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Rewriting the heartland: “Fargo Rock City.”

Rewriting the heartland: “Fargo Rock City.” (photo)

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Chuck Klosterman’s “Fargo Rock City” might be my favorite book about music, because it does the one thing great music writing should do: it sucks you in even if you don’t care about the actual tunes at hand. In my case, I could care less about the collected musical legacies of Tesla and Cinderella, but Klosterman’s book presents his beloved ’80s hair metal through irresistible compact sketches of his rural North Dakotan upbringing.

“Fargo Rock City” seems unfilmable: it’s all Klosterman explaining what the music meant to him, without stand-alone anecdotes. But that isn’t going to stop “Letterman” writer Tom Ruprecht and The Hold Steady’s frontman Craig Finn, who’ve purchased the rights to the book and are adapting it into a coming-of-age comedy.

Apparently the pair are going to just mine the book for atmosphere and details rather than 15 debates about whether or not metal is sexist. The fact that they want to use a story about a faulty ATM that gave Klosterman other people’s money for months as “metaphors of the gilded age and easy credit of both the 1980’s and the past few years” seems a little dubious to me, but their basic POV makes sense. They want to tell a “universal story of dorky kids trying to be cool.”

The thing is, in film the Midwest is frequently portrayed as a nightmare zone. There’s “Fargo” and Alexander Payne’s “Citizen Ruth,” “Election” and “About Schmidt” — all painfully dead-on, but with the emphasis on “painful.” I’m hoping Finn (who grew up in Edina, MN) and Ruprecht mean to show the Midwest in a more nuanced way: dull and flat, maybe, but not the nightmare zone Talking Heads sang about in “The Big Country”: “I wouldn’t live there if you paid me to.” It’s about time.

[Photo: Cinderella poster, 1980s]

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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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