DID YOU READ

Watch a professional tipper in action on Portlandia

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You know how it is. You go out to dinner with your friends and everyone is laughing and having a good time while enjoying some organic artisanal local reinterpretation of ancient paleolithic Indonesian fare and drinking a handcrafted drink made by a caring and daring mixologist and then the check comes. Do you split the check evenly? Of course not. Your vegan friend pipes up first: They won’t pay to support the petro-chemical-meat-industrial complex. Your teetotaler friend won’t enable you by paying for the evils of alcohol. Your other friend won’t even look at carbs and won’t support those who do. Your other friend is allergic to everything and won’t pay to have more peanuts or shrimp or wheat in the world. So how do you split the check and prevent a dinner disaster? We’ve all been there, but only Portlandia has a solution: Meet the professional tipper who showed up during Nina’s birthday party and saved the day.

Watch the clip and tune in Friday at 10/9c for another episode as Portlandia’s third season continues only on IFC:

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Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@ifcPortlandia and use the hashtag #portlandia.

Portlandia airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

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Die Hard 2

Are You a Hero?

10 Signs You’re an Action Movie Hero

Spend July 4th weekend with Die Hard, The Punisher and more action flicks on IFC.

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Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

Being an action hero isn’t the easiest job in the world. You need to be comfortable putting your family in danger, killing indiscriminately and always keeping your hair picture perfect. It’s not for everyone.

With Die Hard, The Punisher and more high octane flicks airing as part of IFC’s July 4th action movie weekend, we got to thinking…who would really want the gig? Well, many of you out there might already be action heroes, and not even realize it. If you find yourself answering “yes” to any of the questions below, we’ve got some bad news for you: You’re an action movie star. So get the killer quips ready, because yippee ki yay, there’s no turning back from here.

10. Do you still have sparks with your ex-wife?

Die Hard
20th Century Fox

(Taken, Die Hard, 2012, True Lies)

Look, in real life there’s a reason your ex-wife is your ex. For some reason, though, if you’re an action star, not only do you want your ex back, but you want to make sweet, sensual love to her in the middle of a shootout. Nobody has sparks like bitter exes in an action movie. Sure, being in the middle of a death defying incident — like, say, your office Christmas party being overrun by terrorists — helps get the juices flowing. But if you find yourself seriously sweating your ex while swinging off of a skyscraper that’s about to blow up, there’s a decent chance you are an action movie hero.


9. Did you best friend/mentor die in your arms?

Star Wars
Lucasfilm Ltd.

(The Phantom Menace, Blade II, both Star Trek IIs

It’s hard enough when someone close to you passes away. But when they die in your arms, imparting one last bit of wisdom before they shuffle off this planet or one far, far away, it can be especially traumatizing. That said, if the tragic death of your mentor/best friend/partner just days away from retirement motivates you to seek revenge against the psycho who killed them, there’s a good chance that you’re either really unlucky, or a gun-toting action hero.


8. Have you ever gone native?

Avatar
20th Century Fox

(Avatar, District 9, John Carter of Mars, Dances With Wolves)

Most of us spend our days trying to decide between burritos or subs for lunch, but some people strike out into the world (or the universe) seeking adventure. If you’ve spent your life trying to tackle the next frontier, only to realize that the people who live there have a purer way of life, you might be that kid who spends a semester abroad and thinks they’re now experts on all things foreign, or you might be an action movie star about to turn against his own people. Just a heads up.


7. Are you a reckless scientist who has taken things too far?

Avengers Age of Ultron
Marvel Studios

(Prometheus, The Fly, Avengers: Age of Ultron)

In real life, scientists spend their days in underfunded labs, repeating monotonous tests over and over again in the hopes of pushing a theory into scientific fact with a slow and steady accumulation of data. But if you’re the type of scientist who creates sentient robots or teleportation devices in your eternal quest to feel like a god only to have said creation wreak havoc, well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re smack dab in the middle of a sci-fi action movie. Fingers crossed you’re the good guy this time.


6. Did you meet your significant other by saving their life?

Michael Biehn
Orion Pictures

(Terminator, the Bourne franchise, every Katherine Heigl “meet cute” action rom com)

We all know how annoying Tinder can be. But isn’t it better than meeting your soulmate as he or she’s being chased down by a killer robot? How healthy a relationship can you really have when all you do is run, screw or talk about time paradoxes? So, while dating online might suck, just keep in mind that if you met your boyfriend or the future mother of your child by saving their life, you’re probably an action star and in a toxic relationship.


