Tag Archives: Kevin Smith

Mallrats 2: Kevin Smith Is Going Back To The Food Court

That’s right, boys and girls, we’re going back to the mall.

Kevin Smith has announced that a sequel to his cult hit Mallrats is in the works. Smith first hinted at the project on Twitter with the mere mention of a rat.

The fanverse went mad looking for confirmation, and Smith delivered in an interview with Tuscon Arizona radio station Rock 102’s Shmonty. In the interview he admits this sequel is a passion project;

“Nobody’s clamoring for a Mallrats sequel, but I would love to make one. It’s been like 20 years. I had a cool idea and a bunch of investors that were like, ‘Do it!’ So here we are, man. Kinda neat”

Neat, indeed.

Since then he has been announcing across social media, at regular intervals, the confirmation of returning cast members, eight of which seem confirmed thus far.

From the main cast that would leave four names as of yet unaccounted for. Claire Forlani, who played Brandi Svenning has stayed busy these last two decades with television dramas like Camelot, CSI:NY and NCIS: Los Angles. Joey Lauren Adams, the sexy pouty best friend Gwen, who went on to star in Smith’s Chasing Amy has likewise enjoyed continued work in television. Renée Humphrey aka ‘Trish the Dish’ has remained mostly out of the spotlight the last decade or so. As for the fourth cast member, it could be Priscilla Barnes or Brian O’Halloran, but the big name that has people curious would have to be Ben Affleck.

Affleck and Smith worked together on numerous projects (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), and were well-known to be good friends. Rumors have been floating for years that Smith actually had a hand in the Good Will Hunting script for which Affleck and Matt Damon won screenwriting Oscars for. But their relationship in recent years cooled following Affleck’s marriage to Jennifer Garner. When asked at last year’s Comic Con International whether he had spoken to Affleck regarding his role as Batman in the upcoming Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Smith said:

“He’s got a wife [ Garner] that don’t [sic] care for me at all [Laughs]. And plus, honestly, he probably don’t care for me at all anymore [either]. He’s a triple-A-list movie star and s–t like that. If he’s Jimmy Carter, I’m Billy Carter, to put it in ’70s terms. And I’m not even related and s–t.”

In fact, even if Affleck and Smith were still close, Affleck’s dance card is full up thanks to the Justice League trilogy in which he will don the cape and cowl. Regardless of Batfleck’s involvement in the project, key players like Brodie Bruce, Jay, and that fat bastard Silent Bob are in like Flint, and fans can’t wait to get back to the mall. Snooch.


Images: Universal, Kevin Smith’s Twitter

Kevin Smith and Grant Morrison Discuss The Killing Joke: Does the Joker Die?

As you may know, Kevin Smith is a huge Batman fan and weekly presents a podcast called Fatman on Batman as part of his SModcast empire. Each week Kevin Smith invites a creator who is involved (sometime tenuously) with Batman. This week Smith was again joined by famed writer and spiritualist, Grant Morrison for issue #44. Morrison was invited to discuss his favorite Batman stories, and as part of the podcast discussed Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal Batman story The Killing Joke.

Morrison explains to Smith that one of the reasons he loves The Killing Joke is because of the end, where Batman kills the Joker, making it the ultimate Batman/Joker story.

[quote]“No one gets the end, because Batman kills The Joker. … That’s why it’s called The Killing Joke. The Joker tells the ‘Killing Joke’ at the end, Batman reaches out and breaks his neck, and that’s why the laughter stops and the light goes out, ’cause that was the last chance at crossing that bridge. And Alan Moore wrote the ultimate Batman/Joker story — he finished it.”[/quote]

Alan Moore has said in the past that did not intend The Killing Joke to be part of DC comics continuity but at the time it was released, DC did recognize The Killing Joke as canon. Since the DC re-launch of The New 52, DC has played a little fast and loose with what is continuity or not, and there is not yet any definitive answer as to how much of The Killing Joke  is part of The New 52, outside of Joker shooting Barbara.

