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Drinking the milkshake.

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"There are times when I I look at people and I see nothing worth liking."
Now that it’s opening in wider release, we wanted to take a look at the year’s more difficult most accoladed film, or, specifically, its conclusion. When we were watching "There Will Be Blood," we couldn’t keep our mind off how we’d write about it — something we’ve yet to be able to do — because it’s so rich and deranged and resistant to distillation into text. There have been plenty of excellent points made about the film, but nothing yet that’s quite encapsulated our own feelings toward it. The ending, which is either ridiculous or brilliant, but certainly crazy, is an easy point of focus — even those who loved the film are divided — so here’s a look at the range of critical opinion on it:

David Edelstein, New York:
There is blood, and when it comes it’s shocking and
absurd—more grotesque than the end of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time
in America, in which the corrupted businessman ends up squashed in the
back of a garbage truck. It’s Punch-and-Judy time in a private bowling
alley, an ignominious finish to an age-old struggle.

Reportedly, some preview audiences laughed derisively at the ending.
I was agog. The movie doesn’t need a somber finale—it needs something
go-for-broke batshit crazy as a counterpoint to the early, mythic
images of tall, gushing wells.

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times:
It has scenes of terror and poignancy, scenes of ruthless chicanery,
scenes awesome for their scope, moments echoing with whispers and an
ending that in some peculiar way this material demands, because it
could not conclude on an appropriate note — there has been nothing
appropriate about it. Those who hate the ending, and there may be many,
might be asked to dictate a different one. Something bittersweet,
perhaps? Grandly tragic? Only madness can supply a termination for this

J. Hoberman, Village Voice:
overturn the narrative: The last 20 minutes are as shocking in their
way as the plague that rains from the sky in Magnolia’s finale. By the
time the closing words "There Will Be Blood" appear (with a burst of
Brahms) inscribed in heavy gothic letters on the screen, Anderson’s
movie has come to seem an Old Testament story of cosmic comeuppance and
filicidal madness—American history glimpsed through the smoke and fire
that the lightning left behind.

Richard Schickel, Time:
It is the genius (and I use that word advisedly) of Daniel Day-Lewis’s
performance to slowly, patiently, show the madness replacing his former
rationalism, to prepare us for the film’s astonishing ending, an ending
one dare not reveal, but that contains what I — resistant as I am to
superlatives — consider to be the most explosive and unforgettable 10
or 15 minutes of screen acting I have ever witnessed.

Scott Foundas, LA Weekly:
As for those who have claimed that the film goes “over the top” in its
final act, set in 1927, it strikes me that the film ends in the way
that it must. Like most stories of kingly men who have vanquished all
challengers to the throne, it culminates in madness.

David Denby, New Yorker:
movie becomes an increasingly violent (and comical) struggle in which
each man humiliates the other, leading to the murderous final scene,
which gushes as far over the top as one of Daniel’s wells. The scene is
a mistake, but I think I know why it happened. Anderson started out as
an independent filmmaker, with “Hard Eight” (1996) and “Boogie Nights”
(1997). In “Blood,” he has taken on central American themes and
established a style of prodigious grandeur. Yet some part of him must
have rebelled against canonization. The last scene is a blast of
defiance—or perhaps of despair. But, like almost everything else in the
movie, it’s astonishing.

Dana Stevens, Slate:
The story
is anchored by two mirror-image scenes of humiliation—Plainview’s takes
place in the church, Eli’s in a bowling alley—that are simultaneously
harrowing and hilarious. But the bowling-alley showdown, which is also
the last scene of the movie, feels like the director’s one misstep.
It’s so broad, so shamelessly over-the-top, that the movie shifts from
stark Oedipal drama to something like Grand Guignol. On a second
viewing, the ending still bothered me, but a friend made a passionate
case for it over drinks afterward. If nothing else, it’s a choice that
will inspire great conversations.

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon:
That scene has so much dignity that it dwarfs the flashier scenes —
particularly the overplayed, near-screwball ending — that come later.

Armond White, New York Press:
The shabby set-up of Plainview and Eli’s ultimate confrontation in a
bowling alley is so confusing and slapdash that their symbolic
clash—where one forces the other to confess his shallowness and deny
his beliefs—comes across as just secular-progressive prejudice and
loopy, unconvincing drama.

Matt Zoller Seitz, The House Next Door:
"There Will Be Blood" is four-fifths of a near-masterpiece, but that
final section in Daniel’s mansion devolves into a guided tour of
Anderson’s DVD collection. Look: "Giant"! Over there: "The Shining"!
Watch out, "Citizen Kane" coming through! And the climactic tete-a-tete
evokes the worst of "Magnolia" — the Oscar clip shouting and weeping
and fighting, the graduate theater workshop blocking… Daniel Day
Lewis’ highly stylized performance is exquisitely modulated up until
that final stretch, at which point it turns into a cross between John
Huston’s Noah Cross and Popeye the Sailor Man.

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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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