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July 28, 2008 |

By Brian Prisco | Miscellaneous | July 28, 2008 |

Sweat pours down my forehead, drenching of the collar of my Godtopus T-shirt, as I tug my backpack straps higher. Even fortified with rice krispie treats and a liter water bottle, I feel like I’ve been walking miles and miles. I trod on endlessly, as I pass a sea of refugees coming the other way witnesses us weaklings striding towards the nadir. Smiles mark their faces, not because of a sense of entitlement or because they are any nearer to the end of their quest, but because they have just found Waldo.

I assumed Saturday would be a busy day, but I also figured that because I was spending most of it in the amply-seated Hall H, so I should be fine. The Lady Clevername was headed for the San Diego Zoo, so I had her drop me at the entrance of the convention center, so that she would be able to avoid most of the onslaught of homely hordes shambling toward their freebies. I began my arduous trek down the entire length of the convention center to the outdoor entrance to Hall H. As I approached, I saw the line moving in. I figured it’d be a pretty long line, so I followed it. It was snaking across the lawn, already some 1500 people deep. But the line is already wrapped around the end of the building, so we continue onward to find the end.

But it’s not there. It’s still moving, a crowd of people heading towards the hall, as we walk back towards the entrance of the convention center. The line is wrapped clear around the building, and still going. It was astounding. It was a moment where you can’t believe that a line will actually go on for this long. Just as you think you might have reached the end, you come around a corner, and the line is still FUCKING going. I was walking behind a guy dressed like Waldo, which the crowd found amusing. We actually ended up going around the entire convention center. And the line was STILL going. It was never going to end. I was convinced I was going to end up in Narnia and Tumnus was going to give my bottom a good rogering. Or curve a bullet around me and into the forehead of the White Witch.

The line ended up in the harbor, along the seawalk. The whole time I’m trodding along, I’m thinking to myself, I have to walk this entire fucking distance back. I went to school in Boston, so I was used to Natty Bumpoeing my ass around places, but for real, this was getting awful. Finally, we made it to the end of the line, where we turned around and started tromping back. People had to have been lining up for hours before the convention hall opened. Later, we found out people had actually camped out to be first in line for the “Heroes” panel. “Heroes” was one of the many projects sort of born out of Comic-Con. If you geek it, they will watch.

As we circled around to the grassy knoll, some guy was shouting at us from the top floor of the convention center. Waving and videotaping and shouting words of encouragement. Turned out to be Greg Grunberg, the psychic cop. Guess he could tell what we were all thinking. Sorry for that joke, but the walk totally eroded all sense of humor.

The line finally marched to the Hall H entrance. As I’m heading towards the door to get in, I see a redshirt ELITE ensigning towards us, making a knife motion to cut the line. I immediately scrambled forward. I was the second to last person to make it into the panel. They had filled the hall to capacity. I found a seat wedging between two enormous fat older guys who would switch off shouting WOOOO! with stuffing their faces with crackers. WHOO! Nom nom nom. WHOO! Jeph Loeb, who exec-produces “Heroes” was trying to stir up the crowd with cheerleader tricks. Which side can be louder? I can’t hear you! Let’s make some noise. I was waiting for the motherfucker to break out the Jock Jams. Are you ready for this?

The entire cast showed up for the panel, which was pretty fucking awesome. They were genuinely thankful for the attention, and many of them were actually taking pictures of the crowd and videotaping everyone. The show’s not coming back until September 22nd, but for Comic-Con, they showed us the entire first episode of Season 3.

Rumor has it that Tim Kring actually apologized for Season 2, and losing their way. They fucking found it. And that was with the element of the Villains. There are going to be tons of new characters this season, and Villains gave us a taste of a few of them, all with different powers. You can actually watch the webisodes at

The series is back strong. It’s still a little corndoggy, with some cheesy dialogue and such, but it’s totally going to be a mindfuck. I’m pretty sure nobodies going to be falling in love with the new characters. There’s probably going to be a whole lot of throw downs and time-line fuckery. It’s a much more vicious story arc, which is going to see a lot more battles. A bunch of familiar faces return, which was an interesting choice, so now it’s a lot like “Lost,” where you aren’t sure who’s dead and who’s alive. A few of the series regulars are demonstrating some new powers. If I had to compare it to a season, I would probably say this is a little like “The Wire: Season 3.” It’s a return to form, but with a lot more loyalty shifts. If this season falls off the tracks, I might have to quit it. The Season 2 box set comes out the end of August, and apparently there are a ton of “lost episodes” from the writer’s strike shortened season that are only available on the DVD set, which is a great big fuck you to those of us who watch it through the iTunes Season Pass. The webisodes will also be included.