Since the podcast went up late last week there has been plenty of discussion as to whether it was Alan Moore’s intention to have the Batman kill the Joker or, whether there is a subtlety in the ambiguity. Some sites, most notably Bleeding Cool, have gone as far as referencing back Moore’s original scripts and highlighting the fact that there is no reference to the Joker dying in there.

Killing Joke script

Personally I think everyone is missing the point. Morrison has always stated that he looks at Batman differently from most people. In a past interview with Smith, Fatman on Batman episode #27 Morrison explained that he looks at each period of Batman continuity as a different year in Batman’s life and fits this to how he views the character…

Part of The Killing Joke’s joy is that everyone can draw their own conclusion from the final panels. It is not spelled out in black and white, and it can quite easily fit into most people’s idea of continuity. I look at each arc as a continuity in its own right. You can then take what you want to make the story work for you. If not you can run your head around in circles trying to make it fit.

The Killing Joke Joker death

Whatever your views on The Killing Joke, it still stands today as one of the best, most deftly written Batman stories. Certainly a must have for any comics fan.

Kevin Smith Announces ‘Tusk’, Formerly Known as ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’

Last year Kevin Smith announced his retirement from writing and directing movies following the completion of Clerks III, bringing his career full circle. However, this no longer seems to be the case with Smith recently announcing via his Facebook page that Tusk, a film based on a Gumtree listing. Tusk will go into production in September in LA through Blumhouse Productions, with the intention of having it ready for Sundance 2014.

kevin smith

So what is Tusk?

On the 25th of June 2013, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier sat down to record episode 259 of their weekly podcast, SModcast, titled ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’. During the episode Smith highlighted an article he had read regarding a listing on Gumtree from Brighton, UK. A landlord was offering one lucky applicant the opportunity to board with him free of charge with only one small caveat. While living in Alaska the man had befriended a walrus called Gregory and created a “realistic walrus costume” which should fit “people of average proportions”. The tenant would be required to dress in full Walrus get up and act like a Walrus for an hour a day.

The listing seemed to strike a cord with both Kevin and Scott, as for the next hour they indulged in an entertaining flight of fancy revolving around how that premise could make for a truly disturbing ‘Human Centipede’ style movie. By the end of the Podcast Smith and Mosier had named said hypothetical film ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’. Smith also posed that the film could easily be made by a company such as Blumhouse Productions, the studio that brought us the Paranormal Activity series and more recently The Purge, for $3 million.

blumhouse-productions-logo-square

Now this is where most of us would stick a pin in it. Not Kevin Smith though. Smith asked his millions of followers to post #WalrusYes or #WalrusNo to get their thoughts on whether people would be interested in seeing the as then fictional film. The answer was a resounding #WalrusYes.

With that in mind, and Clerks III having hit a Harvey Weinstein shaped brick wall, Smith decided to stretch his writing muscles. By the 16th of July Smith had completed the first draft of ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’, which was now renamed  the much creepier Tusk. Smith recently posted on his Facebook page:

“The listing got my creative juices flowing and I began reconstructing the whole thing as an old British Hammer horror film, in which a mad scientist intends to sew some hapless lodger into counterfeit blubber, creating a chimera in an effort to answer the ultimate riddle.”

Eager to share his new script, Smith sent it to Red State star Michael Parks. Parks loved the script and came on board as the character who had evolved from that of the carpenter.

Michael Parks in Red State

More importantly, Smith also sent the script to Jason Blum at Blumhouse Productions as he had suggested he would during the SModcast. Jason loved the script and agreed to meet with Smith and tour the studios. Within an hour of meeting with Blumhouse, they had agreed to make Tusk with a budget of $3 million. Smith posted the below pic on his Facebook page as inspiration for what will become the Walrus’ lair.

Walrus lair

So on the 25th of July, a mere month after first discussing the concept, Kevin Smith officially announced Tusk via his Facebook page. This concept really excites me. I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith movies and I honestly thought that Red State was one of his best so far. It will be great to see him enter the horror territory again with Tusk.

What do you think of Tusk? Thoughts on Smith’s constantly changing retirement status? Sound off in the comments below!

