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Hearing voices.

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"And for a moment Night was healed."
It became fashionable/advisable to start hating on M. Night Shyamalan somewhere between "Signs" and "The Village." We’d like to think we were ahead of the curve and hated him before this (Twist endings are stupid! And if you’re going to give yourself a dramatic middle name it should clearly be "Danger" so that you can say "Danger is my middle name"!), but it was indeed "The Village" that did it for us. Still, when early word on Michael Bamberger’s "The Man Who Heard Voices," a nonfiction look at the making of "Lady in the Water" and Shyamalan’s parting of ways with Disney, included rumblings that the book, intentionally or not, makes the director look utterly insane, we felt…how to put this…meh. Why bother shadowing the man for months just to accomplish what we can by sharing this plot summary (courtesy of IMDb)?

In "Lady in the Water," a story originally conceived by Shyamalan for his children, a modest building manager named Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) rescues a mysterious young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) from danger and discovers she is actually a narf, a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and his fellow tenants start to realize that they are also characters in this bedtime story. As Cleveland falls deeper and deeper in love with the woman, he works together with the tenants to protect his new fragile friend from the deadly creatures that reside in this fable and are determined to prevent her from returning home.

Yes, "she is actually a narf." And yet Shyamalan was shocked — shocked! — when Disney execs reportedly politely suggested he perhaps take another whack at the screenplay.

In her review in the New York Times, Janet Maslin writes:

New work by important filmmakers is always hyped by early publicity, some of it flattering enough to have been written at gunpoint. Now M. Night Shyamalan has set a new high-water mark for this sort of sycophancy. He has deigned to allow Michael Bamberger, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, to follow him adoringly through every stage of the filmmaking process. The upshot is not just a puff article but a full-length, unintentionally riotous puff book.

Maslin is unforgiving (and very funny) on her way to noting that "There’s a howler on every page for a while," and of course makes us want to read the book, while also reminded us that the film was shot by Chris Doyle — ♥ — who has extricated himself from Wong Kar Wai‘s grasp to take his drunken antics on the road.

At The Hot Button, David Poland calls the book "an instant classic":

You should read it for yourself, but the guy has more ticks than a Tourettes sufferer. As a screenwriter, he has structured superstitions and habits that he expects people to play along with, since he thinks he’s earned it. Deadly, but not unusual. His dismissal of Disney is insane. There is something completely petulant and childlike about it. And, again, the arrogance. Night is a classic character, at least as portrayed by Bamberger, who gets both your sympathy and disdain. He does seem to be in pursuit of something greater… and he seems like a self-important jackass in the same paragraph.

And Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt of book’s recounting of the dinner moment with the Disney execs.

+ Snubbed by Disney, What’s Shyamalan to Do? Walk (and Diss) (NY Times)
+ July 10, 2006 (The Hot Button)
+ Sink or Swim (Entertainment Weekly)

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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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