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When “Fight Club” and “Shawshank” push Hitch to take a hike.

When “Fight Club” and “Shawshank” push Hitch to take a hike. (photo)

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The other day Big Hollywood took some time out of ranting about how Obama destroyed class (again please?) to post something so idiotic even the site’s commenters weren’t having it. went too far even for the commenters who love to rant about cultural elites ramming David Lynch down our throats or something. In a post on the “Top 10 Most Overrated Directors of All Time,” young Ben Shapiro (a kind of twentysomething Bernard Goldberg) started with Ridley Scott and ended up with Hitchcock at #1(!). In between were, among others, David Lean and Darren Aronofsky, back-to-back.

Dwelling on the list’s stupidity at any length is self-evidently unnecessary (though Victor Morton does so interestingly elsewhere). But what was interesting was the assumption that the playing field had been leveled so fast; that you could, in fact, equate the reputations of Lean and Aronofsky (or, hell, Scott and Hitchcock) and find them equally overrated (or great).

Absurd on its face, perhaps, yet it’s absolutely true to my short-lived time in film school. The first thing I learned when I got to NYU is that the overwhelming majority of the students didn’t really care about anything older than, say, “Wayne’s World.” And that a lot of them were drawing the outer parameters of art cinema at “Lost in Translation” probably shouldn’t have surprised me.

What did surprise me was that a lot of the professors didn’t seem to be much better informed. I took a mandatory screenwriting class where we watched “Wall Street” because it’s apparently a perfectly structured movie. (Maybe in some kind of Platonic structural sense, but it’s still stupid.) Later on, we watched “The Usual Suspects,” our professor pausing every so often to announce where the act breaks and plot beats were; in the room right next door, with the music bleeding and overlapping, was a class on film scores, also focusing on “The Usual Suspects.” Which — I mean this nicely — is nowhere close to being one of the great films of all time, or our time, or the ’90s, or even 1995.

Nonetheless, it’s part of a certain group of movies produced in the last 20 years or so have somehow achieved parity with a small, select group of movies still in circulation as The Classics (“Citizen Kane,” “The Godfather,” “Rear Window,” maybe “The Graduate,” if you’re feeling artsy). You know the ones: the collected Tarantinos, “Fight Club,” “Memento,” “Requiem For A Dream,” “Snatch,” “Garden State” (though there may have been a backlash since I left school), and of course that crowning masterpiece of our times, “The Shawshank Redemption.”

I don’t really mean to be a snot: I’m on team Tarantino in a big way, and as far as “Fight Club” goes, it’s aged a lot better than I’d expected. But how these came to be the tightly-packed set of movies found in recurring clusters on people’s Facebook profiles, I don’t know.

Shapiro’s post is laughable for all kinds of reasons, but it’s symptomatic in a very real way: there is a whole generation of people my age and younger who really think these movies aren’t just prospective canon candidates but are the canon. And it’s not just a lack of historical perspective if a lot of the professors are agreeing with them — which they are — it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

[Photos: Alfred Hitchcock public-domain via Wikipedia; “The Usual Suspects,” MGM Home Entertainment, 1995.]

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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

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.


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…


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.


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).


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.


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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