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DID YOU READ

Watch the Real Documentary About The Characters From “The Fighter”

Watch the Real Documentary About The Characters From “The Fighter” (photo)

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WARNING: This post contains some mild spoilers for “The Fighter.”

Throughout “The Fighter,” an HBO documentary camera crew follows Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale) around his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. He believes — or he claims to believe — the documentary is about his impending boxing comeback. But we follow Dicky around Lowell, too, and we see how lost he is to crack addiction. There’s no way he’s making a comeback. So why is the crew there?

In reality, the cameras were making a documentary about crack addiction in America, and it’s not until the film, “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell,” premieres on television, that the family realizes the reality not only of Dicky’s comeback movie but of Dicky’s comeback as well. It becomes a major motivational turning point in the film for Dicky and his younger brother Micky (Mark Wahlberg) who’s lived his whole life in his more famous, more gregarious brother’s shadow and who has sublimated his own wishes to those of his brother and his domineering mother (Melissa Leo).

If you’re curious about the real Micky and Dicky, SnagFilms has “High on Crack Street” available to watch for free in its entirety on their website. I would recommend it with a warning: it is a heartbreaking and harrowing film. Dicky’s story is a little less than half of the movie; the other half follows some of the other crackheads we see him palling around with in “The Fighter” including a sad woman named Brenda who can’t decide whether or not to get an abortion and keep smoking crack indefinitely or have her baby and go into rehab. “The Fighter” unquestionably paints a funnier picture of this place and these people — you won’t find “crazy” Dicky jumping out of any windows to get away from his mom in “High on Crack Street.”

There’s at least one sequence in the doc, though, that’s so interesting I’m surprised it didn’t make it into the fiction film. After Dicky goes to jail, his mother Alice attempts to raise bail money by charging admission to a private viewing Dicky’s old fight with Sugar Ray Leonard. The surreal scene gets even more surreal when a fight breaks out amongst the attendees at the rebroadcast. How’d that get left out? My guess would be that it had to be dropped because of the condensed chronology of “The Fighter,” where Dicky only goes to jail once instead of the two times shown in “High on Crack Street.”

We don’t see much of the real Micky in the doc, though we get to know Alice a little; she seems just as deluded about Dicky’s addiction as she is in the “The Fighter.” The Dicky of “High on Crack Street,” though, isn’t quite the same man we see played by Bale in “The Fighter.” He’s not the charismatic crackhead or the life of the party. He’s surprisingly quiet, and he doesn’t tell jokes or make boasts about his boxing skills. He’s doesn’t look or act like a local hero who can’t let go of his past glories. He looks like a broken man who’s long resigned himself to a lifetime of crack addiction. More than once the camera catches him staring silently into the distance, looking lost, searching for answers to questions he’s forgotten in a drug stupor.

“High on Crack Street,” directed by Jon Alpert, Maryann De Leo, and Richard Farrell, is available on SnagFilms.com. It’s a really interesting companion to “The Fighter.” It’d make a great DVD extra, too.

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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.