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“Halloween II” is, theoretically, awesome.

“Halloween II” is, theoretically, awesome. (photo)

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I love Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects.” I think it’s one of the 30 best movies of the decade. But, according to my critic peers, that can’t possibly be the case, because we’re all horrific snobs — or so the studios think. Dan Kois at New York is done with what he calls “the Summer of Film-Critic Irrelevance.” Since neither of today’s two major genre releases, “The Final Destination” or “Halloween II,” is getting screened for critics — despite the fact that critics might actually like them — he’s more worked up about this than you might expect.

Back in the day, B-movies wormed their way into importance, turning noir from pulp entertainment into an essential part of film-student study. Every generation of critics fights over what should become part of the canon (check out this discussion at Dave Kehr’s website). Every time it seems the essential viewing curriculum is nailed down, someone comes along to disrupt it.

These days, studios treat critics as a hostile herd who’ll pull down anything remotely populist; genre films tend to get screened for the fanboy crowd alone. And it’s true that your Rex Reeds of the world want nothing more than perfectly configured Oscar-bait. But any critics worth his or her salt (increasingly the only ones standing) isn’t going to automatically look down on genre or rubber-stamp the obvious award-season whores.

I understand why studios want to do things like hand-pick who they screened “G.I. Joe” for; as far as I’ve heard, it’s terrible. But if we’re being told critics make no real difference to how a movie does, why conceal things at all? When a Rob Zombie comes along — a guy who references Otto Preminger in his movies and seems not to care if anyone understands his aesthetic — why not let people in on the increasingly curtailed discussion?

A guy like Zombie, who gives every indication of being a film geek on the right side of the film illiteracy battles, a clearly talented director who only wishes he was a grindhouse hack, doesn’t need to be hidden from critics. The studio assumption that genre = critical dismissal is wrong. Just because blockbusters have been ending up on the chopping block doesn’t mean that relative bargain basement fare is also going to. “Halloween II” is getting dismissed by the studio who made it; Rob Zombie is — really — an artist. Slasher movies are low stakes, and most people will come to them given effective advertising. Why delay giving his movies over to critics? Someday, when we’re around “Saw XIII,” they’ll be the only ones who care.

[Photo: “Halloween II,” Weinstein Co., 2009]

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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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