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HCFF: Rainn Wilson and James Gunn talk the cult of “Super”

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“Super” is a movie that is all still fresh in our brains, and one that that was easily the youngest film present at the Hero Complex Film Festival. But host Geoff Boucher explained that he felt the flick will stand the test of time and one day sit happily next to such classics as “A Clockwork Orange,” “RoboCop” and “Shaun of the Dead,” which is why he included it in the line-up.

Star Rainn Wilson and writer/director James Gunn seemed honored to be present at the festival, even though they said it wasn’t too long ago that they were telling these same stories. That being said, they felt that the movie has really found its niche since it was released in 2010.

“It’s great that it’s really reaching an audience,” Wilson said. “People are loving the movie. I think it’s getting in the groundwater and I think it will really last, and that’s a really cool thing. That’s why you do it, especially kind of a weird, low-budget little cult film like this. People are very moved by it, and I like that.”

“Super” is sort of a comedy, sort of an action flick, sort of a drama and sort of a cult movie, and Gunn always knew that it would be a hard sell. He explained that he made the movie for the specific audience that would like it, instead of trying to appeal to a wide audience.

“I knew it was not a movie for everyone. It really was a movie for a few people and I feel really good about that. I knew that from the beginning,” Gunn said. “The people who love ‘Super’ like fucking love it. It touches them and it movies them. And we meant it sincerely, it was our story. That’s who I made the movie for.”

Gunn originally wrote the script back in 2002, and it first got financing back in 2004. He couldn’t find the right actor for the project then — he wanted John C. Reilly, but his financiers felt he “wasn’t a big enough star” (yet) — so it was put on hold while he did “Slither.” After that, it was Gunn’s ex-wife, “The Office” star Jenna Fischer, who turned him on to Wilson.

“I really needed somebody who could do the acting part, who could do the comedic part, who was a big enough goof that you could think he was getting picked on by the cook at the diner but is also a big enough guy that you could imagine him kicking ass at the end of the movie,” Gunn said.

Well, Wilson certainly fits that model to a T. After that, Gunn said it was surprisingly easy to get the cast that they needed. He wanted an Ellen Page-type for Boltie, and they got Ellen Page. Liv Tyler was a passionate supporter of the project, and used her prestigious name to swing a lot of the financing and pull some strings. Kevin Bacon was a last-minute addition, but one that was no less dedicated to the project. With those all set, it was just a matter of making the movie.

One of the things that’s interesting about “Super” is that the superhero storyline in the movie is sort of secondary. Gunn acknowledged that during the post-screening Q&A.

“[‘Super’ is] really much more about the fact that he’s this guy,” he said. “And I think the story could be told without him putting on the suit, but the suit’s kind of like gravy that gives it a little bit of extra something, but it’s really not about him being a superhero. It’s about him being this guy who lost his wife and how he tries to deal with it.”

Much of the influence for the film stylistically came from Asian cinema, but Gunn said much of the inspiration for the story came from Alan Moore.

“He wrote ‘Watchmen’ and sort of deconstructed the superheroes and was really trying to deconstruct the superhero idea in that same way,” Gunn said.

Even though “Super” seemed like an original idea when Gunn was writing it, he soon found himself with another similar project: “Kick-Ass.” But it turns out that there’s no bad blood between him and “Kick-Ass” creator Mark Millar, and in fact Millar was very supportive of Gunn’s film.

“I’m actually friends with Mark Millar online. We’re email buddies,” Gunn explained. “Back in 2004 or whatever he said, ‘What are you working on now?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got this screenplay I’ve gone out with,’ and I told him what the gist of the screenplay was, and I think we’ve got the money for it, I think we’ve set it up, and he emailed me back and was so bummed out and was like, ‘Well shit, I’m writing this comic book,’ which was ‘Kick-Ass.'”

It seems like the making of “Super” was a good experience for both Gunn and Wilson. Though they both have other projects at the moment, they agreed that they would be open to working with one another again. Wilson even teased that he had an idea that he was going to pitch to Gunn in the coming week. Considering how off-the-wall “Super” was, we can only imagine what their next collaboration will be like.

Would you like to see Gunn and Wilson work together again? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and 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.