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DID YOU READ

Critic wrangle: “Frost/Nixon.”

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12052008_frostnixon.jpgA quick look at what my favorite critics have to say about “Frost/Nixon,” Ron Howard’s extremely shiny adaptation of Peter Morgan’s play about the 1977 televised interviews between British TV personality David Frost and former president Richard Nixon, played, respectively, by Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, both reprising their stage roles.

“‘Frost/Nixon’ offers considerable insight into the Nixon mystery, without solving it; the movie is fully absorbing and even, when Nixon falls into a drunken, resentful rage, exciting, but I can’t escape the feeling that it carries about it an aura of momentousness that isn’t warranted by the events,” muses David Denby at the New Yorker. David Edelstein, at New York, also finds it fine, if a little lacking: “The film, directed rather impersonally by Ron Howard, is brisk, well crafted, and enjoyable enough, but the characters seem thinner (Sheen is all frozen smiles and squirms) and the outcome less consequential.” At the New York Times, Manohla Dargis is similarly mild in her praise: “Stories of lost crowns lend themselves to drama, but not necessarily audience-pleasing entertainments, which may explain why ‘Frost/Nixon’ registers as such a soothing, agreeably amusing experience, more palliative than purgative.”

More enthusiastic: Nathan Rabin at the Onion AV Club, who finds that “[t]he film consequently has the emotional arc of a sports movie, with the overmatched underdog enduring a vicious beating before staging a stunning comeback,” while Dana Stevens at Slate agrees that “Morgan’s compact, satisfying drama presents presidential interviewing as a gladiatorial event,” and, like most, calls out Langella’s performance in particular: “”Langella feels his way into the black hole of Nixon’s inner life so fearlessly that you worry for the actor’s sanity.” Stephanie Zacharek at Salon adds that “Howard has made a picture for grown-ups, a well-constructed entertainment that neither talks down to its audience nor congratulates it just for showing up.”

Less enthusiastic: J. Hoberman at the Village Voice finds “Frost./Nixon” the film lacking when compared to the stage version: “In opening up the play, however, the movie unavoidably dissipates its power. Having Nixon’s actual lair, the so-called Casa Pacifica, as a location is considerably less compelling than the stripped-down onstage set, in which Langella and Sheen competed not just with each other, but with their giant, multiplied video images.” Bill Weber at Slant sums the film up as “a trivial afterword to a historical footnote, a showbiz story inflated into a retroactive therapy session for one of 20th-century America’s biggest knaves.” And Armond White at the New York Press snarls “Instead of complexity, Frost/Nixon manifests Peter Morgan’s confusion over celebrity… Morgan’s specialty is sucking up. His interest in powerful people’s personal lives is no more ‘ambivalent’ than OK magazine or Gawker… It takes a nincompoop like Howard to imagine depth in this silliness.”

[Photo: “Frost/Nixon,” Universal Studios, 2008]

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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 IFC.com

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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

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…