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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

tn_scottpilgrimI’ve been writing Expendables-related reviews for weeks because to me that was the movie event of 2010. That’s just the way I was raised. But according to The Internet the most important and historic release last weekend, possibly this year, possibly in our lifetime, most likely within this epoch, and almost for sure within whatever is a hundred times bigger than six epochs, or at least since KICK ASS… is this movie for the youths called SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. It’s based on a comic strip of some kind, which explains why it’s so historically inaccurate. They don’t even mention the Mayflower once, and it’s a total whitewash of what we did to the Native Americans. To be fair it does take place in Toronto. Maybe their pilgrims were different, I don’t know that much about it.

mp_scottpilgrimMichael Cera (Skander Halim’s I Was a Sixth Grade Alien) plays Scott Pilgrim, a 23 year old unemployed (?) individual who plays bass in a living room band and dates a 17 year old high schooler (not sure what the Canadian laws are about that) named Knives, but then he has a dream about a blue-haired girl with goggles and rollerblades and then he meets her in real life so he becomes obsessed with her and gets her to reluctantly hang out with him and it seems like she doesn’t like him at all and one could hardly blame her but then I guess they’re in love or whatever so he finds out he has to fight (and kill) all of her ex-boyfriends, who have super powers, and also there is some sort of a battle of the bands.

The movie has a funny Clinton-era magic realism where everybody can do sped up cartoon kung fu fighting with Nintendo sound effects and powers and in one part suddenly their lives are scored with the Seinfeld music, but none of this surprises anybody, they’re used to it. The blue-haired girl is American, and when she tries to explain that she was in his dream because she has the ability to travel through his mind as a short cut, she says “I forgot you guys didn’t have that here.” And I like that the movie just lets that go as if Canadians need to accept that there really is such a thing in the U.S. Too bad it’s just kind of a random throwaway thing that doesn’t come back again as far as I could tell.

To give you an example of how much this is like a video game, when Scott defeats (i.e. brutally murders) the ex-boyfriends their heads explode into a bunch of loose change, which he collects. I assume it’s Canadian change, but I couldn’t really see it clearly. I don’t think they ever specify what he spent it on. If I were him I’d problay spend it ondiagram-smarties Smarties, which are a good candy they have in Canada that’s completely different from the American candy that’s also called Smarties. Theirs is a chocolate M&M type of candy. I mean really, if you think about it that’s proof that Canadians and Americans are totally different. Judged only on that basis – the Smarties basis – Canadians are superior to Americans. Fortunately we have other strengths to even it out (see diagram).

The appeal of the movie is in the style and the high level of absurdity. The director is Edgar Wright, who gave no hint in SHAUN OF THE DEAD or HOT FUZZ that he could make a movie this visual. It’s extremely well put together, obviously storyboarded left and right because there’s so much thought put into the cuts and scene transitions, and the way dialogue continues from location to location. Also there are many visual effects to cartoonify things – floating text boxes, sound wave lines, stars and lightning bolts floating out of musical instruments. Kinda reminds me of those cartoon rock videos by The Gorillas.

Every once in a while some of it goes by too fast for my old top floor to process, but for the most part it’s good visual communicationing, not just frantic hyperactive bullshit like most people would do. Tony Scott won’t be able to make heads or tails of this one, it’s too clear and sensible.

I’m sure there’s specific video game references that are too recent for me to pick up on (I haven’t got past Ms. Pac-Man yet), but there’s all kinds of Nintendo-y sound effects, even a video game version of the Universal logo and theme. And it gets laughs and smiles from casually revealing new ridiculous video game realities, like if he matures ever so slightly he gets more powerful and a magic sword comes out of his chest. Man, it’s a good thing I watched all those Mortal Kombats and Street Fighters and what not so I had some idea what was going on. Shoulda brushed up on my Mario brothers too.

It’s a pretty funny movie. Not hilarious, but there’s some goofy characters and some good lines, and a very positive vibe. My favorite character would have to be Knives, the high school girlfriend who he dumps. She has a naive enthusiasm where she worships this dude and his stupid band because to a high school kid that kind of bullshit seems impressive. She’s hard not to like, like a little puppy who doesn’t shit all over the floor or anything and you don’t have to remember to feed her. Just all the positive aspects of the puppy.

SCOTT PILGRIM is a very unique and well-crafted piece of filmatism. I would say I liked it overall, but I don’t think it has enough under the hood. Maybe on another day all the style and silliness would be enough, and that would be legit. But it is about this kid and his love life, and he sort of announces sitcom-style that he learned a lesson at the end, so it seems like you’re supposed to relate and connect to it emotionally a hell of alot more than I did. It didn’t really seem like she liked him much, and I don’t see why she should. He’s kind of a self-absorbed dick, so I didn’t really feel sorry for him either. I’m sure there are plenty of nerds like him who pined after a blue-haired girl but didn’t get to sleep with her like he did. So cry me a river, kid.

I’m not exactly sure how to describe the fighting, but it’s perfectly executed for what it is. The actors zip through from exaggerated pose to exaggerated pose, and have super-powered punches and jumps and stuff. I’m not even sure how they shot it, it’s all very artificial looking but fits in well and didn’t seem like it was hidden by quick cuts or anything. It creates a good video game feel. But for some reason to me it doesn’t have the action movie thing of watching to see what’ll happen or for the beauty of the movements and momentum, or even getting excited at the prospect of a fight coming up. I definitely never though “oh boy, I’m so glad there are still five more ex-boyfriends to fight!”

I guess I didn’t care about his love life or if he got beat up and it’s not supposed to seem real, so there’s no tension. To me it comes across more like an amusing joke than a traditional choreographed fight. You smile to see that kid moving like that, then it’s time to move on to the next joke. So I gotta admit I was getting a little bored by the last couple fights.

Trying to put my finger on my reaction to this I thought about the C’s A’s movies (dir.: McG) and TORQUE (dir.: J. Kahn). They’re just as purposely silly and style-over-substance, and probly much stupider, but in those I didn’t care that I didn’t care about the characters. I think the difference is that they’re intentionally empty, and I don’t think they’d be as amusing if the characters had more humanity. With SCOTT PILGRIM I think they’re supposed to have human emotions in a cartoon world, that you’re supposed to care about the relationship. I mean that’s all there is, that’s what the whole thing is structured around, to the extent that there’s any structure. I think I’d enjoy the movie way more if I cared about these kids, and that’s the difference.

I got a theory about the internetical coverage. My theory is that Edgar Wright is a real cool guy, and everybody who meets him wants to be his buddy. These guys all meet him at the Comics Con and the set visits and the press junkets and promotional screenings and they want to please him. He’s one of those directors who got issued a watermarked Geek Pass signifying “he’s one of us” approval from the boys and unwavering support for any movie they do. Harry, Drew, Devin, Beaks and all those guys have been hyping this for a year or more based on set visits, interviews, rough footage, even covering celebrity twittering about rough footage. I’m not trying to call them out, those are just the websights I read so I noticed them all doing it with this movie and KICK-ASS. They would’ve liked the movie anyway, but from the outside here it looks like their closeness to the production and inside knowledge of what the filmatists were trying to accomplish whipped them into a frenzy and magnified it from unusual little movie to mind-blowing, pants-wetting masterpiece (or as Drew put it, “a genuine, no-joke, out-of-the-ballpark masterwork, a pure expression of voice in service of a potent metaphor, an amazing ensemble comedy that works on the emotional level of the most joyous and romantic of the great Hollywood musicals… a jaw-dropping visual experience, and a sonic assault of pure pleasure…” and that’s just the first paragraph of his review).

“The Expendables may have kicked its ass over the course of three days, but that movie will vanish from the minds of moviegoers within a couple of years (at most), while Scott Pilgrim will retain a following for decades to come.” —/film“. . . . . . . . . . “There are movies opening this weekend that nobody will care about in a year; people will be packing theaters for revival screenings of Scott Pilgrim vs the World in 20 years. This isn’t just a great movie, it’s an important one.” —Chud

At least two of my internetting colleagues are convinced this will be a beloved classic in 20 years. I don’t know, I guess it could happen. But my guess is they’ll lower their grade to about a B- in 2 or 3.

I noticed that a couple of the reviews talking about the deep themes and powerful love story of SCOTT PILGRIM are by reviewers who also did set visit reports, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. There’s not a quid pro quo there, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that you and I will need to travel through time and to Toronto and watch them film some of the scenes and conduct interviews with the director and cast in order to get the full understanding of the movie required to love it that much. If you aren’t willing to do that kind of legwork of course you’re not gonna ‘get’ this movie. Come on, lazy bones. Get off your ass and do the set visit and interviews.

But that’s just my theory, I might be wrong. I should keep in mind that I never seem to dig on these Edgar Wright pictures as much as the rest of the world, anyway. I’m happy with “Hey, that was pretty funny,” and the rest of the world says ‘THAT IS THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME, I ORGASMED FROM BEGINNING TO END, I’M GONNA WATCH IT EVERY DAY UNTIL I DIE!!!!!’ (–Ain’t It Cool News). So maybe it’s got nothing to do with interviewing the director and cast members about their intent in making the movie. For some reason SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ just don’t hit me right on the button like they do for some of you fellas. Maybe it’s just genetics? I don’t know.

Hey, I did notice that the guy who played Superman, the guy who’s gonna play Captain America and one of the three Punishers have small parts in this movie. So that’s kind of like a comic book reference. That was a pretty good observation, right? I wonder if I could get one of them Geek Passes, just in case I need it for something, you know? Probly not, they probly do a background check. Oh well.

Anyway, on this one I could just be projecting my own hangups on those other guys. I’ve emailed a director or two in my time (hello Albert Pyun – good to see you here). But I feel weird about all that because as soon as I realize the director of a movie might actually read my review I think “oh shit, I hope I didn’t say anything mean.” You get self conscious, you want to be cool, you want to be the guy that really gets it. I’m not a comic strip collector but I think Edgar Wright seems cool too. I know when he came through Seattle to screen HOT FUZZ he also brought a print of BULLIT, and I think he’s presented more than one screening of our beloved DEATH WISH 3. He also has read some decent books now and then judging from this twitter Ellie from Titan Books forwarded me a while back.

And as soon as I read that I thought “oh shit, I hope I didn’t review one of his movies in there.” I don’t know, maybe I should watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD again. I mean I did like it, but people always… I mean I just didn’t–

ah shit, there I go, see? You get self conscious, man.

So here’s the only thing I can do. I’m not gonna ever do set visits and all that shit, but I would like to be his internet buddy in order to prove that you can do it without blowing a bunch of smoke up his ass about how he created a “milestone in cinematic language.” To prove that you can just tell him his movies are funny and not the funniest. I want to be the one guy that twitters him to say

“@EdgarWright Hey dude saw your new movie, it was pretty good, pretty funny in parts. overall somewhat recommend to some people. thumbs up”

I bet he could handle it. So Edgar Wright, if you ever read this (and believe me, there’s no shame in having a Google Alert for your name. Albert Pyun has one for example), I have a hyperbole free message for you: you got some talent there, buddy. Hey, way to show effort! Way to show improvement. It was very… unique. So keep practicing, Edgar. Don’t give up, champ. It wasn’t that bad. I enjoyed it! No, really, it was, you know, pretty good! Remember that part in DEATH WISH 3 where he had that girl in the car and then it just rolls backwards down the hill and then blows up? Well, gotta go dude catch ya later

Seriously though bud, you’re getting good with the filmatism. But don’t let those goofballs give you a big head. They just get excited, you know.

