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There’s something about Caryn.

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Charlize Theron de-glams herself for award season once again.That Caryn James "You know what’s wrong with Hollywood? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with Hollywood!" piece from yesterday has attracted all kinds of great snark and furious anger, or at least put some people out, particularly David Poland at The Hot Button and The Reeler‘s S.T. VanAirsdale. Prime quotes:


But I think what really pisses me off is the rancid arrogance of judgment against the people who have made these and other well-intended films.

Ms. James writes, "What’s whispered, yet rarely said out loud, is that Hollywood producers know that most of what they churn out is junk, and they are happy to seize an opportunity – especially if it’s cost-efficient and Oscar-ready – to prove they are people who think."

She may kiss George Clooney‘s golden tuchus in the last paragraph, but the statement above is a direct "fuck you," to ol’ George, who is part of the machinery. It is a direct "fuck you" to Niki Caro (whose last film, about a girl and some whales, didn’t directly address Maori sexual politics as experienced on the Upper East Side) and everyone else who was trying to reach for something on that film. And on and on…


But when James flogs films like "Good Night, and Good Luck" or even "A History of Violence" for being Ideology Lite—stylized, dogmatic self-indulgences—I wonder what she would recommend as an alternative. Using "Caché" and "Manderlay" (and "The Squid and the Whale" to a token degree) as fodder, James’ colleague Tony Scott recently deconstructed the class themes overriding this year’s New York Film Festival; are these examples of the films she thinks Hollywood should be making? Or would their depths threaten James’ didacticism—her own "schoolroom lessons" that prove irrelevant when applied in the specific context her targets deserve? In other words, do Hollywood "junk" producers—with their market, history and money—really have anything to prove to anyone, and if so, what would James recommend?

We did find James’ piece frustrating, though not as frustrating as the above two found it, but we feel obliged to say that, despite totally agreeing that "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "The Squid and the Whale" (and "Capote," for that matter) were well-made, fine films, we also found them remarkably uninteresting compared to the majority of the foreign New York Film Festival offerings. There’s something totally tree-falls-in-the-woods about harping on how wonderful this Taiwanese film that will never get US distribution is, or how fresh that Romanian one that will likely see very few theaters is, but we can’t deny that our heart does sink a little around this time every year, when the parade of glossy biopics and glossier Important Pictures starts up.

+ The Trouble With Writers Who Try to Think (The Hot Button)
+ Caryn James: I Condescend Because I Care (indieWIRE)

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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

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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

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