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The Horner cue, Avatar 3D glasses.

The Horner cue, Avatar 3D glasses. (photo)

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A long love-hate relationship with composer James Horner continues. While his approach embraces (perhaps even defined) some of the worst aspects of Hollywood scoring, he’s been responsible some of the most memorable scores of the 80’s and 90’s. His comments about scoring “Avatar” were the sort of offensive delusions of grandeur that you could expect from someone who has worked so closely with “the king of the world,” but at the same time he made up for it by rightfully trashing Michael Bay.

The big criticism about Horner is that he constantly plagiarizes, though mostly from himself. The question is where does personal style end and lazy recycling begin? Surprisingly, I’ve discovered that some of his recycling is what I like about him. Horner’s “Avatar” score does not rank up there with the likes of “Glory” or “Aliens,” in fact I didn’t much care for it at all, but those familiar cues he’s been spamming for the past several decades, used sparingly now, are kind of nice. Maybe I’m just a sucker for Hollywood nostalgia and my childhood, but one of my favorite ominous cues has always been what I call the horner.

Expectedly, it’s used liberally in the opening space scenes of “Avatar.” I can’t find an example of it to show in any of the official trailers or peeks (and anything unofficial won’t last longer than 2 seconds), but check it out in 1988’s “Willow” – maybe the first time I became aware of it.

The Horner @ :17 seconds. Cue on the word “evil” as the camera tilts up the black fortress. Again at :25.

And I wanted to assure you wearers of large spectacles who’ve waited for the hubbub to die down a bit, that those 3D glasses will work just fine. You might trip out a bit, but it is the only way you should view this movie. The information I got from the web was useless – it took calling an AMC Loews customer courtesy rep to find out if there is truly a LARGE and accommodating version of the glasses. I wear real Men’s frames, and the last time I saw something in 3D (years ago) it was a disaster. The comically enormous glasses they are handing out at the Imax screens fit over my Moscot Nebb’s just fine and I was assured they have the options at the non-Imax 3D screenings as well.

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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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