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Bros icing bros: the movie.

Bros icing bros: the movie. (photo)

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Bros Icing Bros is the latest ubiquitous internet meme — if you’re not yet familiar, it involves people forcing each other to drink the revolting sorta-alcoholic beverage Smirnoff Ice, sometimes at risk to their jobs or personal safety. Here’s a primer. A man named Joshua Heller is proposing a vérité documentary on the subject, and even though he’s joking, I’m going to take him at face value. The word “vérité” has frequently been abused and attacked; never, though, has it really been taken at such value.

The whole idea of “vérité” has been subject to attack and dispute from its inception. (For instance, the Wikipedia entry cites both Harmony Korine and Michael Moore, neither of whom come even close to “relaying the facts,” at least on purpose.) Nonetheless, it’s true that few people have tried to sum up the collective zeitgeist of any country through a documentary. You’d think that frustrated novelists would get on it; the tale of a generation awaits, and it involves fruit-flavored malt beverages. Yet no.

The footage below doesn’t really tell you anything other than that, shockingly, California is lower on bros willing to be iced than New York. It’s fascinating for several reasons, not least because the whole idea of dudes forcing each other to drink Smirnoff Ice at a moment’s notice and in a variety of inappropriate location does, in fact, smack of Harmony Korine — it encourages degradation without purpose. Here’s Heller’s video:

The vérité ideal is to show footage of How Things Are that maintains the illusion of not being mediated. “Bros icing bros” is obviously ephemeral nonsense, but it speaks volumes about the number of males out there so frustrated and annoyed by their jobs that they’re willing to gamble all that away. It’s not supposed to be pathological, but it is.

05262010_bros.jpgAnd I know Joshua Heller was making a joke, but someday someone’s going to want archival footage from this year. Watching footage of “bros icing bros,” it seems almost like “Fight Club” without the satire. There’s a bunch of pissed off dudes in this country not getting represented on-screen, and a stunt like this is one way they could be.

Watching footage like this (artless, full of rage even as it pretends to be innocuous) makes me wonder about the gap between everyday white-upper-middle-class experience and what’s getting recorded in nonfiction film.

Calling it “cinema vérité” is obviously intended as a joke, but in a way it’s true: once you know people do this at work (see above), you have to wonder how angry people are. And you have to appreciate user-enabled footage a bit more: this is passing, but it’s as zeitgeisty as it gets.

[Photos: “Bros Icing Bros: A How-to Documentary,” Joshua Heller, 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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