Posts Tagged ‘flynn’s arcade’

Fear and Loathing @ Comic-Con 2010 Part 2: XENA, ZOE BELL, SUPER, MORE DEL TORO, THE OTHER GUYS, THE GREEN HORNET, A RETURN TO FLYNN’S ARCADE & PARTYING W/ TYRESE GIBSON ON A BATTLESHIP!!

August 3, 2010

We were somewhere around  San Diego when the geek-gasms began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ”I’m feeling a little lightheaded…” And suddenly there was a huge roar all around us and the streets were filled with Supermen, Wonder Women, Klingons, Stormtroopers, Steampunks, Zombies and millions of other costumed geeks. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Moly! Who are all these goddamned nerds?”

This is how Friday started.

When I awoke the next day in our hotel suite in San Diego , my girlfriend and the lady I’m co-hosting THE POPCORN MAFIA with, Grae Drake was now dressed from head to toe as XENA, THE WARRIOR PRINCESS in a replica costume straight from the UNIVERSAL prop department. She looked absolutely SPOT ON and totally HOT! The moment we walked out of our hotel and headed out for the convention center, she was inundated with one photo request after another. We learned quickly that if you have a great costume at Comic-Con, people want to snap a picture with you (especially if you’re a cute girl). It was insane!

Xena/Grae is inundated with photo requests! Note she hides her cell phone behind her back to maintain authenticity!

Xena's primitive sensibilities are overwhelmed by the floor at Comic-Con.

Our mission for the day was to shoot as many bits with Xena interviewing fellow costumed geeks on the floor and asking them if they knew the whereabouts of Hercules. We got a lot of great footage (including an in depth discussion with a Zombie Stormtrooper), but things took an amazing turn when I went to the SCOTT PILGRIM swag booth to collect my booty.

Upon exiting, Xena/Grae was standing outside with an attractive, athletic looking blonde wearing black wayfarers and a red FLASH tee shirt. Then, Xena/Grae asked me if I could take a picture of her with ZOE BELL? At that point my head did an EXORCIST 360 degree turn as I realized the blonde was none other than the star of DEATH PROOF and former stunt double for LUCY LAWLESS herself, ZOE MOTHER-FUCKING BELL!!! I immediately lost my mind and starting swearing like I had a bad case of Tourette syndrome. She was incredibly nice and even agreed to do an interview, which we filmed for the podcast.

Surprisingly, Zombie Stormtrooper had a lot to say.

ZOE MOTHER-FUCKING BELL!!!

After that mind blowing awesomeness, we wandered back to Hall H and walked into the SUPER panel. We had tickets for the panel and grabbed a couple seats in the press section, right behind Mr. Beaks from AIN’T IT COOL NEWS and a reporter from MTV.

I didn’t really know much about SUPER, except that it’s written and directed by the very talented JAMES GUNN, the man responsible for TROMEO AND JULIET, THE SPECIALS, DAWN OF THE DEAD (2003) and SLITHER. The panel included GUNN and the entire cast, ELLEN PAGE, RAINN WILSON, LIV TYLER, NATHAN FILLION and MICHAEL ROOKER.

JAMES GUNN and RAINN WILSON.

ELLEN PAGE and LIV TYLER.

NATHAN FILLION and MICHAEL ROOKER.

The plot concerns the RAIIN WILSON character falling in love with the LIV TYLER character and marrying her, only to discover shortly after that she’s a drug addict. WILSON basically has a mental meltdown and decides to start dressing in a handmade superhero costume and starts assaulting law breakers with a huge wrench.

In one scene, WILSON becomes miffed by a man who cuts in a movie theatre line ahead of him. He goes off to his parked car and changes into his costume. When he comes back, he walks right up to the line cutter and splits the guy’s head open with his wrench. It’s an incredibly violent, funny and shocking moment that sent all of Hall H into mad hysterics.

I’m really looking forward to this movie now, because I love the premise and it has that wild TROMA-style twisted humor that I love. It looks like a low rent version of BATMAN combined with KING OF COMEDY and RAINN WILSON’S character is like a TRAVIS BICKLE/RUPERT PUPKIN type, but as a masked vigilante. ELLEN PAGE plays WILSON’S sidekick, who’s like a homicidal ROBIN, only without the motivation of revenge. She just wants to hurt people. Sounds great!

During the Q & A portion of the SUPER panel, Xena/Grae got in line and asked a rather embarrassing question to NATHAN FILLION in front of everyone in Hall H. It was a perfect capper to our Xena video and I shot the whole thing on a HD flip camera for the show.

