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William Friedkin thinks comic book movies are for the “lowest common denominator”

William Friedkin thinks comic book movies are for the “lowest common denominator” (photo)

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William Friedkin is a fascinating director, having found success in a number of different genres dating back to the late 1960s. But though he has worked on crime films, horror flicks, serious dramas and whatever the hell “Cruising” was supposed to be, there’s one type of movie with which he’s not exactly thrilled: Comic book adaptations.

An article posted by Breitbart of all places, featured a number of quotes from the director, who was in attendance at the North American premiere of his newest film, “Killer Joe.” Friedkin claimed that the difficulty in doing serious adult films comes from the huge success of comic book movies. For this he blames both the audiences, who are “conditioned by television and television is aimed at the lowest common denominator,” as well as the studios, which are “owned by gigantic corporations that have to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”

Aside from using the term “lowest common denominator” more than anyone outside our 4th grade math teacher, the director also claimed that films like his “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” could not be made in today’s climate. He explained, “The guys who run the show have figured out that they can make more money basically selling comic books to people.”

The article also includes Friedkin giving insight into “Killer Joe” as well as the role of a director – all of which is definitely worth a read – but the most interesting parts remain his thoughts on comic book movies. We think it’s fair to assume that what the director is really referring to are not all movies that have comic book source material, but superhero flicks specifically. This, of course, is a common mistake in that it conflates the comic book medium with its dominant superhero genre, but it’s also a reductive dismissal of an incredibly diverse art form. Besides, is the concept of a superhero any more inherently stupid or ridiculous than a demonic possession?

Do you think that Friedkin has a point about the state of American filmmaking? Have movie studios dumbed things down for modern-day audiences, or has the director just put on a particularly thick pair of rose-colored glasses? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.)

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Wedding Planners

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Disaster Hut

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Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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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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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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