Over the past few years a lot of buzz has been building over the heavily anticipated Joss Whedon-directed Avengers movie. The film stars all of the recent movie-incarnation Marvel superheroes: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). It also stars S.H.I.E.L.D agents Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). Yes. Cobie Smulders.
The trend in super-hero movies these days is to cast well respected character actors (actors who play exceedingly eccentric or unusual characters) as the major villain. In Iron Man it was Jeff Bridges, in The Incredible Hulk it was William Hurt and Tim Roth, in the new Spider-Man it’s Rhys Ifans and brilliant In Treatment actor Irfan Khan, in Green Lantern it’s Peter Sarsgaard, in Batman Begins it was Liam Neeson. The better the villain, the better the hero.
Since The Avengers are arguably (no disrespect to the Justice League) the ultimate superhero team, the villains they fight must be the ultimate villains. After all, one Avengers mantra is that they “fight the foes no single superhero can withstand.” I’m not sure who the Avengers are fighting in this new film. I believe it has not been released yet. However, the original comics have story lines featuring Thor’s Loki using the Hulk as a weapon, as well as a group known as the Masters of Evil. Which brings me to my main point. Which amazing character actors out there (who haven’t already portrayed big villains—leaving out Steve Buscemi, Gary Oldman, John Malkovich, etc.) would be believable as formidable opponents to Robert Downey Jr. and his team? Which actors are so badass and, following the recent trend, character-y, that you would believe that they could only be defeated by a team of the greatest superheroes alive? Who are the Avengers of character actors? Here are my picks:
Timothy Spall– What a weird looking guy. He has the market on menacing, mousy underlings (see: Harry Potter, Enchanted, Sweeney Todd) but has the chops to give you Winston Churchill (The Kings Speech), and Rosencrantz (Hamlet). I could see him as the rotund Puff Adder.
The Soup Nazi– To be honest, I didn’t even bother looking up his name, because that’s who he is. He’s the Soup Nazi. Forever and ever. He even appeared in an episode of Scrubs as The Soup Nazi. Can you name me another actor who appeared on one episode of a sitcom and turned it into a career? (Robin Williams starring as Mork on Happy Days doesn’t count.) Who does he play? Nazi scientist Baron Zemo, of course!
Stephen Toblowsky– This guy has done it all. Most recently appearing as former Glee coach/drug dealer Sandy Ryerson on Glee, he has made a career of playing irritating business types (see: Groundhog’s Day) and lite comic villains (see: Garfield). He would make an excellent super villain and would annoy the hell out of Captain America with his pompous attitude. Let him be evil genius, Immortus.
Wallace Shawn– This guy deserves the chance to strut his stuff on a mammoth scale. He excels at playing the nebishy, brainy nerds (see: Clueless, The Princess Bride.) But boy does he do that well. Watching him torture his perfect foil, Thor, using logic games, and just watching him divulge his evil plans to a held-captive Iron Man, would be delectable. Definitely Egghead.
Matt Walsh– Let’s get a little comedy into this Avengers movie! In the past decade, Upright Citizen’s Brigade founding member Matt Walsh has “secretly” appeared in every comedy film/television show released in the past 10 years, playing the loud, obnoxious oddball. (See: The Hangover, Children’s Hospital, I Love You, Man, Step Brothers). Obviously, he’d play the juggling Oddball.
Christopher Lloyd– Hollywood loves a comeback, and it’s about time that Christopher Lloyd return to his rightful place as the go-to eccentric. Let him give younger audiences a taste of what he showed us in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Pagemaster. He would rock the socks off as a super villain bent on destroying the world and driving Jeremy Renner insane. Let him play the dichotomously brilliant and destructive Mr. Hyde.
Conchata Farrell– Conchata is the take no guff, sarcastic, confident big ol lady best known for her roles in Two and a Half Men, Mr. Deeds and Erin Brockovich. A powerful woman who won’t take Robert Downey Jr’s sass or succumb to Chris Evans’ charm, she’ll play The Executioner.
