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The Weinsteins go all in.

The Weinsteins go all in. (photo)

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Given Hollywood’s deathless creative conservatism, it’s no surprise that people still root for the Weinstein brothers; relatively speaking, they’re bold revolutionaries, icons of the heyday of American indie film. After months of silence in the face of media speculation about the stability of the (latest) house that Harvey and Bob built, the brothers have crawled out of the woodwork to tell everyone that yup, by February — when, uh, “Hoodwinked 2” comes out — they’ll either be back big or dead and gone.

David Segal’s New York Times profile of the Weinsteins is many things, most of them interesting. Amid the anecdotes and fuzzy finances, Harvey offers multiple apologies for getting interested in investments in areas he knew nothing about, like cable TV, social networking and fashion, and vows to refocus on movies. “The ship’s riding on the slate,” he declares, threatening to move on to “selling trailers, or refrigerators, or something” if thing don’t get right by February.

Beyond any movie, what the Weinsteins have always been best at marketing is themselves. Journalists love them because their larger-than-life presence has a tinge of old-school big Hollywood glamor. (Compare the NYT piece with Claudia Eller’s LA Times interview with the Universal chairmen, who concede “Funny People” “probably pushed the creative risks a little too far.”) But there’s always the danger of overmythologizing their Miramax accomplishments.

The older Weinstein was so edit-happy he earned himself the nickname “Harvey Scissorhands.” Peter Biskind’s trashy, amusing “Down And Dirty Pictures” includes among its lengthy Weinstein stories the news that even as pro forma a romantic comedy as “Kate And Leopold” was being recut down to the last second, at extraordinary cost for making new prints so close to release. And, as Edward Jay Epstein reported years ago, Miramax may have lost Disney more money than it made: a loophole tying the acquisitions budget and bonuses to a fiscal year’s profitability simply encouraged the Weinsteins to shelve movies that might lose money to make sure the company stayed in the black, at least on paper. (Some never got out: others, like “Pulse” and “Tears Of The Black Tiger,” were released years later by different companies.)

The Weinsteins may be born hustlers and gifted spinners of their own overpolished histories, but their willingness to see a market for fare like “sex, lies, and videotape,” “Pulp Fiction” and “The Crying Game” has been balanced out by plenty of missteps, particularly in the Weinstein Company era. (The article laments the failure of the “quiet, literate” “Miss Potter,” ignoring the fact that “Miss Potter” was dismal and timid.) Time was the Weinsteins flat-out broke the Sundance acquisitions game with overspending and bidding wars that culminated in the pricey failure of “Happy, Texas.” Now, as Segal points out, they’ve only got about ten films left with which to prove they haven’t lost their touch, among them chancy stuff like “The Road” and “Inglourious Basterds,” alongside their big award season bet, the musical “Nine.” Mark your calendars: February could be the end of an era.

[Photo: “Nine,” Weinstein Co., 2009]

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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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