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Marketing Mel.

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"If you've ever wanted to see a jaguar bite off a man's face, this is your movie."
In the New York Times, Sharon Waxman writes that as some early strong reviews of "Apocalypto" trickle in, Oscar consideration for the film "poses a problem for Hollywood insiders, many of whom would prefer to ignore Mr. Gibson entirely, despite his formal apology and a trip to rehab."

[C]an the 5,830 voting members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences — an organization that like broader Hollywood, includes many people who are Jewish — ignore a film that may well be considered by critics to be among the best of the year?

Murray Weissman, who has worked on Oscar campaigns for many years and is working for the Weinstein Company on its hopefuls this year, said some voters would not see the film on principle.

“There is still a lot of resentment out there among the Academy members, certainly the Jewish group of them, over the incident,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are very unforgiving. I have run into some who say they will not see any more Mel Gibson movies.”

At the Guardian, Dan Glaister notes that:

Gibson and his advisers have chosen to mimic many of the lessons of The Passion in selling the new film, which is set against the disintegration of the Mayan empire in what is today Guatemala. While The Passion fostered audiences and built word of mouth support among Christian groups, the effort for Apocalypto has focused on forging ties with Native American and Latino groups.

"Dear Friends," began a letter from Gibson to members of the Los Angeles Latino Business Association, "Recently Latino leaders around the country were kind enough to attend a special screening of my new movie, Apocalypto. I am happy to say that their response was overwhelmingly positive."

But in the rush to reach a young Latino audience, it seems to have escaped the film’s makers that contemporary Guatemala has been plagued by racism directed against indigenous peoples.

Hyuck. We haven’t seen "Apocalypto" yet, but nothing we’ve read about it so far has given us any sense that it’s a serious Oscar contender. Many early remarks have instead centered on how splatter-happy the film is — Wesley Morris at the Boston Globe writes that "Having seen it, the word Oscar never crossed my mind; on several occasions, though, ‘eeewww’ did. It’s like ‘Aguirre Wrath of God’ with gore and quicker chase sequences." David Germain, in the AP review, declares that "Mel Gibson is master of the epic snuff film":

Was pre-Columbian Mayan society a savage place? Sure, at times.

Does Gibson need to repeatedly show us lopped-off heads bouncing like coconuts down the towering stairs of a pyramid to prove it? Not so much.

He also writes that "[i]f you’ve ever wanted to see a jaguar bite off a man’s face, this is your movie" — take the kiddies! We do wonder what, years from now, when the memories of rampant drunken anti-Semitism and "sugar tits" have faded, people will make of the directorial career of Mr. Gibson. Richard Schickel at Time writes that "Gibson is a primitive all right, but so were Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith, and somehow we survived their idiocies." Ouch…and yet this implies that Gibson’s films will in fact survive us, "The Passion" at the very least as a cultural landmark, "Braveheart" as some strange male equivalent of a chick flick. For us, though, Mel will always be Benjamin Martin, with his tricorn hat, running in slow motion and waving a fledgling American flag to rally the troops against the unreasonably evil English, before lowering that same flag and using it to gore a colonel’s horse. For America, folks. For America.

+ Praise for Gibson Film, Quandary for Oscar Voters (NY Times)
+ Apocalypto now: Gibson’s next big gamble (Guardian)
+ Quite sorry, come see my movie! (Boston Globe)
+ Review: Violent excess mars `Apocalypto’ (AP)
+ The Maya Are Us (Time)

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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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