Grizzly Review: Comic-Con: Episode IV- A Fan’s Hope

The annual San Diego Comic-Con is one of the most popular and most attended events in the world. Boasting more celebrities than the Oscars, what used to be a place for aspiring artists and vendors has now become home to the most valuable press in the world; grass-roots marketing. By packing all these movie stars in one place, promoting a franchise, and getting the masses to attend, Comic-Con has found a way to garner even more buzz for a film than what was originally thought possible.

Granted, these star-studded events have kind of replaced the entire reason Comic-Con was created in the first place. Still, thousands of adoring and loyal fans make their way to San Diego every year for the much-anticipated event that never seems to disappoint. But for those of us who don’t get to go to the Con every year, we’ve always wondered, right? I mean, it’s hard to not even think about going when it seems so damn enticing.

Leave it to Morgan Spurlock, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker known for his near single-handed assault on McDonald’s that resulted in the eventual disappearance of their “Super-Size” option. I actually got to meet and interview Mr. Spurlock last year during promotion for another fantastic film he made, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. In an attempt to better understand product placement in films, Spurlock learned about selling out by selling out.

Spurlock has always had a knack for taking seemingly normal subjects and creating fascinating stories with them that almost always directly affect his real life. Liver problems in Super Size Me, piles of contracts in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and the safety of his ow life in Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? But for, Comic-Con: Episode IV- A Fan’s Hope, he decides to take a step back and let his subjects do all the talking. It’s an interesting and definitely unfamiliar dynamic for him to take, with all of his previous films anchored by his charismatic personality.

But somehow, in some strange way, he makes it work. By telling the stories of eight Comic-Conners, Spurlock presents us with a truly diverse view of the Con itself, giving the viewer a chance to peek into many aspects of what the Con has to offer. He also intercuts the film with fascinating celebrity interviews from the likes of Kevin Smith to Joss Whedon to Seth Green and many more. By explaining their passion for comics and film, Spurlock really does prove that celebrities are just like us. Maybe even more than we think.

In my opinion, Comic-Con: Episode IV, with its clever and instant homage to Star Wars, is simply a passion project for Spurlock. With an extremely small release that serves mainly online and home providers like iTunes and onDemand, Comic-Con: Episode IV is definitely a step-back for Spurlock, but in a good way. At only 87 minutes, the film is definitely not overlong or boring, and the stories that he sets up are quite interesting. He also doesn’t take the easy way out by giving us a do-or-die situation that forces us to feel sympathetic for the character. As if everyone going to Comic-Con needs to get signed to a label or they won’t be able to pay their rent.

Of course, some more interaction from Spurlock would have been appreciated, but to be honest, this is a film for the fans. It’s fascinating to hear comic geeks just nerd out about movies they love, writers they love, artists they admire, and what influenced their love for certain comics and artists. The film works as a love letter to the fans, but is welcoming enough to invite the casual reader. It lets them know that it’s okay to join the club. We don’t bite, I promise.

4/5 Bears

Trailer Roundup: Piranha 3DD, Neighborhood Watch, Frankenweenie and More!

Piranha 3DD

Having awoken from their spring break extravaganza at Lake Victoria, the swarm heads upstream where they look to make a meal out of Big Wet, a local water park where when it comes to fun, nobody does it wetter! Thought they came to get wet, get loaded and get some, the staff and patrons get more than they bargained for when they must face the fiercest, most bloodthirsty piranhas yet.

Stars: 3D Boobs. Oh, and Danielle Panabaker, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden, Allison Mack, Ving Rhames, David Koechner, David Hasslehoff

Release Date: TBA 2012

That’s My Boy (Red Band)

While still in his teens, Donny fathered a son, Todd, and raised him as a single parent up until Todd’s 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd’s world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up. Trying desperately to reconnect with his son, Donny is now forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills.

Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, James Caan, Susan Sarandon, Milo Ventimiglia, Eva Amurri Martino, Vanilla Ice

Release Date: June 15, 2012

 VIDEO REMOVED BY YOUTUBE

The Raid: Redemption

An elite swat team is tasked with raiding the safe house in order to take down the notorious drug lord that runs it.

But when a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and news of their assault reaches the drug lord, the building’s lights are cut and all the exits blocked. Stranded on the 6th floor with no way out, the unit must fight their way through the city’s worst to survive their mission.

Stars: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsya, Yayan Ruhian, Ray Sahetapy

Release Date: March 23rd, 2012

VIDEO REMOVED BY YOUTUBE

Bernie

In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she’s alive. The film is based on “Midnight in the Garden of East Texas,” an article published in Texas Monthly magazine in 1998.

Stars: Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Shirley MacLaine

Release Date: April 27th, 2012

VIDEO REMOVED BY YOUTUBE

Neighborhood Watch (Teaser)

Four everyday suburban guys come together to form a neighborhood watch group, but only as an excuse to escape their humdrum lives one night a week.  But when they accidentally discover that their town has become overrun with aliens posing as ordinary suburbanites, they have no choice but to save their neighborhood – and the world – from total extermination.

Stars: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Rosemarie DeWitt, Will Forte, Billy Crudup, Doug Jones

Release Date: July 27th, 2012

 

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

Welcome to Comic-Con San Diego.

What started as a fringe comic book convention for 500 fans has grown into the pop culture event of the year that influences every form of entertainment, now attended by over 140,000 strong. The new film by Morgan Spurlock explores this amazing cultural phenomenon by following the lives of five attendees as they descend upon the ultimate geek mecca at San Diego Comic-Con 2010.

Stars: Morgan Spurlock, Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, Stan Lee

Release Date: April 6th, 2012 (Limited Release)

 

Playback (Red Band)

While digging into their town’s infamous past, a group of high school students unwittingly unlock an even darker secret. Now, an evil spirit has been awakened and will stop at nothing to find his true heir.

Possessing its victims through video playback and using them for malevolent purposes, it closes in on one specific soul, threatening to expose the town’s deepest, darkest secret.

Stars: Christian Slater, Toby Hemingway, Johnny Pacar, Ambyr Childers, Alessandra Torresani, Jennifer Missoni

Release Date: April 9th, 2012

 

Touchback

Former high school football star turned farmer and family mam finds himself with a unique opportunity to revisit his glory days during the Ohio State championship game where he permanently injured his knee in a game-winning play. Given a second shot at his destiny, he seeks counsel from his longtime mentor Coach Hand, to help him decide whether to let his fate unfold, or follow a path that will change his future.

Stars: Kurt Russell, Brian Presley, Melanie Lynskey, Marc Blucas, Sarah Wright, Christine Lahti

Release Date: April 13th, 2012

 

Frankenweenie

After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life – with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

Stars: Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan, Martin Short, Catherine O’ Hara, Martin Landau, Conchata Ferrell, Tom Kenny

Release Date: October 5th, 2012

 

ParaNorman

Norman Babcock is an outcast whose obsession with all things ghoulish emanates from his ability to see and communicate with the dead. That ability comes in handy when a centuries-old curse is unleashed on Norman’s hometown, and only he – along with a misfit gang of his peers – can save the rest of their community from armies of zombies, witches, and other nasty supernatural creatures.

Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, John Goodman, Jeff Garlin

Release Date: August 17th, 2012

VIDEO REMOVED BY YOUTUBE

And that’s it for this edition of the Trailer Roundup! You can check out more trailers here!

And be sure to check out our 25 Most Anticipated Films of 2012!

Hero Express: Dark Knight Station – Rumors, Easter Eggs and Tickets Already On Sale

Welcome to Dark Knight Station, the Hero Express‘s main stop for all the news on The Dark Knight Rises.We’ll keep you up to date on all the biggest bat-news coming straight from Gotham City.

Mind the gap and avoid the shadows; This stop is the Dark Knight Station for January 11th, 2012.

