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“Babies,” the choice of the YouTube era.

“Babies,” the choice of the YouTube era. (photo)

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The new doc “Babies” has to be the most shameless film of our new decade — the very title tells you everything you need to know. Reviews are coming in, with Roger Ebert and Dan Kois confirming that “Babies” is, in fact, just babies.

It’s an unreviewable movie, insofar as its selling point is something that tells you more about the critic (and their attitude towards small, squalling infants) than about the actual film. The most overwhelmed review is Kois’ hilarious “first draft” review at the Village Voice, consisting of nothing more than the word “babies” repeated over and over, sometimes in italics and/or parantheses. Malkovich Malkovich indeed, to cop a joke that’s making the internet rounds.

Not being a baby guy myself, the review I like most is Sean Burns’ deliberately hostile take at the Philadelphia Weekly. Opening line: “We get it. They’re cute.” Then he mocks the conceit of showing four babies from all over the world: “I guess the multiple locations are meant to hint at some sort of universal truth, like perhaps that cultural and geographic differences don’t matter all that much when you’re a barely sentient newborn.” True, and simultaneously no more or less valid than Ebert saying he liked the movie because it reminded him that, as a kid watching ants on the sidewalk, “I’ve never been so entertained in my life.”

05062010_babies2.jpgTo me, “Babies” is a sinister plot. Watching the “Babies” trailer in a theater twice provoked the exact same reflexive response from the crowd: cooing and “aw” sounds. If this stuff works for you, it works. I’ll eat my non-existent hat if this isn’t one of the most profitable documentaries of the year.

Aside from the fact that “Babies” will go down in history as a William Castle-level hoax on a credulous public that thinks they’re getting a movie when they’re just having their money taken out of their wallet, “Babies” is the apex of the YouTube aesthetic and era writ large. The internet, after all, is seemingly here not to relay news out of Iran or provide political forums with ridiculously contentious message boards: it’s here to cute overload you in espresso-size shots of kittehs and babies.

A movie like “Babies” would be absolutely unthinkable before everyone could upload their clips of cute small things doing cute small things. And if it works, watch out: “Puppy Cam: The Movie” is coming for your soul.

[Photo: “Babies,” Focus, 2010]

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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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