Terry Jeffords is a complicated man. He's a detective, a father, a talented artist, a yogurt connoisseur, and most importantly, The Ebony Falcon. This week, Brooklyn Nine-Nine brought another story arc to a close with Terry officially returning to field duty. Peralta and Boyle are busting a steroids ring at a local gym, and they want Terry's help in order to investigate a man named Brandon Jacobi, because he's the only one who could pass as a personal trainer, bouncer and assistant manager at a local PetSmart. But once they see Terry with his twins, Peralta gets scared that something will happen to him in the field, leaving them without a father, and so he does everything he can to keep Terry out of harm's way... even if that means botching his own investigation. Meanwhile, Gina's apartment has been robbed, and she becomes upset when she feels like Santiago and Diaz aren't doing all that they can to bring justice to the person who broke in.
Both Gina and Terry had significant moments of character development this week, with Terry finally becoming comfortable in his job once again, and Gina revealing that even though she appears to have no feelings whatsoever, she can still have moments of vulnerability. It's been fun to watch the characters delve further into the backstories and personal lives of the motley crew that make up the 99th precinct, and grounding these two oddballs in particular opens them up to a new array of plots, both insane and realistic.
But who stole the show on last night's episode, "The Ebony Falcon"? And does anyone know whether Kelly is Scully's dog or his wife? Anyone at all?
TerryAfter spending a few weeks in the background, Terry was brought to the forefront this week, and his character arc has reached its culmination. Terry Crews clearly loves playing Terry, and he plays confident and intimidating just as well as he played terrified and overwhelmed. Plus, we finally got to see Cagney and Lacey for the first time, and watching him speak baby-talk and sing lullabies was delightful. - Explaining that he needs to read his girls a story before bed: "The Ebony Falcon needs to read Go, Dog, Go!"- The joke may have been obvious, but Terry chst-bumping Peralta so hard that he goes flying was still the best physical gag of the night. - Terry nervously declaring himself to be "one of many" black Trents included a wonderful wide-eyed reaction shot from Crews. - On Jacobi: "You know, he's a mean dude, but I think I'm making progress. He asked to borrow my squat belt, I refused, he respected that!"- After Jake declares that the Ebony Falcon takes bad guys to jail and bad girls to bed: "Hell yeah, he does. Except, now the Ebony Falcon is monogamous and too tired for sex, so his only indulgence is fresh fruit yogurt parfaits!" Jake: "Terry loves yogurt." - Jake: "How did you find out about this?" Terry: "I'm a Detective Sergeant with the NYPD! Holt told me." - If Terry were a vacation, he would be a lake trip. - Terry only taking on as much as he can handle means holding down three bad guys by himself, and leaving one for the backup team.
GinaChelsea Peretti has been getting a lot of screen time recently, but this is the first time that Gina's been the star of a whole plot. Like Terry, it's fun to watch the writers delve into the weird mystery that is Gina's personal life, and with every new, strange detail they reveal, Gina becomes better and better. - On asking her coworkers to investigate the robbery: "You think these buffoons can help?! They're buffoons!" - Gina owns a fur bedspread, a ton of lycra body suits, eight full drawers of underwear (because she's civilized), a large painting of a naked lady on a lion, a music box that plays "She Works Hard for the Money," and a set of Joseph Gordon-Levitt nesting dolls: "Homemade and irreplaceable."- Diaz: "They found a strand of hair belonging to Mario Lopez." Gina: "I bought a lock of it at auction. That's cool it's real."- Gina makes a wonderful rye, according to Santiago. "So dense, so yet so moist."- She once said that the best comedy of all time was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. On second thought, Gina might not actually have any feelings after all. - "I asked for a police escort to work this morning, and it took the dispatcher a while to find me a young Kevin Costner-type."- Upon gifting Santiago and Diaz with lycra bodysuits as a thank-you: "The cool thing is, you can eat whatever you want. These are right there with you."
