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Indie Spirit

10 Spirit Award-Nominated Movies You Need to Watch

See what movies win big at the 2016 Spirit Awards live this Saturday, Feb. 27th, at 5P ET/2P PT on IFC.

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Photo Credit: RLJ Entertainment

The 2016 Spirit Awards are fast approaching with incredibly talented actors and filmmakers gearing up for the ceremony this Saturday, February 27th, at 5P ET/2P PT on IFC. And although there are quite a few familiar nominees — like Best Feature candidates Spotlight and Carol — there are many that might’ve flown under the radar, even within indie circles.

So, in the interest of maintaining an educated moviegoing populace, here are 10 nominated movies you’ll need to binge before Saturday’s big show. (Click here to find IFC on your TV in your area. You can also stream the ceremony live this Saturday with an authenticated IFC.com account.)

1. Anomalisa

This past year, film auteur and general mindblower Charlie Kaufman did for stop-motion existentialism what Wes Anderson did for stop-motion twee with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Anomalisa injects introspection and mundane social dynamics into lifeless dolls, rendering them even more lifelike and real than most films starring actual people.


2. Tangerine

Sean Baker’s celebrated indie film is part of a new crop of films that has helped usher transgender issues into the mainstream consciousness. Starring two trans actors and revolving around LA’s sex trade industry, Tangerine filters a timeless romantic-comedy storyline through a gritty, modern lens with fantastic results.


3. The Diary of a Teenage Girl

If you’re looking for a 1970s period piece answer to Juno and Ghost World, check out The Diary of a Teenage Girl for a revealing look at the life of a high schooler. Bel Powley plays ’70s teen Minnie with an authenticity you rarely see in a coming-of-age film. It’s a buzzworthy performance from a rising star you’ll want to keep an eye on.


4. The End of the Tour

In the 20 years since its publication, David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest has amassed millions of diehard fans, countless spots on “Best of” lists and almost infinite iterations of the question “How in the hell did he pull this off?” While it’s not explicitly answered in The End of the Tour, the character study attempts to thin the myth and mystique that shrouds the late author by way of a moving and humorous road trip/interview with Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg).


5. James White

Sporting a powerhouse ensemble that includes Christopher Abbott (Girls), Cynthia Nixon, Ron Livingston, and Comedy Bang! Bang!‘s former bandleader Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, James White follows a self-destructive, pleasure-seeking twentysomething (is there any other kind?) who faces a reality check when his mother’s health declines from a terminal illness.


6. Bone Tomahawk

With The Revenant and The Hateful Eight, 2015 brought a double-roundhouse kick of relentless frontier hardship, but both movies somehow failed to incorporate cave-dwelling cannibals into the story. Extending the use of that shaggy ‘stache, Kurt Russell plays Sheriff Franklin Hunt who assembles a ragtag Old West posse to track down a mysterious breed of indigenous barbarians. Bloody, brutal, and loads of fun.


7. Meadowland

Parents of young children may wanna skip this one, but gluttons for complex psychological studies should set aside some time to power through Meadowland — a brilliant, powerful, and unflinching glimpse at a couple who lost a child. Overwhelmed with remorse, the couple descends into dangerous behavior and self-destruction. Steel yourself and strap in.


8. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Eschewing a traditional three-act plot, Swedish writer-director Roy Andersson tackles facets of the human condition through multiple tableaus in the marquee-depleting A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. A unifying thread links the otherwise disparate scenes, creating a cohesive and universally relatable cinematic experience.


9. (T)error

At a time when “If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide” has become the mantra of counterterrorism, a documentary like (T)error is required viewing. An unsettling glimpse at the increasingly draconian tactics taken by our government, the movie centers on a 63-year-old FBI informant and reveals how our civil liberties are under threat by an overzealous and unchecked surveillance state.


10. 99 Homes

In the spirit of Adam McKay’s dispiriting dramedy The Big Short, the 2008 housing crash also sets the backdrop for 99 Homes, which focuses on a family’s struggle to reclaim their home amidst financial troubles. Michael Shannon earned raves for playing a soulless real estate broker and redefining what it means to be a modern-day villain we can all root against.

Click here to watch clips from the nominated movies and get cohosts Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani’s takes on what they’re really about.

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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

car notes note

This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Dark Arts

Foot Fetish Jesus And Other Nightmares

Meet the minds behind Comedy Crib's latest series, Quirks and The Mirror.

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The Mirror and Quirks are really, really strange. Deeply disturbing yet hauntingly beautiful. But you really don’t need to read a synopsis of either of the aforementioned shows to understand the exact variety of nightmare-bonkers comedy these shows deliver — that’s why the good lord made links. Instead, take a peek behind the curtain and meet the creators.

Quirks

Let’s start with Kevin Tosi. Kevin does the whole show by himself. That doesn’t mean he’s a loner — Kevin has a day job with actual humans. But that day job is copywriting. So it’s only natural that his suppressed demons would manifest themselves in biting cartoon form, including “Foot Fetish Jesus”, in ways that somehow speak to all of us. If only all copywriters channeled their inner f*ckedupness into such…expressive art.

The Mirror

Onward to the folks at Wham City Comedy.

These guys aren’t your typical comedy collective in that their work is way more left-field and even elevated than your standard digital short. More funny weird than funny ha-ha. They’ve done collaborations with musicians like Beach House, Dan Deacon & Wye Oak, television networks (obviously), and others. Yeah they get paid, but their motivation feels deeper. Darker. Most of them are video artists, and that explains a lot.

See more of The Mirror and Quirks on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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