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10 questions we hope “The Avengers” will answer

10 questions we hope “The Avengers” will answer (photo)

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When “The Avengers” hits theaters next year, it will provide be the culmination of several years of exhaustive planning by the Marvel Studios team, and bring all of the characters introduced in their recent blockbuster films together for the first time. In short, it’s an ambitious goal — and not just because they’re putting Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Hulk on the same screen, but also because they’ll be expected to answer all of the questions they seeded throughout the five films leading up to this monumental team-up.

From Nick Fury’s back story to Iron Man’s alternate armor, there’s been no shortage of speculation fodder left behind by the studio over the last few years of Marvel movies. With that in mind, here are the ten questions we’re hoping to see answered when “The Avengers” premieres in 2012.

1. How long has Nick Fury been around?

During the multitude of Sam Jackson’s cameos as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury, he’s hinted that all might not be as it appears when it comes to him and his history with the mysterious government agency. Along with inferring that he knew Tony Stark’s father in “Iron Man 2,” Fury has also indicated some familiarity with Captain America that goes beyond reading a few old newspapers. All of this leaves us wondering exactly how long the eyepatch-sporting secret agent has been pulling strings around the superhero world.

2. What happened to the War Machine armor after “Iron Man 2”?

We know that James “Rhodey” Rhodes has his own set of War Machine armor, so what has he been doing with it since we last saw him in “Iron Man 2”? In the Marvel movie timeline, “Iron Man 2” falls before both “The Incredible Hulk” and “Thor,” so one would assume War Machine’s been called into service by the government once or twice during that time. Why haven’t we heard about it?

3. Does Tony Stark know about his father’s involvement in Project: Rebirth?

In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” we learned that Howard Stark played a big role in turning sickly Steve Rogers into the super-soldier Captain America, and in “Iron Man 2,” we learned that he went on to play a similarly integral role in founding S.H.I.E.L.D. We know Tony’s aware of the latter piece of info (thanks to Nick Fury), but is he aware of his father’s connection to Captain America?

4. Is Bruce Banner in control of the Hulk now?

The “Avengers” teaser shown after the credits rolled in “Captain America” confirmed much of what we already knew about the team’s lineup, but there have been big questions about Hulk’s role on the team. The preview didn’t seem to indicate that anyone was worried about Bruce Banner turning into his green-skinned alter ego, so what changed since we last saw him in “The Incredible Hulk”?

5. Is Black Widow on the good guys’ team?

In the Marvel Comics world, Natasha Romanoff has been on both sides of the superhuman world, cast as both a superhero and a supervillain at different points. In Marvel’s “Ultimate” universe — the inspiration for much of the cinematic universe — she was a villain who helped infiltrate and subsequently take down the Avengers team. From what we’ve seen of her so far, she seems to on the good guys’ team, but will that change?

6. What happened to Loki?

Even though Loki disappeared into the cosmic abyss at the end of “Thor,” audiences learned via a post-credits scene in that same film that he was far from out of the picture. Since then, Marvel has revealed that he’ll be one of the major players in “The Avengers,” so that begs the question: What happened between his fall from Asgard and the post-credits scene in “Thor”?

7. Who will lead the Avengers?

In the Marvel Comics world, Captain America has long been regarded as the Avengers’ team leader, despite Iron Man’s status as one of the team’s original founders (Captain America didn’t join the team until a few issues into the original “Avengers” comic book series). At the end of “Iron Man 2,” we learned that Nick Fury had turned down Tony Stark for membership on the team, but was willing to have him serve as a consultant. That, paired with his post-credits appearance in “The Incredible Hulk” as an emissary for The Avengers Initiative prompts a lot of questions about his role on the team.

8. Why was Tony Stark recruiting for Avengers in “Incredible Hulk” instead of Nick Fury?

In every post-credits recruiting scene we’ve seen thus far, Nick Fury has always been the one approaching prospective members of his Avengers Initiative — all except one, that is. At the end of “The Incredible Hulk,” we see Tony Stark making a pitch to General Ross about a new “team” he’s forming. Why the switch-up from Nick Fury to Tony Stark? Here’s hoping we get an answer next year.

9. Will the Hulk be a good guy or a bad guy?

In the first issue of the Avengers comic book series, the threat that brings together Iron Man, Thor, and the rest of the team is a rampaging Hulk. They soon learn that Loki was controlling the Hulk, though, and the jade giant joins the team. In Marvel’s Ultimate universe, it’s a similar threat that unites the team, though Captain America is around from the start this time, and plays a major role in bringing down Bruce Banner’s alter ego. Given the similarity of these two stories, it’s no surprise that everyone’s expecting to see Hulk go on a destructive spree yet again, and force the Avengers to unite against him. However, hints about Loki’s role in the film and the reveal of the Cosmic Cube call some of the assumptions into question. Will Hulk play the role of good guy in the film, or will he fall more in line with his comics counterpart?

10. What about Wasp and Ant-Man?

As I mentioned earlier, Captain America wasn’t a founding member of the Avengers in the original comic book series. However, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, and The Wasp were there from the start (and technically, so was the Hulk). Given what we’ve seen of the film so far, it seems strange that this duo seems to have been omitted from the live-action Avengers team. We know Edgar Wright has an “Ant-Man” movie in the mix, but given the character’s status as one of the team’s most regular members over the last few decades, it’s a surprise to not see him among the founding members in the movie. The same goes for Janet Van Dyne (a.k.a. The Wasp), who was the one to come up with the name “Avengers” in the comics world.

Which questions do you hope “The Avengers” will answer? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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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