Mickey Jones– He’s the big biker guy you’ve seen in everything from Total Recall to Lizzie McGuire. The man has more than paid his dues to the biz and is ready for more than just showing up in a bar fight. He can pull off The Wrecker.
Tommy “Tiny” Lister– With his one line as the huge prisoner on the boat in The Dark Knight (“Give it to me, and I’ll do what ya’ll shoulda did ten minutes ago.”) I knew that I wanted to see more of this guy. So let’s see more of him! Make him Thunderball!
Maggie Wheeler– Better known as the most annoying girlfriend ever—Janice from Friends—her siren call gives her more than enough credibility to destroy Scarlett Johansson and keep even the Hulk at bay. She’s definitely Man-Killer!
I want to see a sequel to Step Brothers. But I dont want it to star Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
By the way, this is a great article about the different paths that John C. Reilly and Phillip Seymour Hoffman took:
It also will be more like “Sister Sister” or “Twins” than “Step Brothers” because in my film, the two people will find out that they’re actually brothers.
I want it to star Gary Busey and Nick Nolte (two actors who are pretty much the same; so much so that when you google “Gary Busey mug shot” the first 10 images are all pictures of Nick Nolte’s mug shot). Gary Busey would “play” a homeless Vietnam war veteran who lives on a mattress in an alleyway behind a tittie bar and has constant delusions of when he watched his entire platoon die from an STD outbreak caused by some Vietnamese transvestite hookers. Nick Nolte would “play” another homeless Vietnam war veteran who lives in a dumpster behind an elementary school where he is constantly hassling the children to help him inject the “heroin” he buys from the school janitor with the “money” he gets from going to the “sperm bank” every Thursday. Of course since Nick Nolte’s character is crazy, he really actually hassles children to help him inject the “apple juice” he buys from the school janitor with the “aluminum cans” he gets from going to the “the same corner tree he jacks off on at the Gregory Hines Memorial Park” every Thursday.
These two wonderful characters meet at a swap meet and get into a fight over who called dibs on the tail shaking Felix the Cat wall-hanging clock and then, after going to the hospital to clean up their cuts, find out that their DNA is strikingly similar. So similar, that they are actually TWINS.
It turned out that their parents had split up when they were little, and each took a son. But the parents felt so bad that they kept their children apart that they sent the two boys to the same summer camp every summer in the hopes that they would meet and become friends. However, the boys kept getting kicked out of their summer camp before they could meet. Shown in a flashback montage series we will see on the first year, a young Gary Busey getting kicked out of camp on the 3rd day for throwing his own feces at a girl counselor. Then a year later, on the 2nd day we see we a young Nick Nolte getting kicked out for dropping a water balloon filled with his own pubes on an entire bunk going on a “blindfolded trust walk.” Then we see both of them in a split screen getting kicked out the same year on the first day for slapping their dicks on the faces of different members of the kitchen staff.
Then, after they leave the hospital, they pool their money together ($15.30–the $15 they got from pawning their purple hearts, and the .30 cents they got from stealing from a blind musician’s tin cup) and head on a road trip to discover their roots and themselves.
I have a lot more ideas about this movie going through my head (Their disgraceful and horrifying interruption of a Civil War reenactment will definitely be funny) but I will share them with you another time. By the way, if anyone takes any of my ideas and steals them for their own purposes I will fucking kill you.
COOL PEOPLE I SAW IN LA LAST WEEK
1. Common--that dude is a cool rapper and the gun specialist in “Wanted.” I saw him, bald head and all, with a lady friend, at Century City (a chic shopping mall with a movie theater). Earlier this summer, at Century City, I also saw that weird really rich foreign dude from Entourage (Yair Marx is the character’s name) who wants to buy “Medellin” and lets Vince have sex with his wife.
