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The late Roy Scheider guns for an Oscar.

The late Roy Scheider guns for an Oscar. (photo)

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Like many notable actors fallen on tougher times, the last decades of the late Roy Scheider’s career — pretty much everything after 1991’s “Naked Lunch” — went from the respectable paycheck (time on “SeaQuest DSV”) to the rock-bottom video remainder pile (“Dark Honeymoon,” starring Tia Carrere). Which is entirely too bad.

Presumably, though, neither the director of, say, “Dracula II: Ascension” nor Scheider, who appeared in that film (and its sequel!) as Cardinal Siqueros, had delusions about the quality of their end product.

Joshua Newton — writer/director/editor of Scheider’s swan song “Iron Cross” — definitely does. Until yesterday, I’d never heard of his film. If I was a Variety subscriber, however, it would’ve been unavoidable.

Newton got his private British investors to agree to about $400,000 worth of daily “For Your Consideration” advertising in the trade paper from mid-November to the end of January (when ballots are due), including four mega-expensive cover ads and a DVD copy of… the trailer (which anyone with basic YouTube comprehension can find).

The goal is to get a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Scheider: “His performance is magnificent, but obviously it’s up to other people to decide that. We are honoring Roy Scheider by putting this up for the academy.”

To that end, Newton also worked around the clock to complete the film for a one-week qualifying run at Encino’s Laemmle Town Center — a move even Laemmle staffer Gregory Gardner says generally only works for documentaries, but whatever.

“Iron Cross” is the story of a man who lost his family during the Holocaust, comes to visit his son in present-day Nuremberg and decides one of the neighbors is actually the officer who killed mom, dad, sis and bro. So he does what any reasonable man would do: he kidnaps him to exact justice.

12222009_ironcross4.jpgThe only review I could find is, ironically, from Variety‘s Robert Koehler, not at all grateful for the ad buy. “A film of serious intent undone by hackneyed plotting and intrusive editing,” he writes, “reasonably sound in its general outline until it delves into specifics. […] Tech package aspires to the heyday of Europudding thrillers but doesn’t hit the mark.”

A friend of mine who caught an L.A. screening was less kind, telling me “It has the look of a Syfy original movie. He gets to Nuremberg, ‘Death Wish’ is on the TV, and for the next 30 minutes, the sight of a German (and there are many in the city) triggers a murderous hallucination — Scheider taking a chainsaw to a random German’s throat, etc.” And the ending? [SPOILER ALERT] “They abduct the guy, take him back to Poland, and just as Scheider realizes this is the wrong man, his son shoots the guy in the head. THE END. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in theaters.”

Sadly, it sounds like Scheider’s posthumous Oscar is probably not forthcoming; whenever “Death Wish” is your starting point, that’s not a good sign. Trailer’s below.

[Photos: “Iron Cross,” Calibra Pictures, 2010]

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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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