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DID YOU READ

“Grabbers” – First impressions from the Sundance sci-fi hit

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By Jordan Hoffman

There are two things that always bring a smile to my eyes: murderous space aliens and drunken Irishmen. “Grabbers,” a delightful little romp playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is surely the first movie ever to have both.

A streak of light shoots through the night sky which spells mysterious doom for a witnessing fishing boat. The next day, slashed whales appear on the beach of Erin Island, a tiny rock off the coast of Ireland. As it happens, it’s the same day the police chief takes a vacation, so filling his shoes is a straitlaced woman named Garda (Officer) Nolan. All she really needs to do is keep an eye on things til the boss is back, something the town’s well-meaning but frequently drunk second cop, O’Shea, probably couldn’t handle on his own.

Elsewhere on the beach are what looks like giant pearls, but anyone who’s ever seen a creature feature knows they are eggs. Soon, little slippery slugs with sharp teeth begin popping up, followed by bigger tentacled cuttlefish monsters until, finally, we meet a big-ass beast with a taste for blood.

But there’s a twist and its one that pushes “Grabbers” into the category of a true original. The only one who survives an initial encounter with one of these creatures is the local drunk Paddy. Turns out that the one thing that these aliens can’t abide is blood with a high alcohol content. Oh, the irony! Of all the places to plop down to from space and they had to pick Ireland!

With a big storm brewing and the town needing to bunker for the night, there’s only one way to survive: drink. For the love of all that’s green, drink.

There’s a lot to love in “Grabbers.” As is usually the case with stories set in Ireland, there are a host of wonderful side characters, as well as great moments of swearing and arguing. Unfortunately it takes a little while for Grabbers to get into a groove, but once it does there’s no turning back. There are some missed opportunities in the film (I thought for sure once the jukebox accidentally came on and Garda Nolan had a nail gun we were ready for a full on Sam Raimi experience) but the action, while good, never achieves the level of mind-blowing.

The love story feels a wee bit forced, but you’ll still be cheering when our drunken male lead and stuck-up female lead learn to accept/shirk a little responsibility and meet in the middle. You’ll also leave the theater wishing you could head to the nearest Irish pub to sing “Whiskey In A Jar” and take a long sip on a pint of Guinness.

Will you be checking out “Grabbers”? Let us know in the comments below.

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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.