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Making the tough picks.

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"Oh, she's wonderful."
We’re not going to keep reporting on the many critics circle awards that will continue to roll out as the year ends, but did want to salute the fact that the San Francisco Film Critics Circle has gone against the grain and picked "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" for best film of the year. Not a designation we’d go with, but serious points for boldness.

Over at Time, where the two Richards have unveiled their best of lists, Richard Corliss has taken some time to hum an off-key rendition of what’s become a familiar refrain:

I sprinted down the corridors of TIME this afternoon, eager to spread the news of the New York Film Critics Circle voting for the year’s best films. The winner, in the film, director, screenplay and supporting actor categories? The Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, which three different people told me they’d been meaning to see. The runner-up, with wins for best actor and cinematographer? There Will Be Blood, an audience-punishing epic that doesn’t open for another two weeks…. By the time I’d got back to my office I had realized that we critics may give these awards to the winners, but we give them for ourselves. In fact, we’re essentially passing notes to one another, admiring our connoisseurship at the risk of ignoring the vast audience that sees movies and the smaller one that reads us.

Corliss’ process goes something like this: critics awards have nothing to do with the relative popularity of certain films, but nevertheless serve as major factors in determining which films get nominated for Oscars, which is why frightfully obscure titles from filmmakers like these alleged "Coen brothers" will be mispronounced at the nomination announcements on January 22nd, chasing away most potential viewers: "Moviegoers who are TV viewers don’t want horse races; they want coronations — validations that somebody in Hollywood is ready to honor the movies they love." We do appreciate that Mr. Corliss is so troubled by award show ratings that he’s questioning the legitimacy of his profession, but doesn’t the ratings problem belong to the Academy, not the critics out there drawing attention to whichever film they honestly feel is the highlight of the year? Critics should and will like what they like, and we can’t imagine that even major fans of this year’s top blockbusters, which would be "Spider-Man 3," "Shrek the Third," "The Transformers," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," would insist they’re Oscar-worthy. As the years become more crammed with ever more releases, there are going to be more films the casual moviegoer hasn’t heard of. It doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of attention or praise.

Anyway, this year’s Rex Reed moment comes from Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, who cites "an anonymous New York Film Critics Circle source" as saying:

Rex Reed made a vomiting noise the first time there was a vote for Francis Coppola’s Youth Without Youth, which prompted NYFCC chief Stephen Whitty to quip, ‘And a special award to Rex for sitting through it.’ N.Y. Press critic Armond White gave a passionate speech arguing against the proposed Lifetime Achievement Award for director Sidney Lumet (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) on the grounds that Lumet sucks and always has, but that’s about it. Oh, and there was a good protest vote for Best Actress with Bianca the doll (from Lars and the Real Girl) being pushed over Julie Christie.

+ Do Film Critics Know Anything? (Time)
+ An anonymous New York Film Critics Circle source (Hollywood Elsewhere)

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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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