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Hearts on fire.

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Valentine’s Day — a time to spend with your significant other, or, failing that, to spend sitting at a bar weeping into your drink. We’ve always held it to be a particularly special holiday, as our birthday is tomorrow, and we can sit tight anticipating that some shameless, cheapskate friend will inevitably unload a bunch of leftover, discounted candy on us. In the meantime, we thought we’d reflect on a hurried, scattered selection of some of our favorite painful romantic moments committed to celluloid:

"He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not": Laetitia Colombani‘s directorial debut rest on a film studentish gimmick, but as a counterpart to Jeunet’s charm-oversaturated "Amelie," it’s indispensable. Audrey Tautou once again plays an extra-winsome romance-seeking waif, but two-thirds of the way through, the film turns away from her point of view and she’s revealed as the loony stalker we always knew was hiding under that damn pixie cut. Extra points for the uncomfortable scene where she approaches the object of her affection at a party, but can’t bring herself to do more than gaze at him, wide-eyed and grinning.

"Head-On": Yes, we’re a trifle obsessed, but self-destructive romance in film is so often a function of characters being monstrous or just very fictional — Cahit and Sibel have lives that seem to be constantly spilling out of their grasp, but that also never seem less than genuine. And we love when they pogo around the apartment yelling "Punk! Is! Not! Dead!"

"Lawless Heart": We can’t think of a film as gently wise about the nature of mourning as this understated British gem about a family bobbing about in the wake of a loved one’s death. Of the three stories, it’s Nick’s (Tom Hollander) that’s the most compelling — with his lover, Stuart, gone, he’s left to deal uneasily with Stuart’s not-unsympathetic, but certainly incomprehending family. He stumbles into a friendship with warmhearted, heedless party girl Charlie (Sukie Smith), one complicated by his isolation and grief into something that, in one heartbreaking scene, he mistakes for romance.

"Manon des Sources": It’s been a while since we’ve watched Claude Berri‘s two-part epic of multigenerational vengeance out in the picturesque French countryside, but the image of Daniel Auteuil‘s Ugolin sewing Emmanuelle Béart‘s ribbon to his chest hasn’t faded. Ouch.

"Point Break": Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze tussle in the surf on Bells Beach. "Vaya con Dios." "Kiss! Kiss!" the audience yells. But…they never do.

"Shallow Grave": The trio of friends Danny Boyle trails to destruction in his first film are all horrible human beings, but the flirtation between Kerry Fox‘s Juliet and Ewan McGregor‘s Alex, which flutters between jealousy, jockeying for power, sadism and, possibly, real feeling, comes to a head in what, if you look at it the right way, you could call a  supremely memorable consummation. Romantic!

Elsewhere: Kim Adelman at the San Francisco Chronicle picks her ten favorite bedroom scenes, while Kevin Maher in the London Times writes about David Lean‘s 1945 "Brief Encounter" and argues that romantic films are always better when consummation occurs off-screen (or not at all):

Romantic movies all have the same dramatic motor: the overcoming of obstacles on the path to love. With speedy consummation of passion now more acceptable both in society and on screen, modern films have a problem: how can they keep their love-struck protagonists as far apart as possible?

And if you’ve ever wondered which films Film Threat‘s Chris Gore finds romantic, today is your day.

+ Mattress Dancing (SF Chronicle)
+ Darling, please. Not in front of the cameras (London Times)

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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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