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DID YOU READ

Perverseness, DVDs, TV, docs.

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Well, there's other sports besides hunting, ya'know!
More year-end:

At the New York Press, the professionally pugnacious Armond White unveils his long-awaited Best Of list…sort of. It’s a "Better-than list," intended to inform the masses of how terribly neglected, practically ignored films like "A Prairie Home Companion" should be championed above over-hyped juggernauts like "Duck Season" and Hou Hsiao Hsien‘s "Three Times." What we particularly like about this list is that it isn’t actually meant for the reading public at all — it’s written entirely to snark at other critics, abandoning with arms flung giddily overhead any idea that a year-end list might actually encourage people to look up a film they missed. Not that we don’t always enjoy to some agree Mr. White’s distinctive stylings, but this list is a little heavy on the wild picks even for us. And since when does calling something a "sci-fi feature" count as a dismissal?

DVD Beaver unleashes a hefty collection of "DVD of the Year" top tens. The Onion AV Club takes a different approach, offering instead each staff member’s selection of the best DVD they watched this year.

A sentiment expressed by some last year and more this year: TV is winning. Stephen King, writing in Entertainment Weekly, prefaces his best-of list with the following caveat:

[M]y own moviegoing has taken a drastic plunge since last we met for this particular year-end list: just 45 movies from Dec. 7, 2005, to about that same date in ’06. Many were great, but not one had the cumulative effect of 13 back-to-back-to-back Prison Break episodes. The PB story may spend a lot of time in Gooney-Bird Land, but the cumulative effect is riveting…like watching a Sam Peckinpah maxiseries.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian‘s list round-up (which includes Bong Joon-ho‘s top eight — no time for ten, or just no inclination?) finds "Brick" writer-director Rian Johnson making similar declarations:

I resisted for a long while. Even as the rising tide of TiVo-wielding friends and coworkers lapped at my doorstep, I stiff-armed them with the dismissive battle cry "I don’t really watch TV." I’m not sure what happened in the past year, but the levee has broken. Big-time. I have no shame. I pimp Lost like no one’s business. I spread box sets of 24 like some modern-day Johnny Appleseed. The scales have fallen from my eyes: any given episode of South Park contains more hilarious and incisive satire than American cinema has offered in decades.

Jonny Leahan noted at indieWIRE a week ago that this may have been a great year, critically, for docs, many of which focused on music or politics or both, but that "high quality and critical praise did not necessarily translate into huge box office numbers." At the New York Times, Charles Lyons observes that the Oscar doc shortlist is dominated by serious themes:

“This is the year of the angry documentary, of the ‘Take back America’ documentary,” Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films, said in a telephone interview. “The theatrical documentary,” she added, “has replaced the television documentary in terms of talking back to the administration. That’s one of the only places where one can do it.”

Back at indieWIRE, Thom Powers of the Toronto International Film Festival suggests that this year’s weight of docs to be reckoned with signals a need to change the way we approach non-fiction film:

Manohla Dargis, normally astute, made this sweeping generalization in her year end round-up: "This year’s crop of nonfiction titles included PowerPoint presentations, cut-and-paste news reports and the usual exercises in dithering solipsism, precious few of which were well considered, shot and edited." She singles out "Our Daily Bread" as "a vivid reminder that aesthetics are part of the documentary ethos, not added value."

But "Our Daily Bread" was hardly alone. The more notable trend in 2006 is how many docs raised the level of craft and aesthetics: ‘Iraq in Fragments’; ‘The Bridge’; ‘Rank’; ‘Beauty Academy of Kabul’. Not to mention fall festival titles, squeezing into 2006 award consideration, such as ‘Blindsight’ and ‘Kurt Cobain About a Son’. Not to mention earlier festival titles such as ‘Black Sun’ or ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ that remain undistributed.

At the Village Voice, J. Hoberman writes that

We may be living in a national Green Zone, but for all the pious post–9-11 bushwa about kinder, gentler, more civil modes of entertainment, last year’s movies weren’t buying it. George Bush hasn’t directly impinged on most American lives, but you didn’t have to look too hard to find a most Baghdadian measure of blood and chaos at the multiplex.

+ The Better-Than List (NY Press)
+ DVD of the Year 2006 (DVD Beaver)
+ The Best DVD I Watched This Year Was… (AV Club)
+ 2006: My Top 10 Movies (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Top 10s, rants, and raves (SF Bay Guardian)
+ Looking Back at ’06: Music and Politics Dominate Documentaries (indieWIRE)
+ Controversy Rules Oscar Contenders (NY Times)
+ Wrapping ’06 and Looking Ahead at ’07: The Lists, The Notable Moments, and the Resolutions (indieWIRE)
+ V For Violence
(Village Voice)

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…