Speaking of “Lost,” the next panel was theirs. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are two scintillating bastards. They don’t shoot the new season until three weeks from now, so they have no new content. Mostly it’s a Q & A where they tell you NOTHING. They did offer up some amusing videos, including one where they have flashed forward in time to three years later, when they’ve finished the series. Lindelof has an eyepatch on with glasses and a Yankees 2010 World Champions T-shirt. Cuse had a Obama: Four More Years shirt. They were discussing the impact of the show as if it had already aired, and how fans were angry that they killed off _______ and that_______ and _______ slept together. Every time they’d talk, they were ________. Lindelof had lost his eye when a fan had gouged it out after he killed off _______. It was pretty funny.

“Lost” will come back on February 17th, so we don’t have to endure any fucking 8 week jumps anymore. Except on the show. Then it will come back February 17th in 2010 for the final season.

They were pretty mum about most of their answers, but the audience was asking some stupid fucking questions, and I wasn’t losing my seat to get in a line full of yokels. I will give you some info if you want it. It’s not really spoilery, but be SPOILER WARNED (just in case).

When the purple explosion went off over the island, the island did not time travel. Apparently, Daniel and his notebook will play a major role in the next season, as will Danielle Rousseau’s story. Kate WILL see Sawyer again. In the flesh. They said “Dead is a relative term.” You will see Richard Alpert barefoot in the very near future. Like I said, they didn’t give away much.

They did run a “captured video” of Dr. Candle, the star of all the Dharma videos. His name isn’t Dr. Candle, though, it’s Pier Chang. He’s really a theoretical astrophysics doctor with a degree from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He’s been working on Einstein Field Creations, and the video is coming from 30 years in the past. All the doctors of the Dharma Initiative have been eliminated in a violent purge. We hear a voice telling him off camera that we are too late, and to turn it off. It was not confirmed, but it absolutely sounds like Jeremy Davies character. Which throws a whole big monkey wrench up in to the timeline.


Terminator: Salvation was the next presentation. McG is just as douchey as I figured he would be, but he’s also strangely crowd endearing and savvy, the bastard. I was expecting a soul patch and tinted hair or hammer pants, but instead he looks more like he could have been one of Jackie’s boyfriends on “Roseanne.” They’re calling it a franchise reboot, which is the new buzz term for this year. You know, because remake leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Like you’ve just been teabagged by Michael Bay.

The movie takes place in 2018, right after Judgment Day, but before Skynet has dominated everything. The story comes mostly out of Michael Biehn’s dialogue from the 1983 Terminator. The models that are after them are the T-600s, which are about 7 ½ feet tall and look like the deskinned Schwarzeneggerobotechs. There are also giant machines called Harvesters, which we didn’t see, but those giant claws that smash through the building and grab the dude in the trailer? Thems are harvesters.

McG was cannily trying to build hype, so he said there’s no guarantee this won’t be R, they just have to make the movie they have to make. So I’m predicting it’s going to be PG-13. He also wouldn’t confirm or deny that Schwarzenegger was in the movie. But the way he discussed the timelines and that Skynet is learning and advancing, and the next models after the T-600s are the T-800s, which are the Schwarzeneggerobotechs, I’m predicting that we’ll get a Governator cameo in Salvation, and the fifth movie will be a shitton of Governators. It’ll be a post-apocalyptic Aryan wonderland.

They showed us a fuller trailer, which will premiere before Quantum of Solace, the worst named Bond film since Octopussy. I guess, a Vicissitude of Melancholy was already taken by Oscar Wilde. It’s a lot of gunplay and skulls being crushed by tank treads. I guess people turning into skeletons is a big problem in the future. It’s really gritty and grainy, and should be pretty interesting. I’m still not sold on it, because the cast includes Bryce Dallas Howard as Connor’s wife, and Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, and Common as We Need to Put A Black Guy Here, and Moon Bloodgood as Some Kind of Nonspecific Hot Foreign Chick. Also Sam Worthington stars as Less Sexy Scowl Than Christian Bale. Plus, McG openly admitted that the studios run misinformation campaigns to fuck with people on the web.

The funniest part of the whole panel was this Asian kid with the T2 Sunglasses, gets up on the mic and starts busting out this great Schwarzenegger imitation. McG brought him up on stage to answer questions. And threaten people with lines from the movie. I swear to God, this kid might end up getting cast in the film. If we see an Asian kid running around New Mexico, we’ll know what happened. Unless he becomes a skeleton.

I decided to catch the Joe Hill panel. Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, and wrote one of my favorite novels of the last few years, Heart Shaped Box. He looks exactly like his father, which was a little disconcerting, and he’s not a very good public speaker. But I’ll give him time. He’s got a comic-book series which I may dip into called Lock and Key. He also talked about his next novel, called The Surrealist’s Glass. It’s about an old painter, the last of the surrealists, who befriends a young cartoonist. He gives him a monocle wrapped with bone that allows him to see the truth in people. It sounds suitably fucked up, and I look forward to it.

