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Del Toro, Hill Haunt Hall H: Comic Con 2010 Day One, Part One

Del Toro, Hill Haunt Hall H: Comic Con 2010 Day One, Part One (photo)

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“The first rule of Comic-Con is to show up in your own costume, and I can see as I look in the hall, not a lot of people in costume,” Will Ferrell said as he surveyed the audience in the San Diego Convention Center’s cavernous Hall H on the first day of Comic-Con.

It was meant to be a joke, as Ferrell was dressed as the character he plays in the animated film “Megamind,” but it’s one that was unwittingly perceptive. There do seem to be fewer people in costume around Hall H this year, which seems less connected than ever with the rest of the convention, where TV panels bring out their most devoted fans and comics are still bought, sold and discussed thoroughly.

As for the films that occupy Comic-Con’s most prized piece of real estate, there seemed to be an uncertainty about how to wow the crowd, at least on day one of the 2010 edition. For “Tron Legacy,” which has seen its entire evolution occur at the Con after premiering test footage two years ago, this year’s presentation felt like a victory lap, even though the film doesn’t come out until December.

On the other end of the spectrum, panels for “The Expendables” and “Salt” offered the opportunity for studios to trot out the films’ stars, who were more than gracious to the fans, but even with exclusive footage and surprises like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost crashing the “Scott Pilgrim” panel, it’s all felt a little more mechanical than in years past.

07232010_Megamind2.jpgOne thing that remains is the event is as unwieldy as ever, as a young child next to me asked, “Are they really up there?” when we sat so far back from Ferrell, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill on stage at the “Megamind” panel that the only way we could see them was on one of Hall H’s many screens. However, security seems tighter this year — Con-goers who try to sneak into line close to the door are quickly rebuffed and a young woman at the mic who told Tina Fey she was “fucking hot” was hauled off before she could get a response.

If there was a policy of keeping the banter safe for kids, Jonah Hill must not have received the memo. While Ferrell was dressed in blue, Hill was working blue, taking the bait from HitFix’s Drew McWeeny on a question about which person in Hollywood they would want to destroy if they had superpowers. Hill responded, “Mel Gibson’s girlfriend. I just want to come out officially and support Mel” and walked defiantly off stage.

DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg probably would’ve preferred that Hill not return if he knew Hill would defuse the situation by coming back to apologize with “I actually read what [Gibson] just said. I’m going to have to take a few of those things back. It was paraphrased to me earlier and now I read what he actually said. I feel guilty. I only support a quarter of the things he was talking about on those tapes. No, I was kidding. I don’t support him. I do think the Jews killed Jesus. Other than that…” (Hill mused earlier in the panel Katzenberg would “shoot an arrow in my head” if he revealed a twist for his character in “Megamind,” but I suspect there might be a worse reprimand for this and his later crack about Michael Cera masturbating throughout the sleeping bag scene in “Superbad.”)

The eight minutes of “Megamind” footage that was shown paled in comparison, though the biggest laugh of the superhero spoof was a sight gag when Ferrell’s villainous title character takes control of a city long protected by the superhero Metro Man (Brad Pitt, who appeared in cardboard cut-out form on the panel since he didn’t attend) and Megamind’s visage appears on banners resembling Shepard Fairey’s the Obama “Hope” posters, with the logo, “No, You Can’t.”

Likewise, there wasn’t much to discuss from the “Tron Legacy” panel besides its new trailer:

Most of the money shots were part of the eight minutes of footage the Comic-Con crowd got to see, which was largely an introduction to Garrett Hedlund’s Sam Flynn as he’s abducted by a recognizer and suited up with a disc in hand on his way to find his father Kevin (Jeff Bridges). Daft Punk got the biggest audience response when they were ordered by a white-haired Michael Sheen to “electrify the boys and girls” and the footage turned into a montage that resembled the trailer, ending with the unveiling of Jeff Bridges appearing as his 35-year-old self as Kevin’s avatar CLU.

Bridges called the whole thing “pretty wild, pretty psychadelic,” and while co-star Michael Sheen made a nice play on words when he noted the film will be in 4D since Bridges “brings a fourth dimension,” Bridges actually appeared to be a different dimension when he was waxing on about a Jackson Browne concert he just attended and the plague of plastic water bottles contaminating the earth.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.