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Observations on the passing of Charlton Heston, movie star.

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04072008_charltonheston.jpgCharlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing ‘Ben-Hur’ and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid and other heroic figures in movie epics of the ’50s and ’60s, has died. He was 84.”

“Few films thrilled me — or scared me — as much as ‘Soylent Green,’ in which his character realizes that the stuff keeping the human race alive is made from other human beings: ‘Soylent Green is people!’ By then, he had played Moses and saved an entire people from destruction. Things didn’t look good in ‘Soylent Green,’ but somehow, I thought, surely Charlton Heston could save us.”
       —Manohla Dargis at the New York Times

“[T]here was something non-threatening, asexual even, to Heston’s beefcakeiness: While he may have clutched Sophia Loren, Senta Berger, Janet Leigh and other babes of the era to his not-inconsiderable bosom, it never got really icky. Indeed, he seemed most comfortable expressing his sensual side by slashing away at Moorish invaders or urging his horses to ever-greater exertions on the race track.”
       —James Adams at the Globe and Mail

“Where [Burt] Lancaster and [Kurt] Douglas were kinetic, bursting with restlessness, Heston was essentially static — not so much statuesque as a statue in some audio-animatronic hall of Heroes. He stood and he spoke. That’s why screenwriters loved him as much as movie audiences did. He was a hero to them all.”
       —Richard Corliss at Time

“Heston succeeded at playing these courageous, imposing, appalled, beleaguered, almost classically handsome men (too much forehead, too many teeth) by overplaying them. This manly man’s secret weapon was his histrionics — it was camp. Even at his most ridiculous, Heston was hard to resist.”
       —Wesley Morris at the Boston Globe

“Charlton Heston’s defining performance, at least for members of my generation (whether most of us realize it or not), probably came in Wayne’s World 2. He played a bit part, listed in the credits as ‘Good Actor,’ brought on in a gimmick to replace a man giving Wayne directions at a gas station whom Wayne complains isn’t a good actor. Heston delivers the man’s lines again, but does so with such pathos, such richness, that Wayne’s mugging and crying in front of the camera almost seems genuine — and Heston’s Golden Hollywood baritone overacting fits the role perfectly.”
       —Alex Remington at the Huffington Post

“The subject of the single most notorious pronouncement in the history of film criticism — Michel Mourlet’s proclamation that ‘Charlton Heston is an axiom of the cinema’ — Heston made himself easy to dismiss in his later years with his own notorious pronouncements — ‘I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands’ — on behalf of the NRA. Yet I never loved him more than when he got up and walked out on a duplicitous, condescending Michael Moore in ‘Bowling for Columbine.'”
       —Dave Kehr at

“It’s funny–a few years back, one could really surprise people by pulling out that Michel Mourlet bit about Heston being an ‘axiom of cinema;’ now, thanks to the internet, almost everyone knows it. What we ought to acknowledge on his passing today is that Mourlet’s pronouncement, dismissed as almost pathological hyperbole at the time and for some time after, was accurate.”
       —Glenn Kenny at Premiere

[Photo: Heston in “Ben-Hur,” MGM, 1959]

+ Charlton Heston Dead at 84 (AP)
+ The Man Who Touched Evil and Saved the World (NY Times)
+ Charlton Heston: a hero for his time (Globe and Mail)
+ Appreciation: Charlton Heston (Time)
+ Charlton Heston 1924-2008 (Boston Globe)
+ Rest in Peace, Charlton Heston (Huffington Post)
+ Charlton Heston 1924-2008 (
+ Charlton Heston (Premiere)

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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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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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