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DID YOU READ

The New York Times Magazine goes to the movies, war.

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"Too much has happened. Someone's got to be hurt. The only question is who."Maybe it’s that we’ve never been big on the war movies, or maybe it’s just general malaise due to our having had to wrestle with the computer all day, but we’re at a big of a loss with what to say about the New York Times Magazine‘s Hollywood Goes to War! issue.

Or maybe that’s just because the issue itself is steeped in a sense of malaise. From Matt Bai‘s glum assessment of the fading power of Hollywood to Lynn Hirschberg‘s interview with the solidly practical Terry Press ("Today audiences want to be transported. But it’s tricky: audiences want
happy endings, but they won’t buy a fake happy ending. Audiences have
become cynical."), there’s a general sense of disillusionment — such are our times, we suppose. Honestly, what the hell is a modern war movie supposed to look like? "Jarhead"? As OIB Peter Sarsgaard puts it in Hirschberg‘s interview with him, "The fantasy of who a marine thinks he is is what I am interested in," which seems to be the recent, prevailing obsession we’re coming to grips with. It’s certainly never been a revelation that, in war and in all other things, self-image can be a striking contrast with reality, but, as Manohla Dargis points out in her essay, it’s the inherent paradox between our filmic portrayal of war and the often simplistic messaging behind it that we’ve yet to settle.

American movies give us the dangers of war, but only the cheaper ones ("Rambo," ad nauseam) readily admit to its pleasures. The problem for movies about Vietnam, like Oliver Stone‘s "Platoon" and Brian De Palma‘s "Casualties of War," is that movie violence is so irresistibly cinematic. These films try to draw a line between the soldier who kills because it’s his job and the soldier who kills because the war has brought out something wrong in his head, heart and soul, like the satisfaction of the kill. We are urged to love the warriors but not their war – and yet the truth is, we love the violence too. Steeped in pain, such films preach the horrors of combat even as the filmmaking solicits us to thrill to its spectacle; even the most heartfelt objection to war, it seems, is no match for a vicarious blast of napalm and a fountain of blood.

No such thing as an antiwar film indeed. We also feel we should point out Susan DominusHenry Rollins-on-USO-tour interview, because, you know. And it’s v. strange.

At the Guardian, John Patterson takes issue with "Jarhead" and its mash-up nature when it comes to the war films that predated it. A similar issue:

Judging by "Jarhead," the American war movie isn’t growing up much, but it is adapting to the times. Once upon a time, back in the Good War and after, it was John Wayne, lock-and-load, no doubts, no blood, and lashings of the Andrews Sisters. Then came Vietnam, fought on the myths those earlier movies promulgated, and everything went all "frag the lieutenant!", ears for souvenirs, the smell of napalm in the morning, and nothing but blood and doubt, all pumped up by Creedence and Stax. Everything was green and brown, an iconography of jungle and rice paddy, monsoon and mosquitoes. Of course, before Americans saw all this in the movies, they had to watch it on the news every night for a decade.

David Thomson at the Independent argues that there is an American war film of true complexity: Stanley Kubrick‘s "Paths of Glory."

In fact, I think even in 1957 and certainly now, there is an audacious
stylistic contrast between the wretched careerism of the officers and
the implacable panache of the way it is shot. This is a great work of
satire in which Kubrick’s camera is as chillingly controlled as the
prose style of Jonathan Swift.

+ The Movie Issue (NY Times Magazine)
+ Phoney war movie (Guardian)
+ Who doesn’t like a man in a uniform? Kubrick, for a start (Independent)

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…