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Spring Preview: Rian Johnson on The Festival of Fakery

Spring Preview: Rian Johnson on The Festival of Fakery (photo)

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When Rian Johnson attended USC in the ’90s, he had a certain criteria that needed to be met when choosing an apartment. “It was walking distance from the New Beverly,” says Johnson, who’s been living in the same place near the venerable Los Angeles revival house ever since. Thanks to a collision of fate, whimsy and just a little bit of conniving reminiscent of his latest film, the thoroughly delightful conman caper “The Brothers Bloom,” Johnson will take over programming duties at the theater starting tonight in what’s being billed as “Rian Johnson’s Festival of Fakery, a week of films regarding frauds, fakers, charlatans, hoaxters, huxters and other unsavory sorts.” Johnson follows other recent guest programmers at the theater that include Edgar Wright, Diablo Cody and Peter Bogdanovich, and will be onhand every night of the festival to give introductions to the films. Fortunately, if you’re not in L.A. this week, I got the writer/director to talk a little bit about his picks, (almost) all of which you can watch at home:

02182009_DirtyRottenScoundr.jpgFebruary 18 & 19:
Rian Johnson’s “The Brothers Bloom” (2009) and Frank Oz’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988)

We’re starting off with “Brothers Bloom” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which is terrifying for me — the prospect of putting “The Brothers Bloom” in the company of any of these movies is, but “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” in particular, because not only is it one of my favorite con movies, it’s one of my favorite comedies. People sometimes forget how good a con man movie it is, how well it works on that level, because it’s so well known as a comedy. But in terms of a classic form of how a con man movie can hit an audience just right at the end, it does its job really well.

When we put the festival together, I didn’t plan on doing a screening of “Bloom.” It came that way because we couldn’t get a couple other choices and eventually I just realized well, why not? Originally, I wanted to do “Paper Moon” along with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” but Peter Bogdanovich had just shown it with his festival [two weeks before]. I thought we could do “The Last of Sheila,” but we couldn’t find a print, and then I really wanted to do the original “Sleuth,” which is one of my favorites, and there was a problem of tracking that down.

02182009_HouseofGames.jpgFebruary 20 & 21:
David Mamet’s “House of Games” (1987) and “The Spanish Prisoner” (1997)

I’m excited because I haven’t seen “Spanish Prisoner” in a long while and I think in terms of the con, “House of Games” is definitely Mamet’s masterpiece. I actually first saw it in college and just recently got the Criterion disc that they released of it — I just love Joe Mantegna in the movie. I love the way that it’s such a heady dissection of the con game and of deception. It’s one of my favorite films. So it’s a David Mamet twofer that night.

02182009_TheSting.jpgFebruary 22 & 23:
George Roy Hill’s “The Sting” (1973) and John Huston’s “The Man Who Would Be King” (1975)

“The Sting” was my first exposure to the conman genre. It probably was for a lot of people. Redford and Newman, the reason it’s still dearly loved today is the chemistry between those two guys, but I also think it’s really well-crafted…it’s a pioneering con man movie. It was one of the first to do that particular “big twist at the end con” and pull it over on the audience. I’m curious when people see the film for the first time, having the cultural knowledge of the past 20 or 30 years now, [what] they [are going to think]. And “The Man Who Would Be King” is one of my top films of all time. I just…I deeply, emotionally love that film. [laughs] It’s not exactly a con man movie, but there’s a loose connection within it, and any excuse I could get to see it on the big screen I’ll take. And then the next night we get into the heavier regions of fakes and fakery…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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