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SDCC '10: Mr. Beaks Digs The Demented World Of James Gunn's SUPER!

Beaks here...

Are you ready for Travis Bickle: Superhero? James Gunn's SUPER appears to be a return to the writer-director's disreputable Troma roots: a low-budget revenge flick about Frank D'Amico (Rainn Wilson), an unstable man who commits himself to costumed derring-do after his drug-addict wife (Liv Tyler) dumps him for a two-bit thug (Kevin Bacon). It's the gritty flip-side of KICK-ASS. Rather than risk life and limb to apprehend violent criminals, Frank (aka The Crimson Bolt) trains his righteous fury on the true scum of the earth - like people who ditch in line at the movies. Sandwiched between big-studio presentations at Comic Con on Friday, SUPER quietly won over the Hall H crowd with a combination of star power (Wilson, Tyler, Ellen Page, Michael Rooker and geek-deity Nathan Fillion joined Gunn onstage) and shockingly funny footage. Shot on a miniscule budget rounded up by veteran producers Ted Hope and Miranda Bailey (who were also on the panel), SUPER's tone veers from TOXIC AVENGER goofy to TAXI DRIVER dark. Though we've no trouble sympathizing with D'Amico as a wronged man, his indignant, hyper-violent response to this humiliation is as troubling as it is hilarious. Take for instance the confrontation with the line-cutter: Frank, in costume as The Crimson Bolt, approaches the man and orders him to move. When he fails to comply, Frank promptly cracks his skull open with a massive wrench. And when the man's date tries to halt Frank's assault, he punches her out. I'd say the reaction in Hall H was evenly split between guffaws and gasps. Whereas KICK-ASS had a bright-and-peppy quality that kept audiences from examining the troubling undertones of the narrative, SUPER is right in your face with the desperation of a sad-sack driven to near-psychopathic behavior. In a lot of ways, Frank reminds me of a classic Roger Corman protagonist; there's a real day-of-the-loser quality to SUPER's premise. And it looks like the supporting characters - particularly Page as the adorable sociopath Libby - are as damaged and perverted as the film's protagonist. This could be Gunn's moment. After years of trying to inject his mischievous sensibility into studio productions, he's finally gotten down-and-dirty with a script that's 100% him. SUPER looks like a genuine, heartfelt movie about outsiders and fuck-ups incapable of conforming to societal norms. I don't know exactly what Gunn's trying to say here, but I'm honestly looking forward to wading through the unrepentant gore to figure it all out.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 27, 2010, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Looking forward to this one... Does it have distribution?

    by Chewtoy

    Here's hoping it finds release soon.

  • July 27, 2010, 3:51 p.m. CST

    The guy made Slither, so yeah, I'll see this.

    by SoylentMean

    Slither is a fuckin' Horror staple at my house, especially around Halloween. It's short, sweet, and to the fuckin' point. A triple feature of Slither, Bad Moon, and Lake Placid will take up about 2 1/2 hours of time and put a smile on your face for the rest of the goddamned day. <P> And that's a fuckin' fact, fuckers.

  • July 27, 2010, 3:55 p.m. CST

    It's fucking DEFENDOR

    by ROBRAM89

    If anybody had heard of or seen that movie this would be getting much less of a reaction.

  • July 27, 2010, 3:56 p.m. CST

    I can't believe this dude

    by eric haislar

    fucked Jenna fisher.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:02 p.m. CST

    enough fucking super-hero movies.

    by Stifler's Mom

    Straightforward comic book heroes have already been done to death. Now the post-modern, regular-guy-plays superhero story is a genre unto itself. FUCKING REDUNDANT. Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim, now this bullshit. fucking snooooore.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:02 p.m. CST

    You mean the ex-Mr. Jenna Fischer?

    by BackRiverCatfish

  • July 27, 2010, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Not the 1st to mention it but yeah Defendor

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    Strange thing about Defendor, they refuse to mention in the reviews or press coverage the fact that Woody Harrelsons character was mentally retarded. Strange decision

  • July 27, 2010, 4:14 p.m. CST

    uhhhhh, or SPECIAL with Mikey Rapaport

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

  • July 27, 2010, 4:15 p.m. CST

    DOOM: Because it gives away...

    by ROBRAM89 fucking depressing that movie is if you think about it too much. It's mostly fun if you get swept up in it, but the ending makes you retroactively go "shit, that is a fucked up movie."