2. Kurt Fuller- you of course do not recognize the name. But you will recognize the face. This dude was in Wayne’s World as Rob Lowe’s weenie assistant who helps the guys save the day, a billion TV show guest appearances, The Pursuit of Happyness (he played the nice guy who takes Will Smith and his son to a 49ers game), Ray (he plays a music executive), and played Karl Rove on the Comedy Central show “Thats My Bush.” I saw him at the gym on a bicycle getting really sweaty. I’m glad he’s staying in shape. He’s a nice actor. I like him.
Hey loyal readers. I’m soooo sorry I have been away for so long. This past week was pretty busy and this weekend was jam-packed. Jam-packed with what you say? Well, on Saturday and Sunday I attended the Mecca for geeks. The Holy of Holies for nerds. The Shrine of the Silver Monkey for dorks. Yes. I ATTENDED COMIC-CON. I was one of 125,000 people there to see all the celebrity chocked filled Panel discussions, Q + As, Exhibits, and much much more. I have a shit ton of pictures on facebook which I highly recommend viewing as they have very funny captions and are for the most part, interesting if not exhilarating.
Let me start by saying the weekend was crazy. Insane. I have never seen so many costumes, gross wispy mustaches and back hair in my life. There were weirdos, hot girls in leather, children, grandparents, grandparents in leather and much much more. The way it is set up, there is a giant exhibition hall with all of the booths and stations for every comic book publisher, movie studio, TV network etc. There are also “artists alleys” where comic artists will draw whatever you want and sell it to you for $25 and a handy (minus the handy). Upstairs there are conference rooms were all the panels are held, and all the lines are formed. Downstairs there are the HUGE halls where panels for movies like “The Mummy 3” and “Pineapple Express” are held. There are also giant rooms to play Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, Yugio etc AND halls that are filled with societies that try and get you to join such as “Star Wars Rebel Fleet Society of San Yisidro” and “Middle Earth Trekkies of Fullerton.” There are even artists that will sit and discuss your portfolio with you and talk about what you should work on as an artist.
Now that you have a scope of what Comic-Con is, I will discuss some of the highlights.
1. Seeing storm troopers taking a shit in the bathroom. I walked in and saw one, mask on, coming out of a stall. A little surreal.
2. Hearing Billy West having a conversation between Fry, Professor and Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama. That guy is unbelievable. Also hearing Doug Funnie AND Roger Klotz come out of his mouth brought tears to my eyes.
3. Hearing the guy who does the voice of OLMEC from Legends of the Hidden Temple!
5. Hearing Jason Statham talk. That dude is just too cool for school.
6. A little girl asked Justin Long in the HUGE auditorium, “do you…umm…actually own a Mac?” He laughed and said he did. Somewhere, Steve Jobs was wiping his brow.
7. Whilst sitting down in the huge auditorium where movies were being discussed, I saw Aziz Ansari from Human Giant walk in front of me. I didnt know why he was there. But then during the “Pineapple Express” session, all of the Human Giant guys lined up for questions. Paul Scheer (the bald one) asked first: “Um…first off, I’m so nervous my butt is so sweaty right now. Um…I saw Frank Miller here. Do you um….know Frank Miller?” Judd responds–No, sorry. Seth Rogen is laughing. Paul: Um…do you know how I can get in contact with Frank Miller. I think he is so coool!” Then Rob Schrab (host of MILF Island) gets up and says, “Hi, I’m also sooo nervous right now. My butt is like, so sweaty. Umm….so Frank Miller is a genius…” and then went on and on to talk about Frank Miller. Finally, Aziz went up and said, “Hi, I’m like soo nervous, my dick is so sweaty and hard right now” and then asked some more funny questions.
Take my word for it, Human Giant is hilarious. If you’ve never seen anything they’ve done, go to FunnyorDie or youtube and look them up. I especially love the one with Will Arnett (who I was told by Will’s business manager was too embarrassed by it to show his parents). All those guys are going places.
8. Nervously asking my question to the Pineapple Express panel: In Knocked Up you guys smoke up in a variety of different ways. What is the craziest or most creative way you’ve ever blazed? Answer from Seth Rogen: “The fishbowl scene in Knocked Up is something we did in High School and thought was really cool, but Danny McBride smokes out of his own butt sometimes. And out of a human skull.” Danny then agreed!