Rumors of a Clearer Bane Voice are False – (FilmDrunk)

In the wake of the DKR prologue, reports sprouted up claiming that Christopher Nolan was already working to clean up Bane’s muffled voice, and theaters would soon be getting the new, clearer audio versions to play for audiences. However, Collider recently went to Warner Bros. and IMAX for confirmation, and both have officially stated that no altered versions of the prologue have been sent.

In the trailer that quickly followed the 8-minute preview Bane was a lot easier to understand, with the majority of viewers issuing a pretty vocal sigh of relief. Personally, I’m still not entirely clear on what Bane is saying in the trailer but I’m not desperately worried. As I’ve mentioned earlier, this isn’t something the entire production team would have missed – dozens of people worked on Bane’s character, not to mention the time and energy spent on audio and editing. It would be impossible for this to be an oversight.

Fan Poster by DeviantArtist ~Jo7a

It’s difficult to do with a film as wildly anticipated as The Dark Knight Rises but we all have to sit back and resist judgment for now. We’re picking apart a minor piece of the puzzle that will likely be inconsequential by the time everything comes together. Have a little faith.

Unreleased Footage from The Dark Knight – (/Film)

Here’s a little change of pace: Kevin Smith, of all people, recently sent out a tweet featuring several minutes of unused and alternate footage from everyone’s favorite Batman movie. It includes some clips of Heath Ledger‘s Joker that you might not have seen before.

The few seconds of Ledger that debut here are just as striking as the footage that made it into the final film. It’s a brief reminder of how memorable the character is, and how talented an actor Ledger was. It’s the long shot of The Joker exiting the hospital that does it for me, rekindling the chilling sensation I had when I first saw The Dark Knight‘s Clown Prince of Crime.

Continue reading Hero Express: Dark Knight Station – Rumors, Easter Eggs and Tickets Already On Sale

The Griz Bin – Superheroes Giving Thanks, Reinventing Batman, and Casey Jones

Welcome to The Griz Bin, a weekly look at the wide world of comic related nonsense that we all know and love.

Bruce Wayne’s Medical Records: One man who will never get Health Insurance. – [League of Ordinary Gentleman]

The 5 Most Impractical Aspects of Superhero Costumes: Ever wonder where Catwoman keeps her whip? Or how they chase after villains in high heels and nipple tassles? Well, your not the only one… – [Cracked]

Girls in Their Undies vs. Zombies: I shouldn’t have to say anything else. A bunch of girls… in their undies… killing Zombies… – [GeekTyrant]

Wonder Woman is Having Plastic Man Issues: art by dominiquefam. This is why I could never be a superhero.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Spider-Man: Might is the key word. Because I knew them all. But you probably won’t. Because your not me… – [Newsarama]

20 Superhero Movies We Hope They Never Make: While I have to agree with most of these, some I would watch and never tell anybody. Tracy Morgan as Black Vulcan? I’m sold – [Cracked]

A Compendium of Cool Comics Cosplay: A weekly hook up of the coolest and sexiest cosplay out there. – [GammaSquad]

These Paintings of Psychedelic Superheroes Will Melt Your Face: Not literally, unless you’ve been ingesting Thanksgiving LSD again! – [io9]


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Bat Stamps
: The coolest thing to happen to snail mail since being called snail mail! – [UnrealityMag]

What Are Superheroes Thankful For? Let’s Be Friends Again presents what our favorite heroes are thankful for, and its about what you’d expect. – [ComicsAlliance]

Gender Swapped X-People: Yea, at first your all like sweet, hot versions of male characters… then you see Emmet Frost and John Grey… and things change.  – [GeekTyrant]

Casey Jones Fan-Film: These guys do a pretty good job at making a convincing Casey Jones. The turtles look a little cheap, but its better than I could do. Check out the trailer below and click the link for the full movie – [CaseyJonestheMovie]

Superhero Alter-Ego Character Art: Very cool pictures depicting our favorite heroes and their civilian identities – [GeekTyrant]

The 7 Stupidest Attempts To Reinvent Batman: While I wouldn’t call all of these attempts to reinvent Batman, as any fan of Elseworlds will agree, there are certainly some lame attempts. Pirate and Cowboy Batman easily being the lamest, despite sounding really awesome. – [Cracked]

I Didn’t Choose This Life… It Chose Me: art by Dustin Nguyen. This awesome image is brought to us by one of my favorite Bat artists and really shows us the depth of Bats’ problems.

