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Tim Robbins, evil right-wing millionaire.

Tim Robbins, evil right-wing millionaire.  (photo)

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Out of the small group of actors whose politics are nails-on-chalkboard jabbery to me, Tim Robbins is right up there with Sean Penn for sheer self-regard. But there’s a key difference between the two (besides, grudgingly conceded, that Penn’s a better actor). The parts Penn takes almost never tell you anything about himself, while Robbins seems to get a special kick out of portraying The Enemy on screen.

Consider Robbins’ latest announced role, as “Senator Hammond,” father of arch-villain Dr. Hector Hammond, in “The Green Lantern” — a character that, as far as I can tell, was created for the film. This review of a first draft of the long-gestating project describes him as “a John Glenn-like former astronaut” disappointed in his ne’er-do-well son, but my immediate assumption was that Senator Hammond was going to turn out to be complicit in his son’s crimes (collusion between congress and private insurance?). That, at least, would be in line with Robbin’s track record — playing a distant relative of Bob Roberts.

Bob Roberts is the anti-hero of Robbins’ 1992 directorial debut, a soulless conservative running for senator who mouths whatever platitudes he has to to get elected. Robbins goes too far in order to make his point — the whole thing devolves into some kind of implied assassination that suggests he watched “JFK” a few too many times — but the movie amusingly captures the overwrought tenor of the times in the same way as the equally roughshod “Wall Street” and “Bulworth.”

02092010_antitrust.jpgBut Robbins has also been a go-to evil conservative for others, in a variety of ways. It’s like he wants to embody everything he hates. In “Antitrust,” he does a Bill Gates impersonation; in “Catch A Fire,” he kicked it up a notch as an “anti-terrorist official” (read: zealous apartheid enforcer). In between, Robbins had a high old time nearly destroying “War of the Worlds” with his turn as a lunatic preservationist, hiding in the basement with the guns and granola.

Robbins has also spoofed himself at least once — briefly, in “High Fidelity,” as the face of pony-tailed, self-regarding, smug liberal self-satisfaction, although that mostly seems like a jape at Hollywood agents inexplicably transplanted to Chicago. But mostly Robbins seems to be conducting an on-and-off campaign at depicting everything he hates himself. Is he good at it? I wouldn’t say so — he lets the side down too often, making himself cartoonishly villainous (I’m not sure how that makes him any different from Danny Huston though). But that’s how he sees the world.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen the “Bob Roberts” “Wall Street Rap,” you really should. Bob Dylan, meet the ’90s:

[Photos: “Bob Roberts,” Artisan Entertainment, 1992; “Antitrust,” MGM, 2001]


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…