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When it comes to movies, TV is still all thumbs.

When it comes to movies, TV is still all thumbs. (photo)

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Lord David Puttnam, president of the British Film Distributors’ Association and former chief of Columbia Pictures, gave a long speech to the BFDA recently which was largely intended to discuss ways of combating digital piracy (banning camcorders in theaters, which is somehow still not illegal there). Mostly, though, he wondered why there weren’t any TV shows that discussed film in a serious manner. “Where on earth are the edgy magazine shows or the contemporary panel shows or the audience participation shows themed to the movies?” he asked. “The mass public interest in films – enjoyed by millions of people every week – is all but ignored in the current output of our national broadcasters.”

Apparently, the problem is that some producers demand fees for clips — a problem, it’s safe to say, most American TV stations don’t run into. Pretty much any movie has at least a small electronic press kit of 30-second snippets they’d be thrilled to have you show on the local news. Rare is the local news broadcast that doesn’t have a token “entertainment” spot on the show, at least on Fridays, when the week’s major releases are presented — usually with neutral/optimistic synopses by way of an anchor or entertainment reporter, or in some places still, an on-air movie critic.

03112010_bekind.jpgI’ve never really understood who benefits from this arrangement: these days, someone at the TV station will talk over the trailer in favor of running individual scenes from the film and the brief mention will usually be concerned more with box office potential than the film’s actual content. In fact, since the demise of the Roger Ebert-co-hosted “At the Movies” (an anomaly, not an outlier), you could say American TV has the same problem as British TV for different reasons. But I can’t imagine why things would be any different if British shows could get EPKs.

People seem very impatient with the idea of watching others talk about movies; we like stars, not roundtable discussions of what they’re starring in. (I don’t even know what an “audience participation” show would look like. Maybe a “Be Kind Rewind” spinoff where people remake the week’s movies?) With advertising prevalent on TV already — with most news segments simply regurgitating those — how could you have a genuinely original show on TV about movies? It’d require a whole new way of thinking, but the Internet already has that. But it’s a nice thought.

[Photos: “At the Movies,” Disney-ABC, 1986-present; “Be Kind Rewind,” New Line Cinema, 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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