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“Avatar”‘s first step toward cable rerun purgatory.

“Avatar”‘s first step toward cable rerun purgatory. (photo)

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First, there was “Avatar,” the unmissable cinematic spectacle audiences are actually willing to wait to see in 3D-enabled cinemas.

Then there were the jokes about bootlegging it.

Then there were actual bootlegs and, finally, the negotiations for cable rights.

“‘Avatar’ has amazing FX — and it soon could be aring [sic] on FX. The cable network, that is,” writes a breathless Josef Adalian at The Wrap. Well, sure — FX will have a leg up on the bid price since it’s also under the Fox corporate umbrella, the cost will probably be a hefty $30 million, it could very well be aired on TV in 3D, and on, and on.

Even the movie that’s changing cinema forever or whatever must, sooner or later, make its way to its eternal basic cable resting place. The action movie still doesn’t get to be called “art” by most, though these days it’s taken more seriously than, say, in the ’70s, when taut genre exercises everyone swoons over now were just written off as violent B-movie trash.

01072010_avatar88.jpgThere are all kinds of late-night movies that gain ubiquity and some kind of cultural power through sheer repetition: bad ’80s films bought cheap, long-forgotten romcoms, sci-fi non-staples. But by far the saddest is the event-y action film that was once blasted large and loud over 10 out of the 12 screens at your local multiplex, licensed at great expense, “premiered” in edited-for-content-and-to-fit-the-screen form and then slowly slinking into mundaneness. Suddenly it’s 3am and you’re watching Dolph Lundgren fight anonymous Slavic people.

Right now “Avatar” is king of the world. But in five or seven years, its gleam will be gone, and it’ll be just another insomniac staple, airtime filler, running in inescapable loops through the night, bracketed by shabby local advertising. And to think of that’s a little sad, because the best action movies are as valuable as anything else, but eventually TV airings turn everything into explosions punctuated with dialogue made for channel-surfing.

[Photos: “Avatar,” 20th Century Fox, 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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