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Ph.D Webcomic Gets Adapted Into Feature Film 126

Posted by timothy
from the grad-students-get-free-cheese dept.
Technically Inept writes with the lead paragraph from a report at Comics Alliance: "To the best of my knowledge, Jorge Cham's Piled Higher and Deeper (better known as PhD Comics) is the first webcomic to be adapted into a feature-length film. After months spent on a college campus screening tour, Piled Higher and Deeper: The Movie is finally available for purchase and streaming. And, like its comic inspiration, the PhD pokes fun at the frustrations of graduate students, those noble folks who enter academia with dreams of changing the world and inspiring young minds, only to be thwarted by indifferent professors, lazy undergrads and the ever-present fear that they'll never graduate." The short review linked makes this sound like a very watchable movie.
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Ph.D Webcomic Gets Adapted Into Feature Film

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  • As a former grad student, I say Bravo!

  • Richard is the man. Would make one hell of a movie.
  • Saw it, loved it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:20PM (#39767173)

    I saw this at a screening in March, and it was very good. The references to the comics would be lost on non-readers, but the movie is enjoyable even without them.

    • by jank1887 (815982)

      I haven't seen it, but based on the topic I figured it would basically be: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The College Years.

      how close is that?

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:25PM (#39767197) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    You can access a streaming version of Piled Higher and Deeper: The Movie for $10

    Read More: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/04/19/phd-comics-the-movie-video/#ixzz1spIbl05I [comicsalliance.com]

    For one thing, they're using that Tynt garbage [slashdot.org]. For another, that's twice the price of, say, an iTunes or Google Play rental.

    • by Wovel (964431)

      Not a rental though. You can stream it forever. It is in fact half the price of a purchase :)

  • by bugbeak (711163) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:40PM (#39767265)
    There is a South Korean movie based on a popular webcomic here that was released last year called Moss [wikipedia.org].
  • by Woogiemonger (628172) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:12PM (#39767397)
    I'm going to watch it, but as an amateur filmmaker, I'm bracing myself after looking at its imdb listing here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2066040/ [imdb.com] ... The actors are all not real actors. I expect it's going to be silly in a painful way. The idea behind it is great, but, for the major roles at least, you can easily find actors willing to work for free who are worlds more believable than some lab rats trying to make fun of themselves.
    • by Wovel (964431)

      The acting is a bit painful at times, but some of it is ok. Overall it works for what it is.

    • by PsyberS (1356021)

      The actors are all not real actors.

      Jorge actually explained this at our screening's Q/A. They are all actual graduate students. In fact, I am not sure exactly who wasn't a grad student but the vast majority of the film including camera operators, editors, sound etc are all grad students.

      • by FleaPlus (6935)

        Jorge actually explained this at our screening's Q/A. They are all actual graduate students. In fact, I am not sure exactly who wasn't a grad student but the vast majority of the film including camera operators, editors, sound etc are all grad students.

        Yup, if I recall correctly all of the PhD student characters were actually played by Caltech PhD students, except for the 'Nameless Grad Student' who was played by a Caltech undergrad. I actually had a minor speaking/dancing role in the film myself. :)

      • The actors are all not real actors.

        Jorge actually explained this at our screening's Q/A. They are all actual graduate students.

        There's a big difference from acting like yourself when you're not trying to act like yourself, and trying to appear the way you think you would react given a particular simulated situation. Anyone can do the former. Only talented actors can pull off the latter. You have to learn to be "in the moment" and have real emotion in reaction to things you know are not actually happening. It's a lot more difficult than people give it credit for.

        • by PsyberS (1356021)

          There's a big difference from acting like yourself when you're not trying to act like yourself, and trying to appear the way you think you would react given a particular simulated situation. Anyone can do the former. Only talented actors can pull off the latter. You have to learn to be "in the moment" and have real emotion in reaction to things you know are not actually happening. It's a lot more difficult than people give it credit for.

          Ok and you failed to understand the whole point of using graduate students. This is a film about graduate school. Written by someone who went through and experienced it first hand. And filmed, acted, edited etc by actual graduate students. If he wanted good acting, he would have hired actors.

