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Football movies that are not for export.

Football movies that are not for export. (photo)

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Being a holiday and all, it’s a slow news day in the States, so let’s turn to the U.K. for fodder. In The Times Online, we find an absolutely fascinating profile of Nick Love, a moderately high-profile figure in the U.K. and pretty much absolutely unknown in the U.S. Love is the director of a new remake of Alan Clarke’s “The Firm,” a really superb and terrifying movie starring Gary Oldman; if you’ve never seen it, you should make an effort. “The Firm” is probably the only movie about hooliganism on the soccer turf to make a dent in American consciousness. (Well, and that one scene in “Eastern Promises,” I guess.) This is mostly due to the aforementioned Oldman performance; in a career of flawless ones, this may be his pièce de résistance. But the culture of football hooliganism mostly remains a global phenomenon absolutely unknown to soccer-indifferent Americans. Elijah Wood attempted to rectify this post-“Lord Of The Rings” by starring in the poorly received Green Street Hooligans.” The American public didn’t care one way or another.

Love, who is either extremely honest and naïve or more cynical than I can possibly imagine, makes for a good profile subject. He discusses his junkie youth bluntly (“I was a thieving c*** and a junkie”), how the intense friendships of his über-masculine protagonists verge on the homoerotic (“Me, personally, I don’t give a f*** any more about boundaries. I love my men friends and we cuddle when we see each other. I’m not gay, just liberated.”), and earnestly stresses how much “heart” his movies have (“I’ve got to keep pushing the heart […] There is a very limited shelf life for films that don’t have a beating heart to them.”). However, the trailer for his remake looks lousy, and I doubt there’s much to be expected from someone nakedly trafficking in “heart” and violence.

Still, I’m intrigued by the reminder of a whole subgenre of movies that are absolutely unmarketable in the U.S. Heck, we have hardly any significant sports movies of our own. Passionate American cinephiles tend to be, for one reason or another, resolutely indifferent toward sports movies; for a nation as sports obsessed as we are, it’s kind of remarkable how few movies have addressed either playing or fandom in the last couple of decades. Compare that with the kind of film-and-football fervor the British bring to their movies, like Ken Loach’s upcoming “Looking For Eric.” Here, it’ll open as a specialty item for the kind of person who cares about Ken Loach movies; in the U.K., it was pitched at a mass audience in love with soccer legend Eric Cantona. Which backfired for a populist reason. In the August issue of Sight & Sound, Charles Gant notes that the film “seems to have done particularly badly in cities with strong antipathy to Manchester United,” Cantona’s former team. Now, imagine an American filmgoer refusing to see “Big Fan” purely because they can’t stomach the New York Giants.

Props to Love for making movies that acknowledge a common spectatorship culture American movies can’t even begin to approach. We could be having much more fun with sports, really.

[Photo: “The Firm,” Vertigo Films, 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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