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DID YOU READ

Tim Burton heads Cannes, highbrow spleen flows.

Tim Burton heads Cannes, highbrow spleen flows.  (photo)

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Sundance? Nah, we’re done. The festival circuit (which, unlike awards season, I never get tired of) rushes on with the announcement that Tim Burton will be heading up the 2010 Cannes jury. The news was instantly greeted with sarcasm and outright venom by most of the highbrow folks I know (and, I suppose, more or less claim affiliation with).

Discounting the die-hard Burton fans, a lot of people seem to agree that after an incredible first run, his work veered into self-parody and diminishing returns, though where you cut off is up to you. I’m on board till “Sleepy Hollow” (seriously), with everything but “Sweeney Todd” being pretty unwatchable after that. That doesn’t explain the disdain. I think it has something to do with the sense that Burton’s become more of a hollowed-out brand name than an auteur, and “Burtonesque” has become an adjective normally indicating someone biting off more gothic whimsy than they can chew.

But what does this mean for Cannes? Probably absolutely nothing; filmmakers normally go out of their way to avoid awarding movies similar to theirs, except for Tarantino, who did it his way in ’04 by making sure “Oldboy” got the Grand Prix. That, I think, is where the bulk of the real disdain is coming from. For all his lowbrow affectations, Tarantino named his production company A Band Apart after Godard’s “Band of Outsiders” and his jury gave what’s roughly third prize to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Tropical Malady” — as highbrow (and, it must be said, lovely) a film as can be, defending it against the initial philistine attackers.

01262010_dinos.jpgTarantino, in short, has his highbrow cred in order, which is important when it comes to Cannes, a festival that still, miraculously, has room for the punishing and mystifying. Burton has no such thing. The currently running MoMA series of films that left their mark upon Burton includes at the high end of the spectrum, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and Roger Corman; way down at the bottom, we have “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” and “The Swarm.”

Considering Cannes juries are volatile and unpredictable anyway, Burton shouldn’t register as cause for too much concern, though he did quite clearly express a worldview in “Mars Attacks!” that the world would be a better place if all the snots were gone and we were left with Jim Brown, Tom Jones and some guy rambling about teepees. Let’s hope an international jury of his peers can keep him in check, because there’s a good chance that he’d give the prize automatically to Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” (if it gets in) just for casting Stephen Dorff, you know?

[Photos: “The Melancholy Death of Oystery Boy and Other Stories” by Tim Burton, published by HarperEntertainment, 1997; “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth,” Warner Bros., 1970.]

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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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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