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Odds: Thursday – The trailer park Marilyn Monroe of our time.

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Anna Nicole.
Anna Nicole Smith is dead. [Via AP.]

She was not, we’ll grant you, a feature player in the independent film scene, but she did have that smidgen of a role in "The Hudsucker Proxy." We’re unexpectedly saddened and also somewhat creeped out by her Monroe-esque death, which may be either a tragic coincidence or the end point of cosmic dedication to a lifestyle metaphor that wasn’t really working out to begin with.

Elsewhere: Walter Chaw at Film Freak Central takes his patented long knives to "Norbit," a film Greg Braxton and Robert W. Welkos at the LA Times suggest could hurt Eddie Murphy‘s Oscar chances:

"For Eddie to follow what he did with ‘Dreamgirls’ with this just doesn’t make sense," said Robert M. Entman, author of "The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America." "There’s no excuse for him to lend his prestige to something like this…. There has to be a point where African American stars of his stature have to take some responsibility for their actions and just say no."

Chaw writes:

Norbit isn’t farce–it’s a thoughtless, cancerous, viral, irresponsible pollution whose existence speaks ill of the society that produced it and of any society that would endorse or defend it. It’s not the end of civilization, just symptomatic of how easy it is to get laughs on the backs of the disenfranchised–and of how African-American actors get awards for singing and acting like criminals (or bright children and athletes) but generally get paid for acting the fool.

At Slate, Jim Lewis wins the contest of who dislikes "Factory Girl" the most:

The visual arts have traditionally been a refuge for marginal people: queers and misfits, fragile and disobedient people, the flamboyant and the terminally shy, some brilliant people, some shallow people, and quite a few con artists; and Warhol’s Factory was open to all of them. There’s a great deal more to art than that, of course; there’s hard work and scholarship and as much to think about as there is in poetry or novels or philosophy. But many of us first came to the art world because decades earlier Warhol had made it seem like a wonderful place to be, and besides that, a home. So Factory Girl isn’t just a bad movie, it’s a 90-minute insult to the culture it pretends to be capturing, and what I really want to say—as I would almost never say of anything I see or read or listen to—is that I hated it.

The New York Press‘ film issue has some decent features — we like Curt Holman‘s piece on legitimized fan cinema, and Adario Strange‘s piece on "Grindhouse":

Is there a place for the non-thinking, non-sensing movie? Of course. Every piece of art cannot be a didactic trip into social science. But it helps to know when you’re watching a real B-movie, rather than a blockbuster posing as a B-movie. What happens when artists use lies to lie? Nothing very special, and a special kind of nothing.

At the Wired‘s Table of Malcontents blog, Annalee Newitz offers a nice reading of "Pan’s Labyrinth" (with spoilers, so the fussy among you, beware!):

[O]ne might look at Ofelia’s fantasies and unnecessary death as commentary on the Marxist rebels. After all, their politics were ultimately as useless as Ofelia’s fantasies were: Franco was not deposed, and the leftist resistance was crushed. Did the Marxists die in vain? Were their hopes for justice in Spain just as fantastical as Ofelia’s hopes for peace among the fairies? I don’t think so. This film, with its vivid realization of the fairy world, wants us to believe in the power of fantasy to transform the world. Sometimes those fantasies ease the pain of an abused little girl, and sometimes they suggest a way to end the suffering of an entire people.

And at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Michelle Devereaux, Cheryl Eddy, Max Goldberg and Johnny Ray Huston offer an exquisite corpse-style review of "Inland Empire" that ends up being about as opaque as the film itself.

+ Anna Nicole Smith dies in Florida at 39 (AP)
+ NORBIT (2007) (Film Freak Central)

+ Face of a future Oscar winner?
(LA Times)

+ A Very Nasty Portrait of the Artist (Slate)
+ Pan’s Labyrinth – Can Fantasies Rescue Us from Fascism? (Wired)
+ Brutal fucking movie (SF Bay Guardian)

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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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