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“Art School Confidential.”

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"Art who? That's such a stupid question."
How do you make fun of the art world? Like the current presidential administration, the art world eludes any approach with satirical intent — whatever jabs you can come up with, the reality is probably far stranger and worse.

Daniel Clowes published the comic on which "Art School Confidential" is loosely based earlier in his career — a short, amusing, bitter "expose" of the art school world (Clowes attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn) from someone whose art school days were clearly not so far behind him. The film, the second collaboration between director Terry Zwigoff and Clowes, is equally amusing and bitter, but after "Ghost World," feels like a step backwards for both of them.

Our hero, Jerome, is good at drawing and terrible at navigating high school — constantly bullied, he dreams of becoming a famous artist and, Picasso-like, having women fall all over him regardless of what he looks like (not actually a problem, as he’s played by the ever-so-pretty Max Minghella, son of Anthony). But art school doesn’t turn out to be creative and social sanctuary he hoped — his classmates all conform themselves to terrible stereotypes (it’s too easy, but it is funny when Jerome’s eternal student friend Bardo (Joel Moore) rounds the room pointing out the "Vegan Holy Man," the "Angry Lesbian," the "Kiss Ass," etc.) and no one seems to care for his straightforward painting style. Still, Jerome holds fast to his hopes for fame and tail, particularly when he meets Audrey (Sophia Myles), artists’ model, general scene hanger-on and the girl of his dreams. Jerome chases Audrey, but Audrey seems more interested in the emerging art star from his class, Jonah (Matt Keeslar), whose unsophisticated paintings of cars and spacemen are proclaimed brilliant by Professor Sandiford (John Malkovich) and, therefore, the rest of the school.

And then there’s some side plot about a killer on campus. The thing is, Zwigoff and Clowes come up with some truly outstanding, excruciating scenes, like when a monstrous former student who’s made it big returns to the school to give a talk, or when Sandiford makes a pass at a completely oblivious Jerome, but the film as a whole just seems toothless. "Ghost World"’s Seymour was mocked by everyone for his social haplessness and fixation on obscure 78s the world had no use for, was well aware of this and adrift in self-loathing, but was still hopelessly in love with the music anyway. In "Art School Confidential," even Jerome cares less about art than fame, and the only character whose artistic drive goes beyond his desire for acclaim is insane. That exquisite sense of empathy for the outsider is gone; without it, "Art School" is actually less dark and sharp-edged than it could have been.

Opens today in limited release.

+ Art School Confidential (official site)

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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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