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Monster movie.

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"It's a terrible thing."
We’ve never believed in the idea of a good taste waiting period for pop culture’s consumption of tragedy, but had to wince at "Cloverfield"’s (undeniable, c’mon now) 9/11 references — that imagery might be fair game, but it hurts to see it so callously used for little purpose beyond the shock value of that shiver of recognition. Glenn Kenny at the LA Times is more eloquent on the subject, writing that "it’s worth asking whether this movie actually has any social consciousness to divest. Depending on how you want to look at it, the makers of the film are either really good at doing their homework, or they’re just crass fear-mongers and tragedy-exploiters."

"Anyone who is upset about ‘Cloverfield’ must have had the same
reaction to the recent ‘Spider-Man’ films or ‘I Am Legend’ or the ‘King
Kong’ remake," Abrams told Time magazine when asked whether the film’s
destruction of New York hit too close to home.

the one hand Abrams is absolutely correct — Manhattan’s come in for a
fair amount of cinematic damage since Sept. 11 (although in the case of
the "King Kong" remake, it’s Manhattan of the 1930s). On the other
hand, he’s being a bit disingenuous, since "Cloverfield" also happens
to be the first sci-fi monster movie for which video footage of Sept.
11 could have served as a teaser trailer.

Ray Pride, on the same subject at Newcity Chicago, argues that you can ascribe unwitting social commentary to the film, namely "the unsettling underlying implication is that the makers, however unintentionally, favor the dark forces."

In the depiction of an apocalypse that draws much of its strength from extensive appropriation of familiar iconography of that crisp, clear morning, "Cloverfield" seems to suggest Americans are incompetent, superficial, vain, drunken, promiscuous, soulless, self-regarding fools who deserve painful death. Somehow, this perspective has been heard in other quarters since the turn of the century, and to see this angle here is all the worse if the filmmakers don’t realize the indigestible impact of their monster movie. This is shallow appropriation, not the making of metaphor.

We’re guessing that this is a point of discussion that will be revisited plenty of times in the months to come — take a gander at this leaked trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s "The Happening" over at Twitch while it lasts.

+ ‘Cloverfield’ has no conscience to lose (LA Times)
+ The Abercrombie Blair Fitch Project (Newcity Chicago)
+ Trailer: "The Happening" (Twitch)

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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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