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Where the classic films roam.

Where the classic films roam. (photo)

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Repertory cinema, the charmingly arcane practice of people gathering in a movie theater to watch a 35mm print of an older movie, seems, like so many things, to be on its way out, eradicated by DVD.

The most recent sign is the upcoming closure of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s rep film program, a decision decried by many, include, most eloquently, K.A. Westphal, who notes that the $100,000 the program has reportedly been losing the museum each year is still “less than two-tenths of one percent of the Museum’s $74 million annual operating budget.” He also takes on the “Why can’t you just get it on DVD and shut up?” problem — but he’s assuming DVD will be there to pick up the slack.

Unless it isn’t. Two weeks ago, Maclean’s issued a gloomy prognostication about the future of classic films on DVD: there isn’t one. “Older movies are particularly vulnerable because the cost of restoration is growing, and their fan base is shrinking.” The recession has shut down divisions like Fox Classics, and the future will probably look more like Warner Archives — older films on demand, with lower quality traded for greater access.

To combat the doom and gloom, The Playlist has a chat with Criterion CEO Jonathan Turrell. Turrell confirms that Criterion’s sales are down too, though less than most people’s, and that parts of the recession actually work to their advantage — they can snap up titles studios would once want to keep for themselves. While shelf space is getting cut for most DVD titles, Criterion’s brand means they’re hanging steady — Borders, for instance, cut their overall DVD shelf space but expanded their Criterion section.

None of that solves a fundamental problem. If rep cinema is fading, DVD is supposed to pick up the archival slack; keeping 35mm prints in circulation may be of no financial benefit to big studios, but keeping a back catalog available and in usable shape is. But is the DVD industry is also struggling (hopefully more a temporary recession casualty), then that’s no longer true. Time was — in the teens and ’20s — when studios would routinely destroy their old prints and movies because they couldn’t conceive of them as art and didn’t see any business value in them. New restorations and prints are the beast repertory cinema feeds off of.

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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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