Friday, February 17, 2012

Worth Mentioning - Heroes, Jokers, Sinners & Tokers

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.


On theatre screens, computer screens, TV screens, and internet radio, Cody puts Kevin Smith all up in his eyes and ears. Meanwhile, Jay films in a strip club.


KEVIN SMITH: LIVE FROM BEHIND (2012)

I actually watched this two weeks ago, late night February 2nd, but have been holding on to this write-up because the Worth Mentioning post for that week was already done and the following week's I wanted to dedicate solely to Bill Hinzman.

Live from Behind was a one-time-only Fathom Event and the first Fathom show that I've ever gone to. I've been very tempted by some other Fathom Events and considered going, but just didn't. By hooking up with Kevin Smith, Fathom finally got me to the theatre.

The show that Fathom was broadcasting out to screens was happening live at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, where Kevin Smith and sidekick Jason Mewes recorded an episode of their Jay & Silent Bob Get Old podcast, followed by a Q&A session.

The podcast portion was a lot of fun, as Kevin and Mewes discussed various topics including Kevin's overly sexually aggressive turtle and questionable moments in Mewes's childhood. Rest assured that those two topics were not related. Get Old is a great show, despite the "Jay & Bob" title it has nothing to do with their cinematic characters (Silent Bob wouldn't make for much of a podcast host), rather it's about the men who played those characters as they make their ways through middle-age. The life and struggles of Mewes is the primary focus of the show, and every episode wraps up with an update on how Mewes's sobriety is going. He's coming up on two years clean now!

Following the roughly 70 minutes of podcast, the Q&A lasted around 105 minutes and was highly entertaining, as Kevin Smith Q&As always are. It can be hard to think of questions relating to his movies at the Q&As, because most fans know the answers and if you keep up on his podcasts you know almost everything that's going on in his life, so a lot of questions end up being more irreverent and off-the-wall. A highlight of this show was a question about Kevin's beloved Batman, which led to him and a fan spitballing ideas for a six issue comic book arc about Batman fighting a fallen from grace, power-mad Stephen Hawking wearing a robot suit.

Of course, there was some movie talk, and it's always very inspiring to me to hear Kevin Smith talk about his career. It always makes me realize that I should be doing a lot more, getting focused and chasing my dreams right now.

Some movie news came out of the night as well, as it was revealed that Mewes has produced an animated feature film based on a script that Kevin had written a while back. I've known that this was in the works since a post-Red State screening Q&A last March, though at that time it was referred to as a Bluntman & Chronic movie. The update is that the title is Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie and while it is animated, it also segues into live action at the end, for which Kevin and Mewes will be putting the coats and hair back on. The animation is being done by Steve Stark of the SModCo Cartoon Show and they're hoping to have the movie done in time for a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, after which they'll take it on a road tour like was done with Red State.

Thanks to the request of a female volunteer in the audience, the show ended with a classic Jay & Bob Get Old show element - a game called Let Us Fuck, where audience members throw out bizarre names for a sexual position, which Mewes and a lucky fan then make up and simulate on stage. The position performed here was a callback to the turtles that were discussed earlier.

I really enjoyed the three hours of the show and hope that this was just the first of many Kevin Smith Fathom Events. He has said that if/when there's a second one, it will be a Hollywood Babble-On episode with his co-host Ralph Garman. Babble-On is one of my favorite shows on the SModcast Internet Radio network, so I really want to see this happen.

The episode of Jay & Silent Bob Get Old recorded during Live from Behind is available on SModcast.com. I don't know if the Live from Behind footage will be available to be seen by anyone who didn't make it to theatres that night, but what can be seen now is -



KEVIN SMITH: BURN IN HELL (2012)

The latest in the series of Kevin Smith "concert films", following An Evening with Kevin Smith, Evening Harder, A Threevening, and Too Fat for Forty, Burn in Hell was filmed at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas last September and largely serves as a capper on the Red State days. It covers pretty much everything - the inspiration for the film, the writing, the alternate ending, getting it made, the protests by the real group that the villains were based on, and experiences had during the road tour.

Mixed in with the wrap-up are life stories; encouragement of potential artists with the assurance that anybody can do it and whatever your dream is, be a "why not?" person and take the shot; and of course, mentions of Batman.

Burn in Hell premiered on EpixHD last Saturday and can be viewed on the Epix website, all you have to do is sign up for the free 14 day trial.



The night after Burn in Hell aired was the premiere of


COMIC BOOK MEN (TV show, 2012-)

Last year, Kevin Smith was approached to see if he had any ideas for a TV show. He suggested something that would be like "Pawn Stars in a comic book store", featuring people bringing their collectibles in for appraisals. He owns a comic book store himself, Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey, so the pilot could even be filmed there. So the producers would have an idea of what the guys who can be found at the Stash are like, they were pointed in the direction of the Tell 'Em Steve-Dave podcast, which is recorded in the store every week. After they listened to some episodes, it was decided that that was the show, it should focus on those guys in that specific store.

