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DID YOU READ

Tribeca Tale of the Tape: Mariah Carey vs. Dave Matthews

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By Stephen Saito

[For complete coverage of the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, check out IFC’s Tribeca page.]

In a festival that’s boasted such fine music docs as “Lou Reed’s Berlin” and “Playing for Change: Peace Through Music,” along with an appearance from Madonna to promote the non-musical Malawi doc “I Am Because We Are,” Tribeca has also turned out to be a place where musicians put down their instruments and pick up scripts. Though acting is nothing particularly new for either Mariah Carey or Dave Matthews, the two have taken on supporting roles in the low-budget films “Tennessee” and “Lake City,” respectively, both in this year’s line-up. Here’s a look at how they measured up.

04292008_tennessee.jpgMariah Carey, “Tennessee”

Albums sold: Over 160 million worldwide.

Previous acting experience: “Glitter,” the straight-to-DVD “WiseGirls”

Role believability: We’re inclined to believe that Carey’s early moments in the film, as a forlorn waitress longing for a better life, might’ve been inspired by the fact that shooting in New Mexico was probably not that exciting to Mimi. And once we see her sitting by the side of the road in front of the Route 66 Restaurant where she works with a notebook, humming, we know “Tennessee” isn’t going to be a real stretch for Carey as an actress. The same can’t be said for her character’s plunging neckline.

Stunt double justification: Mariah can’t drive…sort of. For a relatively slow speed chase away from her husband, who just happens to be a state trooper, Carey’s character Krystal manages some nifty wheel work to evade a fast-approaching tractor. Although Krystal gets away by hopping a train, Carey can’t escape the end credits, which reveal that she had a stunt driver.

Huh? Moment: There are a few, but if we have to choose, the gem is when Krystal overhears a guy who she just met telling someone on the phone how great she is — she’s really nice and boy, she should go to Nashville with him and his brother. He then asks her to greet the mystery person on the other end of the line. When she picks up the phone and realizes no one’s there, she continues the conversation. The runner up for this category is Carey’s delivery of the following phrases: “You don’t know your limits. You know what happens to people who don’t have limits? They cross the line.”

Interesting character quality: Teaches the guys how to drink tequila shots at an Oklahoma dive bar.

Does she sing? Well, yeah. In fact, the more cynical members of the audience might wonder if the only reason Carey signed on was to sing “Right to Dream,” a sort of “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” for those old enough to be in the latter category, but who’ve come of age since watching Britney Spears cover the same territory in “Crossroads.” Never mind that Carey’s coming out moment happens during a Nashville talent competition where her R & B stylings seem strangely out of place.

Scene partner from acting royalty: Ethan Peck, grandson of Gregory, plays the leukemia-stricken man who, along with his brother, invites Carey’s character to Nashville.

Hit song that needs reevaluation after “Tennessee”: “Shake It Off,” because really what else can Carey do?

Should she give up her day job? No, though we’ll give her some credit, since the three gentlemen sitting next to us during Sunday night’s screening of “Tennessee” came ready to laugh, complete with a flask of booze, which they managed to get to the bottom of without even letting out a chuckle.

04292008_lakecity.jpgDave Matthews, “Lake City”

Albums sold: Over 35 million worldwide.

Previous acting experience: “Because of Winn Dixie,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” that episode of “House”

Role believability: We would never have thought of Matthews as a badass drug dealer, but those nervous ticks he usually gets when hitting a high note pop up in his performance, making him an unpredictable and engaging villain. He also sports a surprisingly creepy beard.

Stunt double justification: Less than five minutes into the film, Matthews’ thug Red is interrogating Troy Garity’s Billy over some missing drugs, and unwisely allows Billy a drink and a smoke. Alas, Billy swished his drink rather than swallowed, creating a blowtorch effect when Red offers him a light and Billy spits the alcohol in his face. The action in the scene in seamless, but we’re assuming Matthews’ credited stunt double Chris Moore was the one who took the heat.

Huh? Moment: In the opening credits, Matthews is credited as “David,” which may be an attempt to separate his acting career from his music career. We’ll gladly call him whatever he’d like as long as he doesn’t kick our ass, and we’ll even apologize for mocking that Tribe of Heaven album.

Interesting character quality: Has a hard time getting out of bed. Red makes a point of yelling repeatedly how he just got out of bed before answering a knock on the door to his hotel room.

Does he sing? No, and his character is not a man with a song in his heart, but rather a gun stuffed down the back of his pants.

Scene partner from acting royalty: Troy Garity, son of Jane Fonda (and Tom Hayden), plays a man who returns home with a dangerous past, which includes Matthews’ drug dealer.

Hit song that needs reevaluation after “Lake City”: “What Would You Say?” now suddenly seems like less of a come on than a terse directive.

Should he give up his day job? Probably not, but while Matthews is likely never going to make leading man, “Lake City” demonstrates that his quirks might allow for a nice career as a character actor in supporting roles.

[Photos: Ethan Peck and Mariah Carey in “Tennessee,” Lee Daniels Entertainment, 2008; Dave Matthews and Troy Garity in “Lake City,” Mark Johnson Productions, 2008]

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Final Countdown

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 IFC.com

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Rev Up

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.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…