. . .

. . .

. . .

DISCLAIMER 1: alot of the reviews and comments I’ve read seem to have strong opinions about “hipsters” or “hipsterism” in this movie. I’ve seen this come up before, I know it has something to do with the arch nemesis of nerds, some new super power who I guess have replaced their primary enemy of the 1980s, jocks and Ogre. But I still have no clue what this “hipster” is that they fear so much, so I might not understand that aspect of the movie.

edgarwinterDISCLAIMER 2: If there was anywhere in this review where I wrote “Edgar Winter” instead of “Edgar Wright” then I apologize. I genuinely wasn’t trying to be funny, but every time I go to type his name that’s the first thing that comes into my head.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 6:23 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Reviews, Videogame. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

178 Responses to “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”

  1. Very funny review. I for one bought into the whole “dealing with the past” aspects of the film, and the over the top but still in control editing was a lot of fun to take in. And the action was shot better than most action films of the day (looking at you A-Team), but for some reason I totally dig when Wright throws in the emotion to his movies. Its nice to see a geek director with a heart, instead of being all cynical and snarky. Hipster maybe, but snarky no.

    I also grew up O.G. 8-bit NESing in the 80’s, so this was aimed squarely at my sweet spot.

  2. I believe most of the fighting was done on green screen so they could mix up the effects. Maybe him fighting all the extras on the movie set had some practical.

    I happen to think the style of Edgar Wright is top notch, like when Peter Jackson started with Bad Taste, Sam Raimi started with Evil Dead II. This is a visual style that communicates something unique and pushes the techniques of film in new directions.

    I don’t buy the interpretation that this movie is all in Scott’s head (and that’s a point of view Wright touts). My interpretation is that this is the new way a filmatist can create a new reality. A few decades ago they did puppet worlds like Neverending Story. Then CGI came out and they could either do Lord of the Rings or The Matrix. Well, now anything with puppets or CGI is just “the way you create stuff.”

    Bending the visuals, time editing and continuity is how you create a reality that’s not the one we live in. We’re no longer just visiting another land when we step into the cinema. We’re entering a different dimension where basic physics don’t apply. Not even physics like laws of gravity, but the very way we experience time and place.

  3. What do the aint it cool guys have to say about this? You covered a lot of the same ground here as in your kick-ass review, and i’m interested in the response from these knuckleheads.

  4. Look At This Fucking Hipster may be able to answer one of the questions posed by this review:

    http://www.latfh.com/

  5. Didn’t bother to see this because really doesn’t this ridiculous hype remind one too much of KICK ASS just a few months ago? The nerd clic was all over SCOTT and KICK ASS, but everybody else just didn’t give a shit. Which happens when a mindset is too closed off from reality.

    Didn’t see SCOTT but I have a few people with good decent tastes I trust who liked it, so maybe I’ll fuck it at the local budget theatre.

    Still one must give Edgar Wright (?) credit for conning $60+ million from Universal to go produce a cult movie. Kinda like David Fincher did from Fox for FIGHT CLUB.

    Except FIGHT CLUB was pretty damn good. I saw that one.

  6. “maybe I should watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD again. I mean I did like it, ”

    Not to derail the discussion away from Scott Pilgrim, but this is perfect timing because I’ve got a re-watch question. I finally caught up with The Protector yesterday. And of course it was amazing! Fortunately my local video had disc two of the DVD available for rent, so I was able to see the “International Cut.” My question is, did you ever get a chance to re-watch The Protector in any of its alternate forms?

  7. I definitely liked it better than KICK ASS. Also I should say that there’s a part where he fights a movie star and multiple stunt doubles at the same time, which is a cool idea.

    FTopel, are you saying that Wright has said it’s all happening in the kid’s head? If so I’m against it.

  8. Hipster: Socially insecure person who tries desperately hard to dress “cool”, fails and instead appears ludicrous, yet nevertheless behaves as if they have succeeded.

  9. Vern have you ever seen Spaced? I don’t know about availability in the US but it’s certainly worth a watch. I still think it’s his best directorial work because it has genuine pathos and emotion in it. If you ever get the chance check out an episode.

    Also James Belushi in Retroactive; badass, low-budget, car stunt, gunfight action mayhem. Sweet

  10. I’m Canadian, I love Smarties, I lived in Toronto for 14 years and I don’t buy any of the praise SCOTT PILGRIM has gotten. It’s an entertaining, well executed piece of fluff; nothing more.

    I’ll allow that expectations for filmic language have been lowered to such an extent that someone needs only demonstrate competance to appear titanic, but anyone going Lady Gaga over the editing and composition needs an education in film theory and technique. Dziga Vertov and his pal Eisenstein would be a good starting point.

    End of line.

  11. Devin Faraci puts SHAUN OF THE DEAD in his top ten favorite movies of all time, a weird list by the way:

    http://www.chud.com/articles/articles/21475/1/THE-DEVIN039S-ADVOCATE-MY-TEN-FAVORITE-MOVIES/Page1.html

    I think that’s Wright’s best work (I wasn’t too crazy about HOT FUZZ but it didn’t provoke the same reaction of revulsion in me that SCOTT PILGRIM did) but it wouldn’t come within a country mile of my list. If he wrote a review when it came out I can’t find it, but it seems like this is a long-standing opinion that predates Twitter at least, so I dunno. I do believe these guys are influenced by their chummy relationship with Wright, but I also think they’re genuinely convinced he’s making cinematic masterpieces and not just pretty good movies.

  12. And yeah, holy shit, American Smarties aren’t candy covered chocolate? Whaaaa?

  13. caruso_stalker217

    August 19th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Man, I love latfh.com.

  14. Vern – For some reason I have this gut feeling SCOTT might very well be like Walter Hill’s STREETS OF FIRE from the 80s. A visually ambitious, expensive “hip” picture which one may admire more than necessarily become compelled by the inner-narrative.

    You should review that sometime.

  15. Vern, yes, Wright says that it could be that once he falls asleep in class, everything that happens is his fantasy about Ramona. I believe that’s also a premise in the comic books, that Scott’s been an unreliable narrator. I don’t think Wright says it’s the ONLY interpretation but he’s definitely talked about it as a valid interpretation.

    I’m with you, I prefer to take the film to mean that there is a reality where this exists, where time cuts to take the piss out of cliches and maturity is rewarded with new powers. That’s what appeals to me though, using film to create unrealities.

    I bought into the emotion a lot more though. Not that Scott is an admirable character, but I can relate to the immature emotions of wanting some ideal. We like that complexity in our heroes.

    What is admirable is that the movie says he has to grow up and be better. So many rom-coms are all “Hey, you should get whatever you want no matter how you behave and treat people.” And says it in a visually creative way too.

  16. The sooner we come up with a snappy one or two word put down for this “AICN Effect” (onviously a better one than “AICN Effect”) the better.

    I mean, I feel significantly empowered by the addition of “nerdstalgia” to my film criticism lexical armoury.

    “hey guys, they’re making a movie of that crappy saturday morning cartoon that…” NERDSTALGIA

    Boom. Stopped it in its tracks.

    Hmmmm is “SETVISITGASM” too awkward?

    “Harry says the Expendables is a testicular…” SETVISITGASM

    Hmmm… needs work…

    What about some kind of portmanteau of “geek” and “payola”

    GEEKOLA?

    I’lll get back to yer…

  17. I think “hipster” is at best a nebulous term and at worst a retarded term, but if there is a defining characteristic that most people agree with I think it’s that they tend to behave ironically. Particularly the way they dress. If it’s an article of clothing any sane person wouldn’t wear, a band any sane person would keep away from their ear holes, a hairstyle that requires a drunk hairdresser to administer… it’s still fair game for a hipster.

  18. Ain’t It Cool Nepotism

  19. Well, let’s take a step back. Were these opinions you would have universally trusted if not for the set visits and other stuff?

  20. All I know is that I still don’t know exactly what “hipster” is, either. “Hipster douchebag” is especially a mystery to me.

    Can anyone here provide us an appropriate operational definition for these terms? You’d be doing Allah’s work.

  21. caruso_stalker217

    August 19th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I find “douchebag” works well enough.

  22. Gwai Lo – I think that’s an apt description.

  23. You’re not being cruel to the director, Vern. He’s always been skilled, just not this constantly flamboyant, and like you say he was more than up to the task. Surely he’s got enough good and bad going on right now that he could consider the movie’s big flaw: Scott’s a drip, and Cera’s anti-charisma seals the deal. A few defenders have backhandedly admitted it by sputtering that if Scott’s not a drip then he doesn’t have a (yawn) Hero’s Journey, but Wright’s a big boy and better be able to handle some constructive criticism. Impressive work, though it didn’t complement the emotional content, which was hobbled from the start by Scott’s jerkitude and finished off by the lead – that’s stuff a director can learn from, and the sooner Wright hears it from a respectful, thoughtful reviewer who’s not currying his friendship, the sooner he can take it in for good.

    Will say, You ought to check out Shaun and Fuzz again. They play better after first viewing.

  24. Saw this movie again and the style of it, for some reason, reminded me a lot of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (minus the tit obsession, of course)…Also, the story never struck me as anything other than Scott’s dream-like and mythological retelling of his first tentative steps out of sexless dweebdom and into functioning, self-respecting adulthood, so I’m in that camp.

  25. The thing I think you’re forgetting Vern is that Wright’s TV shows and movies don’t just hit on geek hot spots like zombies and gun fights and video games they are ABOUT being geeks and being unsure of yourself. Every single thing he’s put out from SPACED to PILGRIM has been about the relationship between closed off geeks entering the more adult world, about stepping up away from the consoles and comics and facing something real, about the way people process reality through pop culture.

    OF COURSE guys like Harry and Drew and Devin are going to love this more then guys like you Vern, because these speak to exactly the kind of person they were ten or twenty years ago, when they were just hanging out in basements, working crap jobs and dreaming big. It’s the reason I connect so deeply to SPACED and PILGRIM because I see a ton of myself in Tim and Shaun and Scott (alot of times not as a positive). When you see someone dramatize an aspect of your life on the big screen the response is almost chemical. I think KICKASS was a little overhyped by those guys, but I think the reason they are having such raging love fits over this one is because every single one of them sees themselves and their own insecurities and their own relationship fuckups up their on the big screen.

    I’m about as far removed from the internet crowd as can be, shit, I live on the oppostie side of the country from all those guys, but I thought SCOTT PILGRIM was every bit as good as those guys said it was, and I know for a fact I’ll be watching it for a long time, if only to remind myself what it was like to be an idiot kid processing everything through a filter of movies and comics and books and TV.

    Good review, though kind of scattershot.

  26. Gwai Lo: You beat me to the LATFH link. They don’t provide much in the way of a definition of hipsterism, but lots of good examples.

    As for the distinction between hipsters and douchebags, it’s a fine line sometimes, but the best example of douchebags I can think of would be the cast of that Jersey Shore show.

