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DID YOU READ

The week’s critic wrangle: “For Your Consideration,” “Fast Food Nation.”

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Home for Purim.
+ "For Your Consideration": Critics are undecided as to how sharp a satire of Hollywood Christopher Guest has managed in his latest (and firmly non-mockumentary) effort. Nathan Lee at the Village Voice salutes the film for the way in which it "pulls off the neat trick of skewering the movie industry while remaking it in its own image." Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly writes that "the level of tender, ruthless, inspired, lethally accurate study that has gone into the follicular expression of each and every character in Christopher Guest’s latest hilarious cultural corrective is something inspiring to behold." (She does acknowledge that this film is "more inside baseball" than Guest’s biggest hits.)

On the other side, Scott Foundas at LA Weekly
bemoans that the film "doesn’t risk ruffling any feathers, and that’s
exactly what’s wrong with it: It’s less a satirical bite at the hand
that feeds Guest than it is a toothless nibble, and it isn’t
particularly funny." He goes on to writes that many of the points will seem "five-minutes-ago to anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Extras or Entourage," and that "[t]his is the first of Guest’s movies that has felt calculated to me." Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader expresses a similar complaint, calling the film "far too mild to threaten any of [the actors’] industry standing," and warning that it "has its moments, but don’t expect many fresh insights." At the New York Times, Stephen Holden allows that "For Your Consideration" is "by far the broadest comedy Mr. Guest and company have made. Despite its merriment, it is also the flimsiest." At the New York Press, Armond White snipes that the film "never grasps contemporary Hollywood’s cultural decline: It smirks at how Hollywood divas connect their egos to money, their insecurities to fame, their work to prizes. Instead of shaming Hollywood vanity, For Your Consideration becomes part of the problem. Nothing’s sadder than useless satire."

That said, everyone adores Catherine O’Hara (even White, who sighs while proclaiming that she’ll never get an Oscar). Schwarzbaum insists that "laurels and swag ought to be handed over to O’Hara for her brilliant portrayal of aging-actresshood." At New York, David Edelstein writes that she "has never been so physically daring and emotionally open. You’ll laugh and cry as the talk of a nomination wakes her character up from a hoarse, withered stupor and turns her into something too foolishly hopeful to bear."

And then there are those who see something deeper in Guest’s films, like Michael Koresky at indieWIRE, who writes that

Catherine O’Hara…owns it from the first frame, in which she brushes her bundle of tawny hair while watching and trying to emulate Bette Davis in "Jezebel," to the last–a close-up as terrifying as it is laugh-out-loud. The narrative is hers; her pathos sting, her slapstick sticks, and her facial contortions tickle even as they break your heart.

And Stephanie Zacharek at Salon likes the film, but finds it lacking after "A Mighty Wind," which she thinks "may well turn out to be one of the most perfect (and the most moving) comedies of the decade."

Our own Matt Singer was mighty unimpressed by the film.

 

"We all have to eat a little shit from time to time."
+ "Fast Food Nation": A.O. Scott at the New York Times notes that Richard Linklater and Eric Schlosser have "undertaken a much deeper and more comprehensive critique of contemporary American life" in a glowing review of the film. Given its lukewarm reception at Cannes, Linklater’s fictionalized take on Schlosser’s nonfiction bestseller has pulled some pretty good reviews stateside. The LA Weekly‘s Scott Foundas writes that "if Linklater’s film is somewhat shapeless and rough around the edges, it is also, moment by moment, oddly elating, thanks to the intelligence of its script." He praises the film’s "humanism and understanding." Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader calls the film "angry and persuasive piece of agitprop." Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly likes that "the interwoven ensemble approach to storytelling works even though handled by someone other than Robert Altman," while at indieWIRE, Michael Koresky calls the film "terrific" and finds that its "sly, sad vision is about so much more than hamburgers: logos, prefabricated homes, frozen dinners, Nike, Chili’s, the Sunglass Hut, all with the stamp of anonymity."

David Edelstein at New York both thinks the film works and wishes it was better:

It gets the job done and then some, but it’s ugly and clumsily shaped, and every scene is there to rack up sociological points: When an illegal immigrant leans over a giant meat-grinder and you think, “There go his legs!” it would be surprising if there, indeed, did not go his legs.

And J. Hoberman at the Village Voice thinks that "[t]he movie is valiant, if curiously anemic. Its most galvanizing scene effectively undermines the argument: Bruce Willis has a lip-smacking cameo as the voice of cynical realism—a Mickey’s operative who mocks American ‘fraidy cats and shocks [Greg] Kinnear with the smirking assertion that ‘we all have to eat a little shit from time to time.’"

Our review is here; we’d have to agree with those who pointed out the Willis cameo — it’s without a doubt the best part of the film.

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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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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