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Amelia Earhart: Fashion pioneer, lousy pilot?

Amelia Earhart: Fashion pioneer, lousy pilot? (photo)

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“Amelia” looks like the kind of splashy biopic that might as well come with the title suffix “Oscar Bait,” but the reviews are rolling in, and it’s looking like the awards thing won’t be happening. All the cultural activity surrounding “Amelia” is turning out to be more interesting than the movie itself.

Tuesday’s premiere party was held at Bloomingdale’s in New York; the department store chain is pushing the “Amelia look” at nine locations across the country. It sounds daffy to me, but Cinetic’s Matt Dentler thinks it’s a good idea, “considering that a huge demographic for the film (older women) is also a demographic that will shop at Bloomingdale’s.” But doesn’t a movie have to make money first to start a tie-in fashion craze? The idea is that Amelia Earhart wasn’t just a female aviatrix: she was the first celebrity one, creating her own fashion line, luggage etc.

It’s an idea that appeals to director Mira Nair, but one that gets under the skin of The Atlantic‘s Lane Wallace:

As a woman pilot myself, I suppose I should be excited about having attention turned, once again, to one of our own. It’s just…enough about Amelia, already… [S]he was far from the only [woman pilot], and far from the best at what she did. She was only the best known — which was a feat, indeed, but one that was more the result of her husband’s publishing and marketing savvy than an organic result of her own accomplishments. And on some level, I think a lot of women pilots chafe at the title of “most famous woman pilot” being conferred on a woman who, in the strictest reading of things, skimped on navigation preparations, got lost and crashed.

Which is funny and coincides nicely with Nair’s presumable vision. Where Nair finds it liberating and prescient that Earhart became better known for her persona than accomplishments (celebrity, indeed), Wallace is wondering why we should tramp off to celebrate this. The answer remains the same 80 years later: name recognition trumps achievement. It’s why biopics persist.

[Photo: “Amelia,” Fox Searchlight, 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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