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“Like Crazy,” reviewed

“Like Crazy,” reviewed (photo)

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I don’t know anything about Drake Doremus, the co-writer and director of the new movie “Like Crazy,” but based on this film I have to assume he has some first-hand knowledge of long-distance relationships. That’s because I have some first-hand knowledge of long-distance relationships and I can tell you that for the most part this movie’s portrait of one is dead-on. This movie is so good and so true it’s almost too painful to watch. We fall in love with its characters as they fall in love with each other, and then we have to sit there helplessly as they suffer. This thing is like a romantic drama for torture porn fans.

Its victims are two charming and beautiful young people, an American named Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and a Brit named Anna (Felicity Jones). They meet in a class at a college somewhere in Los Angeles; he’s studying to be a furniture designer, she wants to be a journalist. In a flash, Jacob and Anna are inseparable, but school’s almost over, which means Anna’s visa is going to expire. The night before she’s supposed to leave, the couple exchange gifts: she gives him a handmade book about their relationship, he gives her a bracelet engraved with the word “patience.” Anna should have listened to her jewelry; instead, she impulsively violates her visa and spends the summer with Jacob. But when she has to return to England for a wedding, the Department of Homeland Security won’t let her back into the U.S. Now she’s stuck across the pond and these two sweet, innocent people who want nothing more than to be together are separated by thousands of miles and one effed-up bureaucracy.

This part of the film, where Jacob and Anna reluctantly adjust to life apart, particularly struck me with its attention to lived-in detail: the passion of first kisses after a long journey, the awkward silences after someone accidentally brings up the untenable nature of the relationship, and the way a visiting lover becomes the odd man or woman out in awkward social situations. Eventually, Jacob and Anna’s story diverges from my own (thank God), but even with less to relate to on a personal level, I never lost my personal investment in the characters. Credit Yelchin and Jones for their effortless chemistry, which shines through even when they’re acting with an ocean between them.

Credit too to Doremus, for making a love story that is somehow heart-warming and brutally unsentimental all at once. He conveys an awful lot of information in this movie with very little dialogue, and he gets that young love is all about nonverbal communication, something that’s translated directly to the style of the film. Notice the way the passage of time is marked not by title cards but by the evolution of the couple’s cell phones, from old school flip models to modern iPhones. Doremus’ visual and editorial choices are sometimes flashy but they’re always informative. Anna and Jacob’s post-college summer zooms by in a peppy montage of still photographs, the perfect way to convey how the best of times seem to slip away quicker than the rest.

“Like Crazy” won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and it’s easy to see why. Good acting, good filmmaking, plus something elusive that most Sundance movies about romance lack: sincerity. Doremus doesn’t couch his love story in ironic detachment or hipster quirk, nor does he burden it with contrived villains or subplots. Anyone who’s been in a long-distance relationship can tell you that was the right decision; long-distance relationships are dramatic enough on their own without that stuff.

“Like Crazy” opens in limited release on Friday. If you see it, let us know what you think. Leave us a comment below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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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

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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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