Saturn Awards: Joel Courtney talks “Super 8” and working with J.J. Abrams


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Joel Courtney has grown up a lot since “Super 8” came out last year. But even though he’s gone on to get roles in other projects like Tom Sawyer in “Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn,” he still stands in the shadow of the J.J. Abrams/Steven Spielberg project that made him a star.

That’s a shadow Courtney is happy to stand in. The 16-year-old won a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor in “Super 8,” while the film also won awards for Best Director (Abrams) and Best Music (Michael Giacchino). IFC caught up with Courtney on the Saturn Awards red carpet and asked him why he thinks the movie is perfect to lead the award show winners.

“‘Super 8’ is perfect for this awards show, for this awards ceremony, because it’s slightly horrific, not really, but it’s all sci-fi,” he said. “It’s got a great story, a great plot, and I mean it just fits in with this category so perfectly.”

Like “Star Trek 2” now, “Super 8” was shrouded in secrecy when it came out. Courtney said that he thinks that level of protection is important for audiences.

“If you know what’s going to happen in the movie, it’s not interesting. But I think it’s also important to have some publicity because, I mean, you don’t want to go into a movie going, ‘I have no idea what this movie is going to be about,’ he said. “But the thing is for ‘Super 8’ everybody loved it, so I mean it was a good thing.”

“Super 8” was Courtney’s first movie experience, and his big break in Hollywood. We asked him what he learned from working with established filmmakers like Abrams and Spielberg in his breakout role.

“Everything, actually. I learned it’s okay to shout at people. In my house, I’m not allowed to shout at anybody. It’s very strict. It’s a very Christian home. I love it. So he taught me that that’s okay and a bunch of other stuff. It was a great learning experience,” he said.

Courtney added that the element that most impressed him from making “Super 8” was its special effects.

“I had no idea how people did that,” he said. “I understood that it was on computers, but I didn’t know how, and a lot of the CGI people at Bad Robot, they actually showed us what they do and how they do it. They built us a scene and they made the monster actually run around on their computer. It just blew me away to see it actually come to life like that. And in the movie, it was amazing, even more.”

So will “Super 8” ever get a sequel in our movie culture where that seems to be encouraged? Courtney doesn’t think so.

“I can’t see it coming. But J.J. is brilliant enough to come up with something,” he said.

Would you want to see a sequel to “Super 8”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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SAG Life

Rappers Act Up

Watch the Yo! IFC Acts Movie Marathon Memorial Day Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection (and the '90s)

Memorial Day weekend: how to celebrate? Nothing quite says “screw spring—let’s do summer” like blockbuster movies starring rappers who ditched lucrative music careers in order to become actors. It happened a lot, remember? Especially in and around the ’90s. Will Smith, Eminem, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Marky Mark Wahlberg, Ludacris…icons with the hubris to try the silver screen instead and have it totally work out.

But what if more rappers had made the leap? That’s a rhetorical question—movies (and life) would’ve been better, obviously. To prove it, here are some movies that would’ve been more memorable with rappers.

The Godfather

Starring Biggie, not Brando.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Only Coolio could improve upon Gene Wilder’s performance.

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot, with a dose of Missy Elliott.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Low hanging fruit, Hollywood.

And of course…


See NONE of those movies and a whole bunch of real ones this Memorial Day weekend on IFC’s rapper-filled movie marathon.

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Brock Hard

Brockmire’s Guide To Grabbing Life By The D***

Catch up on the full season of Brockmire now.

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GIFs by Giphy

“Lucy, put supper on the stove, my dear, because this ballgame is over!”

Brockmire has officially closed out its rookie season. Miss the finale episode? A handful of episodes? The whole blessed season?? You can see it all from the beginning, starting right here.

And you should get started, because every minute you spend otherwise will be a minute spent not living your best life. That’s right, there are very important life lessons that Brockmire hid in plain sight—lessons that, when applied thoughtfully, can improve every aspect of your awesome existence. Let’s dive into some sage nuggets from what we call the Book of Jim.

Life Should Be Spiked, Not Watered Down.

That’s not just a fancy metaphor. As Brockmire points out, water tastes “awful. 70% of the water is made up of that shit?” Life is short, water sucks, live like you mean it.

There Are Only Three Types of People

“Poor people, rich people and famous people. Rich people are just poor people with money, so the only worthwhile thing is being famous.” So next time your rich friends act all high and mighty, politely remind them that they’re worthless in the eyes of even the most minor celebrities.

There’s Always A Reason To Get Out Of Bed

And 99% of the time that reason is the urge to pee. It’s nature’s way of saying “seize the day.”

There’s More To Life Than Playing Games

“Baseball can’t compete with p0rnography. Nothing can.” Nothing you do or ever will do can be more important to people than p0rn. Get off your high horse.

A Little Empathy Goes A Long Way

Especially if you’ve taken someone else’s Plan B by mistake.

Our Weaknesses Can Be Our Greatest Strengths

Tyrion Lannister said something similar. Hard to tell who said it with more colorful profanity. Wise sentiments all around.

Big Things Come To Those Who Wait

When you’re looking for a sign, the universe will drop you a big one. You’re the sh*t, universe.

And Of Course…

Need more life lessons from the Book of Jim? Catch up on Brockmire on the IFC App.

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Oh Mama

Mommie May I?

Mommie Dearest Is On Repeat All Mothers Day Long On IFC

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GIFs via Giphy

The cult-classic movie Mommie Dearest is a game-changer. If you’ve seen it even just once (but come on, who sees it just once?), then you already know what we’re talking about.

But if you haven’t seen it, then let us break it down for you. Really quick, we promise, we’ll even list things out to spare you the reading of a paragraph:

1. It’s the 1981 biopic based on the memoir of Christina Crawford, Hollywood icon Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter.
2. Faye Dunaway plays Joan. And boy does she play her. Loud and over-reactive.
3. It was intended as a drama, but…
4. Waaaaaay over-the-top performances and bargain-basement dialogue rendered it an accidental comedy.
5. It’s a cult classic, and you’re the last person to see it.

Not sold? Don’t believe it’s going to change your life? Ok, maybe over-the-top acting isn’t your thing, or perhaps you don’t like the lingering electricity of a good primal scream, or Joan Crawford is your personal icon and you can’t bear to see her cast in such a creepy light.

But none of that matters.

What’s important is that seeing this movie gives you permission to react to minor repeat annoyances with unrestrained histrionics.

That there is a key moment. Is she crazy? Yeah. But she’s also right. Shoulder nipples are horrible, wire hangers are the worst, and yelling about it feels strangely justified. She did it, we can do it. Precedent set. You’re welcome.

So what else can we yell about? Channel your inner Joan and consider the following list offenses when choosing your next meltdown.

Improperly Hung Toilet Paper

Misplaced Apostrophes

Coldplay at Karaoke

Dad Jokes

Gluten Free Pizza

James Franco

The list of potential pedestrian grievances is actually quite daunting, but when IFC airs Mommie Dearest non-stop for a full day, you’ll have 24 bonus hours to mull it over. 24 bonus hours to nail that lunatic shriek. 24 bonus hours to remember that, really, your mom is comparatively the best.

So please, celebrate Mother’s Day with Mommie Dearest on IFC and at IFC.com. And for the love of god—NO WIRE HANGERS EVER.

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