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The Wes Anderson Happy Meal.

The Wes Anderson Happy Meal. (photo)

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It’s expected that a blockbuster like “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” get nonsensical tie-ins like Strawberry-Peanut Butter M&Ms — junk movies spawn junk food. And we don’t squawk in protest at “Twilight: New Moon” band-aids, if only because it takes a certain amount of wit (or, uh, greed) to propose using a vampire’s face to stop bleeding. But then there are our auteurs, our artists, whose work is challenging, unusual, not just empty entertainment. Clearly, they, of all people…do not deserve marketing and merchandising?

McDonald’s has a “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Happy Meal, which brought out the fiend in the Guardian‘s Ryan Gilbey, who fumed that this wouldn’t “be noteworthy in the slightest if the film in question were some DreamWorks piece of junk, or a knock-off directed by a hack,” but that Anderson “should not be getting into bed with McDonald’s, and using his work to lure young children into destructive eating habits,” because he taints his work. “True art, it seems, can co-exist after all with moist, defeated cheeseburgers and limp, glossy French fries,” he snipes. “I do hope Cahiers du Cinema got the memo.”

Well, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” has plenty of animation and action for the kids, but the dialogue also makes zero compromises for them, so from a studio perspective the McDonald’s tie-in makes a lot of practical sense — it’s an attempt to get people to see the film as just another kid’s flick. The Anderson fans are accounted for already (and aren’t enough by themselves to make the movie profitable), it’s everyone else that needs persuading.

Arguably, filmmakers have an obligation to do everything they can think of to get people to see their films if they want to work with larger budgets (for, say, a pricey stop motion feature) and be financially responsible. But also, Gilbey’s assumption that because Anderson is famously controlling he has major say over what the studio does with his film once its been completed is naïve. Anderson’s last few films haven’t been huge box office draws — why would he be able to insist his film be excluded from a corporate deal Fox made in May?

McDonald’s is a (deservedly) easy target; no one seems to be whining about, say, “Where The Wild Things Are”‘s tie-in Uggs, not even the kind of overwrought college activists who cover themselves with fake blood to protest the fact that the boots are made of sheepskin. (Personally, I’d like them more if they claimed they were made from the fur of actual wild things.) The issue here isn’t the “ethics” of getting in bed with McDonald’s as one evil corporation in particular. It’s really about the old issue of “selling out.”

“Selling out,” incidentally, is something the music kids got over years ago, the moment bands realized they could quit their day jobs if they sold their music for ad use. And film is a much more expensive business. It would, admittedly, be sad if those previously skinny kids who are fans of Anderson somehow got sucked into a french fry spiral of obesity because of this partnership. Now then: would you care for a Margot Tenenbaum Menthol?

[Photos: “Twilight: New Moon” bandages. Available now at Hot Topic and elsewhere]

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Rev Up

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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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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