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If you Tweeted #indiefilmcliche, #killurself.

If you Tweeted #indiefilmcliche, #killurself. (photo)

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I work at home, so I love Twitter: it’s a great way to break up the monotony of one room, one laptop and eight hours. If you’re a user, you know that on the right-hand side of the page there’s a list of “Trending Topics” — frequently used phrases, frequently marked with a hash-tag — that changes depending on how often they’re used. Last night, #indiefilmcliche reared its ugly little head, with lots of comments about whiny youth, quirky families and vintage clothing. Twitter-friendly filmmakers got in on the act: Jason Reitman weighed in with “Adorable soundtrack that begins to drive you crazy,” which I hope and pray was a self-mocking reference to “Juno”; Richard Kelly blew the whole thing up with “Menacing rabbit figure haunts disturbed teen.” Har har.

I’m just going to state the obvious here: to the extent that the vast American public is aware of the “indie film” (many aren’t), it’s represented by the unholy trilogy of “Garden State,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Juno.” (Sub in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” if you like.) That’s it. That’s all we have; that’s what was reconfirmed on Twitter. This is all kinds of sad and regressive: it’s actually a step back from 1996, when four out of the five Oscar Best Picture nominees were “indies” of sorts (“The English Patient,” “Fargo,” “Secrets & Lies,” “Shine”) — all accessibly made films and hardly the broadest spectrum of “independent film,” but still were produced independently from the studio system. The pundits who regularly whine about how movies aren’t made for “adults” anymore (do most of the adults in this country qualify? I kind of doubt it) could make that claim with double justification for the films that are marketed as “indies.”

The whole Twitter shoot-out isn’t an event, just a symptom of serious public consensus that what’s being marketed as the “indie” is as calcified and formulaic as a Michael Bay blow-’em-up or slasher remake. I don’t believe that if you actually brought Abbas Kiarostami to the multiplex that it would change anything, but it has to be said that the public — as always — is not quite as dumb as the increasingly cynical mini-majors think. Right now, the year’s biggest “indie” is “Paranormal Activity,” which you’d think Paramount — if they wanted to start rebranding the genre, thereby opening up a potential new source of revenue — might tell people. There is room for expansion here; in order to combat the really tiresome cliché that indie movies are just Zooey Deschanel trying on different pairs of vintage headphones, the burden of proof rests with the distributors to change it up a bit. We’ve had this stupid paradigm for almost seven years now (since “Garden State”); try something new. Anything. As long as it’s relatively accessible and has performances that are easily identifiable as “good,” people will still come.

[Photo: “Juno,” Fox Searchlight, 2007.]

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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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