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Jake Gyllenhaal, the “smart-throb.”

Jake Gyllenhaal, the “smart-throb.”  (photo)

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In an intriguing and moody profile of Jake Gyllenhaal, The Independent‘s Lesley O’Toole introduces us to an unlikely new coinage along the lines of “bromance”: “smart-throb.” This neologism is new to me, but apparently it comes up every now and then: it apparently also applies to David Krumholtz on “Numb3rs” and, long ago, Jonathan Taylor Thomas. August company, to be sure, though O’Toole proposes that the ranks also include the older likes of George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon. (Best not to think about what actors didn’t make the cut.)

What she means, of course, is that Gyllenhaal, who wasn’t initially known for his biceps, has gotten very jacked. O’Toole makes the semi-convincing parallel to Downey Jr. in that he was once sensitive and dark and is now noticeably bigger than when he first got started. But even as Donnie Darko, Gyllenhaal seemed a lot better sculpted than your average teen weirdo; his contemporary Tobey Maguire was no stranger to the weight room, but there’s always been a tentative, unnerving quality around him that might disqualify him.

05142010_downey.jpgThis is by no means a real trend, though it was nice of O’Toole to give us the vocabulary in case it becomes one. It does, at least, suggest that fat husbands with hot wives may be all well and good for network TV, but at the cinematheque, the idea of a wiry action hero is still a definite implausibility; if you’re going to head up a franchise, you’ll still need the six-pack.

Whether or not this actually succeeds in changing Gyllenhaal’s image remains to be seen; public reaction to him as a long-haired, sword-wielding “Prince of Persia” has been muted and mostly confused. But it also suggests we’ve entered the era of the smart big hero who requires both brains and brawn, a departure from the days when most of the action heroes past had whole movies designed to cover up their thespian inadequacies. And there’s a domino effect where otherwise potentially mediocre movies are elevated by casts that are vastly overqualified.

Of course, be careful how far you want to take this logic. Nicolas Cage started embracing it with feverish intensity around 1996, and now he’s only sporadically useful.

[Photos: “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” Disney, 2010; “Iron Man 2,” Paramount, 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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