Scott Pilgrim vs. The Summer of Cinematic Crap!!

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I was initially very conflicted about seeing this movie…. First off, it’s another movie based on a comic/graphic novel (although I have enjoyed quite a few graphic novels in the last couple of years, I still haven’t been able to get based my somewhat snobby attitude towards comics), and although some of these movies have been great (Watchmen, A History of Violence, Kick Ass) others have left me a bit cold (Wanted, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)… Another issue I had with seeing this is the movie’s star…Michael Cera. Loved him in Arrested Development… Enjoyed Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist… Can’t get enough Superbad…. And Juno was fantastic. So why the Michael Cera hangup?? I know it’s been said before, but my goodness, does this guy have any range in his acting abilities at all?! I haven’t seen Youth in Revolt… and I don’t imagine Year One is completely his fault (that movie has much fault to spread around), so perhaps I’m missing something, but all I can muster most of the time with him is a big YAWN. And although I absolutely adore Edgar Wright’s movies to date (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), I was concerned about how he would deal with an adaptation as opposed to original material.

I had no reason to be concerned about spending my dollars at ye olde cineplex!! This movie simply rocked!! Hyper stylized and hyper fun. Cera’s (title character Scott Pilgrim) whiny little shtick works to great effect when coupled with the decidedly non whiny supporting cast including Mary Elizabeth Winstead (his love interest Ramona Flowers) and the surprisingly cool Kieran Culkin (Scott’s roommate Wallace). The basic premise to this story is that Scott is your somewhat typical shoe gazing bass player in his garage three piece band Sex Bob-omb, he is 22 and dating a high school girl. He eventually sees the afore mentioned Ramona Flowers in fantastic technicolor hair (very Clementine-esque from Eternal Sunshine) and instantly falls for her… but we find out through a series of great scenes that he must first defeat her 7 evil exes before they can date. The battles between Scott and the evil exes are an awesome CGI display of video game geekery and comic book Pows and Blams… a phone rings and you see a ring ring… doorbells say ding dong… and the bad guys turn into coins to be collected when they are beaten in boss level type fights, that in this world, people don’t seem to blink an eye at someone pulling a flaming sword from their chest. And in Edgar Wright’s extremely deft hands, what could have been as cheesey a video game display as Mortal Kombat was (a total guilty pleasure of mine btw), turns out to be one of the most original and fun movies this summer….

I could go on and on about this movie but would rather not get into spoiler territory and truly believe the less you know about this movie the better.  I have only seen it once, but will be taking my 7 (soon to be eight) year old soon to see it.  It is rated PG-13, but she is a super hip child. And frankly, there is nothing but some cartoonish violence and a couple of “sexual situations” (snicker… Michael Cera in a sexual situation… yeah, that’s not riddled with awkward) that are tame by most standards.

To see the trailer of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World follow this link:  http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3904243225/

That said, the movie landscape this summer simply sucked. With a few very bright exceptions (Toy Story 3 and Inception…. and…. uhhhhh… ermmmm…), this may have been one of the worst movie seasons in a while. As a father of two (5 and 7 year old girls), I get to enjoy most of the kid movies that come out, so i was surprised that Despicable Me was very tolerable…. and doubly not as surprised when Marmaduke was as wretched as you might imagine. I got off the hook from having to take them to see Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore…. yeah, seriously, that’s the title. But what about us adults? Clash of the Titans?? Skipped it. Iron Man 2? I still need to see this, but my expectations are very low for this. What else of consequence even came out? Oh yeah, Sex and the City 2. I can’t say I rushed out to see this one either. (full disclosure: I am in fact a big SATC fan. Loved the show, appreciated the first movie, didn’t like what I saw with regards to the second. I’m sure I’ll see it on cable. And before you ask, yes I’m male, no I’m straight) I did however see Eclipse, the third movie in the Twilight Saga, (fuller disclosure: I’m also a big Twilight fan. Read the books, I see the movies, I know more about the franchise than I should. For answers to your questions see above) and I did think it was a very well done movie, perhaps the best in the series. Mrs. Blahg was a bit bored with it, so mixed review I suppose.

So why the dearth of decent movies this year, and why does Scott Pilgrim feel like it is fighting this summer of extreme crapitude? I’ve heard speculation about it having to do with a lack of tent pole franchises or sequels, but it seemed like quite a few of those. Lack of Christian Bale? Too much Shrek? Was that Transformers movie this summer? Or last? Perhaps it was too many sequels of bad movies?

One possibility is something I have not heard anyone discussing.  The writers strike in 2008.  Movies tend to take 2 years in development before making it to the big screen, so it would not surprise me to learn that any movie requiring a great deal of re-writes and/or original screenplays may have been shelved for a year or so.  Perhaps a movie like Inception written by the director himself could survive because he couldn’t rightly strike against his own mind.  Scott Pilgrim was already a multipart graphic novel/comic series and Edgar Wright was indeed a co writer of this screenplay as well.  It’s easy enough to forget about a strike like that once our TV shows came back and it was out of the news… but like so many other things, the effects are sometimes not felt until years to come.

Whatever it was, I saved a lot of money this year by not having to go to the theater every weekend to see the newest and biggest 3D-a-thon…. Hardly anything deserved it.  So thank you Scott Pilgrim for helping to save the summer of 2010.

Yours most ambiguously,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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