  • July 27, 2010, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Oh. I was wondering what happened to CarlThorMark1978

    by MacReady452

    he sold his life story to James Gunn.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Is looking like Kick Ass a compliment?

    by RPLocke

    Seeing how bad that movie did?

  • July 27, 2010, 4:36 p.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by wampa 1

    ...but it sure smells good!

  • July 27, 2010, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Frank D'Amico was the name of the bad guy in Kick-Ass

    by The Gospel According to Bastardface

    Weird they'd use the same name.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Complaining about "too many superhero movies"

    by Chuck_Chuckwalla

    Nobody's putting a fucking gun to your head to watch 'em.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Urgh. Rain "One Note" Wilson

    by ISleptWithKathyBatesAndAllThatIGotWasThisStupidTalkbackName

    So it's Dwight Schulz in a superhero costume? I guess that sounds better than Dwight Schulz in a rock band, because THAT movie sucked ASS.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:43 p.m. CST



    Sure Kick Ass made a profit in the end, but it had an existing audience. Dunno if this will do as well.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Kick-Ass' "existing audience"

    by ROBRAM89

    ...consisted of comic book readers, which is a built-in audience of about a million people. That's jack shit to movie companies.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:49 p.m. CST

    It's still an "existing audience"


    And....uh....I've got nothing to write here now because I've said everything in the title.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:51 p.m. CST

    $20 million

    by ROBRAM89

    That's what having every single Kick-Ass reader see your movie nets you. And I'm rounding up.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:55 p.m. CST

    MORE fucking superhero movies!

    by UltimaRex

    I am fucking sick to the back teeth of the "No more superhero movies" people. How about no more musicals? No more rom-coms? No more stupid American Pie movies? Fuck it, how about no more movies period? Do you get it yet? I like Superhero movies. I want to see Superhero movies and any time someone says "Duh, no more superhero movies. Duh." I want to punch them in the face and take away their fucking toys. BTW, Scott Pilgrim is NOT a Superhero movie.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:56 p.m. CST

    A genre cannot be cliche

    by ROBRAM89

    Superhero movies are not a fad, they're a genre. Getting sick of an entire genre and wanting it to go away completely is lunacy.

  • July 27, 2010, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Oh, and BTW...

    by UltimaRex

    I can punch really fucking hard.

  • July 27, 2010, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Slither is fucking great.

    by TommyGavinsEgo

    Pitch-perfect, icky, funny as fuck throwback to those awesome '80s horror-comedies. Who cares if it's, um, "inspired" by another movie (Night Of The Creeps)... It's criminally unfair that it got buried at the box office. It was the true balls-out, self-aware, exploitation funfest that "Snakes On A Plane" thought it was. And wasn't. <p> <p> And it nailed the tone of those types of movies far better then Tarantino did with that fucking dull stage play with a car chase in it.

  • July 27, 2010, 5:20 p.m. CST

    KICK-ASS: "how bad that movie did"

    by palimpsest

    Production budget $30m, worldwide gross to date $95.7m, according to BoxOfficeMojo. Say what you like about the movie, but the figures look fine...

  • July 27, 2010, 5:37 p.m. CST


    by RPLocke

    Yes, that was a huge success for a 30 mil budget, lol.

  • July 27, 2010, 6:02 p.m. CST

    "How Bad That Movie Did"

    by jazzgalaxy

    means, "I didn't see it" to self righteous people.

  • July 27, 2010, 6:16 p.m. CST



    My point is merely this:<p>I've seen SUPER compared to KICK-ASS in two places now. KICK-ASS had an existing audience; a group of people who were aware of the comic and therefore might be more inclined to see the movie.<p>I'm not saying an existing audience guarantees success. You can look at THE GOLDEN COMPASS to see that's true. It merely means the possibility is there. Obviously the size of that existing audience helps to increase that possibility (look at TWILIGHT).<p>SUPER has no existing audience. It's success or failure will have to come PURELY from a new audience who will either be enticed by the trailers and reviews... or not.<p>Tis all I meant.

