July 27th, 2009
01:10 PM ET

Comic-Con: Dos & Don'ts

Imagine, if you will, a futuristic outpost in the middle of outer space filled with more than 100,000 beings of all species wearing all manner of dress. Some basically humanoid with different skin textures (particularly on the forehead) and others sporting appendages and tentacles.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/27/art.comic.con.cnn.jpg caption="During Comic-Con, the San Diego Convention Center effectively becomes its own city within San Diego, California."]
Comic-Con is just like that; the San Diego Convention Center effectively becomes its own city within San Diego, California, complete with its own special transit system. Attending became a daunting prospect for this Comic-Con rookie despite my experience at that little local event, Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. If you've ever wondered if you should make the trip, here's a few dos and don'ts that I jotted down just in case.

DO chat with the aliens, robots, furries and Klingons around you and ask permission to take their pictures. Who knows? They might know about a cool event going on, or they might just have a great story to tell.

DON'T carry around too much stuff unless your elaborate robot costume requires it. Comic-Con takes a lot of physical stamina, since some events are spaced far apart and have long lines. You may be routed around a venue the long way to maintain clear traffic paths.

DO wear an awesome costume that shows your love for a favorite franchise or at least some kind of ironic T-shirt.

DON'T slack on your appearance and hygiene. Stars and cool folks are around every corner.

DO plan well in advance. If you want to attend all four days, you need to get your membership for the con several months in advance. Hotels should also be planned as early as possible. And don't forget to reach out to your connections.

DON'T limit yourself to the obvious schedule. Find out what else is going on and don't be afraid to wander around and chat people up. You never know who you might encounter or run into.

DO take the shuttle bus and make use of the conveniences in the city around the con.

DON'T limit yourself to the hot dogs and other con food. And try to park off site if you can.

DO make an effort to seek out celebrities and people you want to see. It doesn't hurt to ask around. There are so many well-known folks hiding around every corner, especially in the earlier days of the con. And of course seek out some panels on your con schedule. We got to see Seth MacFarlane do some voice acting with other folks from FOX's "American Dad," for example.

DON'T buy just anything. Look for con exclusives, one-of-a-kind items, freebies, photo ops and free hugs.

DO give free hugs if that's your thing.

DON'T give out free annoyances.

July 27th, 2009
10:42 AM ET

'True Blood' and its hard-hearted vamps

Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for Sunday’s episode of “True Blood.”

“Leather is tough/but Hannah’s heart is tougher./She’s a gal who loves to see men suffer.”

TB Daphne

So … any question why the Tin Pan Alley classic, “Hard-Hearted Hannah,” was the title of Sunday’s “True Blood” episode?

Sure, we see Prohibition-era Bill crooning it – just as Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin and probably hundreds of others have done over the years.

But last night, there were a whole bunch of “gals” making a whole bunch of men suffer.

There was vampire Pam telling a traumatized Lafayette that, after nearly being killed by vampires for selling vampire blood, he needs to start once again selling vampire blood.

There was Lorena, Bill’s maker, showing back up and making it pretty clear she’s ready to take back what’s hers. And whether or not Sarah Newlin set out to make Jason suffer, their one-on-one sanctuary session could have some ugly end results.

But the “Meanest Gal in Town” award clearly goes to Maryann and Daphne.

Some readers of this blog were getting tired of the Maryann storyline not going anywhere. But that all changed last night, when we learned exactly what she had in store for sad-sack Sam.

Daphne, of course, reminds us that – just like with those “make millions working from home” signs and e-mails from Nigerian diplomats – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

So, guys, if a cute waitress shows up out of nowhere, shows you she can magically turn into a whole barnyard full of different animals and proposes a use for a pool table that they do NOT show on ESPN2... run the other way.

We all pretty much knew the creepy Maryann had it in for Sam, but for the seemingly sweet Daphne to have been in on the plot?

Well, that, as the songwriter said, is colder than travelin’ through Alaska in your BVDs.

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July 27th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Director, actors dish on 'Paper Heart'

As Comic-Con wound down, with exhausted fans seated on the floors of the hallways, a handful of journalists got to chat with the folks from "Paper Heart," a new indie flick that combines fiction with documentary to explore the nature of love.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/26/art.paper.heart.cnn.jpg caption="Nicholas Jasenovec (left), Jake Johnson and Charlyne Yi discuss 'Paper Heart'"]
The idea for this film came from writer and actress Charlyne Yi, whom you might recognize from her role as Jodi in "Knocked Up." She was feeling skeptical of love, and thought about making a documentary about it. Director and co-writer Nicholas Jasenovec describes the final product as "a fictional love story with documentary support."

In fact, Jasenovec was hoping that because of her "unique perspective on love," she might fall in love on camera while making this movie, she said. However, on Sunday she indicated that it's only a rumor that she's really dating co-star Michael Cera of "Juno" and "Superbad" fame.

The cast and crew traveled to several states including California, New Mexico, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee in a van while making this film. Many of the actors already knew each other and then became friendly with the crew, so making the movie "felt like hanging out," said Jake Johnson, who plays the character Nick. Many of the cast members' on-camera interactions were improvised, and all of the "documentary" portions are real and unscripted, he said.

What did Yi learn about love from this movie? "I think it's what you want it to be," she said. For instance, when she asked bikers what they think about love, they said that, to them, love is hanging out with their friends at a bar.

Although not based on a comic book or science fiction novel, "Paper Heart" did have its place at Comic-Con. After all, Jasenovec said, "It's a geek love story."

July 27th, 2009
08:57 AM ET

'Entourage': One car, two car, red car...

Dear friends and loved ones,

If I don’t receive a Ferrari AND a Porsche for my next birthday, I'll know you don't really care about me.


I really think I'm catching on to this season's formula. Basically, episode 3 of "Entourage" sought to connect us to Turtle, similar to last week's episode focusing on Eric.

It was a closer look at the Turtle world within Vince's world. First of all, the shot of his closet gave me goosebumps. And to answer your question, yes. Yes, I was screaming like a little girl when he opened the door and revealed the shoe compartment resembling his own private "Sneaker-Macy's". Hands over my mouth? Indeed. Verklempt you say? Certainly.


Next, the disrespect Turtle endured from both his mother (from the salon) and 50 Cent (from the convertible Rolls Royce) only fueled more fandom. I was openly rooting for Turtle like I knew him, and those luxury cars (cars plural, as in "TWO") he received as gifts couldn't have gone to a nicer guy. I think I actually slapped myself five when he got the second one.

However, the BEST moment of the episode came via who else? Ari Gold.

Ari's impromptu lecture to Turtle may seem typical, but after a quick rewind on the Tivo, I heard the detail in this sermon that climaxed with his sincere lament of his fear of having to give the exact same speech to his son, "which wouldn't help him and he'd just end up doing heroin on the street with the two Coreys." It was hilarious, thoughtful dialogue and killer word-play delivered per his usual. But more than that, I was glad to see Ari's emergence as a sage to Eric and Turtle.

Since all is in perfect balance in the universe, be sure to tune in to next week's episode as the predicted Andrew Klein implosion should be front and center.

Loved it? Kinda liked it? Hated it? Tell us your thoughts on this week's episode of "Entourage."

July 27th, 2009
08:41 AM ET

Dr. McDreamy switches gears

Patrick Dempsey is set to play a race car driver in an upcoming film that's based on the book "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. Plus the band Daughtry knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the album charts and a sequel to "The Strangers" is in the works. CNN's Jennifer Wolfe has more on these tidbits in today's buzz:

Filed under: movies • Music
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