No two people experience Comic-con in quite the same way (well, maybe those question-whoring Hall H twins do) - there's just too much to do, see, smell, and wait for. Of the experiences and impressions I had this weekend that might mean anything to the public at large, these are the ten that - at some miserable point 35,000 ft. over Kentucky on the redeye tonight - are going to help me remember why I keep coming back.

10. Daft Punk.

The Tron: Legacy footage was an exciting, if measured tease (with an odd gait), but one bit of both the reel and the eventual film about which I have absolutely no reservations is the score by Daft Punk. The samples from the panel were astounding, and when we got a glimpse of those French electro wizards DJ-ing the games in their white jumpsuits, I had to catch my nerdy whimper like a young O-ren Ishii. Had the Daft Punk pyramid then risen through the Hall H stage my entire body would have gone all sorts of spastic, and without an ounce of concern that it was 10 A.M. on a Thursday morning.

9. Finally getting my hands on Coraline's doll.


This one sort of pushes the boundaries of that whole bit about these memories being of interest to the public at large, but finally finding this stupid doll is what the dealer's room is all about. I had planned to dress as Coraline for Halloween last year, but every time I ordered one of these things from Ebay they would simply just never show up - must have happened 2 or 3 times. So despite the fact that I've already committed to my costume for this year (the middle portion of a Human Centipede), I was pretty excited to stumble across one of these blue-haired rag-dolls. It may not be Superman #1 or anything, but it does have buttons for eyes. And that's not nothing.

8. Richard Jenkins has another great performance in the bag.


Richard Jenkins has made a routine of appearing in competent or superior films, and his increasingly diverse performances are consistently excellent regardless of the genre in which he's delivering them. He was every bit as hilarious in Step Brothers as he was warm and effecting in The Visitor, and in Let Me In (Matt Reeves' Let the Right One In remake) Jenkins gets a chance to go dark. And while I remain unconvinced that this project is of any legitimate value, the footage Overture showed us is every bit as bold and confident as it is completely redundant.

One extended clip that deviated in action (if not consequence) from the Swedish film featured Jenkins in full-on Buffalo Bill mode, wearing a suit pieced together from plastic bags and lying in wait for the car's teenaged owner to return so that Jenkins could find fresh blood for his vampire ward. Jenkins is possessed and fiercely believable, especially when it all goes horribly awry, and the clip proved that - if nothing else - Let Me In is going to be another great opportunity to see one of our finest actors explore some new terrain.

7. Danny Trejo serving me a soft taco.



I never really predicted this would happen (I always thought it would be a hard taco), but the Machete shindig in a Gaslamp parking lot had a way of realizing dreams I never knew I had. Despite being a pasty Jewish kid from New England, I've long had a sincere and enduring desire to see Danny Trejo: leading man. But Robert Rodriguez waited just long enough, as Trejo's Machete seems haggard and lurching right up until the moment he uses a guy's intestine to repel down a building, at which point Trejo registers as a hero who's as surprising as he is truly worthy. The man has always been a star, and it's great that people will finally have the chance to see him shine (and by "shine," i clearly mean "brutally destroy faceless henchman in a non-stop rampage of blood, guts, and really leathery skin").

6. Edgar Wright completely derails the writing of this article by re-tweeting me as I'm writing this article.

True story. This may have been my favorite SDCC 2010 moment, but the rankings here are as arbitrary as drinking coffee. It just so happened that the blurb I had for #6 was especially uninteresting. Much unlike Scott Pilgrim vs. the World! (see, that's called paying it forward). But seriously, this was the first time I can remember that I unabashedly loved the film that most thoroughly dominated Comic-con (The Avengers doesn't count), and that's a nice feeling at a time when I felt especially disconnected from the passions and pleasures of the average attendee. I mean, this was what face would have looked like during during the exuberant Thor panel if I had a mustache: : { .

5. Ryan Reynolds makes everyone feel like a kid again.

Remember that time when Ryan Reynolds recited the Green Lantern oath to a young kid and the wee fan's jaw completely fell off of his face? And everyone in the room had goosebumps and remembered why they love stories in the first pace? And then everyone stared at Ryan Reynolds and thought about what a great choice he is for the role? And then everyone felt really ugly and un-muscular? ... Ugh, stupid Ryan Reynolds.



4. Joss Whedon Dance Party

Cause if you were just tasked with directing The Avengers, you'd probably have to blow off some steam, too. Also, you'd probably want to dance a lot cause that is pretty much the most incredible gig in the world.

3. Zack Snyder using his success to make a real movie in Sucker Punch.



I loathe 300 and Watchmen, and Zack Snyder's defense of the process by which he slavishly transmogrified those films from their respective graphic novels did nothing to sway me. It bothers me to no end when a filmmaker tasked with adapting a novel (graphic or otherwise) fails to take advantage of the unique tools that cinema makes available to them to explore and express the source material in a way not possible in the original medium. And that goes doubly true for filmmakers who have already proven that they have talent (I always get a kick out of the Dawn of the Dead remake, and despite my gripes both 300 and Watchmen obviously have their moments). So I was thrilled to see Snyder finally exploit his cache and milk Hollywood for the means required to bring us his first completely original vision, and I was all the more thrilled when that vision looked light on speed ramps and heavy on awesome. I'm not exactly sure how the World War I imagery, cabaret, dragons, cleavage, and steamy lesbian prison sex are going to come together, but I am sure I don't care. Even if the dark cloud of Xerxes looms...

2. Influential filmmakers take back 2-D.

The Cowboys & Aliens footage did nothing to convince me that Jon Favreau has the capacity to stage invigorating action sequences, but it did a lot to convince me that I love Jon Favreau. Although Dinner for Five, Love & Sex, PCU, Elf, and the fact that we share the same birthday have always been working in his favor, after Iron Man 2 he needed a push back into my good graces. By refusing to exchange the cameras he wanted for the cameras needed to shoot 3-D, he illustrated his unwillingness to compromise the classic look and feel of his mercifully old-fashioned quasi-western, and that's all it took to win me over. Again. The sublimely dusty and weather-beaten aesthetic of the footage was proof enough that his decision was for the best for the film, and the audience's enthusiastic response to his announcement hopefully communicated to the studio reps that we only want 3-D when it's appropriate. With Sucker Punch's similar announced at con to be released exclusively in 2-D, it looks as if we might already have weathered the worst of the hideous post-conversions and unnecessary money grabs with Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender.

1. The Avengers announcement is followed immediately by a nerd marriage proposal.


I can't believe it's taken this long, and I can't believe the whole thing didn't induce me to projectile vomit. But when that scrawny pole of a nerd found all 6,500 Hall H attendees turning on him as he asked the first question of the Kevin Smith panel, he got us back on his side in a big way by asking another question. To his girlfriend. I don't know if either of those two kids were alive to see Clerks in theaters, but they met at SDCC last year, they got engaged here this year, and Smith suggested that they get married here next year (and - as an ordained minister - he offered to do the honors). The spectacle induced as many cringes as it did smiles and laughs (there were a few more allusions to fleshlights and "hammers" than I want for my own proposal), but to follow one of the biggest moments in con history (The Avengers assembled!) with the ultimate expression of intra-personal nerd love was an undeniably nifty reminder as to what keeps this big machine spinning.

I hope to be back tomorrow for some SDCC awards, and in the meantime want to thank the awesome folks at Cinematical for inviting me to write for them this weekend.