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Cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

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"C'mere. I wanna show you my night stick."
27 years after being pounced upon by critics and demonstrated against by thousands of protesters, William Friedkin‘s "Cruising" gets a standing ovation at Cannes, a deluxe DVD edition and a small theatrical re-release. The film, which stars Al Pacino as an undercover cop chasing down a serial killer in the New York leather scene, is also getting plenty reconsidered. "Cruising" is exactly the type of film that begs to be called an unfairly slighted masterpiece; controversial, derided and financially unsuccessful in its time, it stars an iconic actor in his prime (even if he stays silent on the subject of the film) and was directed by someone whose filmmaking reputation is critically appreciating. Still, most critics are finding it more cultural curiosity than lost masterpiece.

Andrew O’Hehir at Salon writes that "Viewed from almost three decades’ distance, ‘Cruising’ now looks like a masterly work of psychological disorientation, guilty only of a certain insensitivity — in putting the most extreme imaginable example of gay sexual subculture into a mainstream film — but innocent of any homophobic intention." Michael Koresky at indieWIRE disagrees, claiming that "’Cruising’ remains a work of unparalleled, unedifying discomfort," and offering this rebuke:

Some may let "Cruising" off the hook today–looking at it through a 2007 filter, its schlocky score, dated characterizations, and gritty ’70s New York time-capsule feel make it safely irrelevant. Yet it’s also far too easy for its filmmakers to now plead innocence, painting the 1980s as some dark unenlightened age during which they were stunned by the gay community’s organized protests. Recouping this one amounts to nothing more than taking part in a Friedkin vanity project. "Cruising" has been freshly dug up for a new generation of luckily clueless viewers; but, as we know, children shouldn’t play with dead things.

At the Village Voice, Nathan Lee tallies the protests and furor that met the production in 1979 (led by Voice writer Arthur Bell), concluding that "Cruising is a mediocre thriller but an amazing time capsule—a heady, horny flashback to the last gasp of full-blown sexual abandon, and easily the most graphic depiction of gay sex ever seen in a mainstream movie." Nathan Rabin at the Onion AV Club
agrees, adding that "In a strange way, Cruising has come full circle
and become a part of gay history, a creepily affecting time capsule of
a subculture the mainstream otherwise ignored completely," while Armond White at the New York Press sees doom and gloom: "Cruising is the antecedent of such hideous, self-loathing contemporary gay films as Mysterious Skin. Our worst fears have become a cultural average."

Matt Sussman and Jason Shamai at the San Francisco Bay Guardian offer two perspectives on the film’s staying power, while Johnny Ray Huston interviews Friedkin:

[T]he murders in Cruising are not solved. There’s more than one
killer. I say that right upfront now. I never said that when the film
first came out, and so people were confused and angry because the
murder that happened at 9 o’clock wasn’t solved at 12 o’clock.

Today, I just reveal the truth: there’s more than one killer. Most of
the murders are unsolved, just as the murders that I based this film on
were unsolved.

Paul Wilner at the LA Times excavates a quote from MPAA ratings chief Richard Heffner on first seeing the film: "What did I think of it? That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t have enough Xs to go around to rate this movie."

+ Beyond the Multiplex (Salon)
+ REVIEW | Return of the Repressed: William Friedkin’s "Cruising" (indieWIRE)
+ Gay Old Time (Village Voice)
+ My Year Of Flops Case File #63 Cruising (AV Club)
+ Stormy leather (SF Bay Guardian)
+ Who’s Cruising Who?: A Talk with William Friedkin (SF Bay Guardian)
+ ‘Cruising’ ventures into lion’s den (LA Times)

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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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