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This is it, Michael Jackson

This is it, Michael Jackson (photo)

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My dream for this weekend is that I run into some player in a first rate Thriller costume and I, in “Beverly Hills Cop” guise, will give him my best Eddie Murphy chuckle, wherein everyone nearby experiences a brilliant shared cultural moment that kicks off the best time of their lives. Barring that, I may just freakishly go see “Michael Jackson’s This is It,” which has no shortage of good reviews (from the likes of mighty Manohla Dargis to the extremely tired Roger Ebert). I may stop myself if I think too much about director Kenny Ortega (“Highschool Musical” 1, 2 and 3: “Senior Year”) though.

Dargis is particularly convincing, and reveals some Hollywood effects gaiety. “The wittiest — a black-and-white Hollywood homage set to “Smooth Criminal” and probably inspired by the “Girl Hunt” ballet in the 1953 Vincente Minnelli musical “The Band Wagon” — features Mr. Jackson wearing a white pinstripe suit and interacting with Rita Hayworth (she tosses him her black glove from “Gilda”) and Humphrey Bogart (who, looking up from a kiss, throws him a scowl). As amusing as this number is, it pales alongside those moments when Mr. Jackson drops the pyrotechnics and just appears onstage alone.” [NY Times]

“The big fear, though, was that fulsome homages to the man and his talent would smother This Is It in a coating of treacle; thankfully, Ortega limits it to the occasional sobbing outburst from the dancers or choreographers. We are instead offered genuinely interesting tidbits of Jackson’s stagecraft, in the shape of intense discussion of cues, cherry-pickers and trapdoors.” [Guardian]

“What is left is this extraordinary documentary, nothing at all like what I was expecting to see. Here is not a sick and drugged man forcing himself through grueling rehearsals, but a spirit embodied by music.” [Roger Ebert]

While I count at least two of the King of Pop’s songs as all time favorites (“Human Nature” and “Rock with You”) I haven’t been too wild about any of his work since 1987’s Bad – and the real genius is all 1982 and before. But I must say with surprise, his latest track “This is It” is a smooth jam. It’s vintage soft spoken MJ and bodes very well for more post posthumous releases. Dig it here.

And have a macabre Halloween.

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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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