This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


“Ice Age 3” is the new “Titanic.”

“Ice Age 3” is the new “Titanic.” (photo)

Posted by on

Yesterday the internet had a freak-out about “Avatar Day,” James Cameron’s attempt to turn the entire country into Comic-Con this Friday. The film’s website was down for hours as it was flooded by eager fanboys trying to get tickets for the privilege of being able to see 16 minutes of footage from a movie that’s not out until December. This is the kind of mania and demand you can only create when you’re the self-professed King Of The World, pushing the boundaries of blockbuster technology with every feature.

Or you could just make a movie with a sloth that talks funny. In a deeply depressing article by Claudia Eller in today’s Los Angeles Times, even the director of “Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs” can’t explain why his is now the most popular animated film ever released abroad. In some countries, it’s the highest grossing American movie since “Titanic.” Say what you will about Cameron’s last movie, but lazy he wasn’t — for $200 million, he really did try to give you the last word in epic vulgarity (earning all those D.W. Griffith comparisons, in ways both good and bad). Meanwhile, “Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs” is $100 million worth of lame jokes and family togetherness.

A few attempted explanations: In Germany, credit can apparently be given to stand-up comic Otto Waalkes, who’s been famous since the ’70s and even plugs the character he voices, said Sid the sloth, within his own sets. (Fox’s man in Frankfurt straight-facedly describes the character as “anarchist” and “irreverent,” which suggests a rogue redub.) It’s popular in Latin America because it’s about family. But the best explanation comes from one John Durie, who works on European marketing: where movie tickets are expensive and/or people have less money for them, brand name recognition counts.

Think pieces about the decline of Hollywood originality have been de rigeur for as long as the sign’s been standing on the hill, but it’s also true that a decade ago, the franchise that could make it to three installments or more seemed like an ’80s hangover, something reserved for the cheapest of slasher films. The big ’90s blockbusters — like 1996’s indelibly dumb duo of “Independence Day” and “Twister” — may have been deeply unoriginal, but they were one-offs, with a new spectacle for every summer. Something’s flipped in the last few years: “Mission: Impossible” is going for number four, the “Spider-Man” movies hope to make it to six, and — somehow — “Saw VI” is waiting with death’s inevitability this October.

Personally, I blame the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy for proving audiences don’t mind being repeatedly exploited by the same characters even on an annual basis. The odd lesson here is that reliability is now worth more than spectacle, a new paradigm that makes all the old blockbuster rules irrelevant. And that goes double for any franchise that relies on overseas for the majority of its gross — which is all of them. In other words: “Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs” may be the most prophetic movie of 2009 in terms of what awaits us every summer. Unless, you know, James Cameron saves spectacle. We can only hope.

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

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

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

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.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More