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Tribeca 2011: “Stuck Between Stations,” Reviewed

Tribeca 2011: “Stuck Between Stations,” Reviewed (photo)

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As someone that only watches films rather than make them, my favorite thing about the RED camera, the digital camera that has democratized high quality imagery amongst low budget filmmakers, is the clarity not only of the imagery, but the specificity it allows for regional writer/directors to bring out the best in their hometown. In recent years, we’ve seen Portland as it’s never been shot before by Aaron Katz and crew in “Cold Weather,” the Joe Maggio-directed Tribeca selection “The Last Rites of Joe May” captures Chicago in a different light and then there’s “Stuck Between Stations,” the feature debut of Brady Kiernan, a Minneapolis native who, with cinematographer Bo Hakala, creates a portrait of the city that wouldn’t seem out of place if it were framed in the Walker Art Center.

Ultimately, that’s what separates Kiernan’s film from the so many others that have been born in the wake of “Before Sunrise,” the platonic yet romantic drama that launched a thousand walk-and-talk independent films that make up for limited budgets with lots of profound (or so the filmmakers would think) statements about life. If reading that alone makes you instantly recoil, you may want to stop reading now, though it was to my great surprise while watching “Stuck Between Stations” that there is still a place for them when they have strong performers at their center and an interesting place to stroll.

04232011_StuckBetweenStations2.jpgWith the streets, biking trails and bridges of Minneapolis at their disposal, Becky (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Casper (Sam Rosen) spend an evening together after running into each other at a local bar, a first since the two went to high school together, though they actually didn’t have much contact except for occasional random pairing in class. In fact, Becky doesn’t recognize Casper immediately as he’s describing her to a friend on his cell phone as she was once an unattainable dream girl and still is, to some degree, when she stands before him after hearing her name. As it turns out for Becky, Casper is a perfect companion for a night since he’s familiar enough to feel comfortable around, particularly if he still feels slightly inferior, and yet won’t be dismayed by her recent dalliance with a professor (Michael Imperioli) that’s at the forefront of her mind, particularly since she needs to retrieve a computer from the prof’s house, which is being guarded like a hawk by his wife (Nadja Dajani).

The two share war stories both literal and figurative since Casper’s on leave from a tour in Afghanistan since his father died and grant themselves the diversions of basketball with an aluminum can, makeshift parties with circus performers and trips to psychedelic public access shows on the way to discovering that their shared pain over the years and joy over this evening has resulted in bringing them closer together than they ever were in the 3rd grade. The script, written by Rosen and Nat Bennett, is chock with enough wonderfully playful exchanges to keep the film humming even when it veers towards the grim conventions of the genre such as when exactly each of the pair will launch into a monologue about their self-destructive behavior or ultimately when or if they’ll share a kiss, and there’s a palpable chemistry between Lister-Jones and Rosen that makes such a transient bond feel possible and full of possibilities.

Still, it’s the way Kiernan develops the film’s third character of Minneapolis that resounded most, a place not known to be all that romantic but is shot with such specificity, whether it’s during a 3 a.m. midnight supermarket run or a bike ride (with a perfectly pitched cameo from locally-bred Josh Hartnett as a frenemy of Casper’s) on unpaved territory, that a love for the area and its characters floods off the screen. In that sense, “Stuck Between Stations” has a very homemade feel in the best way possible, even if neither Casper or Becky can ever truly go home again.

“Stuck Between Stations” does not yet have U.S. distribution, but will play the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24th, 25th and 28th.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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