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Warning: we may be losing the best actors of our generation.

Warning: we may be losing the best actors of our generation. (photo)

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt is at Sundance — partly to talk up the premiere of “Hesher,” but also — and he seems more pumped about — pushing his nebulously-defined production company, a multi-media film/interactive/music/god-knows-what that will have a presentation in Sundance’s newly-minted New Frontiers division.

Now, more power to him, but this certainly isn’t where I thought his career would be five years ago. That’s when he gave two superlative knockout performances back-to-back — in “Mysterious Skin” and “Brick” — before getting bogged down in a bunch of movies that unexpectedly went south: “Havoc” (directed by Barbara Kopple, written by “Traffic”‘s Stephen Gaghan, but somehow most notable for Anne Hathaway’s topless bits), the stillborn, DTV Elmore Leonard adaptation “Killshot,” “Miracle at St. Anna,” etc. All were promising projects that unexpectedly caved. He had a hit with “(500) Days Of Summer” and a paycheck with “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra”; he’s got a part in “Inception” coming up. It’s not like he’s stopped working out of discouragement.

But when he starts turning into a whirlwind of enthusiasm over something that isn’t acting, you have to wonder how long his interest for his first career will last. He wouldn’t be the first actor of his generation to admit they’re not that interested. Ryan Gosling has a movie at Sundance too (“Blue Valentine”), but he’s made it clear acting is no longer his primary interest; that would be his band Dead Man’s Bones. “I made a couple movies because I had to, but this is all we do,” he said.

01222010_generalhospital.jpgHis contemporary Michael Pitt has slowed down as well, preferring to focus on his band Pagoda. And who knows how long James Franco will put up with the lack of appropriate comic parts for him? That’s something his upcoming role in, say, “Eat, Pray, Love” is unlikely to solve, and he’s way into his painting and performance art (not to mention his SXSW-premiering documentary about “Saturday Night Live”), making it easier for him to just drop out.

All these guys are roughly the same age (birth years ranging from 1978-81), talented and struggling to find parts that are interesting and challenging enough to hold their full attention. They’re way too young to pull the whole Brando “acting just isn’t enough of a challenge anymore.” So they’re all channeling at least some of their energies elsewhere, and who can blame them? I just worry they’ll all turn into Owen Wilson and take the first CGI-talking-animal paycheck they can so they can get back to what they really care about if the interesting parts continue to be sparse.

[Photos: “Hesher,” Handsomecharlie Films et al., 2010; “General Hospital,” ABC, 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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