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Jackie Chan nostalgia.

Jackie Chan nostalgia. (photo)

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“Was Bruce Lee actually any good at martial arts?” wonders Robert Twigger at the Guardian. It’s a fair question — how can non-martial artists know how to evaluate the impressive-looking stuff in fight scenes? The answer turns out to be, of course, yes, yes, yes, and Twigger unearths some good anecdotes and facts about Lee, including the fact that Steve McQueen and James Coburn (!) were amongst his Hollywood pupils.

It made me think about how much I miss old-school fight vehicles. Champions of Hong Kong martial arts flicks tend to focus on the Shaw Brothers ’70s movies (thanks to the Wu-Tang Clan, the infinitely entertaining “The 36 Chambers of Shaolin” can be quoted from by almost every white person under 35, whether or not they’ve seen it) and showy ’80s auteurs like Tsui Hark (“Once Upon A Time In China”), who imposed a whole new level of visual discipline upon a genre that was (unfairly) chastised as generally cheap-looking and shoddy.

But what I’m fondest of is that weird moment in the mid to late ’90s when Jackie Chan started blowing up in a small way. “Rumble in the Bronx” was successfully brought to American audiences, and for a while it seemed like there was a new Chan movie coming out every six months, with zero regard for when the movie had actually been made or its original form. I particularly like “Twin Dragons,” a sprightly comic vehicle with Chan as — yup — twins connected by a psychic link, a premise made even more surreal by some truly atrocious dubbing. The fights were always great, even in a truly second-rate movie like 1997’s “Mr. Nice Guy.”

It’s not that I hate wire-work or anything; I just miss how “martial arts” (as a generic lump classification) used to intersect with American culture at odd tangents, the way that ’70s fare made sure a permanent impression the Wu-Tang, or when young Jet Li performed for Richard Nixon at the White House (this is actually true; Nixon asked Li to think about becoming his personal bodyguard). Fight scenes have become something that can be imposed onto any action movie, the same way a few car chases or explosions used to be de rigeur — the idea of the all-martial-arts film seems all but dead on the ground. And I miss it.

[Photo: “Mr. Nice Guy,” New Line Cinema, 1997]

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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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