    See also, http://hotchickswithdouchebags.com/

  27. Li, one of the things I love about Vern’s reviews is I don’t think he’s ever mean. He addresses the merits or lack thereof of the work. You can do that without making it personal, and it’s better that way. One reason I lost faith in reviews since I was a kid is that it became so about personal attacks.

    Regardless of your relationship with a filmmaker, the review should speak for itself just like the film should speak for itself. I don’t agree with Vern on this review but I totally appreciate all of his analysis because the perspective is relatable. Likewise, I often enjoy Devin’s writing also because it’s clear and fair, even if I often disagree.

    But no one else ever pointed me to Scott Adkins and Isaac Florentine. That’s all Vern.

  28. I loved the hell out of this movie, but i’m in the target demographic. 25, grew up a nerd, play in a shitty band in Australia (the Canada of the Southern hemisphere). confronted my ex’s evil ex. got vaguly stalked by a girl. go on dates in thrift stores and record stores. talk about crazy tech i had back home in the States (robots, cable TV)

    the movie just felt like LOVE. like what being 25 SHOULD feel like, all bright colors and high emotions and high drama and YAY. like it wasn’t a dream – it was just pure magical realism. i mean, i’m half-writing a script where the Dance vs Rock and Roll conflict is played out with magic guitars. i like Wild Zero and the Speed Racer movie. i’m not going to be objective on this

    i think the pre-release hype was because of the director and the obvious love for every aspect of the comic they got amazing Melbourne pixel artist Paul Robertson to do the animation. they got Beck and Metric for the soundtrack. etc. plus the comic was amazing

    the split between fans of this and Expendables might be a generational thing… this isn’t a movie about badasses. it’s a movie about how you could be a badass by doing what you do – playing videogames, rocking out, hanging out. not by, you know, actually being able to handle yourself in a real fight

    as for the hipster thing… i know hipsters. lots of them. the Scott Pilgrim characters are definatly hipsters

    i did think the 3rd act was a bit weak. i thought, in both the comics and the movie, that Ramona accidently Incepted Scott into falling in love with her (but they obviously didn’t call it that) by skating through his dreams. Cera’s bad acting actually let the audience project themselves into the roll of Scott himself

    i’m not sure how people who aren’t, basically, me or my demographic would react to this movie. the fights did remind me a bit of the old Shaw Brothers kung-fu flicks

  29. Vern man, thanks for pointing out that this movie was actually set in Toronto. None of the other critics really mentioned it. You have no idea how many movies are shot in Toronto but double for American cities. And I know how dumb it sounds, but I’m just proud to see my city on screen in all its glory.

  30. ” You have no idea how many movies are shot in Toronto but double for American cities.”

    thanks! i wasn’t sure if Scott’s ‘they shoot movies in Toronto?’ line was a joke about this (implying he’s dumb) or a joke because in real life they don’t shoot movies in Toronto

  31. I loved the film, as did all my Torontonian friends. My friends from other cities were more lukewarm, much in the same manner as Vern is here.

    I’m forced to conclude that we Torontonians may be inclined to rate it more highly, just from the sheer joy of seeing our city finally play itself on the big screen.

  32. Is it true that Envy Adams was based on Emily Haines from Metric, who ended up doing all of Clash at Demonhead’s songs?

    BTW, here’s a blog about the song the movie was kinda based on: http://modernsuburbanite.blogspot.com/2010/07/ten-years-after-splitting-halifaxs.html

  33. I really, really dug Hot Fuzz when I saw it in theaters… so one day I was hanging out with some stoner friends and we were at a video store and I was like, hey let’s get Hot Fuzz… you guys are high and you’ll LOVE this.

    We put it on and what proceeded was the most uncomfortable, boring 30-45 minutes of my life. Every single joke fell flat on its ass. After the 45 minute mark, we’d switched to Grandma’s Boy, which was KILLING in the room.

    I think Edgar Wright’s stuff hits this certain SUPER, super sober, dry, uber nerdy British vibe that you have to be in the right mood for. Some people are absolutely in the mood for it always, some people never are. Alcohol, sex, weed, exercise and sunlight are all enemies of an Edgar Wright film.

    Also, his TV show is total garbage.

  34. Thanks for the explanations of what you liked about it, Brendan and Brimstone. Makes sense.

    As for the setvisitgasm thing, I hope this is clear in the review, but I want to double underline that I don’t at all believe that any of those guys have ever written a positive review as an intentional trade-off for a set visit or anything like that. And they also have done set visits for movies they didn’t love like they love this one, and of course there’s the famous Harry negative review of McT’s ROLLERBALL after being flown out by the studio for a private screening. I think all of them try to be ethical and wouldn’t do something like that if they were ever asked to.

    But I know that self-consciousness thing from experience. And I think if I had a relationship with these directors like they do I’d find myself being self conscious about the review and maybe convincing myself that it was better than it was or sugarcoating it if I thought it was bad. And also if I’d been interviewing them and writing about it and seeing clips and panel discussions for a year that it would be hard to separate all that from the movie when I finally saw it. I don’t know if I’d be able to tell if it was working or not.

    But it’s good for them to be passionately in love with something. Might give the star wars prequels a chance to recover.

    Ancient Romans – no, I haven’t watched the international cut yet. But it’s about time I did.

  35. I found another reason why I love Scott Pilgrim. I got the score soundtrack for the film. I thought I had recognized one of the score bits in the movie. Turns out one of the fights the music is a direct homage to the score of The Warriors. Fucking a awesome, imo.

    Also, Piranha 3D is opening this weekend. It’s going to be awesome.

  36. “RRA – Vern – For some reason I have this gut feeling SCOTT might very well be like Walter Hill’s STREETS OF FIRE from the 80s. A visually ambitious, expensive “hip” picture which one may admire more than necessarily become compelled by the inner-narrative. ”

    Scott Pilgrim is actually indirectly influenced by Streets of Fire. Streets of Fire was apparently a massive hit in Japan, and inspired the side scrolling ‘beat em ups’ like STREETS OF RAGE, FINAL FIGHT, and DOUBLE DRAGON. those lead to games like Street Fighter and River City Rampage, which were directly homaged in Scott Pilgrim

    i thought Streets of Fire would be the GREATEST THING EVER but it wasn’t. i did love the visuals and the soundtrack though

    it’s funny that this, EXPENDABLES, and EAT, PRAY, LOVE all came out on the same day. each movie was targeted at a specific, discrete demographic (though obviously there was overlap between the Expendables and SP audiences)

  37. “Alcohol, sex, weed, exercise and sunlight are all enemies of an Edgar Wright film.”

    I’ll meet you at the Winchester

  38. Vern – yes, I fully agree that set visit would never turn a bad response into a good response among the AICN crowd.

    My word quest is based on the phenomenon where a good response is turned (unconsciously I think) into a “classic for the ages” response in a writer who has had their natural sensitivity to geeky things cynically indulged and exploited by movie PR people.

  39. Anaru – If you ask me, it works like how guys at strip clubs, or those who pick up hookers, either are convinced that the girls really like them and not just to score a buck, or like to play this hard-to-get symbiotic, cynically capitalist relationship.

  40. Brimstone, very well said. You explained better than I did how it felt to watch Scott Pilgrim and what led to loving it. I also loved Speed Racer, another movie that will be more appreciated in time.

    Vern, also well said. I think what you’re getting it is that visiting the set and interviewing people is just another one of the many things that creates a unique point of view. Any reviewer’s opinion will be solely theirs, composed of the 1000s of factors that make up their perspective. People who are directly involved with the making of a film have that in their thinking, just like Brimstone and me see it through the perspective of our past relationships.

    I guess ultimately, it doesn’t matter if one person calls it a classic and another one thinks it’s just okay. As I believe Vern said in the Speed Racer review, the movie exists. It’ll always exist. We can love it all we want. It doesn’t matter how it opened or how much the studio made for it.

    I would say the discussions these topics provoke here are a very constructive thing. :)

  41. attempt # 3

    AINT-IT-COOL-RUBES

  42. http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=6107

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/6110

    These two links, to me, embody a lot of what you guys are talking about. “Straight up, when this film is completed, it is going to be the film that redefines Ron Howard as a filmmaker.”

  43. Ain’t Integrity Compromised News

  44. i don’t got to AICN but the hype for SP on the sites i do visit was the same as the hype for The Expendables here, and for the same reason – it was a movie made for the exact demographic of the sites

  45. Oh jesus w.s., I forgot about that one. I almost feel bad letting you post those links, because I like those guys, but that’s the most perfect example possible of what I’m talking about. I’m positive they both really felt that way when they saw that rough cut, but… oh boy. I’m not sure they would still stand behind it being “magic” or that if you don’t like it “maybe it is you who is the Grinch.”

    But let’s not pin this all on Ain’t It Cool. They weren’t as over the top on this one as all the other ones I mentioned.

  46. Vern – You know those AICN and CHUD and rest of the internet Nerd Chic perfectly reminds me of?

    The White House press corps, where journalism integrity at times can get compromised because of the limits posed by the chummy “inside track” relationship with the WH regardless of administrations or parties.

    Just an observation.

  47. I had an interesting experience watching this movie: I saw it with my Aunt and Uncle, both in their 60’s. About as far out of the target demographic as you can get. Me? Read the books, really liked them (except the last one), big fan of Edgar Wright. And when the movie was over, Aunt and Uncle really liked it; I was like, “Eh, it was okay.”

    Explain THAT, internet!

    For me the biggest problem the movie had was that there wasn’t enough of an emotional connection between Scott and Ramona. For instance, right up until their first kiss it’s played like she finds him unattractive. And even after they make out there is very, very little to indicate that her feelings have changed. Considering that the entire plot of the movie hinges on him fighting for her love, the lack of emotional connection undercuts everything else that happens in the rest of the film.

    Ultimately it felt like a movie that never added up to more than the sum of its parts (compared to, say, Shaun of the Dead, which is magic). That indefinable chemistry that adds a bit of heart to Wright’s films never came together. It’s a shame, because in some (technical) ways, it’s arguably his best work.

  48. I think what Vern meant was that readers need to take the full spectrum into consideration. If someone visited the set and interviewed the filmmakers, they will have a more intimate experience with the film. Just like when they make a movie from a book, and people who read the book like the movie more than people who didn’t read the book because they got more of the references.

    It’s not better or worse, it’s just different. Movies are subjective anyway, so it’s just another subjective influence.

    I didn’t expect Vern to love this one though. It’s not badass cinema. But hey, I still like The Notebook and I’m here.

  49. Vern. I love you to death. But stop reviewing other people’s reviews and talk more about the damn movie.

    xoxo

    – Ray64

  50. My contributors and I dream of the day we become fully-fledged press-junket whores! We’d certainly be better at it
    than the dick from Sky News who, at the Iron Man press junket, asked RDjr if “Iron Man does his own ironing”, or the prick on radio one who treated Miss Piggy as a PUPPET, instead of the Hollywood icon she actually is…

    looking forward to seeing Scott Pilgrim. I started reading the books when I discovered Edgar Wright was making the movie version. I could certainly see what drew him to the material. I stopped reading after the third book though just to keep an element of surprise for the movie. The scene with Envy Adams after the gig is some of my favourite comic-book writing, that scene just crackles with tension.

