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Trailering: SXSW Film

Trailering: SXSW Film (photo)

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We’re just two weeks away from the kick-off of South by Southwest 2011 — and while I’m prepping for our big Spirit Awards weekend, I’m also trying to really dig into this year’s SXSW schedule. Thankfully, SXSW’s YouTube channel has almost 100 trailers uploaded. I picked out five of the more intriguing looking (but maybe a little lesser known) films to share here. This is what I picked:

Directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 4:30 PM, Vimeo Theater

The newest documentary from the directors of “Gunner Palace” is the story of what a baseball fan like me would describe as the “minor leagues” of Mixed Martial Arts: the training ground where young fighters are made or destroyed. MMA is a huge part of the modern sports scene but it’s been almost completely unexamined from a documentary perspective, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this.

“Surrogate Valentine”
Directed by Dave Boyle
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 1:30 PM, Alamo Ritz

This film has one of those irresistible hooks: a musician (Goh Nakamura) plays himself in a film he co-wrote. Nakamura plays Goh, a down-on-his-luck San Francisco singer/songwriter who gets the opportunity to teach a TV star (Chadd Stoops) to play guitar for a part in a friend’s movie. The trailer promises pretty black and white photography and prettier acoustic ballads.

“Turkey Bowl”
Directed by Kyle Smith
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 11:15AM

Ah, the siren song of the real-time movie: so powerful when it works, so painful when it doesn’t. Can’t say I’ve seen a lot of real time comedies, which makes “Turkey Bowl” particularly enticing. It’s about an annual football game between old friends, and it lasts as long as the game does, a little over one hour. has an interview with director Kyle Smith, who made the film with many of his own buddies and encouraged his actors to improvise their dialogue, particularly in the realm of game-time trash talk.

“Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja”
Directed by Billy Corben
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 9:30 PM, Vimeo Theater

Billy Corben, director of “Cocaine Cowboys,” tackles the Southern Florida marijuana trade of the 1970s, when out-of-work fisherman turned to pot smuggling to feed their families. The trailer looks like it’s got a ton of interesting characters and twice as many interesting beards.

“A Mouthful”
Directed by Sally Rowe
SXSW Premiere: Sunday March 13, 11:00 AM, Vimeo Theater

I don’t have time to watch a lot of television, but I’m fascinated by cooking shows, which is weird because I don’t cook. This documentary looks like the best cooking show ever mixed with a “mad genius” documentary like “Man on Wire”: Paul Liebrandt was the youngest chef to ever receive a three star review from the New York Times but still managed to find himself unemployed and floundering. And, yes, by God, that was a fish pun.

Also: here’s a little coming attraction from myself. It is cold and rainy here in New York City. Can’t wait for some of that Austin sunshine. And by sunshine, I mean barbecue sauce.


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.