Xena/Grae and I stayed for the next panel, which was for the highly anticipated remake of the classic 70’s made-for-T.V. movie, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. For the second day in a row, GUILLERMO DEL TORO took the stage and addressed all the crazed horror fanatics in Hall H. He showed a really creepy trailer for the upcoming film that he’s produced for Miramax Films and afterwards gave everyone the GREAT news that it will be rated R by the MPAA for pervasive scariness. He said, “Horror movies need to have balls. And those balls need to be sweaty and wrinkled.”  I couldn’t agree more.

I’m a HUGE fan of the original, which I watched with my parents as a young child. The little creatures in that movie and the killer voodoo idol from TRILOGY OF TERROR gave me many sleepless nights in my early youth. Both were very creepy stories and great examples of a golden age of made for television horror, that also included DUEL, SALEM’S LOT, etc.

This remake looks really frightening and it’s obvious the scares are more extreme, while still remaining faithful to the original. The atmosphere in the footage was dark and gothic and there was a scene shown that’s a prologue to the film, where we see a desperate father going to extremes to get his son back from the little creatures that live in the home’s furnace. It was one freaky scene that involved a nasty bit of amateur dentistry and it made a lot of people jump in their seats. DEL TORO says the tone of the film is as “serious as a fucking attack of gonorrhea.” Ouch!

When asked what he’ll be doing in the future, DEL TORO said he plans to eat four chocolates, get a stretch mark, do an anthology horror series for cable, produce a “weird” version of PINOCCHIO, write and produce the HAUNTED MANSION reboot, and he hinted that he will be directing a big event ticket horror film for a major studio, which was later announced as the H.P.LOVECRAFT adaptation of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.  That’s a lot of cool stuff to look forward to!

When someone brought up THE HOBBIT and his unfortunate departure from that project, he said that he designed 98% of the first film and 50% of the second one and he hopes that MGM straightens everything out and PETER JACKSON directs them. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, although the loss of a DEL TORO directed version is still a painful sting. I love GUILLERMO DEL TORO and I think he’s one of the most talented and artistic filmmakers working today and listening to his very funny, obscenity laced presentation was a real treat.

Next up was the PREIST panel with director SCOTT STEWART and cast members PAUL BETTANY, MAGGIE Q, CAM GIGANDET, KARL URBAN and STEPHEN (TRUE BLOOD) MOYER.

SCOTT STEWART and PAUL BETTANY.

STEPHEN MOYER and CAM GIGANDET.

PRIEST takes place in a post apocalyptic world where the earth has been laid to waste by a centuries old war between the human race and vampires. PAUL BETTANY plays a heavily trained Catholic priest sworn to kill the bloodsuckers and it’s based on a Japanese graphic novel by MIN-WOO HYUNG.

There’s also an opening anime prologue that was created by SAMURAI JACK and CLONE WARS creator GENNY TARTAKOVSKY. They showed quite a bit of it and it was very interesting and violent.

They also showed us an extended trailer in 3-D and I must say, it looks pretty cool. Like a MAD MAX movie with vampires. Lots of action and some amazing looking visuals of a walled city and strange looking motorcycles riding over sand dunes in an apocalyptic landscape. Hopefully, it’ll be a cool movie.

I really shouldn’t be surprised that the most HILARIOUS panel I’ve ever seen in Hall H was for THE OTHER GUYS. Not when you’ve got WILL FERRELL and director ADAM McKAY together. These two guys play so well off each other they had the entire crowd in the palm of their hands the whole time. I love ANCHORMAN and TALLADEGA NIGHTS and consider them to be two of the funniest comedies this past decade, so I’m super-psyched for THE OTHER GUYS and the footage they showed looked great.

The panel was nonstop funny. When FERRELL came out (wearing dark shades in an outfit similar to STALLONE’S from the EXPENDABLES panel) he waved at the crowd and instead of stopping at his assigned seat, continued walking the length of the stage until McKAY went to bring him back. Once seated he exclaimed, “It’s great to be back in the whale’s vagina!”

They were joined by a stunning EVA MENDES, who was wearing an eye-popping gold dress. During the Q & A a teenage boy asked her a question about an encounter the two had had together at Comic-Con five years previous, during the GHOST RIDER panel she was on. He had asked her a question then and then bumped into her later that night at a restaurant in San Diego, where he was eating with his parents. She told him then, when he was nine years old, that he should look her up in about five years and he was here to see if she was still interested. It was really funny and began a series of running jokes about EVA being a cougar who stalks underage boys in Hall H.

MARKY MARK WAHLBERG was also there for the panel and from the footage shown he actually seems like he’s BOOGIE NIGHTS funny in THE OTHER GUYS. He also tossed in a few cougar jokes at EVA MENDES that were pretty good.

WILL FERRELL and ADAM McKAY were incredibly funny.

