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Ghosts of Christmas movie “traditions.”

Ghosts of Christmas movie “traditions.” (photo)

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“A Christmas Carol” arrives next Friday, and I’m actually a little excited, being a fan of the perversity of “Beowulf,” Robert Zemeckis’ last motion-capture experiment. But by now we’re as overstocked on cinematic Scrooges as we are on Jane Eyre adaptations. No matter, Disney’s betting $175 million on the film itself, and lord knows how much on the marketing.

The Dickens classic has been made into movies so many times that the adaptations have their own Wikipedia entry. Notable Scrooges include Bill Murray, Scrooge McDuck, Michael Caine, Barbie, Fred on an episode of “Sanford & Son,” Henry Winkler and, of course, Fred Flintstone. Earlier this very year, Matthew McConaughey was visited by “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” (which really suggests how much people fear and loathe Valentine’s Day). So yes, there are more than enough Scrooges for everyone.

But, and here’s where Disney is crazy like an animated fox, none of the widely beloved adaptations are less than 30 years old (unless “The Muppet Christmas Carol” has a cult following I don’t know about). There are plenty of direct-to-video cheapies like 2001’s “Christmas Carol: The Movie” (“the”? As in the one and only?), but nothing lasting, and in short-attention-span America, that means an opportunity.

As Brooks Barnes points out in the New York Times, Disney’s going all-in because they hope the movie can became “an annuity.” Translation: they could re-release it annually, the way Warner Bros. makes a small mint from putting out “The Polar Express” in IMAX every holiday season and eventually make it a TV staple.

It never occurred to me before that the makers of, say, “Christmas with the Kranks” were aiming for seasonal immortality, but now it all makes sense. Christmas is the eternal cash grab, whereby it somehow becomes an obligation to be dragged by your kids to “The Santa Clause 2” because it’s a sequel to a “holiday classic.” This new “A Christmas Carol” is just laying their cards on the table. So consider yourself warned: if you have small children and end up watching Jim Carrey’s Scrooge for the next decade repeatedly, now you know it was by design, worming itself into the most magical special time of year. Bah, humbug indeed.

[Photo: “Barbie in A Christmas Carol,” Universal Studios Home Entertainment, 2008. The cat’s name is “Chuzzlewit.”]

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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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