  51. Is it Badass Cinema? Scott defeats 7 opponents through Kung-Fu, cleverness, and rock and roll. And you can see each fight – you know what’s going on
    Shaun of the Dead was better. It set an impossible standard for zombie comedies. So much horror and heart

  52. 7 was too many. Lose the movie star villain, lose the weird Indian dance sequence villain, remove/minimize/make relevant Pilgrim’s ex, make Pilgrim learn something about himself in each fight, or use something Ramona told him about her ex in each fight, maybe have at least ONE scene in the league of evil exes so that understand what the fuck their goal even is, (I mean, it’s not like the reveal of any of the exes is a twist, unless you’re shocked by teenage lesbian experimentation in 2010), and you’d have a much, much better movie. Hell, Five Evil Exes even looks and sounds better.

    The film is ostensibly Beowulf layered on top of a fairly standard romcom (to the point where Pilgrim literally pulls a deus ex machina sword from his chest). And that’s a cool idea. The problem is, Beowulf only had to fight 3 monsters, and he learned something with each battle. Here Pilgrim repetitively fights 7 battles in situations that, in spite of the superb choreography, carry ZERO dramatic tension because it’s so cartoony.

    And that’s really the film’s core problem. Well that and the complete lack of chemistry between Cera and the girl or even reason for her to like him in the first place.

    I love cartoon violence. I love indie film romances. But I cannot accept “real” emotion in a cartoon world. With a Walter Mitty approach and a bit of distance between the worlds it could work, but by conflating the real with the comic booky it all just becomes confused.

    Give it 6 months and the fanboy estimation of the film will fade greatly. I really wanted to love this film. I’ve adored Wright since I first saw Spaced back in high school, but there are massive, insurmountable narrative flaws in this film that I am certain will come to be far more irksome upon second and third viewings.

  53. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 20th, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Have we finally run out of comic book characters to throw at the big screen? Now all that is left are little weeds and geeks to play the heroes. Is this really supposed to entertain anybody other than these “hipsters” (who I don’t have a fucking clue what they are either).

  54. Ace – it looks as if Pullp novel heroes are the next big wave – Conan is on his way, as is John Carter of Mars (currently filming with Solomon Kane himself, James Purefoy), Doc Savage is being written by Shane Black and I believe Miramax owns the rights to Modesty Blaise.

  55. On the Smarties – the Smarties we have here in Ireland are the same as the Canadian kind. Also they have the same Smarties over in the UK.

  56. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 20th, 2010 at 4:01 am

    MikeOutWest> Well thank the lord for that. At least those characters you named are all badass. I just had this terrible feeling we might stop getting the good old tough guy hero, and instead, get these little runts instead. I guess Conan will set that straight. When is that by the way?

  57. Conan is currently in post-production, but you should know that the guy playing Conan is Jason Momoa, the long-haired
    dude from Stargate Atlantis, so the jury is currently out on exactly how badass he’s going to be. Had better
    be pretty badass though, as he’s facing off against Stephen Lang and his dad’s played by Ron Perlman..

  58. The Smarties in Germany are also the same as in Canada. I wonder if they taste the same, because German Oreos taste not nearly as good as Canadian ones, although they look the same.

  59. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 20th, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Remember when blue Smarties were making kids into crazies in the UK? Everyone at my school had to hand over their blue Smarties. Presumably to prevent an apocalyptic pandemic. Might have just had something to do e numbers.

  60. Maybe they were made out of Blue Sunshine?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC23RzhrH5Q

  61. The Canadian Smarties are made and sold by Nestle, which is an enormous food conglomerate based in Switzerland: they are therefore likely to taste the same in Canada and Germany. But a taste test is in order!

    I just remembered something: the sword coming out of the chest was done a whole order of magnitude more interstingly, more profoundly thematic and more relevant to the rest of the world/story in KAKUMEI SHOJO UTENA (Revolutionary Girl Utena) a manga made into an anime and then condensed into a nearly impenetrably loopy movie from ’round 2002.

  62. as a proud member of Generation Y I have to admit that Scott Pilgrim clicked with me and I loved it, I’m happy to see that Vern liked it even if he wasn’t enraptured with it

    and I do think this movie’s reputation will grow over time, I think people around my age will look back at this as one of the first movies really made for and about people of my generation (TALKIN’ BOUT MY GENERATION!)

  63. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 20th, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Anaru> Yeah, just like that. Watch The Crazies to get an idea of what the military would have done if I had not have handed over my stash of blue smarties. When I stop to think what could of happened…

    Griff> Your Pokemon Gravatar let me know how much you would love Scott Pilgrim!

  64. Ray – but I reviewed the movie too. The rest was just a disc of unnecessary bonus features, including a digital copy.

  65. Friends enthusiastically harassed me to read the comics. Eventually I did.

    And I loved them. I don’t read many comics these days, but SP had charm, energy, and originality to spare.

    Unfortunately by the last volume I couldn’t help but feel the way Vern seems to feel about the film. There is a frick ton of great stuff, but for me there is no honest feeling of love, real personal development, or any kind of resonance to the resolution.

    It covers Scott day dreaming and being a loser really well, and we can all verify that because we’re on a web page writing about obscure movies to strangers because our families really don’t want to hear our deep thoughts about the Death Wish series or Friday the 13th. I’ve never heard anyone say this aspect of the comic was not well done.

    The author has the balls to make Scott kind of a dick, and he does a great job of giving the girls in his life mixed feelings about Scott that the reader can relate to. But Scott and Ramona don’t really have anything I could relate to. By the end of the final volume they have a relationship that’s about as deep as a high school crush despite the characters acting like their relationship is a lifetime commitment decision. I know relationships felt like the weight of the world rested on them back high school, but by the end what S&R have really isn’t all the much more substantial than the relationship Scott and Knives had at the beginning of volume 1. Gideon was a pretty big let down as a final boss, kind of like Bowser in Super Mario World. You kill him in one try and think to yourself, ”There were jumps at the beginning of the game harder than that…”

    Anyway, that was just my feeling after reading the books a few times over. Can’t say I have interest in seeing the movie, though my wife might get a kick out of it.

    Can anyone honestly say they felt any real connection with the resolution of the story? I just want to hear someone who liked it explain what it is they could related to in Scott and Ramona’s relationship. This isn’t a challenge, I just want to hear someone talk from their heart about this particular area. It did not work for me, but I am curious how it worked for others.

  66. but it’s NOT Pokey Man

    anyway here’s a video that may help you guys understand some of the anime references in Scott Pilgrim http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/ir/jo/cd/27484-spvstw

  67. Gwai Lo – though irony is undoubtedly a huge part of the hipster credo, I don’t know if it’s the defining characteristic. (especially when it comes to “ironic” appreciation of “bad’ music – you don’t see too many hipsters appreciating Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, etc…) For me, the over-riding trait of a hispter is an over-riding hatred of anything mainstream(“Avatar sucks!!!”)/championing of anything alternative. Until that alternative thing becomes too big, that is. Which is why I know hipsters who say The White Stripes haven’t made a good album since De Stijl. Which they own on vinyl, of course.

  68. I quite liked the movie. A lot of the “this will change movies forever!!!!!11!!!!1!” hype is a bit weird but I generally don’t pay attention to those guys’ reviews anyway. Yeah, I enjoyed a lot of the references made to old video games since I played (actually still play on occasion) those games, too (and I’m not sure how this movie is getting so heavily characterized as “for the young’uns” – did that many people under 25 really play Clash at Demonhead or Crash ‘n the Boys on their original NESs?), but I liked most that it was a romantic comedy in which selfishness is frowned on because I’m sick of such movies telling people that acting like a self-centered prick and ditching your long-time fiance on the altar to hook up with someone you met last week is totally awesome.

    My main complaint is that the ending didn’t quite click because I didn’t feel Scott ever really connected with Ramona as a person – she was literally a dream girl and not much beyond that for him. At least with Knives he seemed to relate to her a bit better and it didn’t hurt that the actors had better chemistry. I think it’s telling that their original ending supposedly had Scott and Knives hooking up at the end while Ramona went off on her own because that ending feels truer to what they had filmed. Not that Scott and Ramona getting together totally cripples the film because I can see it working on a level of them understanding and accepting each other’s baggage and finally starting a real relationship, but that’s all it is: a fresh start and not happily ever after. Maybe I’ll check out the books at some point and see if the end comes off better there.

  69. How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    It’s an obscure number,you’ve probably never heard of it.

    Good review Vern although after this one and your Kick-Ass review (I just recently got around to seeing and reading that) it seems to me that you are letting the shit that those dudes say over on AICN ruin good movies for you. I mean those guys over-hype shit for sure but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to appreciate well made fun pieces of cinema for what they are.

  70. Thanks for not being too spoilery with this one Vern. It’s not out in the UK (where we have the same Smarties as Canada, incidentally), and I’ve been looking forward to it. Isn’t it a bit of a double standard though to play the “comic book actors” card, when we’ve just had an action movie equivalent of that out in the same week?

  71. Also: I don’t mean to spew negativity or anything, but good on Vern for taking a stand (again) on the issue of the hyperactive media interaction critics are having with movies these days outside of the film itself. I’ve been reading AICN since it was a text site with a bunch of messy blue links one after the other and 90% of it was this crazy cool guy named Harry posting ever rumor that came his way. I loved that site and many writers who have been part of it.

    I used to think that this new generation of movie critics being born on the net were going to raise the bar for film journalism. Like maybe AICN could be the new Cashiers du Cinema and Harry could be a Andre Bazin figure… Maybe they would be outside the clutches of the industry and bring to print the experience of cinema on a vulgarly honest level, fully aware and unashamed of personal hang ups, quirks, mood during the viewing of film…

    Or maybe they could be just as childishly wrapped up in all the advertising and hype that the studios throw at them to the point that any objectivity when approaching the final film itself has been destroyed. Maybe they could spend 95% of their time writing about the same tired old hollywood shit everyone else is writing about instead of discovering old lost gems or hidden newly made gems that the average viewer would otherwise have no chance to encounter.

    When is the last time any of those guys seriously dug deep into indie cinema? of international cinema? of weird art video cinema? of the forgotten direct to video bin?

    We live in the most film active time in history and all the champions of ”cool” cinema can talk about are big hollywood adaptations and remakes that my grandma has probably already heard of. Wow. Just so you know, my grandma is dead.

    Anyway, someone needs to beat the dead horse now and then so we remember WHY the horse is dead.

    So thanks, Vern.

  72. Well I’m still considering seeing this one at the cinema. I gotta say I’m more the “target demographic” for it. As for Wright’s other stuff…

    I’m probably the only man on earth who didn’t like “Shaun of the Dead”. I thought it wasted a great concept with some horrible characters. I fucking HATED Nick Frost’s character in that – in fact, if I had to make a list of the most annoying scene-stealing characters in movies, he’d be close to the top. I hated how the “intellectual” character was a cowardly turncoat while the love-interest was a shrew. And Shaun himself was a carbon copy of the lead guy from “Role Models” plus at least a hundred other comedies starring some boring guy who’s forgotten how to enjoy life. I have the same problem with “Shaun” that a lot of people have with “Hostel” in fact – it’s an outlandish horror movie starring characters that I can’t stand.

