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A weekend rec and other randomness.

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"I should have been born in the Rococo era."We don’t know about you, but we’re hoping to go home, crawl into bed and picturesquely expire. Or maybe just take a nap, we’ll decide when we get there. For y’all, however, as we wouldn’t recommend seeing either "An Unfinished Life," despite a fine turn by Bart the Bear II, or "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," "cultural document" or not. Nor is "Green Street Hooligans" looking worth shelling out at the theater (despite La Manohla‘s promising reading of the film as a sort of sublimated male love story…tempting, but we’ll wait for the DVD), and we know we should be all excited about "Keane," but we really just aren’t up for it. If you’re in New York, though, we do suggest taking a look at a film that we didn’t have a chance to review fully on the News site but would like to say nice things about now: "Kamikaze Girls," Tetsuya Nakashima‘s goofy tale of the friendship between a Gothic Lolita type and a tough biker girl in a small rural town in Japan.

The film’s told from the perspective of Momoko, who loves frilly dresses and dreams of a life devoted to leisure in Rococo-era France. She’s cheerfully isolated herself from everyone around her and from life in general until she has friendship forced onto her by Ichiko, a member of a girl’s biker gang. Light but never syrupy, the film’s got a surreal and loopy sense of the visual, particularly in the frantic introductory sequences (they’re almost reminiscent of "Toto le héros" in tone), but also has surprising, and biting, poignance. Momoko’s detachment from the ugly, or at least not pretty, realities of life around her is several times depicted with her literally floating away into the sky, a curiously appropriate image for someone who’s managed to protect herself from a capricious upbringing and monstrously childish parents by studiously avoiding attachment to anyone but herself (and her beloved Baby, The Stars Shine Bright frocks). Anyway, it’s the kind of film we’d be in the mood to watch again this weekend, if we ever manage to peel ourselves off the couch.

We haven’t really even touched on Venice yet and they’re already starting to hand out prizes. Oy. Anyway, see Greencine Daily, they’ve got all you need when it comes to that festival. Here‘s the latest dispatch.

You may have noticed that we went through a brief obsession with "Hustle & Flow" and how much we hated it. Fortunately, the LA Weekly seems to feel the same, and, only a week after Scott Foundas‘ gleeful look at the film’s failure to live up to its own hype and "March of the Penguins"‘ unexpected success, they give us an excellent essay from Erin Aubry Kaplan on, essentially, the future of black film, and also on why "Hustle & Flow" sucks. We don’t want to make light — it’s a must-read. Some choice quotes:

At a time when white fantasies about black urban life have become routine, this movie, couched in full indie street cred courtesy of Sundance (where it won the Audience Award for dramatic feature), takes the genre to a level of exploitation and insult unique to the millennium. This is a nigger-fest minus some of the saturated color and amped soundtrack that a studio-produced movie would have — in short, minus the gloss that at least acknowledges the cartoonishness of the whole enterprise. But no such self-awareness exists in Hustle and its stripped-down "real" world, where all black men are thugs, criminals or rap artists, or — what’s the difference, really? — aspiring to be. Otherwise, they’re not authentic black men, which is one of the movie’s most pernicious racial messages (and, believe me, there are many).

And also:

Then, adding insult to injury, [Craig] Brewer perverts black history by conflating it with the effort to make a hit record out of "Whoop That Trick" — framing the exploitative song’s journey in can-do sentiments like "I have a dream" and "By any means necessary." That "Whoop That Trick" serves as the movie’s sole vehicle of black ambition, the pinnacle of everybody’s dreams — black and white, male and female — is not only hackneyed, it’s toxic. Martin and Malcolm are surely turning in their graves.

Alright, that’s all for us. We’ll catch you Monday — talking points for the weekend: Is "Everything is Illuminated" really going to be a good movie? Or just an annoying one? (We say: somewhere in between.) And, in this glorious summer of the cleansing of Miramax’s bowels, what’s the worst film that’s been/will be tossed from the Weinstein shelves into a few scattered theaters? (We say: it’s coming, and it’s "Daltry Calhoun.")

+ Now playing: Village East Cinema (Moviefone)
+ Venice Dispatch. 11. (Greencine Daily)
+ Pimping the Ride (LA Weekly)


Final Countdown

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


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.


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…