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Bone Tomahawk

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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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.