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Alter ego.

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We haven’t actually seen "Mr. Brooks," though you can bet we have a date with it in the nearish future on some cable channel some sunny afternoon when everyone who knows better is outside. Reviews have ranged from tolerant to derisive, but we can never turn down a film in which one actor pops up as another’s alter ego/split personality/symbol of a fractured consciousness, one of our favorite, rarely as profound as it’s intended film devices. A selective tour (with spoilers, for the sensitive) of the genre’s highlights and lowlights:

Image courtesy of Lionsgate, 2003.
"High Tension" (2003)
According to the DVD extras, most of the clues that would presage this
French splatter flick’s doozy of a last reel reveal were trimmed due to
budgetary and time constraints. This makes the twist, that our intrepid
heroine Marie (Cécile De France)
is in fact the very hulking killer she’s been following/fleeing, and that
he’s a manifestation of her thwarted lesbian lust somethingerother, all
the more sublimely ludicrous in a way that surely would have tickled Buñuel. Speaking of…

Image: First Artists, 1977.
"That Obscure Object of Desire" (1977)
So you could argue that there’s no pattern to be found amongst the scenes when Carole Bouquet is playing Conchita and when Ángela Molina is, which would mean that this film doesn’t belong on this list. But be its just Rorschach imaginings, there does seem to be some reasoning behind the switches, though not easy to articulate. After all, while both actresses have their own way portraying Conchita’s tendency to run hot and cold, it’s the aloof Bouquet who lounges in a makeshift chastity belt while the coy Molina flamenco dances in the nude and gets slapped around.

Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures, 2003.
"Identity" (2003)
In "Adaptation," Nicolas Cage‘s Charlie Kaufman listens with not a little condescension as his twin Donald describes the screenplay he’s whipped up: "The 3" features a killer, a hostage and an investigator who get into a chase involving a horse, but who nevertheless end up being, somehow, the same person. "Mom called it ‘psychologically taut,’" bleats Donald, though actually everyone else in the film also seems to like his script — but the joke (or not) is ultimately on the real Kaufman. The very next year James Mangold‘s ridiculous thriller "Identity" actually arrived in theaters, offering no less than ten people who turn out to be multiple personalities in a serial killer’s mind.

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox, 1999.
"Fight Club" (1999)
At less than a decade old, "Fight Club" somehow seems quaintly dated, not the least because of the collapsing skyscraper towers at the finale. Still, David Fincher‘s film is so brash and so committed to its late 90s disaffected man-child rage that it makes the seventh inning revelation — that Brad Pitt‘s Tyler Durden is a wish-fulfilling side personality born of the malaise and insomnia of Edward Norton‘s nameless narrator — seem fitting, an appropriately audacious narrative turn for a film that espouses redemption via a split lip.

Image courtesy of ABC, 1990.
"Twin Peaks" (1990)
The story goes that David Lynch unintentionally caught set dresser Frank Silva‘s reflection in a mirror on camera, and found the image so startlingly creepy and effective that he cast Silva in the series. Flattering, yes? Bob was technically a possessor of Ray Wise‘s Leland Palmer and not a part of him… unless he is, as suggested by one character, just a metaphor for "the evil that men do." Knowing the mutable mythology of the series, either could be true.

Image courtesy of Media Blasters, 2005.
"The Neighbour No. 13" (2005)
Given the frequency with which school trauma is an undercurrent of Japanese horror, dripping girl ghosts have nothing on the social carnage that apparently takes place in the average high school classroom there. In Yasuo Inoue‘s interesting if lousily paced film, Juzo (Shun Oguri), a boy who was bullied (assaulted, really) in school grows up to be a man being bullied by Akai, the same guy, at his construction job. Unfortunately for Akai and his family, Juzo’s developed a beefier, more murderous split personality played by Shido Nakamura. The two battle for control, "Superman III"-style, in a cabin of symbolism in Juzo’s mind.

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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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