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Critical mess.

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Critic-proof: It's like being fireproof, but less useful.
Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman becomes the latest to take on the "Do film critics still matter?" existential crisis (If a critic writes a bad review and people go see the movie anyway, does that critic spontaneously cease to exist?):

More to the point, why on earth would a critic cease to matter simply because a movie that he or she didn’t like became a huge box office hit? I’ve been in more screening-room conversations than I can believe in which some critic I like and respect, speaking about the latest X-Men sequel or what-have-you, will say, with a rueful defeated chuckle, ”We’re irrelevant on this one!” My response is that we’re never more relevant than when people are going to see movies and doing it enthusiastically. The notion that a critic’s job begins and ends with our power to help films become hits is a specious one nurtured by marketing executives, and I’m always astonished when critics themselves buy into it.

Consider the comparable situation with, say, political pundits. Should an editorial columnist who was staunchly against the Iraq war, and had no discernible influence on either the Congress or political opinion at large, be considered "irrelevant"? Was the war itself "columnist-proof"?

Hilary Duff, sensing weakness, has also seized her chance to make an incisive attack against the critical institution. Via WENN:

Hilary Duff has issued a stinging response to the New York Times movie critic who described her acting as "talent-challenged." Stephen Holden has consistently slammed Duff’s teen comedy movies and singled out her performances particularly. But Duff insists she isn’t making movies for New York Times readers. She tells Elle magazine, "He doesn’t really fit the demographic. So I could really care less. Look at me, and look at where he is – sorry! Would he prefer that I take some super-adult role that is inappropriate so I would have no place to grow? Suppose the next thing I did was this super-edgy independent movie where I was pregnant or shooting up. What would that do to my fanbase?"

Beloved, we give you three years before the fact that you go topless is the main sell point of a straight-to-video release in which you play a stripper-turned-assassin.

Elsewhere, this argument seems to be encouraging critics who are given the chance to review a film of the apparent critic-proof variety to attempt experimental "humor" pieces. At least, that’s how we’re assuming Manohla Dargis‘ review of "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties" came to be, written in a feckless "shouting out into the void"-style "As Told to MANOHLA DARGIS by LORD DARGIS" (Dargis is the name of the film’s villain, played by Billy Connolly). Cute, but we weren’t a fan of the technique when back when Anthony Lane wrote his review of "Kingpin" in the style of Jane Austen (in made sense in context, sort of), and that was at least amusingly snide. More! Acid! Or failing that, more entertainment value. For our favorite complete departure from normal review format, we turn always to Matt Zoller Seitz‘s review of "Sphere": "Envision an empty room…"

+ Screening Call (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Duff Slams New York Times Critic (WENN)
+ An Overweight Tabby in London in ‘Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties’ (NY Times)

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Rev Up

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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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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