    • by Gerafix (1028986) on Monday April 23, 2012 @04:58AM (#39768609)
      Wait, wait, wait a second! So you're saying that the actors are just acting like actors, they're not real actors? How can you tell an actor is real and is not just acting like an actor, anyway? What if someone is so good at acting that you can't tell they are an actor, likewise what if someone is so bad at acting you think they are just acting like they're not a real actor when in fact they are an actor after all.
      • Wait, wait, wait a second! So you're saying that the actors are just acting like actors, they're not real actors? How can you tell an actor is real and is not just acting like an actor, anyway? What if someone is so good at acting that you can't tell they are an actor, likewise what if someone is so bad at acting you think they are just acting like they're not a real actor when in fact they are an actor after all.

        Yo dawg...

      • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:49AM (#39769693)
        Real actors carry a union card?
  • ...the Girl Genius web comic, it's from Studio Foglio. There are not many films in the steampunk style, though - maybe Spielberg could give it a fair rendition.

    Shameless plug.

    • No. No more adaptions. GG is one of my favorite things in the universe. Keep that cesspit Hollywood far away from it.

      How about they write movie scripts with original ideas that fit a movie form and structure?

    • by dlingman (1757250)
      Only way to make it would be to clone Mr. Foglio, and have him animate it.
  • Actually... (Score:3, Informative)

    by idbeholda (2405958) on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:19AM (#39767677) Journal
    I believe Undercover Brother was technically the first.
    • I believe Undercover Brother was technically the first.

      Ahem, yes it was. [comicbookresources.com] Not sure what all the fuss is about, only that this latest webcomic-to-movie was a geek-based character set rather than a more mainstream set, but it wasn't first.

  • Here's my review (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoshWurzel (320371) on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:25AM (#39767687) Homepage

    I read a lot of webcomics and I always buy the printed compilations and other goodies. So I buying the DVD a good use of money to support the art of webcomics from which I derive much entertainment. That said, in my opinion, the movie was only so-so.

    Pros:
    1) hit many great jokes from the strip - the conference in hawaii, Tajel's hippie-ness, lab role stereotypes, trying to secure funding, etc.
    2) I thought male leads more-or-less matched their hand-drawn counterparts
    3) I also thought DVD extras were entertaining, particularly the commentary

    Cons:
    1) the main character had two different haircuts! Thought it was two different characters at one point! I found it really distracting.
    2) sound quality was awful
    3) acting for the main characters wasn't great, and was flat out awful for all the non-main characters
    4) the female leads were not well matched to their hand-drawn counterparts. This is more of a nit-pick than a real flaw. The girl playing Tajel was gorgeous, though!
    5) I thought Tajel & Slackenery's roles were marginalized, while Cecila's romance was given unnecessary prominence. I'll agree that Cecila and the unnamed main character are the "leads", but in the comic they don't dominate like they did in the movie.

    Bottom line: the movie was made by students, with students, for students. And I think it showed. I don't recommend it for people who aren't fans of the strip. But for people who are fans of the strip I found it to be a good use of an hour, if for no other reason then seeing your favorite strips acted out live.

    • by tgibbs (83782)

      I pretty much agree with this review. I enjoyed it, but thought that it came off a bit amateurish and I doubt if it will have much appeal to people who are not already fans of the strip.

  • I honestly don't understand the response article about webcomics can provoke. I can understand different people taking the opportunity to share comics they like -- indeed, it's kinda nice -- but why so many would want to talk down comics (without, evidently, producing anything better of their own) is lost on me. Maybe it's just trolling but so much effort seems to go into it. Kinda sad. Here's something nice about most webcomics : they're free. Which means people can enjoy those they like and do not have
  • Me think these grad students have too much time on their hands.
    "Get back to work!" says Prof. Smith
  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:37AM (#39768933) Homepage Journal

    From what I've read of this film so far, the grad students involved would have been better served if they had worked with the experts in the field: the drama department.

    Why is it that so many "geeks" think they're good at everything just because they're experts in one or two fields? No one is good at everything, so sometimes you need to swallow your pride, shelve your ego, and call in people who are experts.

  • And it was just that: a web-comic turned into a movie. It felt like a lot jokes from the comic strips trying to be linked together by a poor story. I'm a PhD student myself, but I hardly ever found it funny, just lots of overused cliches about students. I don't think a lot of people in the audience liked it too. It's not THAT bad, but it's not something I'd ever watch again or recommend.
  • Errant Story, First Blood, Marry Me.

  • Cowboys and Aliens, after Moss, I think, well before PhD. No?!?

  • That's probably the most boring trailer I've ever seen. I don't even feel like pirating the movie, let alone paying $10 for it.

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