DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Memorial” by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis

memorial

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a cool comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from various comic creators and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Memorial by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis

The Premise: After staggering into a hospital a year ago with no memory of her past, Em (the name she takes from the single letter “M” on a necklace she was wearing) has rebuilt her life and has a nice job at a small bookstore. Things take a turn for the fantastic — and dangerous — when she wanders into a strange antique store and finds that all is not as it seems with her life and the world she inhabits. She soon finds herself caught up in a war raging on various planes of reality, forced to travel through strange lands on a quest for the truth.

The Pitch: Combine the fantastic coming-of-age tales of the Harry Potter series and “Labyrinth” with the sort of strong female character and magical worlds parallel to our own that authors like Neil Gaiman handle so masterfully, and you’ll understand the appeal of Chris Roberson’s Memorial. The recent miniseries offers a darker spin on the traditional, fantasy-fueled quest stories, and though its lead character is older than those of the Harry Potter books or “Labyrinth,” the blank slate of Em’s mind allows for a similar sort of growth and evolution of her character.

Over the course of the series, Em’s adventure has her crossing path with a long list of weird characters — human and otherwise — and visiting strange worlds that often share some similarities with our own. Nevertheless, an adaptation of Memorial wouldn’t need to bust its budget on digital effects, as many of the characters, creatures, and settings she encounters are simply skewed versions of their real-world counterparts. Much like the big-screen adaptations of the Harry Potter franchise, the real focus of the story is on the human characters, with Em’s quest driving the narrative forward throughout all six issues of the series.

While Hollywood has a history of shying away from action movies with female leads, the fantasy genre hasn’t had nearly the same trouble accepting women — and girls, for that matter — in lead roles. Although the tone of Memorial is far lighter than something like Guillermo Del Toro’s scary fantasy “Pan’s Labyrinth,” it’s also a bit more adult-oriented than Jim Henson’s playful, puppet-filled 1986 film “Labyrinth” and features a slightly older main character than both of the aforementioned films. These factors benefit a potential adaptation, because it means a “Memorial” movie could not only draw from the pool of popular young-adult actresses for its lead, but it also fits nicely in the PG-13 movie landscape.

Given the sort of demographic-spanning appeal Memorial already has in the comics world, it’s also easy to see why a movie based on the series could be a nice vehicle for a young actress to raise her profile. Chris Roberson has crafted an impressive, original story that manages to be both magical for readers and deadly serious for its main character — a formula that works just as well on the page as it does on the screen.

The Closing Argument: Now that the “Harry Potter” movies are in the rearview mirror, Hollywood would do well to look to the comics world for tentpole-movie source material, and Memorial is exactly the sort of story that could make an easy leap from page to screen. Given the series’ strong narrative thread and under-the-radar profile, there’s little need to pour the sort of budget-busting money into a “Memorial” movie that’s usually necessary to keep a well-known project’s fanbase appeased. The film’s director will be able to concentrate on bringing the story to life, while also having the freedom to be clever with the visual side of the film — something that Roberson and Ellis have had great success with in the comic itself.

In the end, it’s hard to argue with the potential of a project like this, as Memorial manages to combine all the best elements of some of the most popular examples of the genre, while also retaining its own, very unique identity. If Hollywood is looking for a ready-made adventure set within the fantasy genre with a dark, young-adult flavor, a “Memorial” movie offers all of that… and much, much more.


Would “Memorial” make a good movie? 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

via GIPHY

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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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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