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DID YOU READ

Why action movies are made for old people.

Why action movies are made for old people. (photo)

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Without a doubt, the most exciting action movie of the summer is “The Expendables,” the Stallone-Schwarzenegger-Willis-Lundgren-and-so-on return to real stunts and explosions. As Geoffrey Macnab notes in the Independent, “One of the ironies about the return of the action-man movie is that the same stars are still being press-ganged into service.” They’re ’80s stars, now much older: Stallone broke his neck on set at the age of 63.

For Macnab, that’s a liability: “For the revival of the action hero movie to last, some new recruits are badly needed… It’s time for a fresh generation of Austrian bodybuilders and Belgian kick boxers to step forward or for actors like Sam Worthington and Jason Statham to pick up Arnie and Jean-Claude’s mantles. Otherwise, audiences’ interest may soon begin to wander.”

But the casting of the elderly and grizzled as action stars is, in many way, an inspired decision. It’s also, in one sense, a return to tradition. Macnab correctly identifies the ’80s action movie as a descendant of a simplistic black-hate-vs.-white-hat mentality of the classic Western. And the best Westerns were nearly always the province of older guys. Forget John Wayne — when James Stewart was a sheriff in 1939’s “Destry Rides Again” at all of 31 years of age, the only way to do it was to make him an eccentric, seemingly unthreatening guy. But in his 40s, he was a credible Western star for Anthony Mann, older and wearier. And at that same point in his life, Charles Bronson began transitioning from Western TV shows and movies towards the straight-up action film; his is the crossover lineage.

04292010_machete.jpgAction movies became the province of increasingly younger guys, but it took a while. Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger were all in their 30s or early 40s when their action careers took off (Van Damme was a relatively young 28 when he had his first starring role in “Bloodsport”). But as action movies started replacing actual fighting skills with CGI and they could hire actors that were either cheaper or had more range, the old guys went direct to video and Nicolas Cage somehow became a Bruckheimer star. Then, in the last two years, “Taken” (starring a 56-year-old Liam Neeson) and “Gran Torino” (with septuagenarian Clint Eastwood) reinvigorated the old man “get off my lawn” genre. And audiences loved it.

This summer promises not only “The Expendables” but “Machete,” starring the 65-year-old Danny Trejo. It all makes sense — it’s where the genre began, and when the very idea of full-contact action filmmaking is anachronistic, these actors are there to remind us of that. Plus it’s just more fun that way, a real assertion of self over mortality.

[Photos: “The Expendables,” Lionsgate, 2010; “Grindhouse,” The Weinstein Company, 2007]

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Final Countdown

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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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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…