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Like Mike?

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"Hey-hey! Ho-ho! Private health care is sick-o!"
Whenever we rewatch "Roger and Me" or an episode of "TV Nation" or, in general, see Michael Moore deliver a well-timed smackdown to someone who seems deserving, we feel warm and benevolent toward the Michigan gadfly. It’s when he starts in with serious promotion of a new film that our good will starts to crumble. There’s no question that Moore has changed the face of documentary film and raised awareness of the genre immeasurably, and part of how he’s managed that is his cannily audacious way with publicity and his immediately recognizable public persona — but goddamn, do we hate the grandstanding. 

Yesterday, Moore held a "Sicko"-inspired rally on the steps of California’s State Capitol building in Sacramento with the backing of 1,000 bescrubbed, chanting members of the
California Nurses Association.
Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle quotes:

"I always set out to make a movie that people will enjoy, have a good time watching on Friday night," Moore told The Chronicle on Tuesday. "I’m asking for a little something here. I’m going to provide the entertainment, but I’m hoping that a certain percentage of the audience will be thinking about the issues that I raised, and a certain percentage of them will go out and do something."

All admirable, practical-minded and, for once, nonpartisan, which Moore himself acknowledges, while pointing out the even ol’ Roger Friedman at Fox News liked the film. So why, the day before, did Moore have to saddle up with Harvey Weinstein and attorney David Boies for a press conference to dramatically cry harassment because of the Treasury Department’s investigation of the in-film trip to Cuba? From Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter:

"In my 25 years in the movie business I’ve never seen anything like this, where the government has tried to impact a movie like ‘Sicko,’ " Weinstein said. Moore added that a separate negative of the film, including the 15 minutes of Cuban footage, was sent to Canada in case the government attempts to seize it "like they could seize 10,000 Cuban cigars."

Health care issues haven’t quite the allure of inflammatory investigations of the presidential administration, which explains why Weinstein would want such a stunt. But Moore, it seems, would want anything but to play the aggrieved political martyr, particularly for such a relatively paltry issue —  the dubious violation of an old trade embargo isn’t much of a rallying point. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was meant to enrage and provoke a receptive audience into actually going out to vote; if "Sicko" is supposed to inform and provoke beyond the usual preaching to the choir, you’d think Moore would keep his hot button self out of the way this time around (as he reportedly does for large chunks of the film) and let the issue speak for itself.

The NY Post has a Q&A from Cannes that centers on details of the Cuba trip. At New York, Logan Hill uncovers the secret of the director’s weight loss:

How did you take [the weight] off?
Actually, Roger Ebert told me about this book called the Pritikin diet. In three months, I lost 30 pounds.

At Newsweek, Tony Dokoupil looks into another segment of the film, in which Moore, anonymously at the time, donates $12,000 to the founder of anti-Moore site, Jim Kenefick, after he posts a plea for help paying the premiums  on his wife’s health insurance.

If you had known it was Michael Moore giving you the money, would you have accepted it?
I think so. It’s obviously not a problem for him that Moorewatch exists, which is kind of commendable if you think about it. He seemed genuinely interested in keeping us online. I can handle the heat generated by being used in the movie as some kind of "gotcha" moment, and in the end, that $12,000 made our lives a little easier. In the end it reduced the stress on my wife, and taking away even one of her worries—in this case it made it possible for us to pay off everything faster than we’d planned—is worth a lot. Besides, Mike’s not the devil or anything. It’s not like Joe Stalin made me an offer! He’s a guy who sees value in us being out there, analyzing his work and asking questions.

Update: Ed Pilkington at the Guardian runs down some of the cases.

+ Moore lobbies Sacramento for healing (SF Chronicle)
+ Moore, distrib lash out at gov’t ‘Sicko’ probe (Hollywood Reporter)
+ One-on-One at Cannes with ‘Sicko’ Director Michael Moore (NY Post)
+ Medicine Man: Michael Moore (New York)
+ Poor No Moore (Newsweek)
+ A state of ill health (Guardian)

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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

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.


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…


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.


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).


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.


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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