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Jon Schnepp 1967-2018

Schnepps + Payne!

Once again, photo courtesy of the Department of Not Sure Why We Didn’t Just Take Their Photo When We Met Them.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: Anne and I attended the 2016 Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, whereupon…

…We also had the pleasure of meeting director Jon Schnepps and producer Holly Payne, the minds behind the recent documentary “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?”, the astonishing true story of that time Nicolas Cage, director Tim Burton, and writer Kevin Smith tried and failed to make a, uh, truly unique Superman film together. I’ve been wanting to see this for months even though I’m afraid to see it for myself.

We chatted for a minute at their table. I can’t remember a single thing about the conversation except that they were good people not that different from us. The last time I saw him in person was later that same weekend as we were wandering around the town’s “Super-Con” — the Superman Celebration’s equivalent of an exhibit hall for toy shops and comics dealers. During our lap around the building, we passed by Schnepp — no guards, no entourage, no disguise — standing at one table, rifling through their back-issue box like any ordinary average Joe who hadn’t made an actual film, accumulated Cartoon Network credits to their name, or once filmed themselves being wrestled to the ground by an unchecked, filthy rich studio exec.

After I watched writer/director/producer Schnepp’s candid, illuminating documentary about a massive failure of a Hollywood production, I eventually remarked

We rarely get complete stories as to why a given high-profile film turns out awful, let alone a tell-all about one that collapsed under its own bloated before it could harm the innocent public. Copious interviews with would-be director Tim Burton, several attempted screenwriters including but not limited to a candid and incredulous Kevin Smith, producer Jon Peters checking in from some bizarre mental plane far removed from our own, fans, pundits, and other crew members who put in hundreds of hours of labor before someone realized they were collaborating on a fiasco and had to be stopped. It’s a shame Nicolas Cage himself couldn’t chime in with his thoughts because I suspect they would’ve made Peters seem rational by comparison.

Cage’s absence notwithstanding, I had to respect the force of will it must have taken to coax such revealing cautionary tales out of the participants themselves. I never took the time to watch Schnepp’s signature work on the Adult Swim series Metalocalypse (my loss, I’m guessing), but from the strong showing in that documentary alone I’d assumed we would see more great things from him in the future.

Then came the events of the past week.

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Margot Kidder 1948-2018

Margot Kidder!

MCC file photo, June 9, 2017.

Anne and I were saddened today to hear of the passing of Margot Kidder, the definitive Lois Lane of our generation. Much has been said and will be said around the internet and in the media for days to come. We had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Kidder less than a year ago at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. We always talk about the actors and other personalities we’d love to meet before it was too late. In this particular case, for this amazing woman, we had no idea we were cutting it so close.

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Adam West 1928-2017

Adam West and Burt Ward!

That time two Dynamic Duos met at Awesome Con Indy 2014.

Saturday morning, Anne and I were at a major event waiting to meet TV’s Dean Cain when news broke that the Adam West had passed away at 88 from leukemia. At first we didn’t believe it. Whether we’re in a small town or a big city, whether we’re among fellow geeks or ordinary folks, that’s the kind of allegation we don’t accept at face value.

“To the phones!” I half-jokingly shouted as we both clicked to our most trusted sources for confirmation. Alas, it was true. The moment was depressing yet sublimely absurd — here we are in line for Superman only to have someone tell us Batman is dead.

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5 Reasons Why Glitter Guy is No Chewbacca Mom: Our Searing Hot Take

WRTV interview!

No one wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, “I wonder if someone will slap a chyron under me today.”

Misleading Headline Disclaimer: this is really more of an “If We Were Having Coffee…” kind of entry, but I’m finicky about my entry titles, and sometimes I can’t let go of a useless, self-deprecating joke that’s been bouncing around my head for days.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the great Carrie Fisher died unexpectedly some thirty or forty years too soon, and MCC remembered that time we met her. As if 2016 weren’t already a frontrunner for Worst Year of the Millennium before these last-minute additions, the next day brought the equally shocking news that her mother Debbie Reynolds had also died. We can’t and won’t imagine how their family is faring and can only add our prayers for the caring and guidance of others around them through this unfathomable time.

Meanwhile here in less important spheres, the week has been sad and unusual and frustrating on a lower level. If we were having coffee, I’d be apologizing for keeping a minimum safe distance because I’ve been waging war on a nasty cold that’s been digging at me since Christmas Eve and finally took me down Wednesday, turning me into a hacking, sniffling, irritating noisemaker that my coworkers kept trying to shoo out the door. I’m now typing this at the end of a much-needed sick day and…well, at least I’m alive and typing, and I was on TV Monday night, so this is me trying to tone down my complaints.

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Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

Carrie Fisher!

Star Wars fans worldwide are reeling from the sorrowful news that Carrie Fisher, the valiant Princess Leia who could take any of us in a fight, passed away today at age 60, four days after a massive December 23rd heart attack had her in headlines and in everyone’s thoughts and prayers. The post-surgical prognosis from her family was positive at first, but…alas.

I trust I don’t need to summarize her vast and varied accomplishments at length here beyond the Star Wars universe. My wife Anne and I thought well of her comedic turn in Soapdish. When we were best friends but determinedly not-dating, When Harry Met Sally… was our New Year’s viewing tradition, with highlights including Fisher’s turn as Sally’s best friend whose bad decisions made dating look all the more resistible. It’s been a good decade or more since I read and enjoyed Postcards from the Edge, though I never saw the movie version and can’t speak to whether or not Meryl Streep did justice by her words. But every page, fictional or otherwise, reveled in the barbed candor that was a trademark of her post-Star Wars life.

Pictured above is a scene from one of our all-time favorite convention days, when Anne and I had the pleasure of basking in Fisher’s inimitable, unstoppable presence at the second annual Indiana Comic Con back in 2015. If you read only one entry on Midlife Crisis Crossover today, I recommend you skip this one and jump over to “The Alderaanian Glitter Bomber Strikes!”, our flabbergasted, in-the-moment recount of our unforgettable hours in the Carrie Fisher autograph line, featuring photos of the very special flourishes she yearned to share with every adoring fan she could, whether we were ready for it or not.

If we learned one thing from that occasion, it was the same lesson she taught Hollywood, interviewers, hucksters, and any other thoughtless interlopers who obstructed her path throughout her career: whenever that unflappable leader of the Rebel Alliance wanted things a certain way, only fools tried to tell her “no”.

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UPDATED 12/28/2016, 12:15 a.m.: Late Monday afternoon, our local ABC affiliate, WRTV Channel 6, interviewed me about our Carrie Fisher experience. Click here for their write-up and video, which originally aired on their 11 p.m. edition. It was a quick get-together, as you may be able to tell from my post-holiday-weekend no-care hair.

Memories of Brady and Book

Ron Glass!

I promised myself five months ago I wouldn’t hop on the “2016 SUCKS” bandwagon, but celebrity passings dominated this weekend’s apolitical headlines, at least two of which merit a few personal side notes.

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