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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.