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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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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.