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In search of Wall Street’s answer to “Shattered Glass.”

In search of Wall Street’s answer to “Shattered Glass.” (photo)

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You can learn so many things from procedural movies. Watching “A Man Escaped” and “Escape From Alcatraz,” you can find out a great deal about escape strategies to use, should you find yourself in a prison fifty-some years old. Watching “Pickpocket,” you can learn that playing pinball is a great way to get your fingers in shape for stealing someone’s stuff. Should you wish to learn about fact-checking in a large journalistic organization, you could watch “Shattered Glass”; if you want to see how to set up an excruciating but valid chain of evidence in a police investigation, see “Zodiac.”

Watching these movies, of course, won’t guarantee that you’d be any good at any of these things. They might, however, give you a realistic sense of the inside of a prison, magazine or police station. That’s helpful, because most people only understand the inside workings of their own professions — audiences might emerge with more sympathy for the editorial staff, or the harried investigator, or so on.

It’s high time someone make a detailed movie about how the world of finance work, because it’s becoming more and more impenetrable every day. Jon Stewart spent part of a recent episode of “The Daily Show” mocking financial talking heads for treating cable news viewers like idiots by trying to compare the Goldman Sachs fraud lawsuit to selling rotten apples, buying used cars or picking the Mets-Yankees player line-ups instead of actually explaining what was going on. It seems that very few people truly understand what a futures market might be, why derivatives need to be regulated or how we got in this mess in the first place.

04212010_ws2.jpgSure, making an instructional narrative movie about Wall Street (presuming “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” isn’t going to be it) seems like a potentially didactic idea. (“Shattered Glass” clarified a lot of things about the millennial plagiarism scandals, but didn’t set the box-office on fire.) But if it’s okay to dramatize political scandals (as in Doug Liman’s upcoming take on Valerie Plame) or the founding of Facebook (as in the upcoming Aaron Sorkin-written film), surely the endlessly unfolding fallout of our new recession deserves the same attention to minutae.

As it stands, all we have is Oliver Stone, who’s more into ethos and the prevalent atmosphere than the details. I nominate Billy Ray, who — with “Shattered Glass” and “Breach” — proved he’s very good at laying out seemingly mundane events with dramatic repercussions.

[Photos: “Shattered Glass,” Lions Gate Films, 2003; “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” 20th Century Fox, 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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