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The top five talent agent scenes in movies


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Where would a man be without his agent? He’d be lost in the jungle (sometimes literally), wondering how all this anarchy and madness came into being. Here are some of our favorite scenes that depict the often complex but almost always beautiful relationship between an agent and his client.

Martin Short in “The Big Picture” (1989)

“The Big Picture” could be seen as the scrappy prelude to Robert Altman’s “The Player” with its story of Nick Chapman (Kevin Bacon), an up-and-coming film director who gets plunged into the madness of Hollywood following the acclaim of his Academy Award-winning student short film. Like Steve Martin’s “L.A. Story” (which was released two years later), “The Big Picture” takes place in a bizarro-alt-world Los Angeles filled with hustlers, creeps and weirdos (a portrayal that could be argued ends up being more realistic than surrealistic), with Martin Short making a rather amusing uncredited appearance as fey talent agent Neil Sussman, with whom Nick “does lunch.” Short’s obviously having a blast, and the feeling is infectious — we especially like his final exchange with the waiter, who’s quick with a detailed and eloquent description of a fellow restaurant patron.

Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire” (1996)

“Jerry Maguire” might be writer-director Cameron Crowe’s crowning achievement (next to “Say Anything”) due to its endlessly quotable screenplay and terrific performances by Tom Cruise as Maguire, a pushing-40 sports agent who suddenly has a crisis of conscience about the inherent moral corruption of the industry he works in, and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Rod Tidwell, the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver who’s disgruntled with his current contract. Never has there been an agent-client relationship that was more inspiring as they take on the system with a determination to make a difference in their respective fields — and it all begins in a locker room (“Towel?” “No, I air dry.”).

Sydney Pollack in “Tootsie” (1982)

This hilarious exchange between long-suffering agent George Fields (played, appropriately enough, by “Tootsie” director Sydney Pollack) and his client, difficult method actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), might not be as “iconic” as the “Help Me Help You” scene between Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Jerry Maguire,” but it’s pretty close. Pollack is spot-on perfect in the role, immediately exasperated the second Hoffman walks into the room — as is, apparently, the person whom Pollack was talking to on the phone, who hangs up either on purpose or by accident (“Look what you did!”). Hey, we also might argue that a tomato wouldn’t necessarily ever sit down — “logic” has to apply to fruit, too.

Matthew McConaughey in “Tropic Thunder” (2008)

It’s always good to see Matthew McConaughey do comedy — he’s a great dramatic actor, too, but a part of us will always see him as Wooderson, the eternal admirer of trapped-in-time high school girls, from “Dazed and Confused.” The role of Rick Peck was originally intended for director-star Ben Stiller’s “Zoolander” pal, Owen Wilson (you can kind of tell — there’s something distinctly Owen Wilson-ish about Peck’s dialogue), but McConaughey makes it his own just fine, balancing the agent’s fast-talking industry speak with an inherent sweetness that comes from the fact that he’s hopelessly in love with his client, aging action star Tugg Speedman (Stiller), whom he affectionately refers to as “Tugboat.” One thing’s for sure — Peck has the best office, like, ever.

Ron Livingston in “Adaptation” (2002)

Ron Livingston’s first contribution to the conversation between him and his neurotic screenwriting client, Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage), could’ve been his only line in the movie and he still would’ve stolen the entire thing from a heavyweight cast that also includes Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper and Brian Cox. Livingston’s Marty Bowen (who’s based, at least in name, on Kaufman’s real-life agent) is a spot-on caricature of what most people think talent agents must be like — id-driven, narcissistic and almost endearingly clueless/distracted. The fact that Cage’s Kaufman has no response whatsoever to his agent’s random revelation about a female co-worker makes it even funnier.


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.


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…


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.


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.