  • July 27, 2010, 6:17 p.m. CST

    I'd be fine with no more rom-coms and musicals, too.

    by Subtitles_Off

    No more buddy cop flicks, while we're at it.<P>And, somebody, please, no more movies starring The Rock.<P>And, yes, no more fucking superhero movies.<P>Go ahead, Ultima. Just not the face, OK? I gotta job interview tomorrow.

  • July 27, 2010, 6:20 p.m. CST

    I'm really hungry.

    by SmokingRobot

    Can you hand me that raccoon?

  • July 27, 2010, 6:21 p.m. CST



    Yes, that's right. If you spend 30 million dollars on something and get 95 million dollars back, it's a success. Why are you laughing out loud at a statement which proves your earlier comment incorrect? <p>*Confused Look*

  • July 27, 2010, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Best James Gunn line ever.

    by Fred_Phelps_Felches_Fags

    "Bend over, I've got an itch to fuck you in the ass." - Tromeo and Juliet

  • July 27, 2010, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Dude, Iron Man 2 made 95 mill in an hour

    by RPLocke

    Kick ass sucks.

  • July 27, 2010, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Frank D'Arbo!

    by Dogwitch

    IMDB says Wilson's name in the movie is Frank D'Arbo. So it looks like a typo. The cut in line scene sounds great, though.

  • July 27, 2010, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Loved Slither, really gross movie, but funny! This could be good

    by NeverTalksBack

    In my opinion Kick Ass was a waaaay better movie then Iron Man 2. BTW RPLocke, it's not like a math equation. "I liked Iron Man 2 a lot and it made way more money, I didn't like Kick Ass AND since it didn't make the same boatload of money, then it sucked. Seriously? You must be like 8 years old.

  • July 27, 2010, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Have Gunn, will travel (to the theatre)...

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

    Aside from that little Scooby Doo hiccup he had, the man just excels at making fun films. And you can always tell the people involved are having a good time, too. <p> Overdone genre or not, he gets my popcorn money.

  • July 27, 2010, 9:41 p.m. CST

    The genre's just about dead

    by Teddy Artery

    for another 20 years. The Avengers will be the final nail in the coffin.

  • July 27, 2010, 9:43 p.m. CST

    Superheroes? They died about the same time as your father

    by RPLocke

  • July 27, 2010, 9:44 p.m. CST

    By 2030

    by Teddy Artery

    you'll simply get the superhero experience injected into your cerebrum.

  • July 27, 2010, 10:33 p.m. CST

    What has James Gunn ever done?!?!?


    Scooby Doo? Slither (which was garbage, by the way)? And Super sounds pretty terrible, like it's trying so hard to ironic but will just end up appealing an audience that doesn't even know how to spell "irony." And by that I mean 12-year-olds and idiots.

  • July 27, 2010, 10:51 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    I liked "Slither" so this sounds interesting. A dark dramedy about fucked up, borderline sociopathic superheros who aren't super? Sounds like the opposite of "Iron Man," which is likely what Gunn wanted to do.<p> Hell, I'll go see it.<p> And "Slither" was garbage, Kid Idioteque? Ok. I'm not usually into B-movie-inspired fare myself, but I thought "Slither" was creepy with those practical effects, gory in fairly memorable ways, yet laugh-out-loud funny when it needed to be.<p> I'm not a horror or B-movie buff in any way, shape, or form, but I thought Gunn did a pretty good job on a shoestring budget.<p> "Super" might be kind the type of anti-superhero film I've been waiting for years to see.

  • July 27, 2010, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Gunn "owns the internet"?!?

    by Man in Suit

    This will sound strange, but first learned about this movie when I heard an obnoxious unidentified man (Gunn's manager?) barking about "Super" on his cell phone at the Sunset Boulevard Coffee Bean in April of last year (maybe he was trying to impress some girl at the next table, not sure). The guy was saying that "Super" was the "ultimate twist on the superhero movie", that it was a game changer for the genre and that Gunn "owned the internet". I had only been living in LA for two weeks when I overheard this, so the convo really stuck with me. I'd be curious to see if some of the pro-Gunn AICN commenters have posted to previous talkbacks or if this is some Gunn guerilla marketing? Does anyone else sense some photosynthesis in these comments? I don't have anything against Gunn- the movie might be good- but he should tell his peeps to keep their cell phone conversations about him brief and at a respectful volume.