Batman Stalks Robin: More hilarious Facebook moments, this time with the Caped Crusader staying a little too attached to the Boy Wonder – [GeekTyrant]

The 6 Most WTF Special Edition Comics Ever Released: Yea, these ones are pretty out of this world… and so what if I bought more than one year worth of the Marvel Swimsuit Edition… That means nothing… – [Cracked]

And Now Here’s My New Favorite Thing: Not so much new, but still awesome. ‘100 Greatest Shut Ups in Film’ is NSFW, but if your boss gets mad here’s a hundred versions of how to respond.

Hero Express – ‘The Wolverine’ Pushed Back, ‘Secret Stash’ Comes to AMC, and ‘Deadman’ on the CW?

Welcome to Hero Express, your one-stop shop through the news filled world of superhero’s in Film, TV, Video Games and whatever else floats your boat.

This is the Hero Express for September 13, 2011:

More on The Departed Screenwriter & Sin City 2 – (/Film)

We already told you about William Monahan writing, but now there are some more details. Usually I’m the first to criticize a movie or video game for rushing the sequel. But now I have to see let’s get this movie going already! Sin City came out 6 years ago, I think it’s time to give us a little bit more.

The long-rumored sequel to Sin City sounds like it’s finally coming together, six years after the first film’s opening. The last time we checked on the film, titled Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, director Robert Rodriguez said that he and his team were “just waiting for the script” to start shooting. Now they’ve brought in additional help to complete that final piece. William Monahan, the Oscar-winning writer of The Departed, has been hired to work on the script. Read more after the jump.

Monahan’s work will supplement Frank Miller‘s most recent draft. Rodriguez revealed at Comic-Con that the story for the film would consist of an adaptation of Miller’s limited series A Dame to Kill For, as well as two new tales created just for the movie. Though Rodriguez wouldn’t give away any plot details of the new storylines, he did reveal that one of them would be titled “The Long Bad Night.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez has said that actors whose characters survived the first film are expected to return for the sequel.

Red Hulk Rumored Villain in Del Toro’s Hulk  TV Show – (CBM)

At first I was like “Wha…?” but it doesn’t seem to be that far fetched of a rumor. Especially with some of the ‘evidence’ in the article. Red Hulk has been a huge part of the Marvel Universe for a while now, and was responsible for a huge sales boost in all the Hulk comics. Plus with Jeph Loeb on board for the series, who created Red Hulk, it seems kind of plausible. More at the link.

Why is this rumor possible? Well, Guillermo del Toro who is producing the new television show has already said that the show will not follow the templates of the films, but in fact be based more so on the comics. Let’s look at his comments in an interview with MTV. He said, “Jeph Loeb is in the project. Pak’s Hulk is great. Loeb’s Hulk is great. There’s so many things in the Hulk universe that are powerful strands of narrative, that they know are being faithful to those strands, and the movies have their own continuity.”

Continue reading Hero Express – ‘The Wolverine’ Pushed Back, ‘Secret Stash’ Comes to AMC, and ‘Deadman’ on the CW?

Kevin Smith’s Red Band Trailer for Red State

It was bound to happen by the grace of God, we have the red band trailer for Kevin Smith’s movie Red State. We all know that Kevin Smith movies are practically meant for a redband trailer (cue the Jersey Girl needs a red band trailer to hide its stench from the general public jokes), but this seems to be a great use of it.

The major story out of this movie was he distributed himself to rid himself of the ‘Hollywood way’ of marketing and throwing a movie to the general public after millions of marketing and other crap. He wanted to make a movie that did not have to satisfy so many people to dub it a success or a failure, and he has succeeded in that regard with his tour that took his flick to several theaters and pulled in decent cash to pay off the movie. So kudos to him for that.