    I had almost the exact opposite reaction to “Hot Fuzz”, which I thought was hilarious and – crucially – I thought everyone in it was genuinely likeable. (Timothy Dalton and Jim Broadbent in particular stood out for me, but every single character had their moments.) Definitely one of my favorite comedy movies.

    I haven’t seen “Spaced”. (I’m probably going to get pounded on for that, but what the heck.) I did like Nick Frost’s other show “Hyperdrive” though, but that’s not Wright.

    Gingersoll – I agree, although I’d temper that with the fact that I didn’t think “Kick-ass” was as bad as Vern seemed to think. (Not as good as the AICN-ers said either, but that’s sort of beside the point here.) That’s why I still come, read, and post here though – the level of debate is generally speaking fairly intelligent, and I can get a good idea of whether a movie is worth seeing (and usually without too many spoilers included).

  73. i like that Edgar Winter album.
    that is all.

  74. You know, it such a shame that fanboy culture has come to this. Its turned a genuine love of film into a reactionary series of pointless holy wars between ill-defined ideological positions. Genuine engagement with material has been lost in favor of postmodern identity-construction and aggressive nostalgia association. Its so inseperable from the final product now that its almost part and parcel with the film. You can’t go see SCOTT PILGRIM and not to some extent also see all the baggage it comes with. In a better world, you’d be able to go and see this and admire its craft, ambition and imagination while acknowledging that on some levels its a little half-baked. Sadly, in this one you have to painstakingly explain yourself if you’re going to do anything other than lavish praises or condemn its existence. How can any film ever expect to really become a beloved classic when its been picked clean before its even released?

  75. A _film_ cannot expect to become a classic.

    A classic cannot _expect_ to become a classic.

    “Classic” having by now been bandied about in every second “review” has become just one more term of appreciation, meaning no more or less than “awesome”, “amazing” or other complimentary statement: as in “SIN CITY is the CITIZEN KANE of our generation. An instant classic!”

    Today’s movie directors are, almost to the last, people who make movies because they love movies. That’s the cinema we get: movies like those other movies. None of these people have anything to say / feel the need to say anything. Ergo: well crafted fluff piece like SCOTT PILGRIM.

    Intelligent, layered and, I dare to use the term, beautiful movies cannot be “picked clean before release” – the experience of watching them escapes panderers and pundits. One may not like the films of Wong-Kar Wai but their merits cannot be denied, except through bad faith and dishonesty.

  76. Mr. Subtlety,

    Fanboy culture has *always* been this relentlessly navel-gazing and obsessive; it’s why fanboys are fanboys. At the first conventions, people were trading 16mm bootlegs of “Star Trek” bloopers because “Star Trek” was TEH GREATEST etc etc. As for this “better world” you speak of where you can just go watch the movie for the movie…hey man, that’s what I did. I didn’t bother reading any of the AICN, CHUD, etc reviews or let the hype suck me in. It was a movie, I went to see it, and I didn’t feel I had to justify or not justify my opinions to anyone, and I didn’t feel I had to account for extra baggage from meta-textual references I did or didn’t get.

    It’s up to you how much of that fanboy culture you want to deal with, man. It’s all up to you. You determine your own level of involvement.

  77. It’s a good movie and a lot of fun, but there are problems. One is that it’s based on a six volume graphic novel series with six fight scenes. The movie also has six fights, but it’s just over 90 minutes long, with several pauses for music. So the balance is off. The comic I’d say is roughly 80% character-based comedy and drama and 20% wild action and fantasy. The movie is closer to fifty/fifty.

    So basically the movie is an extended trailer for the comic. Fun, but shallow. I think it would have been a better idea just to adapt the first couple of volumes instead of trying to fit everything into one movie.

  78. Subtlety – I take your point.

    Although, to harp on one particular aspect of it – if you’re looking for movies without baggage, you should probably avoid sites like this and AICN (yeah, I know they’re very different in many respects). That way you don’t get the “picking” aspect. Of course you don’t get the criticism either.

    The trouble is then, you’re probably making your decisions about which movies to see based on hype. And considering the most hyped film I can remember is “Lost in Space”, that doesn’t always work out well.

    And you never have to justify your opinion to me. Unless I disagree with you, of course, and in that case you’re probably doomed from the start. :)

  79. I’d agree with Devin from CHUD that Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies. Could watch it any time. Hot Fuzz…it was okay. Not great though.

    But there’s definitely something about set visits and such…CHUD is the main example I can think of. Like when they were going to do a movie and Jan De Bont was going to direct, and the owners of the site kept going on and on about what an amazing director he is. And then someone found a bunch of old pages where they had been saying the most awful, hateful things about the director, actually calling for his death if I recall. Of course that was before he was going to direct a movie they were involved with. It’s just ass-kissing, they deny it but it’s too apparent.

    I don’t know what the movie is that he was going to direct, I assume it fell through. If it did I wonder if they still think he’s any good or does he suck again?

  80. Jones – I don’t think the Jan De Bont movie ever came to fruition. Can’t remember what it was exactly. But since Nick seems to be trying to transition into a career as a producer now it’s coming up again. For instance he’s been pimping the shit out of this DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK remake he’s producing, and writing overly congratulatory things about Katie Holmes. I’m too lazy to go looking for evidence, but I’m sure CHUD has said unkind things about Mrs. Cruise in the past.

  81. I’m sure they did, Katie Holmes seems to be a target in geek circles. If there’s one thing geeks seems to hate it’s good looking women who can’t act. I haven’t been to that site much lately, but they seem pretty shameless in whoring themselves and then pretending they’re not.

    That said, the trailer for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark looked awesome. If only they had a better actress for the lead…

  82. 90% of the time people are probably going to kiss ass and outright preform analingus if they think it will get them ahead.

    I think the question is what do they do with their professional power in between those embarrassing moments. Are they still moaning and groaning about the awful remakes and unoriginal films coming out of Hollywood? Or are they breaking a sweat out in the field, digging for those overlooked lost films which really enrich the lives of cinema lovers?

    Harry is a true one of a kind. If you love film journalism, you love Harry by default. But let me say this: for all the MAN IN SUIT!! he has ejaculated about over the years, has anyone EVER seen him write a piece bringing to light a previously unknown film from the 60 years of Japanese giant monster and scifi effects films? For all his professed love and adoration of that deep and rich genre, he has never done anything to spread the love of that genre to the average film fan. Writing a two sentence blurb on your amazon affiliate DVD column doesn’t count. What about helping some of the amazing films that one CAN’T buy on Amazon, instead of, you know, jerking off to Scott Pilgrim/inception/kick ass/avatar/transformers/sky captain and the world of blue screen/the phantom menace/ect.
    Geek coverage is great. I’ve read AICN and Chud for so many years because I enjoy much of what they put out there. But there also should be a time when people who write about movies take their tongue out of big hollywood’s ass and spend some time trying to explore new some grounds.
    Maybe it is the product of a generation of cinema lovers who’s first love was Star Wars. Star Wars and all the toys and comics and tie ins that when with it…

  83. SirVince: Your post brings to mind Werner Herzog: a director who creates great movies precisely because he doesn’t seem to like movies very much.

  84. I take your point on Scotty boys shortcummings with regard to the love story friendo, but in all fairness, was there really anything that overwhelmingly captivating or charming about the girl. Seems that one should jump out at us a bit more, especially since all these people are fighting video game death matches over her. Just kinda funny how with regard to the female(as long as she’s attractive) we don’t even give the question a thought.

  85. Mr. Majestyk – Or for that matter, David Cronenberg who comes from being more a literary mindset than that of a movie nerd.

  86. but ole Marty Scorsese is a big movie nerd, surely he’s not a bad director right?

  87. Should note that Edgar Wright compared the fight scenes to musical numbers

  88. Shouldn’t every fight scene like a good musical number? With a stunning choreography and a melody that stays in your head forever?

  89. Let’s remember that Martin Scorsese wanted to be a priest. Cinema came second.

    When it did, Scorsese started his career with some burning desires to express things very dear to his heart: MEAN STREETS, ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE and RAGING BULL are “close to the vest” – fortunately for us, he had been watching a whole whack of Italian Neo-Realist films and seemed to have absorbed Visconti by osmosis. There is a direct link between ROMA: CITTA APERTA and all of Scorsese’s early New York tales.

    (If you noticed the absence of TAXI DRIVER, it was deliberate. That baby is the result of the Schrader brothers dipping their pens in ink made by putting their own brains into a blender. True story. Nah, just kidding about the brain smoothie. But only just.)

    Scorsese later achieved a sort of true greatness when he took a slight turn away from purely narrative film technique into more risque stuff: THE KING OF COMEDY, AFTER HOURS, the denouement of GOODFELLAS . . . Haven’t seen the musical yet so I can’t pronounce on that one.

    George Lucas made two sci-fi flicks, a few years apart, and the difference is I think the perfect example of what I’m blathering about. One is a kick-ass dystopia that has only become more relevant with age (even though it’s style has not aged well) while the other one is a superbly crafted piece of pop-art.

    Nothing wrong with pop-art. To bring it back, SCOTT PILGRIM was entertaining and funny . . . and I’ll bet anyone here that nobody remembers it by 2020. I’ll sign a contract and everything.

  90. Hipster is just a meaningless term to use for some young person you hate. Hey, remember that conversation they have in THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO about being called yuppies, which is hurtful, and that it’s bullshit since no one would ever self-identify as a yuppie? It’s kind of like that.

  91. Sir Vince — you actually make an extremely interesting point, which I think is actually fairly compatible with my take on fanboy culture. This demographic has come to dominate the way we think about film from a cultural standpoint, the way film is discussed and marketed, and, at least to a degree, the way film is made. If you’re at all interested in film, filmmaking, and film analysis, its almost impossible to really avoid the pull of this particular demographic, which influences not just the discussion, but the shape of the market. That’s why I think its actually fairly difficult to be part of the discussion of films without to some extent getting involved in this cultural subgroup, (as Daniel Strange suggests). Yes, fanboys have alway been navel-gazing, but they’ve never before represented such a hegemonic voice in the discussion. They used to be a fringe element; now, not only do they absolutely control the narrative of the discussion, they –to a large extent– influence the production, distribution, and even creation of much of the filmmaking which goes on in the US.

    It also heavily affected the most recent generation of artists, many of whom, as you rightly point out, have a very postmodern sense of their work and its place in the culture. They are interested in the creation of movies as pop culture, not as a form of communication — just like the fanboy culture. The substantive aspect of communication is relegated to a necessary structural element rather than the driving force behind the creation of art, and you’re left with film that say anything at all only because they’re mimicking the form of things which actually did have something to say. Substance becomes the vestigial tale of film, and even things which strive to have some substance likely find an audience more interested in paraphanila that content.

  92. I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss pop art movies as being disposable and forgetable…who knows what will happen with Scott Pilgrim. It may become the next Fight Club or Office Space. Weird movies like that which endure a long time don’t tend to do well at the box office. But they have a staying power. Back in the 60s I think you could say North by Northwest was just a fun but forgettable programmer, or Rio Bravo. But I’d rather watch them than an Italian neo-realist movie from the same period.

