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In defense of long end credits.

In defense of long end credits. (photo)

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The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Mick LaSalle has a problem: he thinks end credits are boring, and that we should return to the pre-’60s era, when “most movies ended symphonically, with a big finish and the words, ‘The End’ flashed on the screen.” From overwhelming emotion to a disorienting return to the real world: that’s what we need. Now, he says, we’re all just sitting in the dark, processing what it is we’ve just seen before getting on with it. Instead, movies would benefit if the lights came up right away, throwing us “bodily onto the hard sidewalk of real life.”

Well, these days most people are watching movies at home under circumstances that probably don’t equal an undistracted, purist experience. But I have to wonder about this claim in general. I go to repertory screenings of a lot of those older movies LaSalle praises for, um, treating our consciousness like a ticked-off bouncer. And this is generally not what happens in my experience — the lights coming up do not reveal a hall of the dazed and disoriented, shaken by their interaction with a powerful work of art.

If anything, it’s the opposite; people start getting up and going as soon as they think the drama is over. Because of the conventions of older movies, with resolutions mostly telegraphed and within a minute or two of the actual end, they actually start moseying out as soon as it seems the last twist has been resolved. (First prize goes to the guy I once saw walking out on “Hobson’s Choice” after the end of the second act, clearly thinking the whole thing was just about over, and thereby missing the titular choice.) It’s not like the modern end credits shuffle destroys the impact for most people: better a quiet walk outwards than everyone rushing for the door at once. And that instant light can be harsher than needed, honestly.

02092010_casablanca1.jpgMore to the point, I think LaSalle’s describing something that wasn’t ever true. The days of the movies (like “Casablanca”) LaSalle gloms onto were also the days of the in-house theatrical double-feature, interspersed with trailers, newsreels, cartoons and so on. People would come in at any point — including the middle of a movie — and leave once everything circled back to that moment. Linearity’s overrated — a professor of mine once suggested that the Hollywood movies acclaimed for their strong narratives were more important to viewers as atmospheric experiences, or as decor porn in a time of deprivation.

Personally, I’m cool with end credits, the endlessness of which is up there with such stand-up staples as incompetent drive-thru employees and bad phone customer service for being picked to death. The best movies are ones you have to think and/or feel your way through (ideally both) in an interactive experience; that transition time lets you clean yourself up as need be and regroup for what’s ahead. Then again, I feel no need to wander around like a zombie after a movie to gauge how affected I am. The movie does what it does; shock treatment shouldn’t mean anything.

[Photos: “Bullets or Ballots,” Warner Bros., 1936; “Casablanca,” Warner Bros., 1942]

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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

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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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

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Colin the Chicken

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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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