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3D is not going to replace A-list actors.

3D is not going to replace A-list actors. (photo)

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When it comes to discussing 3D, there are three main talking points. There’s the ranting about the differences between cheap 3D/post-2D conversions (there’s more dissection of that aspect of “Clash of the Titans” than actual reviews of the film). Then there’s the discussions about how many 3D movies there are, how much money they’re making and if they’re here to stay. And, finally, there’s the worrying over whether or not cheap spectacle will kill off story and actors.

The latest manifestation is the subject of a Patrick Goldstein think-piece in the LA Times. Goldstein wonders if 3D will make movie stars “obsolete,” giving as evidence an anonymous studio executive who claims that a business split between under-$30 million specialty films and big tentpoles “essentially puts a tax on 2D dramas, romantic comedies and other projects, since they just won’t project the same kind of box-office potential.”

This is probably true, and it’s another example of short-sighted thinking in a business already full of it. If, say, Sam Worthington is the new face of anonymous blockbuster stardom, that’s perfectly fine. All the new 3D movies are inherently high-concept (gods and monsters! piranhas!), so they don’t need major, expensive stars to succeed. But after one too many lousy spectacles, this will backfire, and then what?

The blockbusters of the last decade have studiously worked on eliminating the need for name actors, initially to balance out expensive effects (as with “Lord of the Rings”), then as standard operating procedure. The argument is that these tentpole films generally hit their financial goals, while recent flops like “State of Play,” “Imagine That,” “The Taking of Pelham 123” and so on prove that stardom’s pull at the box office is dead — even though, say, Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington made $266 million with “American Gangster” a mere three years ago.

04062010_piranha.jpgMost big stars have had off-and-on careers — think of Sylvester Stallone’s multiple resurrections, Schwarzenegger’s bounce back from “The Last Action Hero” to “Eraser,” etc. But whatever! Stardom is dead! Oh, and Mike Myers is still getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to voice “Shrek,” which is an animated movie that no little kid would possibly see only because of his involvement. And the newly rediscovered women’s picture succeeds because of leads like Meryl Streep. But stardom is dead!

The problem with this kind of myopic thinking is that after the 3D thing shakes itself down — with all those projectors installed, it won’t die — you’ll still need something besides the promise of flying objects to sell a movie. Then you can make a movie like “Shutter Island,” which succeeded solely because of the star-power of Scorsese and DiCaprio. Diversification is key, as in any business. It’s remarkable how often Hollywood seems to forget that, and keeping different kinds of stars in the stable — your comedians, charismatic action stars, dramatic barn-stormers and so on — is key. This thinking, too, shall pass.

The real question: when’s that 3D porn boom coming?

[Photos: “State of Play,” Universal, 2009; “Piranha 3-D,” Dimension Films, 2010]

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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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