And Comic Book Men was born, starring Stash manager Walt Flanagan, his longtime friend Bryan Johnson, webmaster Ming Chen, and store employee Michael Zapcic. (Ming and Mike also have their own podcast, I Sell Comics.)

There are three components to Comic Book Men: there are wrap-around segments which feature the guys from the store sitting around a table of microphones recording a podcast with Kevin Smith, joking around while discussing and giving further details on the events that happen within the episode.

The "Pawn Stars in a comic book store" idea remains, as people bring in their comics, posters, and various other kinds of memorabilia to be appraised. Highlights in the first episode included a woman bringing in a life-size Chucky doll and treating it almost like it was a living child, and a man who brought in a Dawn of the Dead poster and set of lobby cards. This guy was looking for a large amount of money for these and was so convinced that they were extremely valuable that he brought them in a case that he had handcuffed himself to. Since Walt isn't that well-versed in movie memorabilia, he called in "pop culturist" Rob Bruce to check them out, and it was very interesting and fun to watch him break it down.

The third component is my favorite, which is just a look at the life of the guys in the store. These guys have perfect chemistry and it's extremely entertaining to watch them interact. Bryan Johnson and Walt Flanagan are hilarious, Ming Chen is the object of constant teasing, Michael Zapcic is a cool guy who knows his comics and pop culture. The first episode featured Walt sending Bryan, Ming, and Mike out to a flea market to sell surplus merchandise that was cluttering up the place. Ming kind of lives out the classic underdog hero's tale in the episode, overcoming adversity and treachery - even the smashing of some of his items - to achieve victory.


Comic Book Men is basically like a reality show version of Kevin Smith's early movies Clerks and Mallrats, it feels like them at times. That makes sense, because Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson were the inspiration for two of the most popular characters in those films. Walt was the template for the comic book loving Brodie in Mallrats, Brodie even went on to run a comic book store in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, a scene that was filmed in the Stash. Randal in Clerks was based on Bryan, and I could see the Randal spirit in there during Comic Book Men's premiere episode.

The Tell 'Em Steve-Dave podcast - so named after Walt's catchphrase spoken in a few of Kevin Smith's movies, in which he and Bryan appeared as Steve-Dave and Fanboy - is one of my favorite pieces of weekly entertainment. There is evidence of this in the fact that I've mentioned it on the blog before, when I opted to listen to TESD rather than pay attention to movies at two separate events - Cinema Wasteland Fall 2011 and Shock Around the Clock 2011. To have these guys on my television is awesome, and watching Comic Book Men gave me a lot of laughs and a big goofy grin. It's set for a six episode run, but I'm hoping that it will continue for many more.


The first episode can currently be viewed on AMCtv.com, give it a watch before the second episode hits.

Comic Book Men airs Sunday nights at 10pm EST, following The Walking Dead on AMC.



There is another show that is tangentially related. The Tell 'Em Steve-Dave podcast team is a trio; Bryan Johnson, Walt Flanagan, and Brian Quinn. Quinn started out as just the sound tech who would chime in here and there, but was soon elevated to third permanent co-host. Quinn is not on CBM because at the time that it came around for the others, he also had a TV show in the works, a show on which he can often be seen wearing TESD shirts -


IMPRACTICAL JOKERS (TV show, 2011-)

This hidden camera show is all about Brian Quinn and his fellow members in the Tenderloins comedy troupe - Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, and James Murray - doing their best to embarrass each other.

Each episode is made up of several competitions which feature members of the group going out one-by-one or two-by-two into public situations with the other members telling them what to do and say through an ear piece. What they are ordered to do is invariably ridiculous and completely inappropriate. If anyone refuses to do or say something or doesn't achieve the objective of the challenge, the failure counts against them. At the end of the episode, the member with the most losses is made to endure some kind of public humiliation.

It's a simple set-up and really funny. The show is currently in the second half of its sixteen episode (plus a mid-season "best of") first season, with seven episodes remaining.

Impractical Jokers airs on TruTV at 10pm EST on Thursdays.



Jay's mentions:

My mentions are personal this week, as I've been very busy finishing up two feature films as well as completing a guest post for FilmCourage.com. The post went live the other night and can be read here. My talk of The Hitcher won't stop there, I'll be revisiting this post soon for my next Film Appreciation article.  



The past weekend got me one step closer to completing my next feature, The Nobodies, as we were able to pick up some reshoots at a local club, Sammy's in Birmingham, AL. The people at Sammy's were very accommodating and let us come back to finish up some scenes that we were unable to complete back in September. I can't say enough good things about them or the actresses who showed up to play the parts. It was a very successful shoot and we are headed deep into post-production on parts of the film now. The second half of the film, which contains documentary footage, will be shot here and there over the next few months. For more details, read the Film Courage post!

1 comment:

  1. Comic Book Men was pretty good; Bryan is hilarious!

    ReplyDelete