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‘The New World’: Not Your Mother’s American History

‘The New World’: Not Your Mother’s American History (photo)

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Writer and director Terrence Malick built a name for himself on the dark, twisted, but mostly true story of Badlands. In that film he cast Martin Sheen as a 25-year old psychopath on a killing spree while his 15-year old girlfriend, Sissy Spacek, twirled her baton in the background. The movie was based on the real life crime spree that haunted the Dakota badlands for years. In Malick’s hands the story was a cinematic wonder that was half-In Cold Blood and half-Midwest travelogue. Malick re-surfaced in 1998 with “The Thin Red Line”, a look at the WWII bloody battle for Guadalcanal and the stories of the men who fought there.

Three films in thirty years later, Terrence Malick returned to the silver screen with 2005’s The New World, a mostly true re-envisioning of the historical meeting of Captain John Smith and Pocahantas. Set in 1607, before the first colonies were established, the film is a riveting account of the trials of Native American and explorers’ lives. It’s hard to say what is true and what is artistic license. Probably only Howard Zinn would know for sure. But the movie is equally unapologetic towards the actions of all parties.

Colin Farrell stars at the young Captain John Smith who comes to the new world in chains. His wild ways are soothed by the peaceful surroundings of unadulterated nature, as well as by the beautiful Pocahontas, or “Playful One” (Q’orianka Kilcher), the daughter of the omnipotent Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg). No one is too keen on the match. When Smith has to return to England, Pocahantas is married to Captain John Rolfe, played by Christian Bale, who is hardly a satisfactory replacement for Colin Farrell.

The film is a stunningly beautiful imagining of what were undoubtedly bleak and bloody times for the country soon to be known as America. The film is a truly sweeping epic capturing the landscape of nascent America in mesmerizing colors. There is very little dialogue, which allows the camera to do the bulk of the storytelling work. And with Terrence Malick behind the lens, you want him telling the tale. One thing is clear after watching Badlands, The Thin Red Line, and The New World: Malick should have made more movies.

The New World airs at 4:20 p.m. ET.

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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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