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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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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.


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…


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.


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).


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.


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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