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Tax day, starring the Tea Party and Frank Capra.

Tax day, starring the Tea Party and Frank Capra. (photo)

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Happy day-after-April-15th! Having safely filed your taxes, you are now free to frequent bars and drown your sorrows. Of course, there are other ways to commemorate this day, as shown nationwide by many of the Tea Party’s factions. “Taxed Enough Already,” reads the unofficial acronym, and it doesn’t really matter if taxes have been lowered — it’s the thought that counts, especially if the thought is something like “keep your government hands off my Medicare.”

Times like these are the only appropriate moment to think of “You Can’t Take It With You,” the worst film Frank Capra made (before his ’50s decline, anyway). In an outstanding, still misunderstood and undervalued body of work, “You Can’t Take It With You” stands out as the lone gargoyle. Forget “Harold and Maude” — if you want to find a movie that anticipated all the worst aspects of Sundance quirk, it would behoove you to sit down to the Best Picture of 1938. Glib where it’s supposed to be funny, button-pushing where it should be deeply felt, it’s hardly recognizable as the work of the man who could inject real emotions and pathos into even the most incoherent scenario.

Other Capra films, like “Mr. Deeds Goes To Town,” “Meet John Doe” and especially “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” have both called incoherently populist works that target institutional problems while offering no solutions. The point (per Ray Carney’s excellent book “American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra”) are the visionary energies and urges of the male heroes at the center, not the actual politics.

04162010_grandpa.jpgBut that’s very much not the point of “You Can’t Take It With You,” with its character of Grandpa Martin Vanderhof (played by Lionel Barrymore), a lovable old coot who lets whoever wants to follow their flighty impulses and desires (fireworks! mechanical dolls! ballet!) take up space and pursue them, no matter how impractical or unsafe.

Like all free spirits, Grandpa Vanderhof doesn’t believe in paying the income tax. In the infuriating scene below, he plays rhetorical cat-and-mouse with a frustrated representative of the IRS, demanding to know what good his 22 years’ owed back-taxes would do. The representative says they need warships, but crafty grandpa — three years before World War II — says we haven’t used those since the Spanish-American War. Nor does Grandpa use the roads ever, and he certainly doesn’t believe in Congress because, you know, Congress, haw haw. And as you watch it, you think: “These arguments, that don’t make any sense, they could be part of the Tea Party platform, no problem.” Taxed Enough Already! My viewing patience, that is.

[Photos: “You Can’t Take It With You,” Columbia Pictures, 1938]

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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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