5. Has your closest confidant turned against you?

Jon Voight
Paramount Pictures

(Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Unbreakable, Mission: Impossible)

It’s hard enough to find someone who gets you and sticks by you no matter what. Maybe they’re a boss who’s always seen a little of themselves in you. Or maybe they’re the one person who has the exact answers you’re looking for about why you suddenly have super powers. Whatever the case may be, they’re often the only person you can trust, which makes it hurt all the more when they turn against you. More often than not, these supposed friends end up being the one behind all your problems. They’re out to get you, ruin your life, kill you. If you can’t get close to someone without them turning into a super villain, well, at least take solace in the fact that you’re the action star in the movie of your life.


4. Do you often speak in puns and catchphrases?

Arnold
TriStar Pictures

(Passenger 57, Live and Let Die, They Live, every Arnold Schwarzenegger movie)

It’s hard to always have the perfect thing to say in a tense situation. Most movie stars need a team of writers to come up with bon mots like “Hey, you wanna be a farmer? Here’s a couple of achers!” or “I’m gonna take you to the bank, Senator Trent — to the blood bank!” It takes a certain level of bravado to punch out an alien and quip, “Welcome to Earth!” So if you find yourself constantly spouting the perfect quote for every situation, you might want to wonder why that is. Especially if it’s after killing someone. Why the hell are you killing someone and spouting a one-liner, unless you’re an action star?


3. Are you a retired killer looking for the quiet life?

Mark Wahlberg
Paramount Pictures

(A History of Violence, Shooter, Taken, Red

We’ve all had jobs we hated. Slinging fries at that fast food joint. Taking tickets at the local movie theater. Cleaning bathrooms at the diviest bar in town. But if you’re job used to involve killing people, something you vowed to never do again, well, that trumps that one summer you cleaned up puke at the amusement park. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from action movies, it’s that the quiet life never lasts for secret agents and trained assassins who’ve moved to a small town or some cabin in the woods. Your past always catches up with you, which is why we took that job at the pretzel stand in the mall, and didn’t become a CIA hitman.


2. Are you a loose cannon cop who doesn’t play by the rules?

Martin Riggs
Warner Bros.

(Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, Bullitt, Die Hard)

We’re sure that most of the police officers reading this right now are diligent, honest and hard working, but there are probably a few that play fast and loose with the law. If you’re one of them, a cop who’s constantly getting reamed by his commanding officer for crashing cars and shooting up South African embassies, then you’re most likely an action hero. Because in real life you would have been canned years ago.


1. Have you ever walked away from an explosion?

Explosion
Columbia Pictures

(DesperadoX-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Rundown, Drive Angry, pretty much every action movie) 

Let’s be honest: most of us have never been within spitting distance of a giant fireball, and yet in action movies, these things seem to blow every few minutes. A car gets dinged up? It explodes. A gasoline drum gets knocked over? It explodes. What’s impressive about action heroes is, these things never seem to phase them. No matter how close they are to the flames, and these guys are hair singe-ingly close, they don’t flinch. If you’ve ever walked away from a giant explosion without peeing your pants, you’re probably a Grade-A action star. So congratulations, and good luck!

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Summer Lovin'

5 Summer Fun Moments From That ’70s Show

Spend the 4th of July with a That '70s Show marathon starting at 6P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Carsey-Werner Productions

Point Place, Wisconsin isn’t exactly the ideal place to be in the summer time, but Eric and the gang from That ’70s Show had a few moments of summer fun that didn’t involve sitting in “the circle” and wishing they were in Hawaii. Unfortunately, Red never wore a speedo, but we hope you can cool off with the five best moments of the ’70s gang hanging out in the summer time.

5. Hyde and Jackie’s Summer Fling

This classic summer moment from season five doesn’t involve soaking up the sun but it does involve sucking face in the basement. Hyde and Jackie’s funny and sweet “opposites attract” relationship started with their summer fling born out of boredom. According to Jackie’s story, Hyde wanted to “shake it” to Abba and according to Hyde, Jackie just wanted him. Despite the fact that their hook-up initially taints the basement for Eric and Donna, there would have been no “Jackie and Hyde” without their summer fling.


4. Summer Lovin’

70s Show Grease
Carsey-Werner Productions

In the first episode of season six, Jackie has been wrestling over who she really wants to be with and the audience gets to see her as Sandy from Grease in the black leather outfit and Hyde in Danny Zuko’s black t-shirt. Jackie imagines the gang singing the classic Grease song “Summer Nights,” except now it’s about her and Hyde belonging together like “baba balooba shwaba she bang she bang.”


