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Can’t they just get Roeper “disappeared” or something?

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"I am angry all the time... and I don't know why."Roger Ebert’s disagreements with LA Weekly whippersnapper Scott Foundas have officially grown to a "heated exchange." Foundas’ comments on this year’s Slate Movie Club prompted a lengthy defense from Ebert, which leads us to Foundas’ reply in the current Weekly issue (and varying responses from Ebert’s readers).

The film in question is Paul Haggis"Crash," which Foundas called one of "the year’s worst movies," and which topped Ebert’s year-end best-of list. We have to hand it to Haggis — for two years in a row now he’s had a hand in films that have made plenty of critics’ top tens while simultaneously so infuriating others that they can’t settle on just disagreeing about it — they feel a burning desire to convert the world to hating the film as well.

It’s a compulsion we understand (because lord, what a smug piece of sanctimonious crap!), but, you know, it’s oddly admirable — Haggis has inspired more impassioned film debates than, like, Armond White. Ebert and Foundas venture into some touchy territory for any critic, with Ebert flying the flag of the common man:

It is useful to be aware of the ways in which real people see real films. Over the past eight months I’ve had dozens of conversations about "Crash" with people who were touched by it. They said it might encourage them to look at strangers with a little more curiosity before making a snap judgment.

These real moviegoers are not constantly vigilant against the possibility of being manipulated by a film. They want to be manipulated; that’s what they pay for, and that in a fundamental way is why movies exist. Usually the movies manipulate us in brainless ways, with bright lights and pretty pictures and loud sounds and special effects. But a great movie can work like philosophy, poetry, or a sermon.

Ah, "real people." We admire Roger Ebert very much — particularly the astonishing volume of reviews he turns out and the joy with which he still clearly approaches his job. But honestly, anyone who works as a critic (and has therefore disqualified themselves from the realms of actual existence, we presume) is by definition not an average moviegoer — a critic sees far more films and dedicates a far larger percentage of his or her waking life to cinema than most members of the public. Ignoring the above excerpt’s inherent condescension, is Ebert arguing that Foundas should approach films by attempt to channel some mythical unsophisticated viewer, as opposed to writing what he actually thinks? Foundas gets a little testy in his response:

But then, Roger, perhaps all of us detractors are simply, as you put it, "too cool for the room." According to you, we critics must bear in mind "the ways in which real people see real films," the same people who you say enjoy paying to be manipulated. (And who’s to argue, when the officials currently holding our nation’s highest elected offices offer living proof that many of us enjoy being manipulated for free?) You go on to say that you’ve talked to dozens of viewers who were touched by "Crash," and while I don’t deny that, I have had my own conversations about "Crash" with plenty of "real people" who feel less touched by the film than manhandled by it. Among e-mails I’ve received from Slate readers, one goes so far as to speculate that people are afraid to admit they don’t like "Crash" for fear of being considered racists themselves — and I think the film is engineered to make viewers feel that way — while another, somewhat more charitable correspondent quotes Oscar Wilde’s maxim that "all bad art is sincere."

Keep it going, boys, and maybe while you’re at it, Ebert, get Foundas a spot on your review show, because this is way interesting than the combined best moment of all five or so seasons of "Ebert & Roeper." You may think Foundas is too cool for the room, but honestly, with Roeper in it, who wouldn’t sneak out for a ciggy on the porch?

+ Slate Movie Club (Slate)
+ In defense of the year’s ‘worst movie’ (
+ Roger and Me (LA Weekly)
+ Readers clash over ‘Crash’ (

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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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