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The old guard.

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Rock HudsonArmy Archerd is calling it quits after 52 years of writing his "Just for Variety" column for, you guessed it, Variety. Archerd "hated the term ‘gossip columnist’ and bristled whenever anyone referred to him as one," but kind of is/was one, albeit of the extremely classy and industry-focused type.

In the July 23, 1985, column, he printed that Rock Hudson — despite
denials from the actor’s publicists and managers — was undergoing
treatment for AIDS. Global media picked up on the story; though the
disease was not new, this was the first time anyone put an identifiable
face linked to the disease. The New York Times stated that if it
weren’t for Archerd’s report, the actor’s death probably would have
been attributed to other maladies, and the realization of the scope of
AIDS would not have been publicized and realized until 1992, when Magic
Johnson revealed his condition.

Then the writer goes on to call Archerd "Hollywood’s first blogger." Well…yes, in that column-writing and blogging both involve writing regularly. Would it be so bad to just let him be as a well-known, respected columnist? We realize it’s de rigeur these days to name-check blogging whenever at all possible, but, please, not when it’s unnecessary. The kids do still understand what "columnist" means, we’re assuming, and don’t require it to be roughly translated ("Archerd S retiring 2rite hs memoirs, jst lk Dave Eggers"). And they’re not reading Variety anyway.

Meanwhile, our Armond White fixation may well now be replaced with a late-era Andrew Sarris fixation. In his latest column in the New York Observer, Sarris once again revisits his glory days of warring with Pauline Kael:

Part of my motivation in studying the present for clues to the future is to escape the spiritual paralysis of an unforgiving nostalgia for the past. André Bazin (1918-1958) once tried to exclude Hollywood directors from the purview of François Truffaut’s La Politique des Auteurs by invoking "the genius of the system" as an alternative theory to explain the large number of Hollywood classics. I raised my very tentative and respectful objections to Bazin—a film theorist I admired above all others—in my 1963 essay in Film Culture Magazine, entitled "Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962." This piece of critical writing annoyed Pauline Kael sufficiently to write the much more widely read "Circles and Squares" in Film Quarterly Magazine, launching a 40-year war for which I was polemically unprepared. The trouble was that the cultural establishment seized on the Sarris-Kael imbroglio as a way to keep critical theory out of a "fun" field like movies. Hence, I was suddenly catapulted from obscurity to notoriety without passing "Go." Now, almost half a century later, I can refute Bazin’s "genius of the system" argument more succinctly simply by asking: If the "system" was responsible for the good films, then who or what was responsible for the much more numerous bad films?

Still so wounded! Were those years really so bad, Mr. Sarris? Yes, James Toback was mean to you, but those were some damn great and influential days of film criticism you participated in (honestly, there was a Film Culture Magazine and a Film Quarterly Magazine, and people actually read them!). Anyway, he goes on to declare he’s going to live forever (yes, we’re totally taking that out of context, enjoy it for what it is) and discuss contemporary directors that might make his "pantheon of English-language auteurs" with the tone of someone looking down from a great height (not condescending, more like…stratospherically removed).

+ ‘Just for Variety’ column to end after 52 years (Variety)
+ The Mysteries of Richard Linklater: Director Finds Lifetimes in Moments (NY Observer)

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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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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