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“Crazy Heart”: Not all that crazy.

“Crazy Heart”: Not all that crazy. (photo)

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The Los Angeles Times, reporting from the beating heart of Hollywood, is not generally noted for overly skeptical coverage of indie film. So it’s a bit of a surprise to see John Horn’s story about the upcoming surefire hit-thing “Crazy Heart,” in which Jeff Bridges gets an Oscar nomination by holding down the grizzled center of a road-to-redemption country-singer saga. Horn makes several points worth contemplating, and then giggling at.

Such as: “Crazy Heart” will serve as Fox Searchlight’s “redemption” after the consecutive flops of “Whip It,” “Adam,” “Gentleman Broncos” and “Amelia.” This is because it’s been, like, five whole months since “(500) Days of Summer,” and everyone’s memory is getting shorter. (I blame Twitter. Wait — no, no, I don’t.)

Point two: “For all of the recognizable, root-for-the-underdog beats in Cooper’s adaptation of Thomas Cobb’s novel, Hollywood initially reacted as if the movie couldn’t be more uncommercial.”

Yup, that’s pretty much the same OMG WHO COULD’VE PREDICTED THIS COMMERCIAL SUCCESS tale as “Slumdog Millionaire” (I’ll never let it die). Studio rejections included, according to writer/director Scott Cooper, complaints that “It’s dark, it’s character-based and it’s challenging.” “Challenging” has basically become a euphemism for “characters over 30” or “contains subtitles” or “doesn’t have Megan Fox.” Look, people like inspirational underdog arcs — regardless of their form. Get over it.

12102009_crazyheart8.jpgPoint three: Executives were leery of the country soundtrack, but now that’s okay because of…”The Blind Side.” Specifically, the movie needs “good reviews, strong word of mouth and a slice of ‘The Blind Side’s’ Middle America turnout to make it a breakout winner” — because “Crazy Heart” was made under the auspices of Country Music Television, and there are plenty of folks in America who like the stuff, and “The Blind Side” has magically made it clear that Middle America wants to be pandered to just as much as anyone else.

This new marketing paradigm can now be applied to any Indiewood movie that would previously have been a “tough sell” because it’s about the unfamiliar arthouse realm of middle America. Shock! You can sell your movie to the people it’s about. (As long as it’s not too arty, obviously: this wouldn’t have worked for, say, “George Washington.”) Amazing.

[Photos: “Crazy Heart,” Fox Searchlight, 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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