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Reagan, Spielberg, “E.T.” And Real Aliens

Reagan, Spielberg, “E.T.” And Real Aliens (photo)

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It’s a Spielbergy day here on We already had Stephen Saito’s fascinating post about the director’s forgotten CD-ROM video game, “Director’s Chair.” Now I’ve got a great Steven Spielberg story too. Towards the end of their “36th anniversary” “Jaws” interview for Ain’t It Cool News, Eric “Quint” Vespe asks Spielberg to verify a story he’s heard through the grapevine. In the version Vespe heard, President Ronald Reagan held a screening of “E.T” at the White House. After it was over, Reagan “started talking about how close to reality it was and he was quickly ushered out of the room.”

Great story, if it were true. According to Spielberg, it’s not quite what happened, but it’s actually pretty close. Here’s his version. Take note, dinner party conversationalists:

“He wasn’t ushered out of the room. He was the President of the United States! Nobody could usher Ronald Reagan out of the room! It was in the White House screening room and Reagan got up to thank me for bringing the film to show the President, the First Lady and all of their guests… He just stood up and he looked around the room, almost like he was doing a headcount, and he said, ‘I wanted to thank you for bringing ‘E.T.’ to the White House. We really enjoyed your movie,’ and then he looked around the room and said, ‘And there are a number of people in this room who know that everything on that screen is absolutely true.’ And he said it without smiling!”

Spielberg also shares the one critique The President had of the movie (the end credits were so much longer than on Reagan’s films — say it in an old coot voice and add “Back in my day!” and it instantly becomes hilarious. Go on. Try it). He also insists that Reagan was joking when he said that the movie was very close to reality, possibly because as a producer of the “Men in Black” series, he knows what happens to people in this country when they claim inside information about the existence of aliens.

Make sure you read the full interview — and it is a full interview — for lots more stories from the making of “Jaws” plus Spielberg’s declaration that he won’t digitally correct or enhance anymore of his movies going forward. That part did make me happy. By the way Spielbergy would make a great name for a salad, wouldn’t it? “I’ll have the Spielbergy Salad, only can get I the purple colored dressing on the side?”

Do you think the President was joking? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!

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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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