“The Hobbit” trailer: Five scenes that made this Tolkien fan cheer (and why you should, too)


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The first trailer for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” debuted yesterday evening, prompting quite a bit of excitement around Middle-earth and, well… regular Earth, too. Director Peter Jackson’s impending return to J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic saga has everyone buzzing about the “Lord of the Rings” prequel today, and for good reason — the new trailer offered quite a bit of fan-friendly footage.

As one of the many devotees of all things Tolkien, I know I wasn’t alone in feeling a sudden urge to cheer during last night’s trailer premiere. Here are the five moments that contributed the most to my “Hobbit” hysteria.

1. Introductions Are Made

For many Tolkien fans, 1977’s animated adaptation of “The Hobbit” offered one of the first — and for quite a while, only — visual representations of Thorin and his band of dwarves that accompanied Bilbo on his great adventure. When Jackson finally released the first photos of his version of the dwarves, fans like myself couldn’t help imagining the traits of the dwarves we knew from the story mapped to these new, three-dimensional versions of Balin, Dwalin, fili, Kili, and the rest of the dwarves.

When each of the dwarves are introduced in the trailer, we not only get our first look at them in action, but we also get our first sense of how each dwarf’s personality will play into the adventure. Sure, it’s a lot to read into a short moment in the trailer, but for anyone who’s read and re-read their copy of The Hobbit, each dwarf is like an old friend.

2. Chip the Glasses, Crack the Plates…

Tolkien filled his original take on The Hobbit with excerpts from the songs sung by his characters. Sometimes the songs were celebratory, sometimes they told a story, and sometimes they were simply a bit of exposition intended to provide context and mood for what was to come. When Thorin and his company of dwarves utter the first few lines of “Misty Mountains Cold,” it became clear in an instant that Jackson not only realized the importance of these interludes, but has made every effort to preserve them in this new take on the story.

For those who haven’t seen the aforementioned animated adaptation of “The Hobbit,” take a moment to listen to the version of “Misty Mountains Cold” used in that 1977 film. Like the song heard in the trailer, it’s a haunting moment that conveys how much is at stake in their quest.

3. Sting, Revealed

As Tolkien fans are well aware, Frodo wasn’t the first to wield the magical sword called “Sting.” Not only was Bilbo the first to discover it, but he also gave it the name that made it one of Middle-earth’s most feared weapons. While I won’t spoil the circumstances that led to it receiving that name, I will admit that the brief scene in the trailer when Bilbo looks at it for the first time, well… it gave me a little shiver.

If you thought Sting saw a lot of action in “Lord of the Rings,” wait until you see what’s in store for it in “The Hobbit.”

4. Trolls!

Scenes of the Legolas, Aragorn, and the rest of Tolkien’s fellowship battling foes much bigger than them were commonplace in “The Lord of the Rings,” but when your main characters are a diminutive Hobbit and a band of dwarves, every battle takes on epic proportions. Around the 1:59 mark in the trailer, there’s a brief scene that appears to be the moment when the dwarves tussle with a group of trolls in the woods.

As anyone who’s read The Hobbit can attest, this is one of the group’s first big battles with enemies they encounter along their journey, and I can’t wait to see how Jackson brings moments like this to the screen. Sure, it was cool seeing Legolas and Aragorn wreck all manner of beast in “Lord of the Rings,” but it was the fellowship’s dwarf, Gimli, that I was watching in every scene.

5. Gollum and The One Ring

The linchpin of the entire “Lord of the Rings” saga is a simple, golden ring — and “The Hobbit” trailer offers our first glimpse of the One Ring as Bilbo first encounters it. With the success of the “Lord of the Rings” films, many fans will have encountered Tolkien’s tales in reverse order, and the subtle nods to Bilbo’s fate that he included in The Hobbit will likely mean that much more to audiences for Jackson’s prequel film.

The return of Andy Serkis as Gollum is also a welcome moment in the trailer, and serves as a great reminder of why he’s one of the best there is at what he does — and why he should never be overlooked as a major component of the films’ heart and soul.

What were some of your favorite moments from “The Hobbit” trailer? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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


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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