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A despicable app for “Despicable Me.”

A despicable app for “Despicable Me.” (photo)

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Good news for people who think the theatrical experience hasn’t been ruined enough by people using their cell phones during movies: one film this summer plans to actively encourage this behavior. That would be “Despicable Me” a CGI animated film about an evil genius voiced by Steve Carell.

As reported by the New York Times, “Despicable Me” comes to theaters on July 9th with a cross-promotional tie-in with Best Buy and their new cell phone application “Best Buy Movie Mode.” The app’s official site boasts that it features “the Minionator to translate every hilarious word the Minions are saying during the 3D end credits of “Despicable Me,” and proclaims itself to be “the only mobile app that syncs with the movie screen to give you a one-of-a-kind experience” as if that is a good thing.

Smartphones can be a wonderful thing for moviegoers: they can be used to get showtimes anywhere at anytime, or access databases like IMDb. But cell phone usage inside movie theaters is a scourge. And while this doohickey will only work during “Despicable Me”‘s closing credits, that’s no guarantee that loads of cretins who don’t deserve to live people who don’t read the instructions carefully enough won’t try to use it repeatedly throughout the movie (and then complain loudly when it doesn’t work, then call a buddy and complain to them, then Twitter about it).

Best Buy’s commercial for Movie Mode claims the app silences your ringer and dims your screen, but the first step of their how-to instructions on their site is “1. Put your phone into silent mode,” which suggests a lot of wiggle room for human error.

06162010_despicable2.jpgEven if this thing works perfectly, it’s only going to work perfectly for those who have it, which creates a situation where some people in the theater are laughing at something and others have no idea what’s going on, which is pretty distracting in and of itself. But I guess if Best Buy wants to creatively tie-in to “Despicable Me” by giving viewers a taste of what it feels like to be the worst and most evil person in the world, this will do the trick.

I don’t necessarily begrudge Best Buy here; they’re a media company and they’re trying to promote their products. Fine. But it’s shocking that a movie studio would be complicit in people’s attempts to disengage from their products and ruin the moviegoing experience of their fellow theatergoers. By encouraging viewers to take their eyes off the screen and focus on their phones, they’re essentially admitting their product isn’t good enough to hold the audience’s interest on its own.

[Photos: “Despicable Me,” Universal Pictures, 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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