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Dickens and Capote.

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Roger Ebert has been sweating to establish himself as "Crash"‘s head cheerleader, but his latest missive, which claims the film is in the tradition of Charles Dickens, has been raising eyebrows and "for fucksake!"s all over the internet. At the Reverse Blog, cnw calls it "the worst attempt at a logical argument this side of a Pulitzer Prize: ‘Dickensian narratives are contrived and caricature-laden; ‘Crash’ is contrived and caricature-laden; ergo, ‘Crash’ is Dickensian!’ (Note to Roger Ebert: Just because ‘Gangs of New York’ was overlong and narratively incoherent, no one went around calling it Proustian)."

Dave Carr at the New York TimesCarpetbagger blog runs with Ebert’s argument that "Crash," like Dickens, was created to effect social change: "[A]pparently if ‘Crash’ lands with any impact, it should lead to fundamental changes in Los Angeles laws, including outlawing driving, racism and creaky plot points."

We hate to harp on this damn film…oh, we don’t, really, so we’re going to strum away for a sec. Ebert is "Crash"’s biggest fan, and even he has to acknowledge the film’s lousy characterizations and inept narrative? Even if we could believe that Paul Haggis‘ film was really made with grand intents to, oh, we dunno, remind people that they’re racist, rather than just being a lazy, smug swipe at an awards-friendly hot-button topic, that doesn’t excuse the film itself. The reason we still read Dickens is that he was a great storyteller — we don’t know what the hell we’d call Haggis.

While we’re on the literary bent, Bryan Appleyard at the London Times recounts the mythology of Truman Capote and the impact "In Cold Blood" had on America and journalism, along with the odd, excellent anecdote:

I have always remembered one story about him, which I hope is true. At the height of his fame, a lady spotted him in a restaurant, rushed over and asked him to autograph her breast. Capote did so. Her husband, incensed, strode over, took out his penis and suggested Capote might like to autograph that too.

"Well," responded Capote, "perhaps I could initial it…"

David Thompson at the Independent uses Capote and "Capote" to launch into an essay on how "most writers are quietly ashamed of the persistence with which the movies have struggled to present authors as heroes," ending with the suggestion that even Bennett Miller‘s rather unflattering portrait has a touch of this:

"Capote" wants to suggest that Truman was so horrified by his own treachery towards the Holcomb killers that he never recovered. I wonder if he ever noticed. He lived on, a gratified celebrity, and there were others he would betray before he slept.

And at the Guardian, John Patterson goes from "In Cold Blood" to rounding up the best of the British crime fiction it inspired.

+ ‘Crash’ owes a debt to Dickens (
+ Great Expectations (Reverse Blog)
+ The Little Dickens (NY Times)
+ The Truman show (London Times)
+ What lesson did Truman teach us? You should never trust a writer… (Independent)
+ Blood type matches (Guardian)

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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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