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2006 Top Ten: Aaron Hillis

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By Aaron Hillis

IFC News

[Photo: “Inland Empire,” 518 Media Inc/Absurda]

1. Inland Empire

2. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

3. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

4. Children of Men

5. Old Joy

6. Battle in Heaven

7. 49 Up

8. The Fountain

9. The Case of the Grinning Cat

10. Edmond

Compiling year-end lists is meant to be for kicks, a fun way to let film journalists unwind, take temperature readings on their tastes, help consumers make informed decisions about what’s worth their hard-earned dough and in the process — hopefully — enlighten readers to overlooked works that deserve love. By no means do these lists substantiate quality, much like all those boring-ass award shows, so everyone needs to chill out and stop taking them so seriously. As the number of reviewers grows exponentially (which is not meant to fuel the inane “print vs. online critics” rift I involuntarily straddle), a scary new trend has emerged: the film critic as rock star (mind you, more They Might Be Giants dorky than LCD Soundsystem hip), calculated showboaters who flex their subjective worth as more important than cinema itself. There’s no point naming egos, nor is it hard to spot the poseurs, but it surely does a disservice to include arcane or contrarian choices simply for the sake of having an “original” outlook. This, in part, is my defense of “The Fountain,” the most ambitious film to reach multiplexes this year, a sobering romance that probably seems ridiculous to so many because it offers no emotional cushion of humor or irony as yoga master Hugh Jackman zooms around inside a cosmic soap bubble in the name of passion. Maybe it’s because I got married this year that I was so sensitive to its themes (which was also thrown in my face for why I was largely disappointed with “Climates”), but at least I’m willing to own an unpopular opinion without trying to play politics. Regardless of how incomprehensible or ugly so many people have pondered David Lynch’s consumer-grade DV opus to be, no other film in 2006 has twisted up in my brain and refused to leave like “Inland Empire,” which I’ve deemed the most artful, uncompromised, challenging film of the year.

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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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