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Why no acting career should be considered irredeemable.

Why no acting career should be considered irredeemable. (photo)

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The Guardian‘s Joe Queenan likes to snark on books and and film, but with his latest salvo on in-flight entertainment, he seems to be just phoning it in.

Much of the piece is devoted to taking down two actresses with regrettable track records: Kate Beckinsale and Minnie Driver. If you’re under the age of 20, you may not even be familiar with Minnie Driver (aka, that girl from “Good Will Hunting” who also has a singing career no one pays attention to), and you’ll know Kate Beckinsale as the “Underworld” chick.

For Queenan, the two are automatic punchlines in the way mirthless stand-up comics fixate on airline food and the difference between black and white people driving: “Portable DVD players were, in fact, invented with the express purpose of circumventing Minnie Driver’s career.”

It’s hard to blame Driver/Beckinsale for their career trajectories, insofar as it’s hard to blame any actress for her career trajectory. (The lack of enough meaty roles for female actors of all ages is one of those cliches that holds true.)

05032010_underworld.jpgKate Beckinsale was perfectly creditable in 2007’s “Snow Angels” and was long ago proving herself in “Much Ado About Nothing,” but that’s not going to pay the bills — rumors have her rejoining the “Underworld” franchise for a fourth installment. Minnie Driver, in the meantime, was an impressively on-point foil for John Cusack in “Grosse Pointe Blank,” and was terrific in “The Riches.”

What bothers me isn’t the laziness so much as the assumption that there are certain performers who have proved themselves thoroughly beyond the point of potential redemption. It’s a dubious theory in the post-Tarantino age, and one continually being disproved.

We live in exciting times: Ben Stiller sloughed off the schtick for “Greenberg,” Nicolas Cage stopped sucking for “Bad Lieutenant” and “Kick-Ass.” I’ll go so far as to say that not even Gerard Butler is irredeemable. It’s dangerous to conflate actors’ abilities and the movies their careers can land them in.

[Photos: “Grosse Pointe Blank,” Hollywood Pictures, 1997; “Underworld,” Screen Gems, 2003]

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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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