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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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.