Movies are a great unifying force in popular culture. For proof, one need look no further than "The Big Lebowski."
You could take an everyday moviegoer, a high-minded Coen Brothers aficionado, an avid bowler and, say, Talib Kweli, and you might find they've got nothing whatsoever in common except for their affection for the comic noir classic.
That principle defines the New York-based Modern School of Film, which hosts filmmaking and acting workshops, as well as a masters series in which notable figures such as Ang Lee host post-screening discussions about classic films.
The latter comes to the IFC Center this month, with Fred Armisen, David Cross and Kweli, and three interesting movies. Here's what you'll find there:
'The Big Lebowski' with Talib Kweli
Jan. 31, 7 p.m., $17
Kweli and "Lebowski" might seem like an odd combination, but the rapper says he's seen "Lebowski" "way more than five times." "These are really indelible characters," Kweli adds of the Dude, Walter and their motley crew. "I think it sticks with you in a sort of 'Star Wars' or 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' way."
'The Phantom of Liberty' with David Cross
Jan. 23, 7 p.m., $17
Filmmaker Michel Gondry gave Cross ("Arrested Development") a copy of this surrealist Luis Buñuel comedy about the bourgeois. "There's no movie quite like it," Cross says. "That's a rarity in today's world, to have a unique vision. It's a great mixture of thoughtful absurdity ... it's a different kind and a rarer kind of funny and thoughtful movie."
'The King of Comedy' with Fred Armisen
Thursday, 7 p.m., $17
Armisen, of "Saturday Night Live" and "Portlandia" fame, will take part in a discussion following a screening of this underrated Robert De Niro-Martin Scorsese collaboration from 1983, a dark satire about an aspiring comedian played by De Niro who kidnaps his idol (Jerry Lewis). It's not your everyday movie from this director-star tandem, but it's an appealingly off-kilter, prescient portrait of a different sort of derangement.
if you go: IFC Center is at 323 Sixth Ave., 212-924-7771, ifccenter.com