I’m a big Kevin Smith fan and I was excited to see this movie (although I couldn’t get out of work when it came to Ann Arbor). Looking at the trailer was probably my first peek into this world, at least in extended footage. I will say I am looking forward to seeing this movie it truly looks like a raw thriller/horror/whatever you want to classify it movie that seems pretty bad ass. It gets a bit hokey towards the end but it sort of reassures me that it’s a Kevin Smith flick, because of the dialogue exchanges and quips. Regardless, view the trailer, enjoy, and watch in September. After all, this is the second to last Kevin Smith directed movie so enjoy it while you can. Or just watch Mallrats over and over and hide yourself from reality. That’s cool too…

Kevin Smith, Red State

Gone Too Soon: Reaper

2007-20092 Seasons of hilarity, action, brohood, romance and the Devil…

We are here today to remember some of our favorite television shows that were taken from us long before they were ready to go. At least, long before I was ready to let them go.

And unfortunately, that seems to be the case with most of our favorite TV shows these days. It’s rare to be given a second season, let alone continue on an epic run. So this new segment is here to remember some of the shows that may be forgotten. We might even remember some movies, video games, comics… anything that was Gone Too Soon…

Today I am going to talk about Reaper, a show that aired on the CW from 09/25/07 to 05/26/09. It was created by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, and was known for having its pilot episode directed by filmmaker Kevin Smith.

cast devilSam (Bret Harrison) learns on his 21st b-day that his parent sold his soul to the Devil. Harsh, right? Well, since the Devil (played masterfully by Ray Wise) owns Sam’s soul, he puts him to work as his bounty hunter, tasked to catch escaped souls from hell using his wits and sometimes Devil powers. Aided by his two heterosexual lifemates Socks (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez), he fulfills his duty to the Devil, while trying to win the girl, his best friend Andi (Missy Peregrym).

Take Buffy The Vampire Slayer, add a little Supernatural, a dash of That 70’s Show and just a pinch of life. Strain out all the useless teen angst and dramatic pauses and your pretty much left with Reaper.

The show follows your basic “Freak of the Week” plot line, as Sam is given a new assignment each new episode. While this can sometimes be the downfall of a show to be stuck in that pattern, it turned out to be one of the great strengths of the show. As well as so many of the comedic elements.

Here’s a clip of Socks and Ben getting some exercise:

Devil puppetsEvery episode, the Devil appears to Sam with a vessel, a device that will capture whichever escaped soul is featured that episode. Now, this vessel can come in any form, whichever is best suited for that particular soul. It’s been a Dust Devil mini-vac, a giant wooden mallet, an ancient mongolian spear, a wicked collapsible scythe (that one should have stayed around longer), a cattle prod, and a bicycle horn, just to name a few.

Sam shares his news with his friends Socks and Ben, who immediately join up and start helping him capture the souls, in between shifts (or during) at the Work Bench, a Home Depot knock-off. He leaves co-worker Andi in the dark for obvious reasons.

Once a soul is captured, it must be delivered to a spot that most resembles Hell on earth. the Department of Motor Vehicles, where we are treated to many great discussions with resident grumpy demon, Gladys (played by Christine Willes), a character who offers a lot of humor to the show, as well as an occasional ally of Team Reaper (Sam, Socks, and Ben).

Each case offers more than a funny attempt at capturing souls, as we soon find out there is a lot more to the Devil’s plans with Sam than we thought. It’s easy to notice the beginning threads of Evil that the Devil is trying to tempt Sam with, and as the first season moves on, we learn more about their relationship, and the contract that binds Sam’s soul to Hell.

Team Reaper eventually moves out on their own after Socks is kicked out of his newly married mother’s house. In their new apartment building they encounter a friendly gay couple that lives down the hall. Tony (Ken Marino) and Steve (Michael Ian Black) become good friends, even buying clothes for Ben and feeding Socks on numerous occasions. They eventually learn that the couple are a pair of rebellious demons, plotting to destroy the Devil… but eventually they continue the friendship.

