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DID YOU READ

Awards season, the ultimate in existential challenges.

Awards season, the ultimate in existential challenges. (photo)

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For the next three months, many film sites will be sucked into the awards-season horse-races, spewing thousands of words that’ll date and curdle quicker than last year’s “Daily Show.”

There are, in fact, whole careers built around the prognostication of the irrelevant. Over at the New York Times, David Carr’s passed the baton of four years’ worth of “The Carpetbagger” Oscar commentary to Melena Ryzik in video form, which makes for amusing yet grim viewing.

It begins with Carr — his gloriously demolished voice his secret weapon — glowering in his Times cubicle and receiving an editorial voice-mail informing him it’s time to put on his “big boy pants.” Carr glances at his calendar, where a skull-and-crossbones mark the start of awards season and an ominous score come way out of some left-field horror movie. He has flashbacks to indifferent interviewees on the street and red-carpet chaos; he winces in pain.

Then the kind of malicious smile Wile E. Coyote used to get spreads across his face. “Hey Melena!” he yells across the room. “You like movies, right? Have I got a gig for you. Low pay, long hours, you get to spend time with movie stars who could care less about you […] and an audience in the hundreds, OK, dozens. You can be the famous New York Times Carpetbagger.” Then he trains her to fight it out on the red carpet.

It’s a joke, but it’s not a very funny one because it’s a little too close to home. Much like Jason Jones’ hilarious but painful visit to the Times this summer, a lot of the laughs are centered around how the paper is both out-of-date (Carr hands Ryzik his Rolodex rather than just sending her his e-mail contacts) and not nearly as important as it once was (their spot on Carr’s practice red carpet pales next to Variety‘s).

12022009_melena.jpgThe jokes about traffic counts are exaggerated but recognizable (see also this Onion article, which reads like it could be fact). For anyone concerned for the future of the Times (which should be, like, all of you), this mordantly self-mocking video’s first half is more like a funeral bell than a joybuzzer.

There’s something else here, though: a grim, resigned sense that we must confront the awards season head-on and remain immersed in it for a quarter of the year, no matter why or who cares. Ryzik seems like a good sport and does her Times Square interviews while remaining admirably friendly and composed, but it’s hard not to sympathize with the bald, mustachioed man who says he couldn’t care less and has to ask his wife if they saw any good movies this year. (“‘The Inglourious Basterds’? Something like that?”)

It’s like basic existentialism: in the face of meaningless and ultimately pointless life, we persevere, conducting ourselves the best we can, ultimately to die and be forgotten. Much like awards-season coverage. Godspeed, Melena Ryzik.

[Photo: From yesterday’s “Carpetbagger” video, the New York Times, 2009]

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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.

via GIPHY

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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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