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Is this it? This is (not) it!

Is this it? This is (not) it! (photo)

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You know, I really wanted to ignore all the Michael Jackson-related hoopla today, but fat chance. The title “This Is It” is distracting for a concert movie built out of Michael Jackson’s rehearsal footage; mostly it just makes me think of The Strokes, but that’s my problem. It is, nonetheless, a grim way to commemorate Jackson’s legacy; depending on how you feel, one final film could be a promise not to exploit his legacy Tupac-style. Or maybe you believe the exploitation happened long before Jackson died and it’s your moral duty to lead the investigative charge, in which case I have a Web site for you.

The folks at This Is Not It aren’t exactly promoting a boycott of the concert film, but something more muddled: “we can inform people and help them see the movie with different eyes.” Specifically, with “eyes” that recognize Dr. Conrad Murray — Jackson’s physician — is effectively a murderer for keeping him doped up, but also that “the true state of Michael Jackson’s failing health was being hidden from you by those who are making a profit from the screening of the ‘This is It’ movie.” These are fans so dedicated they have “testimonials” and claim exclusive inside info about how Jackson really felt. (In an irony too grim to be amusing, at the time I looked at it, the site’s GoogleAd was hawking a “Free Sex Offender Report,” a reminder that Jackson’s cultural legacy is by no means settled if Google has anything to say about it.)

But no matter where you stand, everyone’s got an agenda when it comes to “This Is It.” For Elizabeth Taylor, it’s “the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen.” For Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, it’s a finger-wagging chance to scold movie pirates: “If Sony released it only in the U.S. on Wednesday, by late Thursday it would be camcorded, uploaded on to the Internet and available free to anyone with a broadband connection.” I’m not a naïve Marxist or anything, but even though I understand corporations don’t operate pro bono, Lynton’s timing seems a bit tone-deaf by promoting the virtues of day-and-date on this particular occasion as opposed to, say, “The Da Vinci Code.”

Yet this is the kind of media anomaly that really won’t happen again for a long time. There were no cinematic Nirvana cash-ins when Kurt Cobain died, and it took John Lennon eight years to get his posthumous tribute. Admittedly, I didn’t grow up on MJ, but for those who did, it’s a one-of-a-kind event that’s worth noting because regardless of however the actual films plays, it’s going to touch a nerve with more warm bodies than any legitimate “movie” this year.

[Photo: “This Is It,” Columbia Pictures, 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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