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Rob Lowe, keeper of the ’80s grail.

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

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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]

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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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