Comic Adaptation Week: The Duplass Brothers' Boys Club

The Duplass Brothers make movies about bros, plain and simple. But they make really knowing, really hilarious, damned subtle movies about bros. Weirdly moving but not sentimental in the least, they're the anti-Apatow. Their series of shorts--especially This is John--and their debut feature, The Puffy Chair are all about the weird ways, goofy white guys connect and don't connect, express themselves and don't express themselves and all that. And their follow-up, Baghead is a one-joke idea stretched into a feature until the joke is maybe that it's a half-baked one-joke stretched into a feature...and then it makes sense. It's weird.

Though how exactly Matt Furie's loveable Boys Club characters, Andy, Brett, Landwolf, and Pepe--all of them, these weird hard-to-identify animal creatures--would translate to real-life (CGI? Puppets? Stop-Motion? Big dumb costumes?) isn't something I can even imagine, The Duplass Brothers could get the silly, touching, absurdist interactions of Boys Club just right. The same way Furie's in part, parodying the gag-strips like Garfield or whatever, the Duplass' mock the navel-gazing, dialogue-heavy, indies of the 90s, by doing the same thing, just with a more knowing, self-mocking tone.

And they fill their movies with reality. As in, there's acting in The Puffy Chair, points where it's awkward to watch and the characters are crying and yelling so loud it kinda blows out the mics or seemingly scares the cameraman a bit, so the camera shakes unexpectedly. Sure it's funny, but all the farting, pooping, and throwing-up in Boys Club is the same kind of rough version of something that's usually smoothed-out and clean-looking. Or like, think of those totally tripped-out gag strips where the joke is just that it's the horrifying acid-freak-out? Kinda the same thing as those Puffy Chair moments where it gets unexpectedly heavy.

Issue 3 of Boys Club also reveals the possibility for something beyond one-page jokes for the comic and it's similar in style to the Duplass' ability to balance a really simple concept (two dudes pick up a chair they bough from eBay, a guy with a bag on his head is really scary) with plenty of character-defining tangents. Imagine issue 3 of Boys Club punctuated by the weirdo jokes of the first two issues, played relatively straight and you've got an awesome adaptation.

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