BoyleThis week, Boyle discovered his true calling: gym manager. Even though they were only staking out the location undercover, Boyle managed to transform the gym from its sorry state, and Joe Lo Truglio plays every line with pure, earnest enthusiasm. - "Gymfiltrating. I think it will really catch on if more people infiltrate gyms." - Boyle is a sucker for a high-five. - Watching Terry put his daughters to bed: "He's so strong, yet so gentle. Like an enormous, muscular Ellen Degeneres." - "Two things: One, this gym's wipe-down policy is criminally lax, so I rewrote it. Two, I lowered the temperature of the water cooler by two degrees. I haven't heard any feedback yet, but I see a lot of refreshed faces. Oh, yeah, and Jacobi is on his way." - Jake: "Who have you become?" Boyle: "Myself! I've become myself!" - After Jake asks to hear about the new scheduling system for the gym: "I've been waiting so long to hear you say those words. Come with me, and experience the future of cloud-based scheduling."
As the man who recently got to make out with Scarlett Johansson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the envy of Reddit. But though he answered a lot of unprofessional questions (see below), Gordon-Levitt talked a lot about the film he recently wrote, directed, and starred in, Don Jon. The film centers around a man with a porn addiction (Gordon-Levitt), who falls in love with Johannson's character. Naturally, Reddit was interested in the film, among other things. Here are the best answers from his Reddit AMA.
On why he wears mismatching socks: "My brother always wore mismatched socks. I inherited his collection."
On any reservations he might have had about his family seeing the sexually explicit Don Jon: "My mom in particular really loves the movie. She brought up my brother and me with a lot of the ideals of the feminist movement(s) of the 60s and 70s. DON JON is largely a comedic satire of how our culture treats people (especially women) more like things than like people."
On why he's not Batman: "We are all Batman."
On the inexplicable JGLGiraffes meme: "If giraffes made a sound I would write it as an onomatopoeia in this reply."
On why he's recently delved into writing and directing: "I've been making little short films and videos for a long time. Since I was a kid. Then for my 21st birthday, I got myself my first copy of Final Cut. Love cutting. I've made hundreds of little things over the years. Don Jon didn't feel like a short though. It felt like a traditional feature length movie."
The secret to improving one's wardrobe: "A snazzy smile :o)"
On whether he prefers sweet romantic comedy roles or action flicks: "I like the variety. Changing all the time. Identity is a creative process."
The first movie he remembers seeing: "DUMBO"
His advice for picking up women: "Put on your listening cap"
If he put Don Jon into Haiku form: "fap fap fap fap fap / fap fap fap fap fap fap fap / fap fap fap fap fap"
On his preparation for Premium Rush: I rode every day for several months. Got thirty-two stitches once, going through the rear windshield of a taxi-cab. It's at the end of the credits, wait dude, did you see the movie?
On his future in musical theater: "Chan [Channing Tatum] and I definitely want to do a musical together. Guys and Dolls is one idea we're playing around with. Not sure if it'll happen, we'll see. But whatever it ends up being, it's gonna be frickin rad."
What he looks for in a woman: "I do my very best to not have any rigid expectations. I think the best, juiciest, mind blowing love comes as a surprise. If you're already looking for the items on your wish list, you're doomed. This is exactly what DON JON is about. Both my character and Scarlett's character are blinded by unrealistic expectations they've learned from pornography and Hollywood movies."
The most memorable class he's taken: "In highschool? AP US History. Mr. Bechtel."
On what he's learned from Christopher Nolan: "I was shooting TDKR when I first finished a draft of DON JON. I told Chris I was planning on directing a movie, and he was super supportive. In his characteristically understated way. He never blows smoke with a bunch of compliments. He just started asking me a bunch of questions. What budget was I thinking? How many days would we need to shoot it? Could we do it all in one city? He's a very detail-oriented director, and having him asking me those questions implied a confidence in me that I found warmly encouraging."
On whether he feels the same way about Catcher in The Rye as he did in 1997 (check out the hilarious video of a long-haired, dorky Gordon-Levitt below):"Yes."
