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DID YOU READ

You’re Never Too Old…

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By Andrea Meyer
IFC News

When the newly widowed Mrs. Henderson remarks that she’s bored to tears, her lunch guest Lady Conway suggests taking a lover. “I’m nearly 70,” Mrs. Henderson protests. “But you’re rich,” counters her cheeky friend. “The two cancel each other out.”

Unconvinced, Mrs. Henderson settles for the next best thing: a hobby. After dabbling in charity (it’s a yawn) and needlepoint (a snooze), Mrs. Henderson does what any rich, energetic, old broad (with a splash of the visionary in her) would do. She buys the out-of-use Windmill Theater and sets out to revolutionize the London stage by putting on a vaudeville in which women appear stark naked.

Stephen Frears’ deliciously snappy “Mrs. Henderson Presents” (in theaters December 9), stars Dame Judi Dench as the real-life theater maven and Bob Hoskins as Vivian Van Damm, the man she hires to run the place. Hot, nasty sparks crackle between this odd couple — so much so that Van Damm initially turns the job down, until the smooth Mrs. Henderson bribes him with total creative freedom, an offer no producer can refuse — even if it means having a ball-breaker in floor-length mink as a boss.

After a few rounds sparring with this stout, brassy younger man, Mrs. Henderson realizes she’s in love with him. While he’s married to another woman and their connection goes largely unacknowledged and unconsummated, the affair is invaluable. It awakens Mrs. Henderson to her sexuality, which she had taken for dead along with her husband and makes the young flesh onstage more alluring. The glowing grand dame teases the dancers about their love lives, even setting her favorite up on a date with a soldier, and in one oddly moving sequence dances suggestively in the flamboyant solitude of her room.

Mrs. Henderson is not the first cinematic woman of a certain age to feel sex sneaking up to bite her on a sagging buttock. In the extraordinary love story “Fear Eats the Soul” (1974), director Rainer Maria Fassbinder borrows heavily from Douglas Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows”(1955), in which a widow falls in love with a much younger gardener played by Rock Hudson, to the horror of her friends and family. Fassbinder updated Sirk’s story of an affair that suffers under disapproving eyes, by moving it to 1970s Munich, where a sixty-year-old charwoman first swoons at the taut, brown bod of a young Moroccan immigrant, then marries him. Fassbinder upped the ante by throwing race into an already bitter brew of age and class discrimination (an idea that was taken up again by Todd Haynes in his 2002 retelling “Far From Heaven,” in which Julianne Moore’s well-behaved housewife with a gay husband falls for a black gardener).

In Brad Anderson’s wonderfully wistfully romantic “Next Stop Wonderland,” depressed, just-dumped Erin’s (Hope Davis) existential gloom is thrown into relief by her mother (Holland Taylor), a classy, hot-blooded jetsetter who refuses to let her beloved husband’s death get in the way of her sex life. While Erin attempts to find herself, her mom runs a personal ad for her daughter and proceeds to bed one hot young thang after another in swank hotel rooms from New York to Par-ee.

It doesn’t take a dead husband to kill a sex life. As muscles shrivel and boobs sag, so the libido and lust for life can take a dive, leaving some older couples in a sexual wasteland that requires something drastic to recharge. In Ron Howard’s sci-fi heartwarmer “Cocoon” (1985), Joe (Hume Cronyn) and Alma (Jessica Tandy) still love each other but don’t do a whole lot of bonking. When aliens move pods into the swimming pool where Joe and his retirement community buddies swim, they soon realize that a dip with the pods has a rejuvenating effect. As fast as you can say “first erection in decades,” Joe’s got Alma taking the plunge, too. Unfortunately, he gets so randy he’s not only doing it with his wife, but he’s making the moves on all the other grannies in town — and Alma’s wishing they could return to the days of hot cocoa, Lawrence Welk and a peck on the cheek before lights out.

The most celebrated — and sexual — of the cinematic over-the-hill crowd has got to be Maude, the sassy eponymous heroine of Hal Ashby’s cult black comedy “Harold and Maude” (1971), about a repressed, death-obsessed teenager (Bud Cort) who falls for an exuberant octogenarian played by Ruth Gordon. Maude has the morbid loner falling madly in love with life, by introducing him to its many delights, including those of the flesh. Needless to say, Harold’s family goes ballistic, but the boy walks away with one hell of a notch in his bedpost. Nothing like an experienced, older woman to make a guy realize that life is a beautiful thing.

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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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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