This past weekend in San Diego was the infamous Comic-Con, perhaps the largest annual gathering of geeks in the world. But as I live on the wrong coast for the event, and could definitely not afford plane tickets to attend, my weekend of geekery, or “geekend”, had to be the weekend before. “Then why wait for a whole freaking week to blog about it,” you ask? Why, because (A) I’m a lazy bastard (come on, I thought you knew me by now) and (B) I’ve been too busy plowing through the rough draft of the “Austentatious” screenplay to do much other writing. But now I have a brief window of opportunity to discuss last geekend.
1. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” is, as you probably already know if you spend any time on the internet, the supervillain tragedy-comedy musical miniseries Joss Whedon and his family wrote during the writer’s strike and then made with Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. Part of the idea behind the experiment was to show on a large scale that there is a potential business model in making something for fun and putting it on the internet rather than going through the studios (or, as Dr. Horrible would say, putting power into different hands). While Whedon is far from the first person to make money off of internet video, he may be the first with this level of success. Sure, it helped that he’s Joss Freaking Whedon and he has geeks stalking him wherever he goes, but the point is, people are bound to take notice. I, for one, love the low budget “friends making a movie” feel to the miniseries. The storyline is fun yet dramatic and poignant (and vaguely Jonathan Coulton-esque), the songs are incredibly catchy, and the cast is pitch-perfect. Neil Patrick Harris is a phenomenal singer, and Nathan Fillion plays an assholic superhero that stands up there with Zapp Branigan or the best Phil Hartman characters in terms of “love-to-hate” quality. It’s currently free again on Hulu, although I don’t know for how long, so watch it soon before it escapes!
2. The Dark Knight.
What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said far more eloquently and coherently? I enjoyed it tremendously. I wouldn’t call it the best movie ever like some people seem to think, but it was still phenomenal. It lived up to my rather lofty expectations, and even surpassed them in some cases.
Lizzy and I went to see it opening night at midnight (while Nick saw the midnight IMAX showing with some of his UConn friends). Now, we didn’t actually decide we were seeing the midnight showing until about 7:00 PM, by which time most theaters were sold out, so we ended up having to see it in Trumbull.
There’s not much I can say about the movie that you don’t already know. Ledger was great, I was pleasantly surprised by Eckhart as Dent, Gyllenhall was not Katie Holmes (that’s all I needed from her), and the movie ended with a blameless-taking-the-blame Christ metaphor that wasn’t overtly blatant or driven into the ground, unlike certain other superhero movies. All in all, probably the second best movie of the summer, after the phenomenal “Wall*E”.
3. Spaced on DVD.
It’s no secret that I love “Spaced”. I had been counting down the days to July 22nd for the US DVD release. So when Mom mentioned that we might be going into New York City to visit a family friend, I asked if we could schedule said visit for the 22nd, because I had discovered that was the day that Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Jessica Hynes would be signing the newly-released DVDs at the Virgin Megastore.
So, our rescheduled my dentist appointments and drove into New York, arriving at eleven-something AM. While Mom, Dad, and Lizzy did family things, Nick and I hopped on the subway to Union Square and each purchased a copy of the show on DVD and received our autograph line wristbands. We were told that the signing would be in the cafe, so we waited in there for a while…and then discovered that the line had actually already started outside.
So we went out around to the end of the line, and waited. The line got longer and longer behind us, piquing the interest of several passerby. Apparently, Nick and I had large signs on our back that said “Ask Us What’s Going On”, as every single one of said passerby acquiesced and approached us and only us, wondering what was going on. Each time, the exchange went the same way:
Passerby: “Hey, what’s the line for?”
Us: “A DVD signing from the creators of ‘Spaced’.”
Passerby: (blank stare)
Us: “Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Jessica Hynes.”
Passerby: (blank stare)
Us: “The ‘Shaun of the Dead’ people.”
Passerby: “Ohhhhhhh.” (walk away)
Eventually, we got so sick of said passerby, that in one case, before the exchange could happen, Nick told a passerby that the line was for Vladamir Putin signing autographs. This sufficiently confused this individual passerby to the point of leaving us alone.
The most interesting of said passerby were the two groups with petitions, one supporting Equal Rights for Vampires, and one against, both as a promotion for some TV show. Nick got into an amusing argument with the anti-vampire woman. It’s a fun story, ask him about it.
Eventually, the line was moved inside, where we waited for a few more hours. We could see the TV screens throughout the store playing series two of the show from where we were, but couldn’t hear the audio. That was okay, though, because we had fun conversations about geekery with the people around us in line. ‘Twas actually a very fun time.
Eventually, Simon, Edgar, and Jessica showed up, and the line slowly moved forward. I can’t really convey the awesome geek energy in a text-based medium, but to get a sense of what it was like, there’s always this video. The top of the heads of Nick and myself are visible in the background at about five minutes in, and our voices can be heard, although not very clearly (I think we’re talking about Pixar flicks).
We got to the front of the line, and we did the photo opportunity thing. We got our “Spaced” DVDs signed, and Nick got “Shaun” signed, and I got a copy of “Hot Fuzz” signed for Mike. As I was getting “Spaced” signed, I told Simon how glad we were to finally have the show on DVD for legal purchase in the States. “Yeah, I hear it’s number three on Amazon right now,” he replied. Apparently, this was the first Jessica had heard of it, as she let out a loud, shocked “Fuck off! Really?” I felt proud to have started a conversation between Simon and Jess.
We got the signatures and photos, and went over to Au Bon Pain for lunch. After that, we returned and browsed the store for a bit, then returned to the cafe a little before 4:00, when the signing was scheduled to end, and observed the cleanup. We briefly chatted a bit more with Simon and Jess, who were very friendly. (Edgar was friendly too, but he was clearly exhausted and left earlier than they did.) I told Jessica how often Mike and I quoted her “I know you, you’re a massive wanker!” line, which she got a kick out of.
After that, we reunited to the family, wandered over to Strand Bookstore (where I bough a book on the history of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show), went to dinner, and went home. All in all, a good day to be a geek. Pictures from said day are up on Facebook, if you haven’t seen them yet.
In conclusion, all this geekery still doesn’t quite make up for the fact that I missed the MST3K 20th Anniversary Panel at Comic-Con. But the fact that the next DVD set will include both “Werewolf” and “Future War” fills me with the kind of joy and happiness that might be illegal in seven states.