  • July 27, 2010, 11:42 p.m. CST

    Slither had the Predator music when he arms up

    by Waka_Flocka

    that makes Slither great

  • July 28, 2010, 12:42 a.m. CST

    PG Porn

    by Jarek

    Nobody has even mentioned it. Has nobody seen his great web series? Hilarious stuff all around. Check it out.

  • July 28, 2010, 1 a.m. CST

    Dude wrote Scooby Doo.

    by OutlawsDelejos

    Fuck yeah!

  • July 28, 2010, 2:25 a.m. CST

    Scott Pilgrim is this years Snakes on a Plane

    by RPLocke

  • July 28, 2010, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Iron Man 2 was shit

    by masteryoda007

    Kick Ass was way more entertaining dude.

  • July 28, 2010, 6:32 a.m. CST

    Sorry Subtitles_Off...

    by UltimaRex

    No more jobs. *punch*

  • July 28, 2010, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Yeah, no more super-hero movies!

    by letsfightinglove

    And no more pirate movies! No more sci-fi movies! No more disaster movies! No more monster movies! No more horror movies! No more cop movies! No more romantic comedies! Hell, no more comedies! No more 3-D movies! No more color movies! No more "talkies"! <br> ALl movies should be in B&W, with no audio except for some background music, and should contain no content that would excite, offend or otherwise cause an emotion.

  • July 28, 2010, 8:33 a.m. CST

    2010 and people still feed trolls

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    Kick Ass was lightweight fun, in my opinion. That it DID WELL is a factual statement.

  • July 28, 2010, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Does he stab anybody in the eye with a pen?

    by mojoman69

    this is the newest rave. personally I use a Montblanc as it is extra sharp and pointy. Great for stabbing chair stealers at Cons.

  • July 28, 2010, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Defendor sucked.

    by Uncle Stan

  • July 28, 2010, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Gunn had sex with Jenna Fisher

    by Beezbo

    I did not. Gunn wins.

  • July 28, 2010, 7:05 p.m. CST


    by somdawg a relative term The Numbers Rating: 7.76 (29 votes) Rate it - Rating Details Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75% - Fresh Theatrical Performance Total US Gross $48,071,303 International Gross $28,031,114 Worldwide Gross $76,102,417 For full financial breakdown, please contact our research team. Flick cost $40 mil to make, not tooo bad. And the DVD numbers aren't even in yet.

  • July 28, 2010, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Frank D'Amico?

    by jolaz

    Mark Strong in Kick Ass? What an odd coincidence. Now the question is who is going to be the better Frank D'Amico?

  • July 28, 2010, 8 p.m. CST

    Also, Beezbo...

    by jolaz

    James Gunn - 1...all the rest of us - 0

  • July 29, 2010, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Gunn may be the ex-Mr Jenna Fischer

    by brodiebruce_405

    but that Jap musician he's fucking now is pretty hot.

  • Aug. 17, 2010, 1:30 a.m. CST

    James Gunn is a failed filmmaker, but successful at RIPPING OFF

    by GabeFriedman

    The lack of comments here is enlightening since I think he's arrived at this party too little too late. Look, after the sheer brilliance and originality of the near-masterpiece "Kick-Ass" this is clearly a bad rip-off by a filmmaker who is more excited about fancy gimmicks than good stories (I mean, both movies have a character named Frank D'Amico???). Since said-filmmaker Gunn has gotten a chance to make a film several years after his last rip-off "Night of the Creeps", er, I mean "Slither" bombed-in-theaters, he is at it again with a script he clearly clipped after probably hearing about, and getting inspired by, "Kick-Ass" (sorry, I don't believe he wrote this 8 years ago considering his gamut of lies about "Slither"... a guy who is THAT well-read about horror films, and brags about it at cons, doesn't sound believable when he says he never saw "Night of the Creeps" before making his own retread of it.). And the problem is that "Kick-Ass" got there first. This film is probably doomed to some straight-to-DVD release of some sort given that the arc for this sorta thing has passed. Here's hoping that a guy as smart of Gunn (after making a failed career at re-doing other people's work -- Dawn of the Dead REMAKE, Scooby Doo ADAPTATION, Slither RIP-OFF, etc.) finds it in him to make a movie from his OWN personal experience rather than cribbing from others. That truly would be "Super"...