Reaper RebellionTony and Steve remain recurring characters throughout the series, Tony as a demon, and Steve as an angel after he dies in the failed rebellion. We’ll get back to them later. After Sam gets Tony’s help in perusing the contract, they learn that a number of pages have been ripped out (by Sam’s father, the man who made the deal in the first place) and they all cover the facts about Sam’s real father.

Take a guess who that might be…

Season 2 begins on the assumption that Sam is now the son of the Devil, but that doesn’t really change anything between Sam and the Devil. I mean, he is the Devil. So Sam must continue with his bounty hunting, aided by his friends. Andi has found out everything by this point, so the on again off again relationship rollercoaster has already started. But this development really takes the series in a whole new direction.

I won’t talk to much about the rest of the show, because I don’t want to ruin it, but I’ll give a few details away. We are introduced to another son of the Devil (Armie Hammer as Morgan), a demon girlfriend for Ben (Jenny Wade as Nina), a sexy step-sister for Socks to lust after, and a way for Sam to get out of his contract with the Devil. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as the“Real father of Sam” question continues to be an issue. Here’s a gag reel I found, which makes me love these guys even more:

Let’s talk about the cast. Bret Harrison pulls off the likable slacker with the damned soul pretty effectively, and sometimes is even left playing the straight guy to match his co-stars. His friend Socks is the obvious funny guy on the show, a role he plays perfectly. An awesome mix of Chris Farley-like physical comedy with an impressive personality filled with some great comedic timing. Socks was the star of the show for me personally for a long time.

AndiBut he wasn’t just the funny guy, he’s one of the legs of this group, and is often the one left to inspire the others out of the dark hole that the bounty hunter business sometimes takes them in. But while Socks may be the positive attitude, the heart of the show comes at most times from Ben. A character that really grew from Rick Gonzalez, and experienced the most change in a character from pilot to end that I’ve almost ever seen.

Andi is a lovable cute girl next door who can hang with the guys and is always there to keep Sam from turning truly evil. While she isn’t without her own doubts and issues about the whole soul hunting son of the devil as a boyfriend thing, she does everything she can to help. And you end up loving her for it.

Ray Wise delivers a smooth, vain, Evil loving version of the Devil that is instantly believable. The way he talks, moves, laughs, gets angry, it’s exactly the type of Devil that fits into this world. You often see him hosting AA meetings, selling diamond engagement rings, running corporate America, sowing temptation and discord around the world, smiling his evil smile as he does it. The biggest tragedy of this show’s cancellation is the loss of Ray Wise in his greatest role ever.

The rest of the supporting cast adds so much to the show that I just don’t have enough to say about them. Ted, the manager of the Work Bench, is the Yin to Socks’ Yang. Even some of the escaped souls offer great moments, like Patton Oswald, who guest starred in an episode as Leon and immediately befriended Socks due to their shared sense of humor.

The  visual effects were actually pretty good, much better than most TV shows can claim. From all the demon make-up, to the different powers the lost souls may have had, it was either believable, or making fun of itself, which the show was wont to do. They always added to the show, it was rare to watch a visual effect and feel like I was taken out of the episode.

Cast finale

The series didn’t really end abruptly, but it did leave a lot of questions unanswered. Still, it was an effective last episode, with the viewers left feeling satisfied that Team Reaper (now firmly including Andi) would go on to hopefully prosper against the Devil…or Not. But they would go on…

Then they were cancelled. And my loved family disappeared off the airwaves, presumably off to bigger and better things. But I, the viewer, am left with a hole in my heart. I did find an article explaining where the creator’s were planning on going with the show in the third season, so check that out here if your interested. But it’s just not the same as seeing it all play out the way it was meant to.

If you haven’t seen Reaper yet, I encourage you to watch it, immediately. If you’re looking for funny sci-fi centered around a down-to-earth group of slacker friends with a healthy heaping of hot chicks and hilarious adventures, then Reaper is for you. Good TV is too rare to let slip through the cracks of network Hell.

In Loving Memory of Reaper
Gone Too Soon…