3. Summer by the Lake

70s Show Camping
Carsey-Werner Productions

In the season five finale, the gang heads out to the lake for a night of camping, scary storytelling and skinny dipping. Donna also tells a ghost story that scares Eric, but not as much as when he heads to the lake to skinny dip with Donna and finds Lori naked instead. Meanwhile, Fez ends up in the van with Lori, and in Fez speak, you can say he started the summer off with a bang.


2. Kelso’s Summer Dream Girl

Kelso is never one to miss a chance at showing off his body in a tank top, so when Donna heads to California for the summer to find herself and some blond highlights, Kelso tags along for the sun, the sand and the girls. He meets his match with Annette, in a cameo that was perfect for Jessica Simpson. She’s blonde, beautiful and seems like his dream girl until he finds out she’s a virgin. Turns out the only down and dirty Kelso gets is when they build a sand castle.


1. Eric and Donna reunite on the beach

When the girl next door takes off to spend her summer in sunny California, what’s a pale Wisconsin boy like Eric to do but chase after her? When the duo meet on the beach, the moment is simultaneously hilarious and adorable as they run to meet each other in slow motion like Dudley Moore and Bo Derek in the movie 10. The only difference is Bo Derek didn’t have Kelso running alongside her.

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The Shining Jack Nicholson Stanley Kubrick

Stir Crazy

The 10 Strangest Conspiracy Theories About The Shining

Go deep into The Shining this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros./Everett Collection

Stanley Kubrick was easily one of the most visually arresting, ambitious filmmakers of all time. Careful study of Kubrick’s work reveals that the obsessive, methodically-researched nature of his filmmaking trickles all the way down to the smallest details, making his filmography ripe for endless debate and analysis by fans and critics alike. And if there’s one thing the Internet loves, it’s endless debate.

None of Kubrick’s films have inspired more fervent hypothesizing than The Shining, a subject that was even the focus of the entertaining 2012 documentary Room 237. We combed the farthest, darkest corners of the Internet to shine a light on the weirdest, most out there conspiracy theories about The Shining, airing this month on IFC. Which theory do you believe? Read on and decide for yourself. Heeeere comes the crazy…

1. It’s about the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The Shining Apollo 11
Warner Bros.

Let’s start with the most popular theory: The Shining is Kubrick’s apology for supposedly working with the government to fake the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing…despite the fact he was busy with 2001: A Space Odyssey at the time. Supporting evidence includes cans of astronaut favorite Tang on the Overlook Hotel’s pantry shelves, Danny’s not-so-subtle Apollo 11 sweater, and the theory that the dead twins symbolize the failed Gemini space missions.

A deeper dive into the theory asserts the word “All” in Jack’s typed mantra looks more like A11, or Apollo 11. As for room 237, moon landing theorist Jay Weidner claims the director changed it from 217 to 237 because the Moon is “237,000 miles from Earth,” but it’s more like 238,855 miles on average, according to NASA’s website. This Shining theory is pretty far out of reality’s orbit.


2. It’s about the treatment of Native Americans.

The Shining Native Americans
Warner Bros.

An ever-so-slightly more plausible theory than the “faked moon landing,” many Shining conspiracy theorists believe the film symbolizes Kubrick’s condemnation of America’s treatment of Native Americans. The film is full of Native American imagery, from the rugs to the Calumet (which means “peace pipe”) baking soda cans in the pantry to paintings on the walls. Even the elevator of blood supposedly symbolizes all the blood shed over the seizing of Native American land.

Of course, it’s also mentioned the hotel is built on old Native American burial grounds; a piece of information Kubrick added that was not in Stephen King’s original novel. And you know what they say about staying anywhere that is built on Native American burial grounds…


3. It’s about the Greek Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

The Shining maze

Though the Outlook Hotel of King’s novel never had a hedge maze, Kubrick chose to add one as a deliberate visual reference to the Greek myth about the Minotaur slain by hero Theseus. The hotel itself is purposely labyrinthine with hallways, doors, and staircases leading either nowhere or to more hallways, doors, and staircases. And don’t forget the infamous “impossible window” in the hotel manager’s office that logically doesn’t make sense with the rest of the building’s maze-like architecture!

One other piece of supporting evidence is Jack’s bullish behavior, bulging eyes, prominent forehead, and slumped posture, all of which make a strong case for him being the “Minotaur” in question. Though we’d argue that ’70s Jack Nicholson always kind of looks like a bull.


4. It’s about the Holocaust.

The Shining 42
Warner Bros.

This one depends on how much you believe in the significance of numbers, as the number 42 — for the year the Nazis initiated the “Final Solution,” aka 1942 — figures very prominently in the film. The number shows up in various ways: on the sleeve of one of Danny’s shirts, the number of cars in the parking lot, the film The Summer of ’42 that Wendy and Danny watch, and the fact that if you multiply Room 237 (2x3x7) it equals 42.

