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Some of my best friends are remakes.

Some of my best friends are remakes. (photo)

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To say that you’re anti-remakes is to film writing as opening and closing your mouth is to being a fish.

Every day, somewhere in the world, someone writes a diatribe about the evils of remakes; right now over at the Guardian, there’re two. The former‘s a generic complaint about how Hollywood ruins foreign films with remakes, the latter a peculiarly venomous attack on Breck Eisner, who has the temerity to want to do three remakes in a row (this Friday’s “The Crazies” leading the way to “Flash Gordon” and “The Brood”) and has the misfortune to be Michael Eisner’s son. As we all know, the only thing easier to mock than remakes is professional nepotism.

These tedious attacks on the remake are all the same: remakes miss the virtues of the original, dumb things down, tarnish memories, etc. It’s dull, repetitive reading. It’s also short-sighted — to opine that Hollywood once teemed with originality and fruitful new ideas is to ignore the fact that remakes used to happen faster.

Think it’s bad that there’s a new “Nightmare on Elm Street” coming at us only 26 years after the fact, a mere six years after Robert Englund’s last incarnation of the original on-screen? How about seeing “The Front Page” redone as “His Girl Friday” nine years later? (For that matter, imagine learning of an equivalent remake with one character changed from male to female. Now imagine the comments page for that announcement.)

Sometimes it could take less than ten years: 1932’s “What Price Hollywood?” and 1937’s plagiaristically similar “A Star Is Born” came five years apart. The jump from silent film to sound was always a good excuse for a quick remake: Errol Flynn’s “Captain Blood” was one, and his version of “The Dawn Patrol” was a gloss on a version made just eight years earlier, this time with better sound and more dialogue.

Not all older remakes were driven by technological process. Sometimes it just took time to get it right: 1941’s beloved “The Maltese Falcon” was the third version in a decade. Do you see what I’m saying here?

It’s true that, in recent years, most remakes have been unimaginative or downright disastrous. Then again, so are the vast majority of films. Still, in return we get “Gosford Park” or “Twelve Monkeys,” movies that aren’t so much remakes as enthused annotations or alternate approaches. So why waste your breath on remake aversion? The worst ones can’t be stopped, and the best ones are worthy.

[Photos: “The Crazies,” Overture Films, 2010; “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” New Line Cinema, 2010]

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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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