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DID YOU READ

Watch “The Spielberg Face,” a director’s signature defined

Watch “The Spielberg Face,” a director’s signature defined (photo)

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Think you’re busy? Steven Spielberg has two movies opening in the same week. Stanley Kubrick used to take a decade to make a single film. Spielberg’s got two of ’em — “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse” — opening within four days of each other. That’s crazy.

All this Spielberginess means it’s a good time to to consider the man’s filmography. Kevin B. Lee from Fandor has done exactly that with an absolutely first-rate supercut and video essay entitled “The Spielberg Face.” Inspired by an article on UGO by Matt Patches, the video compiles and analyzes dozens of examples of what Lee describes as “maybe the most singular visual element to his films:” strikingly powerful dollying close-ups of human faces as they gaze, usually in wonderment, at something remarkable.

Kudos to Lee (and to Patches) for defining something fundamental about Spielberg’s movies that was sitting there quite literally staring us in the face all this time. If someone’s looking to pick up their scholarship and carry it further, I think there’s more work to be done here on the context of these faces and the impact of all this looking on these characters’ psyches. Lee identifies the “anti-Spielberg face” as a phenomenon of the director’s post-9/11 work, when the act of looking begin to takes on horrifying dimensions (like Dakota Fanning’s character in 2005’s “War of the Worlds”). But that’s far from the first Spielberg Face with negative consequences for its wearer. The most famous Spielberg Face in history might be Rene Belloq’s ecstatic expression as he gazes into the Ark of the Covenant in “Raiders.” He’s certainly performing the wordless stare of “child-like surrender” that Lee describes, and we all know how that works out for poor Belloq: not too good. In fact, everyone in the presence of the Ark dies except Indiana Jones and Marion. Why are they spared? Because they resist the urge to look. They don’t give in to the blissful temptation of the Spielberg Face.

I think there may have been a darker side to the Spielberg Face all along. Most of the examples that immediately jump to mind are moments of horror or sadness: Belloq goes kablooey, Roy Scheider witnesses Jaws in all his bloody glory for the very first time, the children spying the T. Rex in “Jurassic Park,” Elliott watching E.T. leave forever. Though Spielberg is often considered a sentimental filmmaker, his work has always been tinged with darkness. Maybe that subject can be the basis for the next Spielberg video essay. It’s at least worth a look.

What’s your favorite Steven Spielberg movie? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Final Countdown

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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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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…