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DID YOU READ

Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.

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"It gets better with each bite."
A few days after Steve Chagollan‘s New York Times story on how an upcoming "wave of ambitious studio films will try to capitalize on Americans’ growing appreciation for all things epicurean," Mick Hume in the London Times writes practically the same article. Official, then: it’s a trend! Among the upcoming foodie films cited by one or both of the writers are Linklater‘s "Fast Food Nation," Russell Crowe as vineyard-inheritor drama "A Good Year," a Catherine Zeta-Jones as dictatorial chef German film ("Mostly Martha") remake, and Peter Chelsom’s Cyrano de Bergerac re-imagining "The Food of Love."

Chagollan writes that:

With more and more 20somethings trading in beer mugs for stemware, farmers markets bursting at the seams and Wal-Marts stocking organic produce, America clearly is in the midst of a feeding frenzy, particularly among the growing legions of foodies and gourmands. The Food Network holds 65 million monthly viewers in its thrall, and sales of "gourmet" foods and beverages are expected to top $53 billion next year.

To some extent these developments may reflect a search for refuge. "Food is that thing that people retreat to for comfort and safety," said Lisa Shotland, an agent in the Creative Artists Agency’s lifestyle group, "and in these uncertain times that just becomes more and more the norm."

Hume responds:

But if insecure middle-class Americans are seeking refuge in the comfort food of their organic and rural dreams, one of the things they are running away from is the stuff that other Americans eat. Fear of food — specifically fast and processed food — is the theme of "Fast Food Nation," following on from Morgan Spurlock’s smash hit "Super Size Me," in which he demonstrated that eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month can make you ill (perhaps somebody should make a movie demonstrating that the same would be true if you stuck to just the foie gras and fine cheese).

So the celebration of the food of love among Hollywood’s new epicureans goes alongside fear of fatty, sugary "common" food, and disgust at those who consume it. We await the reappearance of Mr Creosote, the dinner-suited glutton who stuffs himself on rich delicacies until he explodes, in Monty Python’s "The Meaning of Life" — only this time recast as trailer-park Mctrash in sweatpants and a baseball cap, blowing himself up on cheeseburgers and fries.

The problem with making a mainstream food movie is that you must surpass the often insurpassable issue of making it convincing that a famous person still has the ability to enjoy food — filming Catherine Zeta Jones savoring some osso bucco, for instance, while dispelling any suspicions we may have that as soon as the cameras stop rolling she spits that mouthful of veal out and retreats to her daily rationing of Kashi GoLean.

Despite all of the lush and lovely food scenes that have turned up in films over the years, the ones that come immediately to mind for us are all grotesque. Having given it no thought, we’d throw out the following as memorable, if utterly unappetizing:

Sissy Spacek, attacked by a jar of shrimp cocktail in "3 Women."

Renée Zellweger, shaving mold of a piece of cheese and eating the remains in a fit of depression in that guilty pleasure, "Bridget Jones’s Diary."

The spaghetti in "Seven."

Jude Law‘s compulsive slurping down of a plate of mutant animals in "eXistenZ."

Ally Sheedy‘s cereal sandwich in "The Breakfast Club."

But the most memorable of all doesn’t really involve food, per se — in Les Blank‘s short doc "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe," Herzog fulfills a bet he made with Errol Morris by consuming his footwear (with garlic, onions, and hot sauce) while monologuing about film in from of a live audience. "Our civilization does not have adequate images," he muses, and cuts into his shoe with a pair of scissors for easier mastication.

+ Eat Drink Make Movie: Hollywood’s Next Course (NY Times)
+ Meals on reels (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 IFC.com

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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

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…