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“Rambo 101” at Fantastic Fest 2009

“Rambo 101” at Fantastic Fest 2009 (photo)

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As a general rule, I avoid any and all situations where filmmakers and film critics hang out in one place in the presence of many automatic weapons. Too much can go wrong. But I had a hunch that “Rambo 101” at last year’s Fantastic Fest was going to be cool. Austin, the home of Fantastic Fest, is such a laid back town. And Fantastic Fest itself, a celebration of all that is weird, wild, and wonderful about movies, is a pretty laid back festival. No velvet ropes, no impossible-to-get-into parties, it’s basically a week long hang with great films and beer with occasional breaks for sleep and slow-cooked pork. Nobody, I reasoned, would want to shoot anyone at Fantastic Fest. Everyone’s having too much fun to get mad.

And so one morning last September I joined a very enthusiastic group of directors, writers, and plain old film lovers (along with Fantastic Fest co-founder Tim League) and trekked out to a gun range about an hour outside of Austin to shoot a cache of weapons so enormous it would have made Col. John Matrix weep manly tears of joy. M-16s. AK-47s. Glocks. Shotguns. Basically every gun under the sun and the kitchen sink. And then I think some guys blew up the kitchen sink with a bazooka.

Technically, I was only tagging along as the day’s unofficial videographer. But someone was nice enough to donate some of their ammo to me, so I got to shoot a little myself. The experience was thrilling and more than a little scary. The weapon you’ll see me firing in the video below had a laser sight that made aiming ridiculously easy. I have PS3 games that are more difficult to operate than this very real, very deadly weapon. That really put things in perspective for me. And then I think some guys blew up my perspective with a bazooka.

One moment were especially memorable. And by memorable, I mean pants-wettingly terrifying. It was a warning from the security company who was providing the weapons and showing the Fantastic Fest crew how to properly and safely use them. “It may look small,” the instructor said about an automatic pistol. “But this gun shoots faster than most of the rifles we have here today. And if you’re not holding it carefully it can fly out of your hand, pinwheel, and shoot back at you.” Before that moment, I never knew it was possible to do a spit-take without drinking.

Luckily, there were no incidents and the whole team, myself included, had a terrific time. Naturally; it’s Fantastic Fest. Below is a short highlight reel from the trip. Now would be the appropriate time to put on your protective eyewear and headphones.

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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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