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“Audrey the Trainwreck”: An ode to the everyday grind.

“Audrey the Trainwreck”: An ode to the everyday grind. (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.

Every day of Ron Hogan’s life looks exactly like the one before it. The alarm clock goes off at 6:30. After a stretch at the side of the bed, it’s time to shower and dress. Then a stop off at the convenience store for the same cup of coffee before heading into work as a purchaser of ATM parts, where he has the same conversations with the same colleagues. After work, there’s the same series of hopeless Internet dates at the same coffee shop, or maybe a round of drinks with the same co-workers at the same bar. People ask Ron (Anthony Baker) if he hates his job. We sense he does, but he refuses to admit it. Oh sure, it’s repetitious, it’s tedious, but it’s a job. It could be worse.

“Audrey the Trainwreck,” a sort of mumblecore-meets-“The Office,” effectively captures the “Groundhog’s Day”-like monotony of workplace routine. Maybe it captures it a little too effectively; at times, it’s hard to tell whether the film is satirizing boredom or is just a little bit boring itself. Its subject matter — the soul-crushing sameness of a paper-pusher’s life — and the film’s approach to it poses an interesting question: how do you make a movie about dullness without making a dull movie? Or a movie about listlessness without becoming listless?

03152010_AudreyTrainwreck1.jpg“Audrey” tries to do it by getting as deep inside those moods as it can, talking about them honestly and in unsparing detail, and punctuating the tedium with a dry sense of humor and occasional outbursts of surprising violence. The movie introduces Ron in the midst of game of darts, and as he reaches down to pick something up, his opponent throws one right into the back of the neck. The title appears on screen during his subsequent trip to the hospital along with an onscreen warning that “These things happen in threes,” a clever way to add a nice undercurrent of suspense to the entire film.

Ron’s world brightens — and the film’s does, too — when he begins to connect with one of his blind dates, a delivery woman named Stacy (Alexi Wasser). Though they have different kinds of work — one white-collar, one blue-collar, one surrounded by other people, one alone in a truck full of packages — they share the same weary worldview. Writer/director Frank V. Ross has fun observing the essential truisms of corporate drudgery that exist even in the most disparate professions. Both of Ron and Stacy’s jobs, for instance, make them dress in silly, uncharacteristic ways. Ron has to wear a Bluetooth headset. Stacy never makes a delivery without a brown knit cap, even on warm, sunny days.

03152010_AudreyTrainwreck3.jpgThough Ron and Stacy are a little bit older and more responsible than the protagonists of a lot of other mumblecore movies, “Audrey the Trainwreck” still fits under that umbrella of films about dissatisfied youths looking, without much direction, for purpose and connection in their lives. And as profound as some mumblecore movies are, five years into the genre, a lot of them are beginning to blur together, a quality exacerbated by the fact that so many share the same crews and casts (this one features mumblemainstay Joe Swanberg and the star of his last film, Jess Weixler, in supporting roles). Naturalistic performances by Baker and Wasser and a great melancholy jazz score by John Medeski help set “Audrey the Trainwreck” apart. But there were some moments where I could relate to Ron’s sense of endless repetition more than I would have liked to.

“Audrey the Trainwreck” does not yet have U.S. distribution.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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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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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

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