For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a nerd. But for one reason or another, I’ve never made the geek pilgrimage to San Diego to witness the spectacle that is Comic-Con. This year however, I scored a last minute ticket, and hot footed it to the “whale’s vagina” for a full day of nerdocity. I made it there around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and hooked up with my good friends, The Popcorn Mafia. We hit the floor around 11 and as I made several passes around, I was dumbstruck by the amount of costumed nerds I saw. There was a pack of six predators that either came together, or met on the floor and decided to hang with each other. I’m not sure.
There were scores of nerd-ladies dressed like Wonder Woman, that varied on a sliding scale of hotness. I saw a stormtrooper dressed like Elvis. I saw robots, wizards, ninjas, jedis, hobbits, aliens, monsters, ghouls, Klingons, zombies, and Harry Knowles in the men’s bathroom waiting to take a leak. It was awesome!
Around 1:30, we hit the infamous Hall H, where we scored great seats and hunkered down for about 4 hours of geekgasms. The first panel we saw was for EXTRACT, the new Mike Judge comedy, starring Jason Bateman, Kristen Wigg, Mila Kunis, and Ben Affleck. It looks very funny and has an amazing ensemble cast. I’m a huge fan of Judge’s film work, including OFFICE SPACE and the criminally underrated, IDIOCRACY. The panel consisted of Mike Judge, Jason Bateman, and the gorgeous Mila Kunis, who was dissed by a young nerd asking a question, when she incorrectly complimented his “stormtrooper” costume and was informed, rather rudely, that it was in fact a “biker scout” costume. I gotta feeling this kid’s never gonna get laid with that attitude.
This was followed by the ZOMBIELAND presentation, which started off with a new super-violent comic-con exclusive trailer. It was a great trailer and made me even more excited about seeing it. I love zombie movies and this one looks like a big, crazy zombie-comedy, ala SHAUN OF THE DEAD, only on a much larger scale. The panel consisted of the director, Ruben Fleischer and cast members, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and the awesome, Woody Harrelson, who got a great reaction from the crowd. They showed us two scenes from the movie that were very good. One involved Jesse Eisenberg consoling a pretty girl he has a crush on who’s just been attacked by a zombie, only to have to defend himself against her once she turns into one. Another scene, involved Harrelson smashing zombies over the head with a banjo in a supermarket. Good times.
Next up, was 2012 with Roland Emmerich on the panel. It started with a brand new trailer that really rocked the house. Say what you want about him, but Roland Emmerich is this generation’s Irwin Allen and 2012 looks like the mother of all disaster movies! Emmerich showed us an action scene, but warned us beforehand, that about 70% of the effects were perfect and 30% needs a little more work. The scene I saw was jaw dropping cool and looked 100% to me. It featured John Cusack attempting to drive his family out to the airport as L.A. crumbles around him in what looks like a magnitude 50.9 size earthquake. Cusack drives through falling buildings and finally they get on a plane that takes off as the runway collapses underneath them. It was really fucking wild and I’m really looking forward to this.
There was a short break, but it was like the calm before the storm. I gobbled up a hot dog that tasted like an old shoe and a huge pile of the most disgusting nachos ever made, because I hadn’t eaten anything all day and was coasting on geek fumes. Then the spectacle of IRON MAN 2 filled the hall and made me forget about my hideous lunch for awhile. The moderator was introduced to the rabid crowd, some douche bag from Access Hollywood who’d been creeping us out with his insincere enthusiasm all day. He received a chorus of boos that echoed ominously throughout Hall H. He ignored it all and introduced the director, the guy from PCU, who showed us the world’s shortest trailer. Not even a trailer, but more like a teaser of a teaser. The expectant crowd tried to contain their disappointment when suddenly, Robert Downey Jr. (looking very Tony Stark) hit the stage and the joint went BANANERZ! He insisted that they play some footage from the movie at once and we were treated to three new scenes from the upcoming sequel. One featured a meeting at Randy’s Donuts in L.A., between Stark and Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury. It was cool but very short. Second, was a congressional hearing, featuring Gary Shandling as a U.S. senator trying to force Tony Stark to give them his Iron Man suit for study. The scene was great and Downey is very funny in it. Last was a scene involving Don Cheadle (replacing the fired Terrence Howard) and Sam Rockwell getting together to build the War Machine suit, which we then saw in full on, ass kicking action. It was awesome!
Then they hauled out Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell to answer questions from the nerds. The highlight was when a geek asked the magnificent looking Johansson if she had to do anything special in the audition to get the part. She mentioned something about doing deep knee bends and every male nerd in the audience giggled and in unison ran to the bathrooms to masturbate. I got your “Iron Man” right here. OH! There was also some brief talk about the upcoming Avengers movie. I personally want to see a CAPTAIN AMERICA movie set in WW II more than anything, but that’s just me.
Hall H exhausted the shit out of me and the Popcorn Mafia. We also needed decent food and drink, so we all went to an Italian restaurant (big surprise) to recharge our batteries and share our feelings about everything we had just witnessed. Unsure of what to do next, I remembered a tip I got from my nerd friend Cat, who I stumbled into on the main floor earlier. She spoke to me of a place outside the convention center, on sixth street, that was a replica of Flynn’s arcade from TRON. Now, I’m a huge Tron maniac from way back in the day, so I convinced the group of nerds I was with to check it out. Great idea!
We waited in a line for about 20 minutes and then were allowed into a replica of Flynn’s arcade from the movie Tron, complete with 80’s arcade games. They had Battle Zone, Defender, Joust, Asteroids, Missle Command, and Tron the video game, which I was addicted to like a crackhead back in the day. We were all having fun playing video games, when suddenly a wall opened up and everyone was ushered into a dark hallway that had large, illuminated pre-production sketches of the new lightcycles for the upcoming sequel, TRON: LEGACY. The hallway led to a room filled with throbbing electronic music and low and behold, an actual full size lightcycle from the new movie! It looked awesome and I went into geek convulsions.
Needless to say, I was totally blown away. And as a bonus, they gave us a free “Flynn’s Arcade” t-shirt as we left. It had been a very cool and long day for us, so the Popcorn Mafia and I hunkered down at the Hyatt to get drunk and go over our numerous adventures during the day. For my first ever Comic-Con experience, I was completely satisfied at all the coolness I had absorbed into my geek mind. Tired, I grabbed the arm of the nearest and most attractive nerd woman I could find and ran off into the night. The next morning I was on the road back to L.A., but I will return next year Comic-Con. You can bet your geek ass on that!
Tags: 2012 panel, 40th annual Comic-Con, Comic-Con, extract panel, flynn's arcade, iron man 2 panel, lightcycles, mike judge, predators, robert downey jr., roland emmerich, San Diego, the popcorn mafia, tron, tron: legacy, zombieland panel