On whether he actually paid to market Don Jon on porn sites: "Definitely. We're also advertising on "chick flick" stuff and on the NFL. All of which are media that is featured in DON JON. It's a movie about media culture, it should be in the media!"
On why he wanted Scarlett Johansson for Don Jon:"First of all because she's hilarious. See her on SNL? And she balances comedy and sincerity with a delicacy few actors can. Besides that, I thought she'd be a powerful presence in the movie because she's an acute example of what the movie's about. Scarlett is an extremely smart person, and a very talented artist. And yet most of what gets talked about is her looks. This part of our culture is what DON JON is poking fun at."
On internet piracy: "You know, what the RIAA calls piracy is tricky. I can't be too mad at it. When something can be duplicated infinitely at virtually no cost, it's hard to apply traditional economic rules to it. I think/hope in the future, we'll all be able to watch whatever movie we want to whenever we want to."
Comparing 500 Days of Summer and Don Jon:"I actually think the thesis of 500 Days of Summer is sorta similar to that of Don Jon. In fact, I think the 500 Days character, Tom, is a lot like Jon. Of course, they have very different styles. But they both start out the story pretty selfish. Tom doesn't really listen to Summer. He's projecting his ideal fantasy onto her. He's treating her more like a thing than like a person. Jon does this same thing to everyone in his life. The women he seduces, his friends, his family, even himself. But by the end, he's begun to break out of his mold and grow up a bit."
On the changes in his 3rd Rock from the Sun character: "I suppose the longer anyone spends on earth, the closer we all get to becoming superfluous characters."
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Hype is the name of the game at Comic-Con. For fans, it's an early taste of what they'll see in theaters in a few months, a year, or even more. For studios, it's a hopes of planting a seed that will keep people talking until a movie's release. Put a trailer online, someone convinces themselves whether they're "in" or not based on their crappy computer screen. Put them in a high-end projection room with 10,000 screaming fans and, suddenly, the latest trailer for such-and-such sci-fi movie is on par with the Super Bowl half time show. It's fun to be excited, and at Comic-Con, everyone wins.
Does the tidal wave of buzz translate to business? Not always. Studios spend big bucks to showcase their upcoming slates, but occasionally, the stunts don't pay off. Here are a few high profile films that left Hall H the talk of the town, only to underperform by the time they arrived in multiplexes. What went wrong?
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Production Budget: $70 million
Domestic Gross: $37.8 million
Bold statements broadcast from Hall H are not uncommon. Their taken with a grain of salt, but that kind of praise is exactly what fans, and the studios backing the movies, want to hear. When premiered footage at Comic-Con in 2004, it was met with passion normally reserved for Best Picture contenders. As a writer of Joblo elegantly put it: "[Director Kerry] Conran has created movie magic here; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is what we go to the movies for." Conran's unique sci-fi adventure took its cues from pulp magazines and films from the early days of the 20th century — an approach that hit all the right chords with genre buffs. But the throwback, that turned out to be more of an exercise in low budget special effects than a thrilling, Indiana Jones-style romp, wasn't easily swallowed by the masses.
Production Budget: $232 million
Domestic Gross: $200.1 million
An IGN writer sums up the reaction to the return of the Son of Krypton quite perfectly. "You will believe a man can fly…again. These words echoed in my head after attending the Superman Returns panel at the San Diego Comic-Con Saturday morning." Absence makes the heart grow fonder and twenty years had Superman fans young and old absolutely rabid for the debut of modern Supes courtesy of director Bryan Singer (X-Men). A nine-figure budget does wonders for a larger-than-life character, and all of Superman's flying heroics stunned the Hall H audience in 2005. The footage was beautiful — maybe too beautiful. Singer's version of Superman aimed for cinematic poetry rather than full-blown action mayhem, a take that might be up comic book purists, but not the audiences flooding multiplexes. Even with a $200 million take, Superman Returns flew under expectations (and really, profitable box office marks). Thankfully, that's not stopping Warner Bros. from attempting to recapture the magic and unleashing it at Comic-Con: the rebooted Man of Steel will premiere its first look on Saturday, July 14.
