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“Gulliver’s Travels,” the best adaptation of them all.

“Gulliver’s Travels,” the best adaptation of them all. (photo)

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Since the film writing world has temporarily ground to a halt while everyone who can afford to go is in transit to Cannes, perhaps it would be well to consider some further-off coming attractions available for your hard-earned dollar. Generally speaking, one does not begin marketing December high-concept children’s movies in May, but so it is with “Gulliver’s Travels,” which will give us an updated version with Jack Black (in 3D, duh) come December. By all appearances, what we have here is a kiddie movie redux that sticks solely to Lilliput (tagline: “Everything big is going down”). Call me crazy, but I think there are fat jokes forthcoming (in 3D).

The whole mess has been sufficiently mocked by the impatient souls at The Playlist, correctly pointing out that the poster looks like one of the ridiculous comedies Adam Sandler’s character George Simmons starred in in “Funny People.” Let’s leave that be. It is, however, interesting that people keep trying to adapt clearly unfilmable novels like “Gulliver’s Travels,” despite the many failed precedents. As anyone who took Brit Lit I knows, “Gulliver’s Travels” is a heady, toxic dose of satire that requires a lot of footnotes and context to really dig; the little people are just gravy. But that won’t stop bad people from trying to film it, the same way there’s always someone out there who thinks they’ve figured out the key to “The Odyssey” or “Ulysses” or “The Divine Comedy.”

05102010_danson.jpgThe film industry lusts after novels. Hollywood seems to believe implicitly that the ultimate validation of an important book is their attempt to film it, no matter how wonky the results. This is totally understandable: if you’ve ever read a truly outstanding book and wished there was a movie to prolong the fun, you get the impulse. An outstanding example of this covetous urge is the life and work of Scott Rudin, whose list of films in development practically reads like a roll-call of the highlights of the New York Times Sunday Book Review: “Special Topics in Calamity Physics,” “Oh The Glory of it All,” “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and, of course, the collected works of Michael Chabon.

What’s interesting (I guess) about the new “Gulliver’s Travels” movie is that it looks poised to do an end-run around the whole problem of how to translate a well-known (almost brand-name level) book to screen adequately by simply ignoring it, instead treating it as a “Night at the Museum” type set-up. And why not? It’s not like anyone will ever get it right anyway. The urge to film everything is sometimes a blind alley; this decision is almost a “Tristram Shandy”-type solution. Otherwise you just end up with a TV version where Ted Danson looks embarrassed, and he’s a hard man to embarrass.

[Photos: “Gulliver’s Travels,” E1 Entertainment, 1939; “Gulliver’s Travels,” Hallmark Home Entertainment, 1996.]

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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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