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Shrunk History: The 5 Greatest Shrinking Movies of All Time


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Like a bug on a windshield, the full-length trailer for Ant-Man smacked itself on the web this week. Paul Rudd, in his first comic book leading role, plays small-time thief Steve Lang who gets mixed up with a substance that allows him to shrink in size but increase in strength. (Check out IFC’s version of what a ’90s Ant-Man would have looked like!)

Although it’s the first time a live-action Ant-Man appeared on the big screen, the Marvel hero goes all the way back to a 1962 issue of Tales to Astonish. And in that time, there’s been some pretty incredible shrinking people committed to celluloid, leaving behind some really once-big shoes to fill for the ol’ Ant-Man.

So in tribute to his forebears, here are Ant-Man’s 5 best miniaturized ancestors in film.

5. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

5. Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Walt Disney Pictures

An unabashedly fun Rick Moranis plays patriarch Wayne Szalinski who, indeed, shrinks his kids (as well as the neighbors) in a family movie that’s mercifully light on the saccharine. The practical effects are a treat to watch, with a gigantic yard filled with gargantuan wildlife that separates the quarter-inch chitlins from the front door. You’ll be surprised how emotionally attached you can get to an ant.

4. TIE: Phantom Planet & Attack of the Puppet People

4. Phantom Puppet
American International Pictures

A B-movie plot device like a shrink ray can’t go without acknowledging a few B-movies, and these two are delightfully ridiculous. Featured in a Season Nine episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the 1961 movie Phantom Planet considers, as Crow puts it, that “people are just balloons” when an astronaut crash-lands on a diminutive planet that shrinks him down to a fraction of his size. Following in that goofy vein, Attack of the Puppet People — which was also riffed by the MST3K crew in RiffTrax form — a lapsed puppeteer shrinks unsuspecting folk down to a small, befriendable size. While both movies are enjoyable on their own, we’d recommend the MST3K-ified versions first.

3. Fantastic Voyage

3. Fantastic Voyage
20th Century Fox

A theme park ride disguised as a movie, the 1966 sci-fi flick Fantastic Voyage takes a surprisingly grim backdrop (an attempted Cold War assassination) and turns it into a rollicking adventure when a diverse crew are ensmallened and injected to fight a brain clot in the scientist who created the technology. With only a limited amount of time to stay shrunk, the film becomes Speed in a Corpuscle and a classic in the genre.

2. The Incredible Shrinking Man

2. Incredible Shrinking Man

Adapted for the screen by the late Twilight Zone dignitary Richard Matheson, The Incredible Shrinking Man goes existential when grimacing lead Grant Williams is exposed to a war analogy-heavy cloud and begins to slowly, steadily shrink. The smaller he gets, the more amusing the obstacles: kissing his wife, sitting in chairs, battling arachnids. The film ends on a emotionally ambiguous note, with the lead contemplating his everlasting significance in the universe while knowing he’ll never stop shrinking.

1. Innerspace

1. Innerspace
Warner Bros.

An ’80s popcorn flick if there ever was one, Innerspace depicts a “miniaturization Space Race” between two labs that are competing for the technology. During a hijacked experiment, Dennis Quaid and his inner-spacepod are condensed and injected into hapless bystander Martin Short. Featuring pixie dream girl Meg Ryan, the always-perfect Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo, and jaw-dropping effects that were pulled off without any CGI assistance, this Joe Dante masterpiece is endlessly rewatchable and clearly a cinephile’s celebration of all the “miniature mayhem movies” that came before it.


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


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…