EVA MENDES a cougar?

MARK WAHLBERG had some humorous quips about EVA'S availability to minors.

The movie is about the cop duo that works a few desks down from the hotshot super-cop partners that usually star in a buddy action flick. The footage shown was hilarious and there was a running bit about a group of homeless guys that have sex orgies inside stolen cars, that was pure comic gold.

When asked if there would ever be a ANCHORMAN 2, McKAY said that it doesn’t look very good considering how hard it would be to get all those successful and busy actors together, but you never know. I’d love to take another trip back to 70’s era San Diego with RON BURGANDY and company.

Last and very much least was THE GREEN HORNET with director MICHELLE GONDRY and stars SETH ROGEN and (poor) CHRISTOPH WALZ. It was a long day and I really don’t have much hope for this movie. After the panel, I have less. It looks really lame in a very boring and uninspired way. From the trailer they showed, the tone of the film is confusing and I can’t quite figure out what they’re going for here. Some parts of the movie seem like a JUDD APATOW comedy and other parts look like they’re trying to make it seem post modern 60’s style retro cool, but without the cool part.

SETH ROGEN seems to be the only person in Hall H that's excited about THE GREEN HORNET.

CHRISTOPH WALZ is wondering where the exit is.

There was a fight scene shown that was in 3-D, because one thing that this Comic-Con taught me, everything is coming out in 3-D. THE GREEN HORNET wasn’t shot in 3-D, but it’s being converted just like CLASH OF THE TITANS was. They insist that THE GREEN HORNET’S 3-D will be much better, of course. I personally can’t see why anyone would want to pay an extra 5 bucks to see this piece of crap come at them in the latest three dimensional technology, but what the hell do I know? I think that anyone who’s even remotely a casual fan of the original television series this film is based on (which costarred the late, great BRUCE LEE) won’t go anywhere near this stupid looking reinvention. The best thing I can say about this movie is I’m really glad that STEPHEN CHOW left it.

We were done with Hall H and immediately headed over to FLYNN’S ARCADE to cheer us up after THE GREEN HORNET panel. The facade was similar to the one last year and when we walked inside, once again the arcade was filled with vintage 80’s video games that were free for everyone to play. Xena/Grae and I played a few games of ASTEROIDS, GALAXIANS, MS. PAC MAN, BATTLE ZONE and of course, TRON, before we walked through the entrance into the all new, ultra-cool TRON lounge. The place was trippy and filled with props, costumes and even toys from the upcoming TRON LEGACY and at a certain point the walls would project the new trailer all around us. It was even more awesome than last year!

Back at FLYNN'S!

XENA loses her turn.

I'm a GALAXIAN and GALAGA master!

The ultra-cool TRON LEGACY lounge.

XENA and the man from the future.

TRON TOYS!

That was a perfect capper to a long day of crazy Comic-Con action! Later that night we went to a party for TWEETHOUSE that was held on board the S.S. MIDWAY, which is a real live battleship in San Diego harbor. We filmed a few interviews (including some guy that was dressed like a pirate) and watched the quickest fireworks show I’ve ever seen from the upper deck. We went down below to hunt for one of the numerous celebrities that were supposed to be there, which included WILLIAM SHATNER, BRENT SPINER, LAVAR BURTON and TYRESE GIBSON. We couldn’t find THE SHAT or any of the other TREK guys, but we did manage to run into TYRESE GIBSON and stop him for a quick interview. He was walking around with a guy that was dressed in a weird red masked superhero costume, who I think is supposed to represent TYRESE’S new comic book character that’s based on him. The shit was surreal! Check out the video for yourself.

And you can look for more videos and our exclusive Comic-Con video podcast HERE at THE POPCORN MAFIA website.

Stay tuned for my Comic-Con conclusion, where things get really wild (including a blow by blow account of the infamous Hall H eye-gouging). Nerd out!

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I got my Comic-Con on!

July 27, 2009
Holy shit! I'm at Comic-Con!

Holy shit! I'm at Comic-Con!

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.

Somebody call Governor Schwarzenegger!!

Somebody call Governor Schwarzenegger!!

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!

Robert Downey Jr.'s face fills Hall H.

Robert Downey Jr.'s face fills Hall H.

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!

Wow! Flynn's arcade!

Wow! Flynn's arcade!

Classic 80's arcade games everywhere!

Classic 80's arcade games everywhere!

Back in the day, I was a master of the Tron arcade game.

Back in the day, I was a master of the Tron arcade game.

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.

I was very impressed with the sketch of the new lightcycle.

I was very impressed with the sketch of the new lightcycle.

I was even more impressed with the actual lightcycle!!

I was even more impressed with the actual lightcycle!!

IMG_0180
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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!