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To live and say goodbye in L.A.

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"It's okay with me."
"No less than Streisand, whom he met when both were in the cast of the 1962 musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale (he starred in the show, she stole it), [Elliott] Gould was part of the ethno-vanguard—Hollywood’s Jew Wave," writes J. Hoberman in the Village Voice. The occasion for the profile is Film Forum‘s week long booking of Robert Altman‘s great "The Long Goodbye," the best damn Raymond Chandler novel, and the best adaptation to be brought to screen (sorry, Mr. Hawks), even if it a deconstruction. Hoberman goes on:

Los Angeles 1973 is riven by real racial and class distinctions, yet fantasy is ubiquitous. As self-conscious as its star, The Long Goodbye is bracketed by the song "Hooray for Hollywood"—the bloozy theme jumps from car radio to supermarket Muzak to cocktail lounge piano to Mexican funeral band—and the characters habitually refer to each other as cartoon creatures. If, as ex-wife Streisand once suggested, Gould was the American Belmondo, The Long Goodbye is the closest Hollywood ever came to making its Breathless. Seldom has artifice seemed more spontaneous. The camera is in constant motion. Everyone acts as though they’re acting in a movie—none more than Gould, whose improvised arrest scene culminates with his taunting the cops by smearing his face with fingerprint ink to sing Jolson‘s "Swanee."

Terrence Rafferty in the New York Times observes nicely that the film is "about transience, about the awful fragility of the things we want to think are built to last: friendships, marriages, faiths of all kinds — including the faith that pop culture can sometimes makes us feel in powerful fantasy figures like Marlowe and his jaunty, street-smart, superbly incorruptible ilk." He adds that "The movie manages to stylize an absence of style, the bland fluidity of early-’70s Southern California, the very thing that makes Marlowe obsolete." You’d think that "The Long Goodbye"’s bleached-out landscape of SoCal beach houses and its bumbling, ridiculous incarnation of Chandler’s cynical yet resolutely moral shamus would put a stake to the heart of any type of romantically corrupt portrait of the area, but there’s no slaying film noir. If you squint at its "Third Man"-style ending, you’ll see a new world of films that are romantically corrupt about being romantically corrupt arriving.

On that vague topic, over at the LA Times, Susan King, dwelling on American Cinematheque’s festival of Santa Monica-based noir films, delves into why Southern California, even in the 70s and beyond, is such an ideal setting for film noir:

Film noir historian Eddie Muller, who co-programmed the festival, says that one of the differences between New York and L.A. noir is that in the former, "the characters want to escape the big city, the teeming metropolis. In L.A., you get to the Promised Land and you realize there’s no escape. I find the most effective L.A. noirs are always set in places where there is an horizon, which you don’t see in New York noir."

As Paul Malcolm at the LA Weekly adds, "Call it hometown pride, but is there any doubt that Los Angeles reigns supreme as the most corrupt, most soul-crushing, most dream-devouring blight on the noir landscape?"

+ The Goulden Age (Village Voice)
+ A Gumshoe Adrift, Lost in the ’70s (NY Times)
+ Film noir in a city of dreams (LA Times)
+ Noir City: Los Angeles Vs. New York: The Eighth Annual Festival of Film Noir
(LA Weekly)


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…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.