DID YOU READ

Rumor pegs Spider-Man for a cameo in “The Avengers” (right after the flying pigs sequence)

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There are rumors, and then are rumors, folks — and one of the latter that’s being tossed around the online world now regarding “The Avengers” is a doozy.

According to various sites, “The Amazing Spider-Man” star Andrew Garfield is poised to make a cameo as the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler in “The Avengers,” much like a certain clawed Canadian mutant dropped by for a quick scene in “X-Men: First Class.” And while it might not sound like such a big deal to people who aren’t plugged in to every detail of Hollywood’s relationship with the comics world, let’s just say that an appearance by Peter Parker (or his web-slinging alter ego) in “The Avengers” is, well… highly unlikely (to put it mildly).

But hey, anything’s possible in comics, right?

Now, before I get into the reasons why such a cameo is so unlikely, let’s look at how the rumor got started.

Earlier this month, the eagle-eyed crew at Bleeding Cool cited an interesting interview with actress Jenny Agutter in which her role in “The Avengers” was brought up. Like much of the cast, she’s sworn to secrecy about anything related to the superhero team-up extravaganza, but she did let slip with one potential bombshell.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview that was published in The Radio Times:

As for Agutter, she’s about to metamorphose again to appear alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson in upcoming Hollywood blockbuster The Avengers.

“I’m sworn to secrecy! I wasn’t allowed a script until I got there, and when I did I felt like a complete child being on big sets and a huge parking lot full of Winnebagos.”

She does let slip that two of these housed Spider-Man and Iron Man; we suspect Agutter won’t able to avoid sci-fi conventions for much longer.

Just in case you missed it, go back and read that last line again. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

So the Winnebagos on the set were for Iron Man and Spider-Man, eh?

Now, since this interview was picked up, lots of sites have attributed the Spider-Man reference to a mistake on the part of either Agutter or the Radio Times, which probably doesn’t know Doctor Doom from Darkseid, but that hasn’t stopped some from seeing this as proof of a certain webslinger’s cameo in the film.

Many of the sites trumpeting the rumor as fact point to the announcement that Walt Disney Company (which owns Marvel Entertainment) and Sony Pictures (which owns the rights to make Spider-Man movies) settled on an agreement back in November 2011 to share the rights to “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Sony would own the movie rights to Spidey, while Disney would own the merchandising rights to the character and his movie incarnations.

According to Best Movie Ever News, a “trusted source” has not only confirmed the cameo, but offered some details on why it’s happening:

“This will be similar to how Wolverine made a quick cameo in X-Men: First Class and Sony’s going to make sure to promote their new Spider-man movie any way they can,” reports the site’s anonymous source. “Andrew’s (Garfield) isn’t a widely known actor so they want to get his face on everything, including The Avengers even if it’s for a couple seconds.”

Now, before you get psyched to see Spidey swing across the screen while carrying Captain America on his back, make sure to keep in mind that this is all just a rumor right now — and an extremely questionable one at that, posted by a site who neglected to include the hyphen in “Spider-Man.” (Sorry, that’s one of my pet peeves. But I digress…)

First, to say that studios usually frown upon letting their characters appear in competing studios’ films just might qualify as the understatement of the decade. These sort of crossovers are more rare than DC vs. Marvel brawls because in Hollywood, if a character appears in your movie, that usually means you own it.

Want to know why studios tend to cram in a bunch of new characters in the second or third films in a franchise? That’s because the studio wants to establish ownership of that character, just in case they want to bring it back for a sequel or spin-off movie. Combining characters from different studios in the same film muddies the legal waters, and if there’s anything that a studio doesn’t want, it’s a legitimate legal challenge to one of their big revenue generators.

The aforementioned scenario is the reason a Wolverine cameo in “X-Men: First Class” was possible (Fox owns the rights to the X-Men and Wolverine), and why we’re more likely to see a cameo from Ghost Rider in “The Amazing Spider-Man” (Sony owns the movie rights to both characters) than a cameo from Spider-Man in “The Avengers.”

Beyond the legal reasons why a Spidey cameo is so unlikely, there’s also the logistical and narrative problems to consider.

In the world of “Avengers,” superheroes are a new development and so are the superhuman threats they face. While it’s true that Spider-Man’s comic book history was retroactively padded out to include connections between his parents and S.H.I.E.L.D., an appearance by Spider-Man in “The Avengers” would necessitate the super-team’s awareness of every threat Spidey faced.

For example, now that we know The Lizard will be the villain in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” a crossover between Peter Parker’s universe and that of the Avengers will have everyone asking why Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the team didn’t bother to help out when a massive reptile terrorized a New York high school. And what about the Avengers’ foes? Are we to believe Peter Parker just sat back and let Nick Fury’s team handle every crisis when people were dying?

In previous Marvel movies, we’ve seen nods to the events occurring in other films that are part of the company’s cinematic universe, so the decision to suddenly cram Spider-Man into the Marvel movie-verse would likely seem out of place to anyone who’s been following along through the previous films. Sure, many sites are saying that the promotional opportunities for “The Amazing Spider-Man” that come with a cameo in “The Avengers” and the merchandising benefit to Disney make it a win-win scenario for both studios, but the fact remains that such a crossover could be a narrative nightmare for both films.

In the end, you have to ask yourself: do you think “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon would jeopardize his film for the sake of a cameo? And would Sony risk its own ownership of Spider-Man and the “back to basics” vibe of its film for the same?

I’m guessing they won’t — but hey, anything’s possible in comics and Hollywood these days.

Do you think a Spider-Man cameo in “The Avengers” is possible? 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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