  93. Hey Mr. S, long time, no see. I’ve been out for all the right reasons—new job, different state—so I haven’t been able to post much. But I thought this would be a good time to jump in, because I think you and Sir Vince have hit on something important: the need to communicate beyond post-modern references, the desire to dig deeper than monkey reflections to express unique experiences. I think this is one reason Werner Herzog has become more popular with time; no one else creates the films he does, because no one else is quite possessed by that mad mystic desire to steal a 35mm camera and follow the muse into the belly of the beast. Not yet, but I’m hoping that’ll change any day now.

    With this in mind, I’d like to turn for a second to one of the main topics of this thread and the movie it inspired: hipsters. Apparently this word has really taken off in the last few years; the NY times states that its been used 250 times in the last year alone. For me though no definition has adequately explained it, so I’d like to offer this quote from Harlan Ellison’s Spider Kiss. Whenever I read it I’m reminded of Bret Easton Ellis’ great proclamation from Glamorama: We’ll slide down the surface of things.

    “There is a great deal of difference between a truly “hip” person (that indefinable awareness of what is right, what is current, what is lasting; beyond sophistication, beyond class, it is the essence of being “with it”) and a hipster.

    A hipster is a pseudo. The good-looking girl from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, who feels stifled (for the wrong reasons) in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and emigrates to Chicago. Look for the girl two months later in the bars on Chicago’s Rush Street. Look for her just off Times Square; on L.A.’s Strip. You know her. The sleek, well-fed, looks-to-be-good-in-the-hay chick who crosses her legs too high. The chick who gets her meals bought, who has to worry about paying only for her extensive clothing needs and the rent.

    Often, it’s only the clothes.

    This is the girl who thinks Don Ho is a jazz singer, who goes to Birdland to hear Herbie Mann’s Afro-Jazz Sextet because he plays the kind of jazz you might (if you were a hipster) cha-cha to. This is the girl who wears charm bracelets that jingle.

    This is the empty woman, without her own standards, with a Hollywood conception of reality, the girl who talks during the sax man’s solo.

    See then, a cultural phenomenon. A leech personality, singularly devoid of purpose, of substantiality. The shadow-people.

    The hipsters.”

  94. Maybe there is no need to communicate beyond the shallow indulgences in a nostalgia largely comprised of commercial desires from youth?

    Maybe there is no need because there is no real demand. This generation that grew up with transformers, nintendo, and Star Wars hunks of plastic has come to place in those things all the hopes and dreams of youth, all the joys of Christmas morning, all the lusts that took place while watching toy commercials during saturday morning cartoons. This is what they want on a level that is true and fierce. As such, they will make works that pander to this insatiable desire utterly.

    Of course probably everyone that has ever lived has felt nostalgia in some form. But I would say that the nostalgic ode to boyhood that is found in the works of Ray Bradbury, or the fond reminisces of youth found in the films of Miyazaki, have little in common with this new obsession because they lack the utter saturation of commercial industry– which defines happiness in an obtainable material form and which is endlessly offering more and more such forms to lust after. Those fellows did not grow up in the televised glow of Hasbro and Nintendo, so while their works are greatly enjoyed, they evoke neither the rabid fandom nor the strange hunger that films like Scott Pilgrim answer to.

    So it seems to me, anyway.

  95. I’m not sure there’s much difference between Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and most of the movies Joe Dante’s been making for the past 30 years (I seem to remember Dante getting some of the same complaints at the time from older critics; and really Dante is even sort of a throwback to Frank Tashlin, so, this has been going on for quite awhile); it’s just about a different pop culture and a different generation.

  96. What a stellar review. Thank you.

  97. Mr S – I don’t think you’re describing a new phenomena here, and I don’t think it can be attributed to “fanboys” (although I do agree that critical debate about films does centre around one particular demographic more than is healthy sometimes.) I think the biggest factor, though, remains money – for good or bad. Chris Nolan doesn’t get to make a film like “Inception” because his films are great films. He gets to make it because they sell well.

    But movies “about” the process of making movies – and critiquing them – have been around since the silent film era. Indeed, making movies is probably the single most popular choice of topic of moviemakers, and for the simplest of reasons – it’s easier to make an interesting film about something you know than about something you don’t. This is why there are many, many great novels that revolve around factory work, but very few films that do.

    Don’t make the mistake of confusing a “postmodern” viewpoint with “pop culture” though. They’re two very different things. I would argue that in many ways “Inception” is as much about the process of creation of art as it is about “dreams”, but it’s only “pop culture” in the most superficial sense.

  98. (The reason mentioned above is that factory workers write books, but they don’t make films. Probably should’ve said that.)

  99. The Stone Killer

    August 21st, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    @ gingersoll

    You wrote “Like maybe AICN could be the new Cashiers du Cinema”…

    That typo is more true than if you’d spelled it correctly.

  100. I thought A.O. Scott inadvertently came up with a great definition for “hipster” when he described the two main characters in Away We Go as “acutely, at times painfully, aware of their special status as uniquely sensitive, caring, smart and cool beings on a planet full of cretins and failures.”

  101. Bad Seed — good to hear you’re doing well, mate. Quite the eloquent examination of hipsterism as well (not quite sure they deserve the effort, but if we must speak of them let it at least be with verve and keen-eyed wit).

    Paul / Gingersoll – I completely agree with you Ginger. The problem is not nostalgia in itself, but nostalgia without introspection. Miazaki, Bradbury, these guys are actually interested in the experience of childhood. They romanticize it, sure, but they’re most interested in exploring what it means, the way it feels, the way the world looks to a child. The new generation isn’t nostalgic about childhood, but nostalgic for an iconography they associate with childhood. They don’t want to examine, they want to recreate the minutia of their own childhoods in the hope of recapturing that spirit.

    This is postmodern in a slightly different sense than examining the process of creation, exploring the icons for value and meaning. Its closer to trying to willfully build something comparable out of the same pieces and expecting the same result. It’s postmodern in the sense that its fixated on form, but not postmodern enough to be explicitly about the exploration and creation of that form. You’re right, Paul, that art examining the process of art is nothing new, but I’d argue that referencing and recontextualizing artistic icons and elements in a strictly functional (but entirely self-aware) way IS somewhat new (at least to the extent that it has flourished) to this generation of filmmakers. INCEPTION, regardless of how empty I found it, isn’t a great example of what I’m talking about because it actually seems to be interested in exploring a topic and (with the exception of the stupid snow fight) fairly disinterested in cultivating any particular pop culture iconography. PILGRIM, with its referential, almost reverent repurposed pop culture elements — is.

    Sure, there have always been people doing it (Leone purposefully recreating elements of YOJIMBO, for instance) but this generation of filmmakers, catalyzed by this generation of filmgoers, have turned references into meaning unto itself.

    And yes, it is the filmgoers and their wallets that drive this trend in the same way they drive the course of the discussions we have about films. Simply put, the very way people are interested in consuming films have changed towards the need for branding and identity creation and away from actual content and meaning. Filmmakers who identify with this ethos find themselves fiscally rewarded, those that don’t find themselves marginalized by the community of filmgoers who have no use for things which don’t lend themselves to catagorical identity construction (ie, things which are about the message, not the form). And we end up with reviews like Vern’s above, which have no choice but to speak to the filmgoing culture as much as the actual piece of art.

    (BTW not to hate on poor SCOTT PILGRIM, it just happens to be a great example of an instance where the pop culture identity actually ends up superceding the art around which it situates itself).

  102. thanks @ Mr. Subtlety and Gingersoll.

  103. Mr Subtlety – yeah, I’d agree with you there – specifically on the “pop-culture icons as iconic elements, not as parts of a greater meaning” (although I think you put it much better than I did). I don’t necessarily think it’s terminal though – hell, I don’t even particularly think that it’s a bad thing, although it might appear so right now. The moment people get tired enough of this stuff to stop blowing money on it, I suspect you’ll see things change a lot more quickly than you might have thought likely.

    And until then, you still have films like “Primer” coming out, reminding people who really care about film (as most of the people reading this probably do) that every now and again, something can come out and just blow through all the cliches and iconography and make an impact.

  104. @The Stone Killer

    Like I say, I don’t wanna to be negative, but… Ouch, man. Ouch.

  105. Mr. Subtlety, your distinctio between exploring childhood and just reflecting on it reminded me of a modern filmmaker who always gets ripped on: M. Night Shyamalan. Regardless of whether you like his work or not, on his last few films he’s gotten attacked specifically for the tonal elements that made him M Night Shyamalan in the first place. His dialogue is simple, his logic doesn’t make sense and understanding of adult relationships seems childlike. I think that comes from a place of understanding childhood, whether it’s the feuding couple in The Happening or the perhaps misguided fantasy elements in Lady in the Water.

    My point isn’t to defend M Night but simply that a filmmaker actually trying to do something original, who was once celebrated for it, has now become a whipping boy by the same audience. Maybe this is the wrong forum because I don’t think anyone here is in that group, but if it applies, where do you think this line is between complaining about postmodern film and rejecting certain voices fans find distasteful?

  106. FTopel- I think it’s not a question of there being a line between interesting voice being embraced or rejected, I think it’s the problem of writer/directors who have exactly one voice that they wear out movie after movie. Shymalan’s whole “Through the eyes of a child” shtick works fine in movies like Sixth Sense or Signs or Unbreakable, movies where large portions of the story are told through children’s POV, but when he uses that exact same tone and style to make a hard R horror movie, or uses it to cover over badly thought out and executed mythologies and stories like Lady in the Water, and when he does it over and over again, movie after movie where every single character talks in the exact same tone, where the camera moves in the exact same way, that’s when you have a problem.

    Thee will always be arguments between people about filmmakers who have distinctive voices that come through in their work. That’s just taste. But I think the backlash is most justified (and is usually most vocal) when it seems like that voice isn’t growing or stretching, when a director of enormous technical skill is simply going back over old territory. It’s the same issue that has plagued Wes Anderson, and that guys like Tarantino have had to deal with.

  107. Brendan, excellent point. Hell, I’m the only person in the world it seems who actually liked “The Village”, despite its flaws, and I still agree with everything you’ve said. I guess the question is: how much exactly does M Night have in him? Have we seen the extent of his abilities?

  108. I have to say that I completely disagree with the idea that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a hermetically sealed feed back loop of pop culture referencing with no meaning or relation to the outside world. There’s not much point in debating it though (since there’s no way to objectively prove a movie has “substance”); you either see what’s there or you don’t.

  109. Paul- I think this is where that idea of the auteur starts to hurt directors. Guys like Shymalan are undeniably talented on a technical level, and can get great performances out of actors if he chooses that right roles for them, but his scripts have been awful for a long, long time. I wish guys like him or Richard Kelly would admit their shortcomings and just shoot someone else’s scripts and show their chops that way.

  110. Fair point, Brendan. Thank you for responding to the question with substance. I guess in terms of this discussion, I see Wright as a filmmaker with true style, who’s applied it to three different genres so far (horror, action, romance) with of course hybrids in each. Seeing his early work I think shows his potential and he’s further along in expressing it than many upstart filmmakers. Of course it won’t work for everyone.

