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DID YOU READ

Five reasons guys should check out “The Hunger Games”

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While Suzanne Collins’ three-book series The Hunger Games has often been billed as the next Twilight thanks to its popularity in the young-adult crowd, anyone who’s read the post-apocalyptic trilogy knows that such comparisons couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the section where you’ll find the two series in a book store is just about the only thing The Hunger Games and Twilight have in common.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the government forces children from each of 12 “districts” to kill each other in a competition for valuable resources, The Hunger Games relegates romance to a supporting role in the narrative while focusing on brutal, life-or-death survival in a world manufactured to ensure competitors meet the bloodiest ends possible.

With “The Hunger Games” movie arriving in theaters this week, it seemed like a good time to tackle some of the misconceptions about the series head-on, and offer some (occasionally tongue-in-cheek) reasons why the premiere of Collins’ trilogy on the big screen should be a red-letter day for guys who love gritty action movies and wild sci-fi adventures, too.


Take one part “Battle Royale,” add a pinch of “The Running Man,” shake violently

One of the strongest cases to be made for The Hunger Games crossing the divide between gender stereotypes is that the story feels like something inspired by that period during the late ’70s and ’80s that gave us films like “Escape From New York” and “The Road Warrior.” The world of The Hunger Games is a bleak version of our own, set at a time after war and other calamities send us scrambling back to the dark ages. Sure, one or two districts live in a utopian, jet-car paradise, but the rest of the world huddles in the dark and dies starving. What’s more, The Hunger Games takes that dystopian ’80s vibe and injects it with some of the slick action and edginess that’s common in some of the last few decades’ most memorable future-gone-bad tales (a la Battle Royale and Children of Men). Basically, it’s the best of both worlds — but they’re not the sort of worlds you’d like to visit for too long.


Insert quarter to continue killing each other…

Gamers should feel right at home when it comes to the pacing of The Hunger Games and the way in which the win-or-die competitions are presented in the series. Without giving too much of the story away, competitors in The Hunger Games are forced to not only kill each other, but also to survive the traps within each game environment. Like the levels of a video game, the setting of each competition is a carefully manufactured stage, filled with different types of environmental obstacles.

On top of that, the children from each district typically specialize in one type of skill or another, adding another layer of complexity to the competition. (Can the kids who grew up in the lumber district beat the kids from the mining district?) Much like the classes of characters you create in a good role-playing game, each competitor in The Hunger Games needs to make the best use of his or her skill set to survive.


She gives love a bad name (and that’s a good thing)

Unlike many of the books classified as young-adult fare, The Hunger Games features a protagonist who couldn’t care less about catching a boy’s attention or falling in love. More of a Mad Max character than a Bella Swan or Sookie Stackhouse, Katniss Everdeen is a female lead who can “man up” with the best action heroes when necessary, and knows better than to get lost in someone’s eyes when there’s a job to be done. Basically, Katniss is the teenage-girl version of hard-luck “Die Hard” hero John McClane.


Mutant dogs, acid clouds, and evil monkeys, oh my!

Remember those environmental “traps” I mentioned? Well, along with natural dangers like quicksand or rockslides, the children competing in the games also have to contend with an array of unnatural threats that seem to come from the depths of pulp sci-fi and horror tales. Imagine a 12-year-old girl being chased by a pack of mutated dogs with razor-sharp teeth and you’ll start to get the picture here (and it’s not a pretty picture). As if a bunch of kids killing each other in a crazy, televised contest wasn’t enough, The Hunger Games pushes things to the next level, and will provide a pleasant surprise to sci-fi or fantasy fans expecting a typical young-adult adventure.


You saw Jennifer Lawrence at last year’s Oscars, right?

Whether it’s men or women that get you hot and bothered, there’s no denying the beauty of “The Hunger Games” actress Jennifer Lawrence. While this last point only applies to the upcoming big-screen adaptation of The Hunger Games, it’s an important point to make. Simply put, Lawrence has achieved the sort of visual appeal that transcends gender preference and puts her in the realm of universal hotness. Seriously, folks, just look at her. And she’s a pretty great actress, too — which is nice.


Did I make a good case for “The Hunger Games”? Chime in below or on Facebook or 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.

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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…