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SXSW 2009: The “It” Factor

SXSW 2009: The “It” Factor (photo)

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Though he left out the explanation from his film for fear that it might sound too New Agey, Alex Karpovsky spent part of the Q&A that followed his documentary/concert film “Trust Us, This is All Made Up,” talking about how his subjects, the Chicago-based improv duo of TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi, believe in a universal superconsciousness that they simply call the “It.” Jagodowski and Pasquesi weren’t on hand to explain the shared wavelength themselves, but the gist is that if they can simply get their collective egos out of the way, their one-hour set comes naturally, as if it unfurls in front of them. “It” is a big thing at this year’s SXSW festival, where many of the biggest highlights of the fest so far have been from laffers, big and small.

A few streets over at the Paramount, “I Love You, Man” premiered Friday, and the cast and crew reunited the next morning for a panel about the bromantic comedy that may have run slightly late, but festival coordinator Janet Pierson assured the crowd that it would “definitely be worth the wait.” Anything including director John Hamburg, Paul Rudd, Jaime Pressly, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones and Jon Favreau couldn’t disappoint — unless one counts when Favreau prompted Segel to tell a really dirty child-related joke from the set and Hamburg wouldn’t let him. (Segel promised it would appear on a future episode of “How I Met Your Mother.”) Still, the cast and crew were game for most anything: the panel started with a computer malfunction that left the sound off the film’s trailer, and so Rudd tried to improvise his own dialogue (Sample: When Andy Samberg gives J.K. Simmons a fist bump, Rudd exclaimed, “You were great in ‘Juno’!”) As moderator Mark Olsen of the L.A. Times took control of the situation, the panel settled in with questions about what Hamburg, who worked on this film for nearly a decade, thought about the fact that now that Judd Apatow has cornered the bromance movie, to which Segel leapt in with, “10 years ago, I would’ve been Judge Reinhold.”

03162009_ILoveYouManPanel.jpgAlthough Reinhold was nowhere to be seen, Favreau received a round of applause when he explained why he felt it was important for him to come to SXSW, comparing “I Love You, Man” to his own early comedies that needed more attention and cited the festival’s great track record of getting word of mouth out on the film via Twitter and web sites. He also got some of the biggest laughs of the panel when talking about his role in the film, as one half of a married couple who bicker constantly. When his onscreen better half Pressly reiterated her character’s gripes about him — having a jewfro and a tiny penis — Favreau responded, “It was a Daniel Day Lewis transformation, having a small penis,” before seriously adding that had he been in more films with ensembles like this one, he likely never would’ve become a director. Segel seconded that when he cited the many connections amongst the cast — Favreau and Hamburg had both directed episodes of Segel’s one-time sitcom “Undeclared” and Rashida Jones had appeared with Segel on “Freaks and Geeks.” As for the bromance onscreen, Rudd just said he liked how the script wasn’t mean-spirited and didn’t include typical movie alpha males, confessing, “I’m not even a beta male.”

03162009_SpacesuitJonesRock.jpgDuncan Jones’ “Moon” may not be a comedy, but with Jones and star Sam Rockwell attending Saturday night’s preview of the sci-fi film, there was no lack of entertainment value during the Q&A. Days before a screening at NASA where he said “I’ll be asking the questions and they’re giving me the answers,” Jones took to the stage in a yellow space-suit and introduced Sam Rockwell as “my entire cast.” Indeed (if you haven’t read about the film’s premiere at Sundance), Rockwell flies solo as an astronaut coming to terms with the idea he might not be coming home as planned and mentioned “Dead Ringers” and “Midnight Cowboy” as unlikely inspirations for when his character begins to talk to himself. The “Galaxy Quest” star was at a bit of a loss for words when asked by an audience member whether he had made anything about the fact that he tends to excel in movies about space, but there was a truly eerie moment when another asked about why the robot that is the astronaut’s only companion, voiced in the film by Kevin Spacey, wasn’t as villainous as onscreen predecessors like “2001: A Space Odyssey”‘s HAL 9000, the microphone made a strange, pulsating buzzing noise, a moment that left some in the audience fearing that the computers had finally taken over and others laughing hysterically, convinced that “It” happened.

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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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