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DID YOU READ

In defense of Mel Gibson.

In defense of Mel Gibson. (photo)

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The trouble-prone Mel Gibson has gone off and made it hard to defend himself again.

There were early rumors that Gibson was preparing to use some personal muscle to clear out a Mexican prison in order to shoot his latest movie, reportedly to be action flick “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” which Gibson wrote and in which he also stars “as a career criminal who is forced to pick up new survival skills while serving a sentence in a rough Mexican prison.”

That was no problem for the governor of Veracruz, Herrera Beltran; Gibson had cultivated good relations while shooting “Apocalypto” there (donating a million dollars for flood-relief housing), and Beltran announced proudly a new “grand production” from “our friend, the actor and producer Mel Gibson.”

More than 200 inmates from a prison there were transferred to four other jails to make room for the production. Angry relatives — concerned they’d have to pay more to travel further for visits — protested and briefly clashed with police, something that can’t help but make you think that yes, this is kind of a jerk-off abuse of power.

In recent years, Gibson’s alienated a lot of people, reducing himself to a drunken, anti-Semitic sputterer obsessed with peculiarly gory forms of violence. And I’m not a particularly big admirer of either “The Passion of the Christ” or “Apocalypto,” the two big products of the Gibson-as-rogue-auteur era (temporarily on pause, it seems, while Gibson tries to resuscitate his acting career).

01122010_vincentgallo1.jpgBut if we’re going to sit around and take Vincent Gallo seriously — a man who says offensive, ridiculous things all the time that we’re pretty much forced to take as ironic — we might as well take Gibson seriously as well. Whatever his flaws as a human, Gibson’s precisely in the mold of that breed of aggressively self-outcasting directors people love to champion despite widespread disapproval: Larry Clark, Harmony Korine, Gallo, and so on.

Gibson’s pursuing a fixated vision of violence as private, obscure and disgusting as any of those other guys. It’s like someone who should be one of those “outsider artists” suddenly got their hands on some real money and went haywire. That doesn’t make his movies any less tedious to sit through — but, for me, that’s true of all of them. And as pathological fixations go, his are pretty compelling. (As a friend of mine one noted, “The Passion” really isn’t that far from “Salo.”)

[Photos: Mel Gibson on the set of “Apocalypto,” Buena Vista Pictures, 2006; Vincent Gallo in “The Brown Bunny,” Wellspring Media, 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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…