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Five ways “The Amazing Spider-Man” will differ from the previous movie franchise

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Yesterday’s preview of “The Amazing Spider-Man” yielded lots of new details about Peter Parker’s upcoming return to the big screen, but one of the most significant takeaways from the sneak peek event was confirmation of some of the ways this version of the webslinger will differ from his big-screen predecessor.

British actor Andrew Garfield puts on the webbed mask and replaces previous franchise headliner Tobey Maguire this time around, but that’s not the only big change audiences should expect from what’s being billed as the “untold story” of Spider-Man.

After seeing all of the new footage presented during yesterday’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” event, here are five more changes you can look forward to when your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler swings into theaters in July.


Mechanical Web-Shooters

Same Raimi’s “Spider-Man” franchise became the target of much criticism early on when it was revealed that Peter Parker’s webs would be an organic product of his mutation rather than the wrist-mounted mechanical devices he uses in the comics. That diversion from the source material is corrected in Marc Webb’s upcoming reboot of the franchise, as the new footage clearly shows Peter Parker developing, testing, and making ample use of artificial webs and a web-shooter with a red glow. In one particular scene, Peter is seen fiddling with the web-shooter and accidentally setting it off, resulting in his face being webbed to the device. In another scene, Spider-Man toys with a car thief before sticking him to a wall with a series of web shots — with the red glow of the web-shooter pulsing each time he slings a web at his target. There’s also a nice, up-close shot of the web-shooter itself in the new trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”


Quipping while Thwipping

Rather than the progressively more angsty, emo Peter Parker we saw in the last “Spider-Man” franchise, the webslinger is clearly returning to his joke-a-minute roots in “The Amazing Spider-Man.” In the footage shown yesterday, there were very few scenes of Spidey in costume that didn’t also involve a steady stream of jokes coming from the wall-crawler. During the aforementioned run-in with the car thief, Spider-Man toys with the criminal for a while as only a high-school kid can, dropping to his knees when the guy pulls a knife and exclaiming, “Oh no, is that a real knife? Aargh! That’s my only weakness!” — only to stick him to the wall with a barrage of webs a second later. If nothing else, this film’s take on Spidey brings him back to being that playful brat fans love, but criminals hate.


Spider-Man is Public Enemy #1

With the exception of eternal Spidey-hater J. Jonah Jameson, the previous “Spider-Man” films were largely a webslinger love-fest, with Peter Parker enjoying life as a celebrated hero loved by the public. This time around, Spider-Man clearly won’t be winning any popularity polls, as the new footage included quite a few scenes in which Spider-Man is being chased, attacked by, or attacking police officers around New York. To make matters worse, much of that anti-Spidey sentiment seems to come from Gwen Stacy’s father, George Stacy (played by Denis Leary), a high-ranking NYPD officer. One especially tense scene shown during the preview event featured Peter and Mr. Stacy arguing about Spider-Man’s intentions over dinner and making things extremely uncomfortable for Gwen.


He Does Whatever a Spider Can

While past installments of “Spider-Man” on the big screen did a great job of presenting the range of Peter Parker’s spider-given abilities, “The Amazing Spider-Man” appears to be taking things one step further when it comes to Spidey’s enhanced agility and “spider sense.” In the footage shown during yesterday’s event, there was one particularly great scene in which Spider-Man is seen dodging bullets by first twisting from side to side and then flipping over the gunman in one fluid motion from a standing position. Rather than presenting his enhanced reaction time via a sudden switch to slow-motion (a la the previous films), “The Amazing Spider-Man” appears to take the opposite approach, with the world moving at normal speed while Spider-Man reacts instantaneously to everything that occurs. In the aforementioned scene, Spider-Man dodges left, then right, at the same time each shot is fired, and then jumps behind the gunman the moment the third shot is fired — mimicking the sort of blink-and-you-miss-it movement of real-world spiders when threatened.


Loving the Man, Not the Mask

During the preview event for “The Amazing Spider-Man,” actress Emma Stone explained that one key difference between her character, Gwen Stacy, and Peter Parker’s love interest from the previous films, Mary Jane Watson, is that Gwen falls in love with Peter, not Spider-Man. That difference might seem small when mentioned in passing, but it’s a key component of Peter Parker’s history in both the comics and, apparently, in the upcoming film. During one scene shown during the event, Gwen is seen telling Peter — who happens to be wearing his Spider-Man costume at the time — that she already worries about whether her policeman father will come home every night, and stresses that she doesn’t want to have the same concerns about Peter. Along the same lines, Gwen and Peter’s relationship appears to develop well before he dons a costume and starts fighting bad guys. When measured against the infamous upside-down Spidey kiss between Mary Jane and Peter in the first “Spider-Man” film and the struggles he had convincing Mary Jane to love him when he wasn’t wearing the mask, this dynamic should make for a major tonal shift in the reboot that sets “The Amazing Spider-Man” apart from the previous franchise.


What other changes do you expect to see in “The Amazing Spider-Man”? 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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