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Pedaling towards revolution.

Pedaling towards revolution.  (photo)

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We, as Americans, have failed to sufficiently appreciate and venerate the humble bicycle, which is why we all drive Hummers and 2012 is bearing down on us with global wrath. Or so I’ve been told. My point is that American cinema associates bicycles with bad people (think Mrs. Miss Gulch a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West and her bicycle) or the poor and silly (like Jason Schwartzman’s Albert Markovski in “I Heart Huckabees,” pedaling his way through his daily futility). Indeed, aside from the French — where it’s just what the cool kids do — global bicycling is symbolic of dire poverty. (Think “The Bicycle Thief” or Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s “The Cyclist,” about a man who agrees to ride a bicycle in a circle for a week to get the money for his wife’s medical bills.)

But why should this be? We live in a glorious new age of bicycling! It sometimes seems like every fifth person in New York has gotten one and is annoyingly evangelical about it; in college towns, too, it’s back (or at least that’s what I learn every time I visit my hometown of Austin). There’s even a multi-city Bicycle Film Festival. As conservatives so often claim, Hollywood is indeed out of touch with ordinary Americans in ignoring our transportation revolution! Why doesn’t Roland Emmerich stop making disaster movies and make one about heroic bikers saving the world? However, I’m pleased to report that our long national drought of bicycle movies is coming to an end. Just today, we learned there will be a Schwinn double bill in our future with David Koepp’s “Premium Rush”, a thriller where a clean-cut bike messenger squares off against a dirty cop, which is being fast-tracked for shooting next spring, and Jason Priestley is developing “Free Rider”, a drama based on a recent Rolling Stone article about Sam Brown, a drug-smuggling mountain biker who ended up dead.

Americans! Rise up! It hasn’t been since the mid-’80s when the trifecta of “Breaking Away,” “American Flyers” and “Quicksilver” graced our screens that we’ve seen movies about heroic bicyclists. These days, the bicycle is an automatic punchline. To see how far we’ve fallen, compare the trailer for Kevin Bacon’s 1986 personal-rehabilitation-via-bicycling movie to 2009’s obscure “Bicycle Lane,” in which biking is the worst possible thing that could happen to an Angeleno. Which is kind of true. Note: The latter trailer contains NSFW language and is kind of horrifically unfunny, which is what makes it hypnotic. Yet it’s a standard example of the scorn poured upon bicycles every day. For shame.

[Photo: “I Heart Huckabees,” Fox Searchlight, 2004.]

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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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