I drifted down to the convention floor to pick up a copy of Fables, which looks promising to me. I keep seeing it when I make my graphic novel passes at the Barnes and Horrible, so I finally got myself a copy. I don’t know what made me go to the floor, other than apparently, I hadn’t yet had my fill of being jostled about like a club girl between Farrell and Kattan. Anyway, I turned my back on the convention for the day. It’s true, I missed out on seeing Mutant Chronicle, the next Thomas Jane mistake, and the Masquerade Ball. Really though, if I wanted to see socially awkward misfits dressed strangely and lots of creepy groping, I’d go drink in West Hollywood.

Instead, I decided to gather up Lady Clevername and dine with the charming Manny (and wonderful fiancee) from Hispanic! At the Disco and the lovely Girl With Curious Hair from the blog of the same name as well as Blog Me A Tale. A fantastic time was had by all. It was a dinner worthy of Favreau. The Pajibans are gathering, people. And we drink and make merry. Lots of merry.

Sunday proved to line up well with the stars. All I had to do was sit in Ballroom 20 to watch five back to back panels. I dashed in, took up a comfy seat, and prepped myself for the awesome.

The first panel was “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Another show that grew from word of mouth, and ended up getting signed to big things. It was moderated by Damon Lindelof, who was priming himself for a guest appearance. I guess he wanted the favor returned from Rob, who did a guest appearance on”Lost” as one of the Others. The three main guys were there, just as snarky and twisted as on the show, but also genuinely grateful for their fan following. Sweet Dee, unfortunately could not make it, because she had injured her back getting lifted by a paramour, who then dropped her on to her spine. First scoliosis, and now this. Poor Dee.

The show comes back September 18th, and they screened one of the episodes for us, called “Mac and Dennis: Manhunters.” It was funny as all hell. These guys seriously are fucked up. The episode centered mostly on cannibalism and hunting man for sport. Fred Savage directed the episode.

They didn’t talk much about Boldly Going Nowhere, so I got nothing. But it was a great panel. Especially when Rob threatened to go into the crowd after someone who cheered for Dallas, when explaining Green Man. I was tempted to go to the mic and sing Fly Eagles Fly. But that would be tacky. And oh so right. I look forward to the episode where they attempt to get the bar marked as part of the Historical War Tour, so they travel in time to July 3rd, 1776. I hope Ben Franklin makes an appearance. And it’s Danny Devito.

Hamlet 2 was a thoroughly disappointing panel, despite the presence of Steve Coogan. The scenes they showed seemed really forced. It’s almost feeling like a Movie Movie. Even Rock Me Sexy Jesus isn’t nearly as funny as I thought it would be. The original title of the movie was Mr. Holland’s Anus, but apparently that was already claimed by a Belgian porn. I’m hoping this movie is a case of “We can’t show you the good parts”, but from what they screened, it doesn’t appear there are many good parts. I sincerely hope they prove me wrong.

The next panel was for the Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay Unrated Interactive DVD. You have the option to change the movie! You can decide if the party is topless or bottomless! You can actually have them make it to Amsterdam instead of getting diverted for being terrorists. In your version, they might get assraped in jail! Or better yet, they can end up singing along with NPH to “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover”.

The two writers kept trying to make it sound more noble and intellectual, as if they were making great strides for society with their movie. I’m thinking, motherfucker, you’ve got a giant bag of weed that walks around, and NPH riding a fucking unicorn. However, John Cho and Kal Penn are actually switched in real life. Kal Penn is nerdy and studious and reserved, and Cho totally busts out with the personality and aggressiveness. Plus, neither of them are stoners. There will be a third Harold and Kumar, and despite the untimely demise of NPH, you can’t put him down with two shotgun blasts to the chest, and he will hopefully be coming back. Can’t wait! Interesting side note: The script was written specifically for Neil Patrick Harris, but they did consider Fred Savage and Ralph Macchio. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Next up was the Friday the 13th franchise reboot. Bay wasn’t there to face his demons, but he sent his two flunkies to be douches in his stead. Apparently, they aren’t remaking the first movie, so no Mrs. Voorhees as the killer. Instead, you’ve got one giant motherfucker rampaging around the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake killing up the once and future stars of the CW. It’s not an origins story, but we get some backstory. Mostly it’s just Jason super fast and violently butchering up some kiddos. There’s no aspect of the supernatural to it. He’s just a giant lumbering maniac wielding the famous machete. They said they wrote it with a finite ending, not planning on doing a sequel, so I’m guessing Jason gets killed in the end.

