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The “Avatar” backlash backlash.

The “Avatar” backlash backlash. (photo)

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I’m getting sick and tired of hearing about how much “Avatar” is going to suck because the trailer is loud and has silly dragons and it looks like “Delgo” or something. It seems like whenever I talk to someone about whether or not they’re looking forward to the film, their response is “It looks stupid.”

You know what else looked stupid? “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” a movie about a woman trying to destroy a bunch of computers to short-circuit a future computer/human war, alongside the world’s most annoying kid, the charmless young Edward Furlong, teaching Arnold Schwarzenneger how to say “dude.” It’s all voice-overs about being a single mother.

Let’s be honest here: pretty much all of Cameron’s movies look/sound basically stupid if you only, you know, read about them, and not just in a “genre movies have different rules” way. Like, “The Abyss” is (SPOILER ALERT) about aliens who want to destroy us with a gigantic tidal wave. “True Lies” has a punchline where a nuclear bomb going off is supposed to be funny. “Titanic” has all those moronic Celtic pipes on the soundtrack.

Cameron’s obsessed with feminism and nuclear weapons without thinking too hard about either; I won’t be surprised at all if “Avatar” is a soggy allegory about why colonization and the war in Afghanistan is bad Cameron’s been worried about for the last 12 years. And that’s perfectly fine, because his script deficiencies have always been compensated for by godhead levels of organization in the action sequences, which are without exception perfectly organized, beautifully shot and ridiculously exciting.

12092009_avatar4.jpgAnd to the CGI haters: oh be quiet. “Avatar” probably won’t truly LOOK LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE, but I can almost certainly guarantee it’ll be plausible and enveloping: from “The Abyss” onwards, all the effects in Cameron’s movies have aged near-flawlessly. (And if you don’t think that’s a major achievement, go back and look at, say, “Jumanji.”) This is a guy who, for whatever reason, feels his narratives can’t be realized without creating entirely new technologies and systems. That’s his mental block and curse, but whatever it takes to bring action cinema’s greatest technician back is fine by me.

So keep that all in mind while you watch this admittedly spot-on burgeoning viral sensation, which cuts “Team America: World Police” to the “Avatar” trailer. It’s funny, but it kind of proves my point: Cameron’s skills with story may be pretty rudimentary, but his ridiculous technique and technical advances push way beyond the same old blow-shit-up-hero cycle nonsense.

[Photos: “Avatar,” 20th Century Fox, 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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