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George Lucas, fanboy martyr.

George Lucas, fanboy martyr. (photo)

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Hating George Lucas can sometimes seem like a national sport.

Over the years, there have been many reasons for rage: “Star Wars” killed American cinema and made us all blockbuster-watching morons! Then he refurbished his movies and raped everyone’s childhood! And he invented marketing! And he made terrible sequels! Every time George Lucas does anything, the amount of angry exclamation points on the internet increases exponentially.

At least one of those things seems to be considered universally annoying — cleaning up the effects on the first “Star Wars” trilogy and making the original versions inaccessible for years — but the rest is a little overheated. Here’s how the arguments all go: once Lucas was a talented, diverse filmmaker with a trilogy of films (“THX 1138,” “American Graffiti” and “Star Wars”) with nothing in common besides his preternatural, out-of-the-gate skill. Then he became a cynical special-effects god, more interested in playing with his toys than anything else.

This argument, I’d guess, will be best encapsulated by “The People vs. George Lucas,” a documentary premiering at SXSW that’s about exactly what you think it’s about. The trailer’s here, and it looks fun and self-aware about the subject in a way that most people aren’t.

I’m not the biggest fan of the new trilogy, but I probably like it more than most reasonable people. “Episode II” is nothing more than an excuse to parade out 500 meticulously designed aliens, which is pretty entertaining, and there are none of those damn Ewoks. What’s worth noting about the much-reviled prequel trilogy is that it has tons of what avant-garde types would call “plastic qualities” — a purposeful digital sheen that doesn’t seem inadvertent. Lucas’ background is in the avant-garde: his misspent youth includes infatuations with the likes of montage theorist Slavko Vorkapich and Norman McLaren.

03082010_clone.jpgNo one, then, should accuse Lucas of being untrue to himself with the post-“Star Wars” trilogy that’s about as impersonal as filmmaking gets. From this angle, in a strange way, he’s the most expensive avant-garde filmmaker of all time.

More importantly (especially with his cracked background) Lucas has no responsibility to anyone. He does what he wants, regardless of how the public feels. That’s abstractly admirable.

[Photos: “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” 20th Century Fox, 2002]

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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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