Side-note: Judd Apatow is hilarious in person. I expected Seth Rogen to be laugh out loud funny, which he was, but Judd is actually the funniest person there. I realize know why he is the king of comedy. He himself is a great comedian.
9. Will Ferrell talking “via satellite” to the crowd for his “Land of the Lost” panel. While at first it actually seemed like he was there, saying hi to people, talking about the movie, even interacting with the cast. Then he started “taking questions.” The first person asked, “why did you decide to work on this movie.” After a really long delay, Will started laughing and said, “funny you should ask about the sleestacks, they were really a handful to work with….” Then after every question was asked, he’d respond with a wildly incongruous answer. It was really funny.
11. Meeting all the guys who used to write for MAD Magazine in the 60s. I used to read all of my dad’s old MADs and they all used to be so good. Now they’re crap of course, but hearing stories of how the MAD Fold-In started (We thought, Playboy has a fold-out, lets have a fold-in!) was really cool.
12. SWAG. Everywhere I went I got free shit. Free Dwight Schrute poster, Pineapple express car freshener, comic books, pins, “The Flash” and “The Green Hornet” rings, limited edition Iron Man hologram DVD cover, HUMONGOUS Smallville bag, FOX Poster holders and more and more and more stuff. Really a SWAG overload.
It was a physically exhausting day (we got there at 8:30 AM and stayed until 7 PM on Saturday) and by the end of it, my body had just shut down, but it was really fun and if anyone wants to go with me next year, it would definitely be a lot of fun.
On another note, I saw Step Brothers over the weekend and loved it. It was hilarious–the dinner table scene in Talladega Nights was really the type of movie it was; just a bunch of hilarious conversations. I read an interview with Adam McKay (the film’s director/co-writer) who said that when him and Will start to write a movie, first they come up with a concept, then they write tons of scenarios or scenes that would be funny in the movie, then they write things they want to see in ANY movie, and only then do they start writing the actual movie/plot. I dont really think this movie made it to the 4th stage, as there was no real plot to be found. HOWEVER, it didnt matter. Most scenes in the movie made me laugh out loud, and every actor really went all out and brought stuff to the table. One of the real scene-stealers was Adam Scott playing Will Ferrell’s ultra-successful douchbag, hot-shot brother. My favorite line of his was “Honey. Dane Cook. Pay-per view, 20 minutes!” Hearing Will Ferrell sing opera was also magical. Interestingly enough, the whole movie didnt have as many memorable lines as it had memorable situations.
The one unfunny element of the movie was the constant usage of the word “fuck.” The word obviously is not a big deal anymore and I use it colloquially myself, like it is used in Apatow movies. But in “Step Brothers” the word itself was used as a punchline. The first time you heard an adult (Richard Jenkins) say something like, “I dont give a fuck!” it was funny. The second time, when Mary Steenburgen said it, it was kinda funny, but by the third, fourth, and fifth times, it had lost it’s shock value. One of the reasons why Anchorman was so popular, was that with the PG-13 rating, they had to make exclamations without using the word fuck. That’s why you get phrases like, “Great Odin’s raven” instead of “What the fuck!” When, in Step Brothers, the audience was expected to laugh simply because a character said “fuck” in a shocking way, it wasnt funny. The comedy moral of the story is: Use the “f word” sparingly, so when you do use it, it can have a powerful effect. Case in point: “Go Fuck Yourself San Diego.”
ps. If I had known there would be all this talk about “Shes the Man” I would have written a whole post about it. I dont really want to write a whole post about it, so I will say that I do think Amanda Bynes is very talented, very hot (especially in Hairspray), but her one flaw is that as a child, she helped usher in the “overacting/over excited” style while she was on All That and The Amanda Show that every Disney/Nickelodeon actress uses. Especially Hannah Montana.
pps. I think I spoke too soon about Shia LeBeouf having a blemish-free career. That DUI and hand injury is gonna suck for him.
ppps. Hi Cara