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“Where the Wild Things Are” won’t scar.

“Where the Wild Things Are” won’t scar. (photo)

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“Where The Wild Things Are” is coming out on DVD in the UK, prompting this interview with Spike Jonze in the Independent in which he looks back at the whole traumatic making-of experience from a distance.

And he’s learned… not that much, although James Mottram speculates his career with the major studios may well be over. As for Jonze, he’s still repeating the standard defense everyone uses when their movie is accused of being “too dark” for kids: “I think there’s a knee-jerk reaction to things from parents. I think parents are more scared of it than kids are… It was a fight against the studio’s anxieties.”

In the absence of a real big-budget fiasco to pick on in recent years, “Where The Wild Things Are” was fussed over like it was “The Bonfire of the Vanities” or “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” a case study in a maverick auteur derailing themselves — partially through running over budget, but mostly as a heroic stand for Art vs. Cynical Hollywood Profiteering. It wasn’t, really — it was a gamble, sure, and Warner Bros. did freak out a bit, but the number of cuts and reshoots they demanded was nothing compared to, say, the forty minutes that were cut out of “Major Dundee” in 1965. In terms of great face-offs, it’s not one for the books.

The “the kids don’t mind, it’s the parents” take is a time-honored tactic that implies that you’re progressive and open-minded and your opponents, in time, will come out on the wrong side of history. Somewhere between the fuss from the studio over allegedly dramatic test screenings and the actual release of the film, few if any parents took to the editorial pages to express outrage or indignation. It was even milder than the mild concerns some had about “Babe: Pig In The City” being “too scary” for kids.

It was still possible, at points in the early ’80s, to make a PG movie kids could attend with brief topless nudity or harsh language or cartoonish violence. Eventually, “Gremlins” and “Temple of Doom” went too far and there had to be a change. Generally, these days, people are more likely to get up in arms about movies that provoke particular special interest groups (like Catholics objecting to “The Golden Compass”).

The real drag about “Where The Wild Things Are” is that no one wondered why more auteurs weren’t running behind the backs of the dreary studio-line movie and making small crappy kids fare personal when no one was paying attention, like Iranian filmmakers dodging censorship by making allegories with kids. The average children’s film looks like a glossy cereal commercial and plays worse. At least Jonze gave it a run for the money.

[Photos: “Where The Wild Things Are,” Warner Bros., 2009; “Babe: Pig In The City,” Universal, 1998]

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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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