  111. “When you eat your Smarties do you eat the red ones last?”

    Love Smarties.

  112. I don’t know, I did kind of buy the love story, in the sense that it seemed like it was only about to start at the very end. The whole movie was just about infatuation, which is a selfish kind of emotion. Scott wanted to possess this girl, so he had to (metaphorically or literally, depending on your interpretation) destroy all remnants of her past. But that’s bullshit—a person’s past is who they are, and to love someone you have to respect it. Ramona was just as shallow in her own way. She liked Scott because he was so clearly dopey for her that she didn’t have to worry about him breaking her heart, and she didn’t respect him enough to tell him about what she was really like. She treated him the way he treated Knives. At the end, their experiences in bringing all the stuff neither of them wanted to deal with to the surface enabled them to embark on a real relationship. Whether or not it’s gonna work isn’t really important. We’re not supposed to assume that they get married and have 50 swillion purple-haired kids. They’re just in a place where they can give it a shot, and that’s where the movie leaves us. I liked that.

    As for the topic of post-modern referential movies, I can only say that I’m one of those kids with more film experiences than real ones. I think most of us are. (Obviously, AU has ridden the wastelands on his great metal steed and conquered the multitudes and heard the lamentations of the women, but he is the exception.) So when it comes to comedies, because a lot of my humor revolves around references, comedies that do likewise are the ones that speak to me the most, more so than the more mainstream ones about farting and embarrassment. If you get me laughing, I’m more likely to get swept up in whatever perfunctory story you’re serving me. Maybe that’s what happened with SCOTT PILGRIM, but honestly, I don’t think so. I doubt I got 90% of the references in there. I was never a big video game player. I just thought the movie was great-looking, funny, and endearingly heart-on-its-sleeve.

    And it had Mary Elizabeth Winstead in her underwear. Can’t forget that.

  113. Hey Vern, I figured since you quoted Adam Quigley from /film in your review you would like to read his latest post about Expendables vs. Scott Pilgrim if you already haven’t. I really don’t know why he feels he has to put down the Expendables just to build up Scott Pilgrim, but he does nonetheless.

    http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/08/22/box-office-the-expendables-stays-1-scott-pilgrim-drops-to-10/

  114. I’ve been watching lots of Kung Fu movies recently; Invincible Shaolin, Shaolin Temple, Shaolin vs Wu Tang, The Vengeful Beauty, The New Adventures of the Flying Fox, House of Flying Daggers. Matrix Trilogy, Ip Man, Dragon Tiger Gate, The Prodigal Son, and Scott Pilgrim certainly had more video game references and better romantic comedy than any of those movies. It looks like nothing else, well maybe it looks like Dragon Tiger Gate a little. I have a Nintendo Wii and play games like Tatsunoko vs Capcom, a game so proudly Japanese no one involved in its American release could have been fucked recording the voices in English, so when there was a 64 hit combo and a K.O! I didn’t think wow, my misspent youth, I thought wow, last Tuesday.

    I could liken this movie to the No More Heroes games, boss battles against constantly stranger weirdos and all that 8 bit stuff http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziC6y-_N7uY . I really enjoyed this, a lighthearted commentary on romantic obsession, but with mass murder instead of Kate Hudson. Like The Lost Boys it made fun of youth culture without being too specific or vicious. You want a girl and she is with another guy, obviously he is Satan. An old theme, but one I haven’t seen done so well since Deconstructing Harry, and Satan has a night club, just like The Merovingian. Good stuff.

  115. W.S. — I actually liked PILGRIM plenty. I’m more than trying to comment on the culture of filmgoing and the ways in which they use film. Still, even if it has a gooey center of substance, PILGRIM does milk its cultural references pretty hard. There’s certainly a time and a place for this, and like I said I found the film pretty charming, but its indicative of a larger trend in both filmmaking and film culture IMHO.

    FTopel — Yeah, awful as his last few films have been, Shyamalan is definitely a filmmaker who isn’t on board with much pop-culture silliness. He is genuinely interested in conveying a message with his art in a totally self-contained way, using his own style. Proof, I guess, that just wanting to say something and saying it in a unique voice doesn’t necessarily make it a worthwhile thing to say. Still, he’s a uniquely old-school director in an increasingly fanboy-centric world (which may be part of the huge backlash against him, although he certainly hasn’t done himself any favors by making such aggressively idiotic films).

  116. So Devin Faraci quit CHUD. Do you think it was this review that pushed him over the edge?

  117. You’re totally right about the set visit Hyperbole. When a GOOD DUDE Directors are really nice and friendly, certain movie website people go way, way overboard. If a movie from a nice guy director turns out decent or pretty good, watch out! It’s the most earth shattering, Important movies ever made! An all time classic! And if you disagree, you just don’t get it. This is a problem with film websites/film message boards in general. Rarely can anything just be ok. It either has to be the GREATEST FUCKING PANTS EXPLODING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE or THE WORST MOVIE EVER I HOPE EVERYONE INVOLVED GETS CANCER.

    Scott Pilgrim was ok. It was visually unique and had some funny moments. There aren’t really any laugh out loud moments. I don’t find myself thinking about it much after seeing it a week ago, though. Saying that it’s one of the most important, earth shattering, game changing films ever made is going overboard. Again.

  118. MilesDyson – I’ve said this before, but speaking from my own point of view, there are plenty of movies I’ve found that strike a happy medium between “terrible” and “great”. I just don’t feel that I have much to say about them, so I don’t comment on them. I suspect a lot of other people feel the same way about most films, and they don’t bother to comment either. Which is probably why most of the comments you see on the Internet are one extreme or the other.

    Divisive films that I didn’t love or loathe, from both memory and Vern’s review list: “Titanic”, “Lord of the Rings”, “28 Days Later”, “Ten things I hate about you”, “Alien” (yeah, I preferred the sequel, now flame away), “Star Wars: A New Hope”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Return of the Jedi”, “Orphan”, “Blade”, “Blade 2”, “Quantum of Solace”, “Batman Begins” (yeah, I preferred the sequel to that one as well), “Die Hard 2”, “Drunken Master”, “Escape from New York”, “Friday the 13th” (the original), “Ginger Snaps”, “Hollow Man”, “I Robot”, “Iron Man”, “The Invasion”, “Jaws”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Panic Room”, “A Perfect Getaway”, “Pirahna” (The original one), “Rec”, “Red Eye”, “Road House”, “Romeo Must Die”, “Kiss of the Dragon”, “Donnie Darko”, “Sorority Row”, “Sunshine”, “Superman”, “Superman 2”, “Team America: World Police”, “South Park”, “Tango and Cash”, “True Lies”, “Universal Soldier”, “Unleashed”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “Best of the Best”, “Best of the Best 2”, etc. Plus many, many more.

    I didn’t despise any of these movies, I didn’t love them, and I’d struggle to find much that’s interesting to say about most of them. They had good points and bad points. Some are better than others (I doubt many, including myself, would say that “Alien” and “Romeo must Die” are of similar quality) but none of them wholly stirred my blood or left me cold.

  119. Milesdyson, you bring up a good point independent of the set visit issue. The idea of “okay” has been eliminated from the film community. I can affirm that some editors can demand that writing be pumped up one way or the other because that’s what people will read, although not all of the sites you mention have demanding editorial staffs. But if that’s where editorial stands, it’s easy to imagine upstart critics of the internet generation exaggerating just to compete. It’s sort of been going that way ever since Siskel and Ebert started insulting each other instead of talking about the movies.

    What this means for the future of reviews, well, I’m not impressed by anyone who exaggerates for positive or negative effect. Impress me with the substance of your analysis.

  120. I really like the comics (although I did find the 6th and final book to have too much moping). The main problem with the film (aside from the baggage Cera brings) is that most of the interesting character interaction and humor has to be jettisoned to make sure all the fight scenes made it into the movie. That’s really to bad because the audience I saw it with was responding much more to the humor then the fights. And I felt the same way. I’m a fan of Hong Kong movies and have been watching them since I was a teenager in the 70s so you know I don’t have a problem with long fight scenes, but really they just weren’t the focus of the books and they shouldn’t have been the focus of the film.

    The ending of the film is better though (less moping).

  121. I always meant to read the comics but I hated the art so much that I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was just so ugly and flat and cramped on those tiny little manga pages and everybody had dead Garfield eyes. Some people seem to like it but it turned me right off.

  122. I’ll admit, the art is not what I would usually be “drawn to”, but it fits what he is doing. It’s not art I’d care to be able to draw, which is the true sign of a great artist!

  123. Saw it tonight and enjoyed it a ton. Very funny, great visuals and fight scenes and lots of fun characters. I don’t subscribe to the “more style than substance” view on it. I mean, yes it does put a lot more effort in how it presents these things, but I don’t think any of the story or message is really underserviced. I didn’t find it any more shallow than your typical rom-com, and it is ultimately about how one person matures and gets over/owns up to a lot of stuff, it just presents the theme in a very unique way.

  124. I also saw it tonight and would say that it was great. With this and “Inception”, the cinema thing is definitely growing on me. Not sure if it was a great film, but it sure as heck was a good time. I was expecting fun, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as funny as it was. I would pretty much agree completely with Stu here. I probably enjoyed it more than Vern, but then again I’m probably more the kind of person this kind of film is “made for” than Vern is.

    (And yeah, I know a really great film should be able to be watched and enjoyed by everybody… but let’s face it, I can’t watch any film that includes the word “Capiche” in its dialogue. So whad’ya do.)

  125. Anyone else here think that the music in SCOTT PILGRIM sucks?

    What a shame. Better music could’ve helped this one immensely.

    I just saw this a couple hours ago and I don’t remember much about the love stories.

    “I’m in lesbians with you.” That was funny.

  126. Was looking forward to finally watch it this weekend. But then I turned out that it’s only running in 8 (eight) single theatres in the whole country! Yes, one of the 8 is pretty easy to reach, but it look like I have to wait for the DVD.

  127. Mouth – I just bought this and a few other soundtracks (I said this in the “Up” review thread, but I’ll reiterate it here – “Wall-E” has the best soundtrack to any animated movie I’ve ever seen. Holy fuck, that shit is good.) I was actually thinking how GOOD “Scott Pilgrim”‘s soundtrack is. Beck, T-Rex, probably the best thing Metric ever did… what’s not to love?

  128. Paul, it’s clearly been a while since you’ve listened to Roger Miller’s soundtrack to Disney’s Robin Hood. Not only does it have the best whistling ever, but “Not In Nottingham” is a tearjerker for the ages.

  129. The original Paul

    November 18th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Majestyk – you’re right, I haven’t. Although is that the movie where the villain is a snake called “Sir Hiss”? I saw it ages ago and it didn’t make much of an impact on me, but it seems to have a lot of fans out there.

  130. I like my rock musicals to rock. Scott P & Sex Bob Bomb’s purposefully shitty rock was unsat. And their musical opponents were never given a chance to show their stuff. I don’t know what was so great about the vegan guy and the ex-girlfriend. They displayed very little talent. And Knives Chau’s reaction to her hearing Sex Bob Bomb is incongruous with what’s coming out of their speakers. Were her reaction shots supposed to be funny or was their music supposed to be that good? I reckon neither. Don’t let me bring you down if you liked the movie more than I did, though. I regret nothing and neither should you.

