This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Rob Lowe, keeper of the ’80s grail.

Rob Lowe, keeper of the ’80s grail. (photo)

Posted by on

Hell hath no fury like a British journalist scorned. Even by the notoriously scathing standards of UK interview profiles, Elizabeth Day’s take on Rob Lowe is a pretty stiff read. The first sentence: “Rob Lowe announces his presence as he walks into the hotel bar by shouting across the room to order his coffee.” It gets worse from there: when Lowe spouts platitudes (“I enjoy meeting people and I enjoy interacting with humanity”), Day is “left with the impression that he has been told so frequently that he is charismatic and hilarious that he no longer feels he has to make an effort.” And so on.

The reason for this venom only becomes apparent late in the article, when Day is ejected prematurely from her interview for asking a question on the banned topics list, which of course she didn’t get. “Even if he disliked the question, is it beyond the realms of credibility to assume that a 45-year-old man would be capable of saying he did not want to answer it?” she fumes. But a few days later, when Lowe calls in for a follow-up, Patrick Swayze’s died, which changes everything. He’s now vulnerable and reflective, but Day still ends things remarkably patronizing note, wondering if Lowe’s not-unusual admission that he acts to live forever on-screen means “there is a small part of Rob Lowe that will forever be that teen icon, playing a saxophone in stonewashed jeans and a leather jacket, waiting for the glittering future to open up before him.”

As interviews go, it’s absolutely a compelling read, but one that left me feeling queasy. Sure, no one likes to deal with interview subjects who seem stubbornly averse to saying anything interesting, especially when it seems said interviewees are still coasting on iconic fumes from 20 years ago. But it’s hard not to feel that the piece punishes Lowe’s for not being interested in indulging nostalgia — for insisting that he deserves to be famous now for who he is, not how he’ll live on in the minds of those who watched his work in the ’80s, for refusing to age into self-mocking cheesiness.

Out of the ’80s Brat Pack, Lowe was always the most reptilian and unapologetic — after getting busted for a 1988 hotel threesome with a 16-year-old, Lowe flipped it straight back around into a role in 1990’s “Bad Influence,” a movie where his wild lifestyle corrupts James Spader — clearly an impossible task, and about as obvious a meta-referendum on his own image as could exist. He’s never really embarrassed himself on film, and he’s worked steadily. It’s possible to watch him without getting big hair flashbacks, which is more than can be said for other actors whose first brush with fame was closely tied to an era.

[Photo: “Bad Influence,” 1990, MGM/UA Home Entertainment]

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