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The discerning film nerd’s guide to Thursday at Comic-Con

The discerning film nerd’s guide to Thursday at Comic-Con (photo)

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Comic-Con 2011 is just two weeks away. Our man on the video game beat, Evan Narcisse, already told you about Legendary Pictures’ plan to talk about the “Mass Effect” movie in San Diego, now I’ve got what I’m calling The Discerning Film Nerd’s Guide to Thursday at Comic-Con. If you’re going, and you’ve got taste close to mine, these are the events you’re going to want to check out.

My only rule when suggesting panels to attend was to leave out anything in the Convention Center’s mammoth Hall H. If you want to see something in there — and on Thursday the events range from a presentation on the final two “Twilight” movies to a conversation between Jon Favreau and Guillermo del Toro — you’d have needed to start camping out roughly four months ago. If you’re gonna do Hall H at Comic-Con you’re basically going to lose your whole day, so plan accordingly. This suggested schedule, then, won’t give you include the biggest events, but following it will allow you to see more and do more. Plus you’ll be able to follow everyone’s bitching about “Twilight” on Twitter anyway, so you really won’t miss anything.

You’ll also see some occasional overlap between events: realistically only the Multiple Man could attend everything on this list. But I’m giving you options. Going to Comic-Con is a gift. A smelly, ironic T-shirt wearing, lightsaber-swinging gift. So spent it wisely.

10:30-11:30: Spotlight on Joyce Brabner
CC2K11 Panel Description: “Is she the glacial, humorless activist as portrayed in the film “American Splendor: or just the person who published the first comic on the Internet? Come hear Comic-Con special guest Joyce Brabner talk about her latest projects, including finishing the work of her late husband Harvey Pekar and dealing with his legacy. Room 8

Matt’s Notes: I’m a huge fan of both the “American Splendor” movie and comics and I’d love to hear about the unfinished work Pekar left behind. And if you saw the “American Splendor” movie you know Joyce is just as much of a character as her late husband, and will surely give great panel.

12:45-1:45 DC Comics: Grant Morrison
CC2K11 Panel Description: Comic-Con special guest Grant Morrison, one of the most inventive writers in comics today, discusses his work in and out of comics, including the highly anticipated “Action Comics” #1, coming in September from DC Comics, his new nonfiction book, “Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human,” and recent acclaimed titles like “Joe the Barbarian.” Don’t miss this chance to hear one of comics’ most distinctive voices as he talks about his work from superheroes to the cutting edge of comics. Room 6DE

Matt’s Notes: If you’re unfamiliar with his work, Morrison’s one of the smartest and craziest writers in comics. His recent work on Superman (“All-Star Superman”) and Batman (“Batman,” “Batman and Robin,” “Batman Inc.”) has revitalized both concepts with bold new ideas and a clear understanding of the properties’ histories. His new “Action Comics #1” is part of DC’s line-wide relaunch and will almost certainly be worth a read. I interviewed Morisson at Comic-Con a few years ago and found him to be an even smarter conversationalist than he is a writer. The man understands comics better than basically anyone on the planet. If he’s talking about something, you should listen.

4:00-5:00 Masters of the Web
CC2K11 Panel Description: Some of the most prominent and influential film pundits on the web discuss the film industry, writing for film online, film fandom, and a whole lot more. Panelists include Peter Sciretta (Slashfilm.com), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Jen Yamato (Movieline.Com), Scott Beggs (FilmSchoolRejects.Com), Sasha Perl-Raver (Movieweb.com), Vic Holtreman (Screenrant.Com), Jenna Busch (Moviefone), and Mike Sampson (JoBlo.Com), hosted by John Campea (AMC Theatres). Room 5AB

Matt’s Notes: In all the years I went to Comic-Con I was too busy working red carpets and film junkets to attend this, but I always wanted to, mostly because from what I understand it always devolves into people screaming and yelling at each other for an hour. This year, for example, you might see someone take a shot at host John Campea from AMC Theatres about the aborted release of “Hatchet II,” which became a big kerfuffle on the Interwebs for a few days. All in all, sounds like a good time to me.

6:00-7:00 Masquerade 101
CC2K11 Panel Description:This overview of fan convention costume competitions covers various genres of costumes, a brief history of masquerades, how contests differ from one type of convention to another, and judging processes, plus costume fabrication and stage presentation tips for taking your costume creation from beginning concept to stage-ready spectacle…and have fun doing it! Presented by Comic-Con Masquerade director (for the past 20 years) Martin Jaquish, Masquerade assistant John Ruff, award-winning fan costumerAllan Lavigne, and award-winning member of the HCC cosplay group Judy Grivich. Room 5AB

Matt’s Notes: What can I say? I love when nerds play dress-up.

7:00-8:00 Writing Movies for Fun and Profit
CC2K11 Panel Description: Meet Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911!,” “The State,” “I Love You, Man”) and Robert Ben Garant (“Reno 911!,” “The State,” “Bob’s Burgers”). Sure, you love their cult TV shows, but the movies they’ve written —  “Night at the Museum” I & II, “The Pacifier,” etc — have made over a billion dollars at the box office. Their new bookWriting Movies for Fun and Profit will teach YOU the secrets of the studio system and everything you need to know to break into the film biz and start earning piles of money by SELLING OUT. Join them for an informative and irreverent Q&A. Room 5AB

Matt’s Notes: How much you will learn about screenwriting from this panel I cannot say. But you will certainly laugh. Plus Lennon and Garant have been coming to Comic-Con for a long time and they know the place well. You can even ask them about cosplay; I once bumped into them on the convention floor in costume on the occasion of the “Reno: 911!: Miami” movie. They stayed in character the whole time.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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