Production Budget: $130 million
Domestic Gross: $107.5 million
"If you thought the trailer was breathtaking, this was even MORE incredible than that," declared a writer from the blockbuster-friendly blog FirstShowing.net. Time named Watchmen one of the best books of all time, so it's understandable why a mere glimpse at more of the live-action translation of the 1987 graphic novel would have fans frothing at the mouth. This was the comic movie, and director Zack Snyder was sticking to the source material with precision. While Watchmen sent thousands of appreciative readers into a tizzy over the panels coming to life, Snyder's adaptation almost demanded a familiarity with the text. If you weren't a fan, Watchmen was too much to digest — critical acclaim or not. Think about it: would a Catcher in the Rye movie be a mega-hit blockbuster? Everyone has read it, but the demand isn't built in.
Production Budget: $200 million
Domestic Gross: $125.3 million
McG's fourth Terminator had all the makings of a Comic-Con friendly flick. A radical franchise shift that skewed to the ever-popular "dark, gritty" approach; a fanboy dream of a screenwriter, The Dark Knight's Jonah Nolan; a rising action star (Sam Worthington, Avatar) and a heralded keystone (Christian Bale); and most importantly, some kick-ass action footage. After the Charlie's Angels director screened his saturation-less robot mayhem for Hall H audiences, a Screenrant writer declared "I don’t think we need to worry about this one folks, it looks like it’s in good hands!" Everyone was on the same page: finally, a Terminator movie that pushes the envelope of its main conceit. All out war! But snippets proved more exciting than the final product, which underwhelmed summer audiences with its bleak palate. Maybe the only people who really care about Terminator mythology are Con-goers?
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Production Budget: $85 million
Domestic Gross: $31.6 million
For comic buffs or anyone that caught the first trailers to Edgar Wright's video game-inspired love story, Scott Pilgrim was already a highly-anticipated summer blockbuster. But Universal went all out to make Comic-Con their big publicity push for the film, bringing the entire cast to Hall H, showing off footage and holding a screening of the film for a lucky handful of fans. Positive reactions continued to grow as free screenings popped up between SDCC and the movie's August 2010 debut. But in comparison to the fervor of its Comic-Con premiere, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World came and went through theaters with little momentum. Many speculated that the movie was the perfect Comic-Con film, playing directly to that audience's sensibilities, and that by the time it hit theaters, everyone who had wanted to see it had.
Production Budget: $200 million
Domestic Gross: $172.1 million
Disney's Tron Legacy holds a unique record: the film appeared for Hall H presentations three times before being released. A short visual effects test played in 2008 to thunderous applause. The reaction spurred a greenlight for Disney and director Joseph Kosinski. In 2009, the footage returned updated and in glorious 3D, along with a fully constructed "Flynn's Arcade" built out in downtown San Diego. Finally in 2010, a full panel with footage and stars arrived to SDCC. The energy of the audience was consistent all three years — but in the end, the movie never captured the masses the same way it did with eager Con attendees. Overexposure is a possibility, but the world of Tron may have been better suited for effects-driven teases rather than a two hour narrative.
An enthusiastic reception at Comic-Con didn't translate to box office success for the above films, but that doesn't change the fact that many of the fans who did catch these movies in theaters were satisfied. The cries of fandom are tricky; they can pique the interests of general moviegoers when privy to the right material, but they can also be an echo chamber for a niche audience.
On the positive side, San Diego Comic-Con have played host to a number of hits that started their campaign for audience eyes in the excited chaos of Hall H. 300, Iron Man, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Expendables, The Resident Evil franchise — all planted seeds at just the right moment, reaping the benefits of an early campaign when it finally came time for their theatrical run. Timing, mass appeal and showing off just the right amount/type of footage is all key.
Box office and budget statistics provided by Hollywood.com Box Office Analyst Paul Dergarabedian
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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[Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures]