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“Prince of Broadway,” Reviewed

“Prince of Broadway,” Reviewed (photo)

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“Wholesale, wholesale, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Prada, got everything,” croons Lucky (Prince Adu), his patter and easy charm his livelihood, coaxing customers in from the street to a shop owned by his boss Levon (Karren Karagulian), one whose back room is stacked with counterfeit purses, sneakers and clothing. A Ghanian immigrant in New York without a green card or a visa, Lucky plays at gangster swagger — “I’m hustlin’ like fuck,” he boasts — but he’s a teddy bear at heart, proud of and pleased with the life he’s carving out for himself, with his rented room, his girl, his roll of cash and friends with which to smoke pot and shoot the shit.

And so we’re not that concerned when his ex Linda (Kat Sanchez) tracks him down and leaves his with a toddler she insists is his, telling him that she needs him to take care of his son for a few weeks, and then a few more, while Lucky sputters and struggles and claims all the while that he’s not the boy’s father. Irresponsible-guy-suddenly-put-in-charge-of-a-child has become a basic indie film template, and inevitably the man softens and grows and comes to terms with his responsibilities. While “Prince of Broadway” is dry-eyed and stoutly neorealist, with much of its dialog improvised, it’s also not a dark exploration of neglect. Lucky’s absurdly ill-suited to care for a kid, and he’s never an enthusiastic guardian, but he can’t bring himself to just walk away despite the chaos the boy’s presence wreaks on his life.

Adu, who is, like much of the cast, a nonprofessional actor, has charisma to burn, but his scenes with the kid are some of this otherwise wonderful film’s weakest, his exasperation and self-pity quickly becoming repetitive and tiresome to us and to the other characters. It’s when he’s working the streets of the Garment District that he bests comes to life, and then “Prince of Broadway” hums along, a vivid snapshot of a dynamic, unpretty part of the city. Like director Sean Baker’s 2004 feature “Take Out,” which tracked a Chinese delivery man trying to get out from under a considerable debt, this film takes a tightly focused peek into lives and neighborhoods that are rarely represented on screen, portraying immigrant characters scrabbling for a toehold in America.

09022010_princeofbroadway2.jpgLucky’s story is paired with the personal dramas being faced by his boss Levon, an Armenian whose green card marriage became a real one, but whose young wife has started to pull away. Lucky’s situation is precarious — a setback late in the film calls to mind Ramin Bahrani’s “Man Push Cart,” in which everything a character gains can be lost again in the blink of an eye — but Levon, who seems to have an established life, a (semi-criminal) store, a nice apartment, a spouse, is revealed to also be perched on shaky ground.

Shot on the fly in HD, “Prince of Broadway” could serve as a film school example for how to make video work in one’s favor — it uses the immediacy and roughness of its look to its story’s advantage, the documentary feel adding to the sense of authenticity, and finds glimpses of beauty — and compassion — out on the snowy streets of New York when you’d least expect them.

“Prince of Broadway” is now playing in New York.


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.