Derek Mears plays Jason, and he’s a huge dude, but very well-spoken and seemingly nice. Of course, I just saw him impale a guy on a busted up cop car, and come rampaging out of the woods about to split a chick’s head with the machete. Jason isn’t a lumbering stalker in this one, he’s fast, and menacing, and violent. Whatever. And for Stacey, Jared Padalecki is a charming motherfucker. He was totally hilarious, and easily the only worthwhile part of the panel. Not enough to make me watch “Supernatural,” but still, he’s pretty cool.

Bay’s plans are to ruin The Birds, and then they’ve got the rights to Nightmare on Elm Street. They haven’t bothered to contact Wes Craven at all about that. So you know it’ll be “respectful to the mythology.” I wish I asked them my question which would have been, “Why? Why can’t you leave well enough alone? Make something original, you fucks!” But then I would have gotten kicked out of Comic-Con.

It was the last day, though. Dammit!

Nah, instead I stuck it out for Rogue pictures, who did The Strangers. They were touting Wes Craven’s latest written and directed pic, 25/8. A man has schizophrenia, and apparently has seven personalities (including his own), one of which is some sort of homicidal maniac. He kills himself, and the spirits of his seven personalities end up infusing themselves in the bodies of seven babies who were born the night he died. Maybe died. Because these kids do a ceremony on their birthdays every year to celebrate the ghost of the maniac who died. One of which is his son. And the one year, the maniac comes back to kill them. The end.

It’s weird, and not super scary. The killer kinda looks like Nick Nolte if he were a baglady. It’s strange to think Craven is writing for teenagers still. Most of the kids in the movie are unknowns, but Craven also started the careers of Sharon Stone and Johnny Depp, and maybe Bruce Willis, so hey, dude knows talent.

They’re remaking Last House on the Left with some Greek director. Craven gave his blessing, which I guess says something. Then again, John Waters gave his blessing to the Hairspray remake, and….yeah. The vigilante parents are Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn. Garrett Dillahunt is the leader of the pack of menacing teens who rape up the teen girls, the main one being the chick that McLovin dipped his McNugget in.

I give it a resounding wait until the DVD on both of these projects.

The next Rogue picture was The Unborn, which was written and directed by David Goyer, who did work on the Blade trilogy, as well as co-writing The Dark Knight and Batman Begins. At first, it seriously looked like it was going to be another one of those Exorcist/Gothika ripoffs, with more goddamn creepy little kids coming down staircases with black eyeliner and cataract contact lenses. But the film looks honest-to-God fucking balls out scary. It mixes this disturbing dream imagery from the Quay Brothers, with a fucked up kid. Apparently, this girl was supposed to be a twin, but the other died in childbirth, so she’s getting haunted by this boy. There’s a scene in the trailer where the girl is lying in bed, and the little boy is lying next to her. He touches her stomach like a lover, which was bad enough. Then the kid reaches INTO HER STOMACH and tears it open. Telling her, “He wants to be born.”

I’m sure its all substance and no scare, and I’m probably hyping something that will blow. The main girl is the chick they hunt down in Cloverfield to rescue, and a couple other people that will show up in some horror movies: Meagan Good from Saw V and Cam Gigandi from Twilight. (His name sounds like a combination hockey player/Pixies album). But … the cast also features Gary Oldman and Idris “Stringer Bell” Elba. Which raises its pedigree a notch. Also, the director was emulating a little Session 9, which is always a good idea. It might be alright. Even though the cast was boring as all fuck when doing the Q&A.

And thus ended my day at the Con. I didn’t want to stick around for the Buffy the Musical sing-along. Comic-Con was a strange bird, and one I’m not 100% sure I want to ride again. There’s a little something for everyone, but you always feel rushed and like you’re going to have to miss something. At the same time, it feels like you’re being used by the studios to test market their latest projects. It’s crazy expensive, especially with parking and hotel accommodations. It seems like it’s pushing out actual comic books for more movies, television, and video games, ll at the same time while touting the importance of comic books as a medium. Granted, I’m far more interested in the video rather than the comics, but I think the Comic-Con needs to remember its roots rather than paying lip service to them. As I wandered the floor, I was spotting a lot of comic books that looked interesting, stuff that I felt like I should take a chance on. Instead, I went with the celebrity-spawned material, or books written by authors I’m familiar with. So I’m part of the problem.

Reading graphic novels has really improved my ability to write screenplays, because it’s the next logical step. It’s literally a movie you read. The visuals are just as important, if not more so, than the story. So I would recommend getting yourself down to a comic book store and having a look around. Try to find something you can dig. In the wake of The Dark Knight, and the forthcoming Watchmen, comic books really are where its at. Don’t let the nerds scare you away. They’re afraid of sunlight and confrontation, and when taken out of the pack, tend to roll over and expose their soft underbellies.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to get some well-deserved rest. Right after I finish this issue of Fables that I just picked up. No, I swear, just a few more panels. Aw, come on, Mom. Fine.

Good night, y’all, and pleasant dreaming.

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Miscellaneous | July 28, 2008 |

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