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Living in an Atari world.

Living in an Atari world. (photo)

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The wretched ’90s strain of video game adaptations rarely made much of an effort to visually resemble the games from which they sprang. With the exception of “Mortal Kombat” — which at least made a good-faith effort to get the color scheme and fight scenes moves right — the likes of “Super Mario Bros.” and “Street Fighter” didn’t attempt much more than getting actors who looked the part and getting on with it. They were shoddy goods and it was to be expected.

The news that Atari wants to turn its 1980 game “Missile Command” into a movie, though, calls for a rethink. The plan’s to go the full-on, 3D action route, modernizing the Cold War chestnut. But — bear with me — I think they should go the exact opposite route. It should look like 1980.

I realize it’s not a majority position to call “Speed Racer” one of the finest visual experiments of recent years, but it is, because it took the cut-rate aesthetics of a lousy show and replicated them with live-action and CGI in a way that was incredibly disorienting. Few other movies of late have created visual worlds of their own: Terry Gilliam‘s bag of tricks is pretty much empty and few others seem up to the challenge of creating original visual cinemascapes. Dave McKean’s work on “Mirrormask” came close, but it was more conceptual than opulently detailed.

02192010_speedracer.jpgI couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming “Tron: Legacy,” which seems poised to deliver a wholly original video-game based aesthetic. And I think that, now that the technology’s there, it’s possible to delve back into the old video games, with their vibrant pixilation and signature colors and really make something out of them onscreen.

Instead of sexing up “Missile Attack,” let’s set people adrift in a weird, nocturnal world full of oddly thin and menacing lines. Or we can get “Super Mario Brothers” right this time, with dotted surfaces, no depth perspective and unnaturally jerky jumps.

Sure, it sounds a little avant-garde idea. But hey, they somehow actually made “Speed Racer,” so it’s worth making the wish anyway.

[Photos: “Super Mario Bros.,” 1993, Buena Vista Pictures; “Speed Racer,” Warner Bros., 2008]

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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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