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Sylvester Stallone: man of images, man of ideas.

Sylvester Stallone: man of images, man of ideas. (photo)

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Every major festival has its share of commercial pandering and celebrity showboating, from Sundance’s swarms of gifting suites to Cannes rolling out its red carpet for “The Da Vinci Code.” A few days ago I wrote about how this year the Venice Film Festival has cobbled together a new 3-D film “award” competition from the still scarce titles out there, usefully pitting “Up” against “Journey To The Center Of The Earth 3-D.” But really, life can’t be all Claire Denis premieres; sometimes, you need the work of a real man. And so I have to salute the world’s oldest film festival for their latest announcement, that Sylvester Stallone is set to receive a lifetime achievement award.

Yes, Venice will be present Sly with the “Glory To The Filmmaker Award,” the previous recipients of which have been Agnès Varda, Abbas Kiarostami and Takeshi Kitano. (The award’s named after one of Kitano’s more insane recent films.) And yes, this prize is meant to celebrate Stallone’s work behind the camera — as the press release puts it: “Since the visionary race across the roofs on the opening credits of his first film as a screenwriter and director, Paradise Alley, Stallone has shown an original eye and an auteur’s determination. His is a cinema capable of tenderness even when dripping with blood.”

“Determination” and “original” are double-edged swords, but this does also seem like wording out of a particularly flirty episode of “Inside the Actors Studio.” I pulled up the opening scene of “Paradise Alley” to check, and still can’t decide if this description is a work of irony or of a sincerity so deranged it’s frightening. The opening credits consist largely of Stallone and a friend running across New York’s roofs in slow-motion with occasional freeze frames; many of Stallone’s most iconic strained facial expressions are present. He sings. The words “Introducing Armand Assante” appear on-screen. Does it contain most of the things people love about Stallone? Absolutely. But, the first “Rocky” aside, they aren’t things people traditionally hand out awards for, unless you’re talking about the Razzies.

Here’s the opening of “Paradise Alley.” This will be the best five minutes of your day:

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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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