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Brokeback in Baby’s Arms.

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"That sounds VERY manly!"Rejected headlines: Baby Got Brokeback, Brokeback to the Future, If It Ain’t Brokeback, Don’t Fix It, It’s All Coming Brokeback to Me Now.

We apologize if we’re a little irregular and scattered over the next few weeks — one of our colleagues left and we’re picking up her workload until they hire someone else, which is kind of putting a damper on our blogging schedule.

We’ve finally made it to the week of the most-hyped film of the year thus far — "Brokeback Mountain" is beloved to nearly all who’ve written about it as yet, and while we didn’t think it was perfect, we certainly liked it lots ourself. We’re in the process of writing a review with Matt to post later in the week, but in the meantime, a few thoughts:

We don’t buy David Thomson‘s half tongue-in-cheek thoughts that this is the grand cowboy-on-cowboy romance that was always waiting to burst out from beneath the coded subtext of "Rio Bravo," "Red River" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (well, okay, scratch that last one), but "Brokeback Mountain" does derive much of its significant power from how it toys with that particularly cinematic American icon: the taciturn, masculine, denim-clad cowboy. The film is a romance between two people who stumble into a great love and simply don’t have the words for it. Heath Ledger, whose performance is every bit as good as it’s been talked up to be, plays Ennis as a man who can hardly find it in him to participate in conversation, much less be open in a relationship, and he’s heartbreaking, particularly in the scene when he first says goodbye to Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Jack. After rebuffing Jack’s attempt for a "same time, next year," he send him off with a nod, and then, after watching him drive away, runs to throw up in an alley and bloody his knuckles against the side of the building. Violence, physicality, and, with a refreshing lack of coyness, sex, are all things that come far more easily than words to Ennis. It’s the best inarticulate screenplay we can think of.

Also, it’s inherent to a romance to have interference — if people live happily ever after in the first half hour of a film, what are you going to fill the next 60-90 minutes with? And so misunderstandings occur, wacky hi-jinks ensue, one party thinks the other party can’t stand them, or is already attached, or is…something. In a way, "Brokeback Mountain" has more in common with, oh, "Pride & Prejudice" than any other recent romance we can think of, because at least in Austen, below all of the plot happenings, there is always the very real problem of societal differences to overcome. For years since the fading away of the aristocracy, filmmakers have wracked their brains to come up with new reasons for why two people would have such trouble making a connection when they ostensibly are in love, and here we finally arrive at what must be the unforced, undeniable obstacle of any tragic romance writer’s dreams. Love is never the issue in "Brokeback"; at the same time, we see the world Jack and Ennis live in, and never doubt that, even if they got to walk off into the sunset, hand in hand, it’d be impossible for them to live happily ever after.

Anyway, at indieWIRE, Strand Releasing’s Marcus Hu discusses waiting on the film since he first read the short story in 1997:

Personally, even after four viewings, I still get a lump in my throat by the film’s conclusion. While the "New Queer Cinema" has produced some substantial GLBT films, this film just feels like an intelligent, smart piece of cinema that happens to have at its core a gay love story.

At the Chicago Tribune, Robert K. Elder sums up post-screening questions fielded by Ang Lee and producer James Schamus, while Nigel Andrews in the Financial Times (link via Ray Pride at Movie City Indie) takes a look at "Brokeback" and Tommy Lee Jones"Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" as neo-neo-Westerns.

+ First Person: Marcus Hu on "Brokeback Mountain" (indieWIRE)
+ Lee sees his ‘Brokeback Mountain’ as a unifying force (Chicago Tribune)
+ The Cowboy rides again (Financial Times)

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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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