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A. O. Scott weighs in again on the box office slump by way of Spielberg and Lucas, who essentially invented the idea of the summer blockbuster, and where we, and they, are now, thirty years out. He makes some particularly good points about the sea change in how movies are rolled out these days:

"Jaws," released in June of 1975 and set during the Fourth of July
weekend, was still in theaters when the bicentennial year began…This kind of longevity is unthinkable
nowadays, for a number of reasons. Repeated viewing of the kind that
made "Star Wars" and "Jaws" such phenomena is now enabled by, and
reserved for, home viewing, which did not come into its own until the
early 1980’s. The release schedule is much more crowded than it was
then, and the window between the theatrical and DVD release is now
shorter than a successful first run used to be. Even the term "first
run" has a ring of almost vaudevillian antiquity. There is now a
pre-release sprint that leaves audiences (and journalists and
publicists) winded by opening day. Three weeks later, the picture is a
fading memory. Here I am still going on about "War of the Worlds,"
which is so last week. "Revenge of the Sith"? Who even remembers?

Anne Thompson at the Hollywood Reporter writes that 2004 could well go down in history as the high water mark reached by the box office, as the market’s reached a downturn that’s not actually due to poor quality (because really, this year’s films haven’t been worse on average than any other), but due to the fact that people just don’t care to see movies in theaters anymore, combined with a flood of multimedia competition. On that note, Josh Grossberg at E! Online wonders if this Saturday’s shelf date for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" will impact Friday’s release of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and who would have thought a studio would be afraid that kids would rather stay home reading? Seth Schiesel in the New York Times reports on Electronic Arts’ upcoming video game based on "The Godfather," which is attempting to offer an ambitious amount of narrative freedom to the player.

Over at the LA Times, Patrick Goldstein bemoans the slow creep of now inescapable ads into the theater-going experience, detailing how Disney is, surprisingly, the one studio to take a stand, refusing to allow ads in front of its Disney-brand movies.

Some things have changed for the better. In the New York Times, Ta-Nehisi Coates salutes the rise of the "major league director who only happens to be black," with Tim Story‘s "Fantastic Four" pulling in over $50 million last weekend. Coates presents Story’s success, and the upcoming "Hustle & Flow," as signs that movies are moving away from the tendency to be polarized along racial lines. And at the Boston Globe, Wesley Morris takes a layered look at the subculture doc, outlining the "major paradigm shift in American popular culture" between 1990’s "Paris is Burning" and this year’s "Rize."

+ The Boys of Summer, 30 Years Later (NY Times)
+ Old rules don’t apply in modern boxoffice times (HR)
+ When "Harry" Met "Charlie" (E! Online)
+ How to Be Your Own Godfather (NY Times)
+ Now playing: A glut of ads (LA Times)
+ The Color of Money: No Longer Black and White (NY Times)
+ Going mainstream (Boston Globe)

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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

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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

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