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The Miami Heatification of the Action Genre

The Miami Heatification of the Action Genre (photo)

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According to Todd Brown over at Twitch the franchise formerly known as “The Fast and the Furious” is not content to rest on its laurels. Having every actor who’d appeared in the franchise return for “Fast Five” and now for “Fast Six” and “Fast Seven” wasn’t enough. Brown reports that Universal’s “entering into preliminary conversations with Jason Statham to explore the possibility of the action star joining one or both films.”

Think about this for a moment. They might not all reappear in “Fast Six,” but “Fast Five” already featured Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Paul “I Don’t Have a Nickname” Walker. That’s already a bounty of beefcake. Now you’re going to cram Jason Statham in there as well? Don’t get me wrong — I’m an irrationally big fan of Jason Statham. But how are you going to divvy up all the screentime for these guys? They’re going to have to ditch the characters and call each other by their real names to save time on exposition.

It is interesting that Statham is the guy they’re targeting to boost “Fast Six”‘s all-star cast since he’s already a part of the other current all-star cast in action movies, “The Expendables.” That Sylvester Stallone jam featured Statham alongside Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, and more. “Expendables 2” is just getting underway with most of the original cast, plus Jean-Claude Van Damme, plus Chuck Norris, plus Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis expanding their cameos from the first movie into bigger supporting roles.

It’s also interesting that “The Expendables” premiered last summer on August 13, just over a month after LeBron James announced on a primetime television special that he was taking his talents to South Beach and joining up with fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. All three guys formerly anchored their own teams; now all three would play together. Forecasters predicted short-term doom: the team couldn’t afford decent role players to fill out its roster and its bench was thin. Surely former alpha dogs like James and Wade couldn’t figure out how to coexist. Early season troubles seemed to validate those theories, but they figured it out well enough to make the NBA Finals in just their first year together. If the NBA can solve its lockout, other teams are going to have a lot of trouble solving the Miami Heat for years to come.

The timing is coincidental but curious. Between “The Expendables” and “Fast” franchises, are we seeing the Miami Heatification of action movies? It doesn’t seem like it’s enough for an action film to feature one studly actor these days — it’s got to feature all the studly actors in Hollywood. Even Statham’s last solo project, “Killer Elite,” brought in two other headliners, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, to play his wingmen. If the goal is to make a movie to appeal to the widest possible audience, then the strategy makes perfect sense. By tripling your star power, the thinking goes, you triple your potential audience. But where do you draw the line? Will the veritable arms race between the “Expendables” and “Fast” series heat up until they join together into one mega-movie? Will we be talking about “The Fast and the Expendable” starring Stallone, Diesel, Statham, Walker, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Van Damme, and the ghost of Lee Marvin in 2015?

I don’t know. I do know that this looks more and more like a cinematic trend. A spirit of competition has been replaced by a spirit of merger and acquisition. You could argue “bigger is better” is one of Hollywood’s default ideas, and it kind of is. But this is something different. It’s hard to imagine Magic Johnson and Larry Bird playing together back in the day, and it’s equally hard to imagine Schwarzenegger and Stallone making a movie together back in the day. They were so obsessed with determining who was the biggest movie star they would have never joined forces (except to own Planet Hollywood, and we know how that turned out). Now, whether it’s because of their own mortality or the economics of securing increasingly elusive funding from the international market, they’re teaming up. Action movies are just the tip of the iceberg, too: check out the new wave of star-studded romantic comedies. Last year we had “Valentine’s Day” with Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Lautner, and many more; this year you can look forward to “New Year’s Eve” with Katherine Heigl, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Biel, Halle Berry, and Hilary Swank.

Magic and Bird did play together at one point: on the Dream Team. And what did the Dream team do at the Olympics? Conquer the entire basketball world. There wasn’t a ton of drama in their games, but sometimes a guaranteed win can be fun to watch (as long as you’re rooting for the winning team, of course). There’s a similar philosophy behind these new action franchises: if we all work together, this is a guaranteed win. And a sure thing is always better than a risk, in sports or in movies.

Do you think action movie casts are just going to get bigger and bigger? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…