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Narcocinema: Mexico’s drugsploitation genre.

Narcocinema: Mexico’s drugsploitation genre. (photo)

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I’d never heard of narcocinema until I took a gander through Vice‘s substantive new film issue. Well, consider me schooled. Narcocinema is just what it sounds like: violent drug war movies shot in a manner that could be kindly dubbed “functional,” frequently based on narcocorridos (drug songs). Only 18% of the Mexican population can afford to see movies in theaters, so most narcocinema features are shot digitally or on low-grade video straight for the “videohome” demographic.

The titles are as amazing as the best ’70s exploitation: “I Was Screwed By The Gringos,” “Weapons, Robbery, and Death” and lots of car-fixated titles (“The Gray Truck,” “The Black Hummer,” “The White Ram”). Take that, “21 Grams”! Writer Bernardo Loyola talks with two of the genre’s biggest stars: Mario Almada, who holds the Guinness World Record for the living actor who’s appeared in the most movies (more than 300 shot on 35mm, over 1,000 on video), and Jorge Reynoso.

Almada plays the good guys and Reynoso the drug lords, but they’re both basically on the same page: they’re super-industrious shapers of their own material. (Reynoso is also manufacturing his own hot sauce, which translates as “Good, Spicy and Delicious, the Flavor of Jorge Reynoso.”) Both are distrustful of quality cinema — Almada calls “Y Tu Mama Tambien” “pornography” — and full of effusive praise for drug lords who give back to the community.

This stuff is sold in Walmarts wherever there’s a high Mexican population — as Reynoso says, next to the “Mexican food products,” so you can pick some up along with “some delicious enchiladas” — and yet has barely dented the English-language press radar at all. Here’s a trailer from what seems to be a highly representative Almada film from last year, “Destino de Traficantes,” full of indifferent shots inside people’s houses, overacting, lots of guns, insistent cocaine shots and, oddly, horse-racing:

[Photo: a still from 2005’s “La Hummer Negra, starring Reynoso.]

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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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