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Todd Phillips Can’t Stand This Snarky Headline

Todd Phillips Can’t Stand This Snarky Headline (photo)

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Movieline critic Michelle Orange (who’s also a contributor on this site) recently reflected on Justin Long’s reciting of a particularly stinging line from her review of “Going the Distance” on a late night talk show, and about the realities of being a critic in general. And yesterday the site’s contributing editor Mike Ryan has an interview with “Due Date”‘s Todd Phillips in which the director claims the site’s “tone is bizarrely hateful”:

Honestly, I’m teasing, but you guys just hate every movie. So it’s like, “Ugh, really, I have to do this and open myself up to some snarky, clever title?” You know what I mean? There are movie sites that love movies and there are movie sites that are just bitter people that just hate movies. I find Movieline to be in the latter.

It can be easy as a film journalist to feel like the people you’re writing about don’t or won’t ever read you, right until one of them calls or confronts you on it (or, rarer, congratulates you about it). But when something like this happens several times in a row, it forces you consider how much this world is changing and how little separation there is now, thanks to the internet, to Google Alerts, Twitter, comment sections — the conversation can go both ways.

But I think Mr. Phillips is missing an essential point here, which is that no one gets involved in the thankless, exhausting, low- (or non-) paying career of film journalism unless they love movies, sometimes too much. Anyone who takes in the two to four new releases a week that’s pretty standard for a working film journalist will end up sitting through a lot of mediocre to terrible crap, which then has to be written about. Every film writer wants to see something good, is dying to see something good, keeps at the job because of the promise of seeing something good. If Movieline tends toward the snark in its posts sometimes, it’s also home to two insightful, incredibly talented critics in Stephanie Zacharek and Michelle whose work is always thoughtful and never needlessly snide.

It frustrates me to see comments like Phillips’, even half-joking, which express a sentiment that’s been amplified into a full-scale battle by a certain NJ-born filmmaker whose name I won’t mention (three times and he’ll appear in the bathroom mirror), because they imply that writers’ negative opinions can’t possibly be legitimate or honest, they must be born out of bitterness or resentment or jealousy or a personal grudge. Praise, on the other hand, is always taken at face value. When are we going to get to see a filmmaker brush aside a good review because it comes from someone who likes everything and can’t possibly count?

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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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