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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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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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