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DID YOU READ

A vigilante movie reforms Michael Caine.

A vigilante movie reforms Michael Caine. (photo)

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The vigilante movie doesn’t have a history of bringing out responsible social discourse. There’s a more lip service paid to law and order now than in the days when audiences cheered on Charles Bronson’s one-man clean-up exercises (you’re supposed to feel a little guilty about it), but there’s still almost none paid to first causes. The first mission of any decent vigilante movie is to decry the complicated legalities of the judicial system, and thereafter to mock any bleeding-heart liberals who want to talk about abusive backgrounds.

It’s surprising, then, to see Michael Caine talking with evident sincerity about how the forthcoming “Harry Brown” changed his mind about national service. Appearing alongside Conservative Party leader David Cameron, Caine described how working on the film led him to talk with “people who would scare the daylights out of you,” and how they all told him “he didn’t get a chance. Well he probably did get a chance and he missed it. So we should give him a second chance.” The new National Service Plan — if the Conservatives get into office — would be voluntary but pushed as something all 16-year-olds should do (i.e., outdoor team-building and caring for old people).

04082010_harrybrown.jpgThe funny thing about this is that “Harry Brown,” by all accounts, is not the world’s most progressive movie. Instead, it offers audiences the chance to watch Caine fire guns at a bunch of people until everyone’s dead and the whole mess is cleaned up. In this respect, it’s doubly odd that the level of breakthrough Caine reached on the movie isn’t reflected in the actual product.

Somehow British film appears to just be catching up with the American ’70s, with the regressive attitudes of “Harry Brown” and 2007’s “Outlaw” reflecting an unrepentant attitude towards cleaning up the streets. (Not to be confused with a movie like 1971’s “Get Carter,” which gives Caine a very specific gang to hunt down — revenge and vigilante-ism are not the same thing.) But it’s leapfrogged ahead of the kind of conversation vigilante movies spark here with Caine’s statement. I mean, just imagine what would’ve happened if Charles Bronson had stood alongside Gerald Ford in 1974 and championed youth service. We’d be living in a parallel universe right now.

[Photos: “Death Wish,” Paramount, 1974; “Harry Brown,” Samuel Goldwyn Films, 2009]

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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…