, incisive indie that was common in the early ’90s, but has trouble finding a proper niche today, an appropriate metaphor for a film about three people who are struggling to fit the roles that have been set out for them.

“Lovers of Hate” is now available on demand through June.

[Photos: “Lovers of Hate,” IFC Films, 2010]

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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.