Fans also point to Jack’s German-made typewriter and the image of a yellow eagle, the other Nazi emblem, emblazoned on one of his t-shirts. Though Kubrick, a Bronx-born non-practicing Jew, had actually written his own Holocaust-centered film called The Aryan Papers, he ultimately abandoned the project when, according to his widow Christiane, he realized putting the whole brutal truth on film would be “un-survivable.”


5. It’s actually supposed to be viewed backward…and forward!

As if the film wasn’t disorienting enough, one theory by a group called MSTRMND alleges it’s meant to be watched backwards and forwards concurrently in order to unlock the “Kubrick Code.” When viewed this way with the images superimposed on top of one another, it brings out eerie subtextual congruencies between the beginning and end events with the two versions meeting right in the middle at the scene where Dick Halloran is lying in bed watching TV. (We can only imagine what happens if you watch it this way while stoned.)

Because of Kubrick’s visual acumen, it actually makes for an interesting meta experiment if nothing else, as it shows his perfectionism at work in both narrative and visual symmetry. After all, “redrum” backwards IS “murder”!


6. It’s about Hell and Jack Torrance is the Devil/Baphomet.

The Shining Forever

Jack Nicholson played the Devil in 1987’s The Witches of Eastwick, but some conspiracy theorists would have you believe he played a slightly different version of Old Scratch seven years prior in The Shining.

The concept is simple: the Overlook Hotel is hell and a manifestation of Jack’s deepest fears. But theorists are split on whether Jack merely made a pact with the Devil in order to get a drink at the bar or if the demented writer is actually the Devil himself. Evidence for the latter: the old black-and-white photo of Jack from the end of the film where he is seemingly trapped in 1921 shows him in the exact same pose as the Baphomet (aka Devil) Tarot card.


7. It’s all a dream/nightmare.

The Shining Jack
Warner Bros.

A hotel layout that makes no sense. Ghosts that pop up where they shouldn’t but look corporeal. Supernatural abilities. Elevators of blood. The only thing that makes sense is that none of it makes any sense except in a dream or nightmare where logic doesn’t matter, leading some conspiracy theorists to suggest all of the events of The Shining are just an alcohol-fueled dream/nightmare in the mind of Jack Torrance. Wake us up from THIS one.


8. It’s about CIA mind control.

The Shining CIA
Warner Bros.

The CIA ran a classified, controversial behavioral program called MKUltra from the early 1950s through 1973 which subjected its human test subjects to a number of illegal techniques –- LSD, sensory deprivation, etc. –- without their consent in order to ascertain the best methods of interrogation and mind control. Some fans claim Jack Torrance is one such human test subject for MKUltra with the Overlook representing the CIA slowly but surely eating away at his mind.

Fans point to a Monarch ski poster in the lounge behind the twin girls as proof, claiming “Monarch” was the code name used by the CIA for MKUltra. Or, you know, it could just be the name of a ski mountain or something.


9. It’s about the Illuminati.

The Shining Hallway

It wouldn’t be a proper conspiracy theory list without at least ONE reference to the supposedly power-hungry secret society hell-bent on establishing a New World Order. Fans of this theory claim Kubrick deliberately used symbols associated with the Illuminati throughout The Shining like triangles, ladders, the all-seeing Eye, etc. as a way of admitting his involvement with the group.

Furthering the crazy presented here is the claim Kubrick was killed by the group shortly before releasing Eyes Wide Shut not only because of the symbols depicted in The Shining, but also because he revealed some of their rituals in the 1999 Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman erotic thriller. Kubrick DID die in 1999 just a few months before Eyes Wide Shut premiered but it was due to a massive heart attack as he slept. Or WAS it?????


10. It inspired Frozen.

The Shining Frozen
Disney/Warner Bros./MKhammer.squarespace.com

The latest and possibly craziest theory (and that is saying something) claims that Disney’s endlessly popular animated film Frozen is actually the same movie as The Shining. Blogger Mary Katharine Ham hypothesizes ice queen Elsa and Jack are “a danger to family members, whose volatility increases after a long isolation inside a giant, ornate, high-ceilinged building in a cold desolate landscape.”

Ham goes on to compare screenshots from both films that do, in fact, look visually similar, including the ending shots of both characters frozen in the winter wilderness. It’s actually a really fun theory, but since Kubrick is no longer around to explain his motivations, Ham and all the other Shining conspiracy theorists might need to –- as Elsa sings — let it gooooooo…

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