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Quentin Tarantino makes war fun again.

Quentin Tarantino makes war fun again. (photo)

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Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” comes out next Friday, but the deluge of negative advance press seems to indicate we should be bored already. Quentin! Always with the talking and the self-indulgence and the references. He doesn’t make it easy on himself; unlike Wes Anderson, who went from bad-haircut-geek to styled-out, blazer-wearing fashion template in under a decade, Tarantino hasn’t learned anything about dealing with the press over his career. He’s still prone to telling people what a great writer he is, which never helps. Because “Basterds” has been gestating and promised for an eternity (remember when Adam Sandler was going to star?), it’s supposed to be the apotheosis of everything Tarantino’s been building to, so really, no matter how it turned out, people were going to be disappointed.

The most intriguing of this week’s blitz of Tarantino interviews comes from Kevin Maher at the Times Online, who straight-up asks Tarantino how he feels about the backlash. Tarantino veers from justifiably paranoid (the press at Cannes “said, ‘F*** this guy’ “) to thoughtful genre critic. Maher wonders if Tarantino’s “pop irreverence” might not seem “vapid” next to the traditional WWII film. Tarantino’s not having it: “I’m reacting against that attitude, this complete victimisation of the war with the violin music and the anti-war aspect to everything. These self-serious movies have been the deal for the past 20 years, whereas back in the 1940s, when the f***ing war was going on, it wasn’t sacrilegious to make a war movie that dared to be entertaining.”

Interesting that Tarantino conflates “self-serious” and “anti-war”; “The Dirty Dozen” isn’t the former, but it sure is the latter. (It’s also a little weird that Tarantino can’t seem to acknowledge that movies made during the war were entertaining because they were propaganda, but whatever.) In the same paper, Natalie Haynes loves the movie for making war fun again. “For a war film to be memorable it needs to capture the thrill of war,” she declares. “Plenty of us may disapprove of that very idea, but if war weren’t thrilling, young men with plenty of other options, such as Prince Harry, wouldn’t sign up for active service.” The editorial’s inane, but she does have a point, when cataloging the list of bad recent Iraq movies as what Tarantino’s not doing: He not allegorizing Iraq, he’s tackling genre imagery. He’s entirely capable of ignoring context.

Maybe it’s that evasion of “responsible” war filmmaking that seems to annoy people. Critics took to Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” which was entertaining and in deliberately bad taste while also being clear with its point about the ambiguities of wartime collaborators. Tarantino’s detractors see him as doing the opposite, loving the tropes and nothing else. One thing he’s certainly right about: there’s 60+ years of WWII imagery to play with, and it’s just as much grist to his mill as blaxploitation or kung-fu. And if that means he comes off as an irresponsible warmonger, well, he’s not making anti-Iraq movies; he’s in Quentin-land, but that doesn’t mean he’s vapid. He’s just not interested in the present.

[Photo: “Inglourious Basterds,” 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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