  131. Finally watched it and I really approve on it. The idea to make a movie, that would usually be just another low key indie rom com, as a surreal action movie AND make it work, deserves a medal on its own. I’m not saying that the movie itself is the masterpiece, that the internet says it is, but it gets bonus points (Oh look, a video game reference! I’m clever!) for idea and execution.
    But am I the only one* who thinks that it was an unbelievable mysogynistic movie? Every female character was either an unsympathetic asshole or lacked real character (For being “The one and only girl”, Ramona was pretty boring.). Except Knives, who was very likeable, but unfortunately they made her in the trailer look like an unsympathetic nut job.
    Oh well. Good movie, though.

    *Probably someone else already pointed it out in the comments, but I’m too lazy to read them all.

  132. So, THE WORLD’S END has been out over here for a week. I know it’s not out in the US till August, but I expected the UK guys at least to have some thoughts somewhere. I really liked it, and thought it was a great ending to the “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy. I think my favourite of the three is HOT FUZZ because I enjoy that it’s got a mystery story, and it’s plot plays out over a longer period of time and allows for a more natural pace of character development, but there’s some good stuff here. It’s the one most like a drama, despite being a sci fi action comedy, largely due to Pegg being so ready to play an entertaining, but ultimately pathetic and unlikeable figure for most of the film, a guy who can’t get over his youth and who drags his friends into this outing to be his enablers. Nick Frost in particular deserves some props for playing the most mature one of the group for a change, being a guy who’s got good reason to be pissed off at his former best friend, but can’t bring himself to walk away, though as the movie goes on and they get drunker, he becomes more of the movie’s comedic badass(SPOILER: he does to one robot what Bane does to Batman in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES). Wright’s approach to how he did action in SCOTT PILGRIM is also present in the fight scenes. Though they’re not super powered kung fu battles, more smaller scale brawls, he shoots them in a way that make them big and sweeping, with the first fight in particular having some particularly impressive camera work, weaving in and out of this big 10-man melee, managing to capture what’s going on really clearly despite it taking place in a pub toilet, with a good mix of slapstick thrown into the mix. A lot of fun’s had with the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” type premise, some of the inhabitants of the town and some of the people playing them(including a cameo by a very high profile name I must have forgotten about because his appearance surprised me) and the characters’ cognitive functions being affected as they keep drinking. It’s also got almost no reference-based humour in it(except to the other movies in the trilogy), and the one I do remember is an important plot point, so it very much stands on it’s own two legs in the humour department. Of course, it’s got a number of things that just don’t make sense if you stop and think about it for a second(why was the last pint just left lying out like that? How were they able to keep fighting so hard (and running so fast) after so much drinking? What’s the significance of the Arthurian Legend motif?) and the ending is a little bit weird to me, but it’s a good, unique cap to this group of films.

  133. Just saw WORLD’S END last night. I liked it a whole lot. A lot of comedies these days are really slack and improvisational, but Wright’s scripts are so tight and intricately constructed. Like the other two films, it’s crammed with rhyming scenes and little setups and payoffs. Barely a line is wasted. I kind of want to see it again to see what I missed. The action scenes are really well choreographed and shot. I also like the way it takes that tired man-child-dealing-with-maturity comedy template and burrows a little deeper than you would expect.

    Not sure about the ending, though. There seems to be a fairly natural place for it to end but then it drifts off into a weird little out-of-place epilogue that I struggle to see the point of.

    I have more to say, but I’ll wait and see if Vern posts a review.

  134. Vern doesn’t review comedies though, right?

  135. ^he said, in the comments section of a comedy review. The film crosses enough genres with the Sci Fi and dramatic stuff that I’d expect it might fit, not to mention the fact he reviewed HOT FUZZ.

  136. Like SHAUN and HOT FUZZ it’s kind of a genre parody/mashup thing. Don’t really want to spoil things, although the trailers have already done a good job of that. Anyway, I don’t think this is going to be the film where Vern finally “gets” Edgar Wright. If the other two films didn’t tickle his balls then I doubt this one is going to do much for him.

  137. Baby Driver is so fucking great. I can’t wait for you guys to see it. If any of you don’t like it I’d be shocked.

  138. I had passes to go to an early showing and passed. I’ll probably end up seeing it in theaters but Edgar Wright’s fanbase gets on my nerves and that leads me to be unfairly harsh on his films (which minus WORLD’S END I’ve liked, but not loved). Every single time that man makes a movie the Internet acts like he completely reinvented what cinema is all about and how we make movies (aka they act like he makes MAD MAX: FURY ROAD every single time he releases a new movie). I don’t think he’s made a single great movie (in my opinion) and I can’t help but feel fanboys are overblown by the combination of him being “one-of-us” AND British.

    i skipped WORLD’S END in theaters and while I only thought it was okay, I think if I would have seen it in theaters I would have had the urge to be ‘that guy’ and rail against it. Since I saw it months later on video, after the hype died down and even the people who said it was the best movie ever made forgot it existed, I was able to watch it say it was okay and shrug and move on.

    In regards to BABY DRIVER, both the trailer and plot synopsis do nothing to interests me. It’s an action so of coarse I’m still at least a little interested (make an action or monster movie I’ll at least give you a chance probably). But considering how according to the internet Wright made the greatest zombie movie of all time, the greatest action-comedy of all time, the greatest romantic comedy of all time, the greatest sci-fi-comedy of all time, it only makes sense that he made the greatest action movie of all time.

    Like me on the WILD AT HEART thread with David Lynch stuff and me with Joss Whedon stuff, I have to learn to separate the hype and obnoxious fanbase (which I’m not saying you are part of Stern!) from the art (and artist) and enjoy it on it’s own merits.

  139. I saw Baby Driver a couple of weeks ago and did like it, but let’s be honest here, it really isn’t a car chase movie. The last 45 minutes is a prick-tease for an epic car chase that never comes, and the very last scene is pure bullshit. The first hour is a riot though.

  140. I like Wright’s stuff plenty, but I’m worried about BABY DRIVER as I can’t stand any of the cast, save for Foxx.

  141. Do we just not trust each other?

  142. Karlos, you can’t stand Kevin Spacey?

    I wish I never said anything about this movie because I’m learning so many sad things about you guys. :)

    I’m not an internet fan boy but I do happen to think Wright is batting 1.000

    It’s true it’s not really a car chase movie which is totally fine. Whats the point in trying to outdoor a F&F movie.
    .

  143. Stern – I parted ways with Spacey years ago. Cannot completely nail it as to why, just stopped digging him.

    BUT I remain optimistic about BABY DRIVER as I like Wright (and people such as yourself, whose opinions I respect, are loving it), so yeah, I’ll be giving it a chance.

  144. I talked here several times about my “I like it, but not as much as I should” relationship with Wright’s output and while I kinda am excited for BABY DRIVER (or DRIVE BABY DRIVE, as it is apparently called over here), it’s still more a home video rental for me.

  145. I enjoyed the (ugh!) “Cornetto Trilogy” to varying extents, and have fond memories of SPACED, but I just don’t think the metre goes far enough from “knows and understands the stuff we like” to “creates enduring films of notable style and/or substance” for me to consider him a capital-G Great Director. I would say even Matthew Vaughn, a journeyman in many ways, is capable of creating scenes of genuine power and spectacle in a way I haven’t seen from Wright. SCOTT PILGRIM wasn’t awful but it wasn’t my bag at all, and yes it does kind of bother me even now that something so gossamer-thin was posited as “the discerning viewer’s alternative to THE EXPENDABLES” when it opened, regardless of how THE EXPENDABLES turned out.

    That said the one film I felt actually showed real progression and genuine substance is AT WORLD’S END, more or less universally acknowledged as his weakest or at least the weakest of that quasi-trilogy, so maybe something about him just brings out the contrarian in me. I did genuinely love SHAUN OF THE DEAD at the time though, I should note.

    Also, while he is certainly very popular over here, including among film buffs, I do wonder if there is maybe a bit more novelty to his Pegg/Frost films for non-Limeys?

  146. While I can at least see where the love for Wright comes from, I have no idea why the internet has such a boner for Matthew Vaughn. His movies are either forgettable or extremely forgettable.

  147. DRIVE BABY DRIVE is a way better title!

  148. I don’t really see where geoffreyjar is coming from. I never knew that people loved this guy’s movies so much. They’re all pretty decent but not great – except Hot Fuzz which was terrible. Scott Pilgrim would be my favourite of his by far.

    Matthew Vaughan has consistently made better movies though.

  149. You guys are so wacky lol

  150. Stern: I trust you least of all!

    CJ: Because Vaughn is a ‘friend-of-the-Internet’ AND British.

    Fred: Yes it is. I hope the International audience got a better trailer than we did as well because our trailer begs everyone who watches it to not see it.

    HALLSY: Go to any nerd movie blog/site (aka the ones that are invited to visit his sets and tweets at them) and the writers go on and on about how Wright is redefining what movies are (see that “THIS IS A GAME CHANGER!!11” quote that is on every poster/home video for SCOTT PILGRIM). Aint It Cool, Birth Movies Rape Apologists, etc. I stopped going to them for reasons like that. He’s one of those ‘friends of the Internet’ people that Vern talks about from time to time. Since he’s both a friend of the Internet AND British they lose their shit over every single movie he makes (thus: answering CJ question). I define a ‘friend-of-the-Internet’ filmmaker as someone who is a nerd “JUST LIKE US” and kisses up to the Internet movie nerd blog-o-sphere and invites them to the set.

    I acknowledge that it’s my fault to listening to them/acknowledging them in the first place.

  151. I honestly think THE WORLD’S END is incredible, and easily the best of the Wright/Pegg films.

    Does “the internet” really give extra automatic kudos to English directors like Wright and Vaughan *just* for being English?

    Why?

  152. If you want the following worded better and much nicer, read Vern’s ATTACK ON THE BLOCK review.

    United States nerds have two major predicable cultural weaknesses: Asian women (doesn’t matter which country) and British imports (previously only on local PBS stations) (also sometimes Asian entertainment). U.S. nerds have this weird everything British is instantly smarter/thus better than our dumb old entertainment. You will have some insist Monty Python is a super-sophisticated form of slap stick. Others insist that DOCTOR WHO is not a kid’s show and is really smart. Even older non-nerds are getting into it by saying DOWNTON ABBEY isn’t boring and is filled interesting characters and I’m being harsh by saying it’s a weekly show about boring rich assholes being boring rich assholes and it gives me no reason to care. Ridley Scott being British is a theory of mine as to why everyone keeps (over) praising him and insisting that BLADE RUNNER is a super-smart “deep” film (U.S. nerds always have to throw a “deep” in there somewhere, especially if talking about anime).

    On top of that a lot of these guys who love certain filmmakers, do so because they are nerds too and we like to see our own do good even though it’s obvious their quality has bottomed out (see Guillermo del Toro). Add that to a guy who talks about how awesome DEATH WISH movies are with a British accent and we are only so strong to resist.

    *Please note: despite how I’m wording this, I in no way am saying ‘I’m so above this and TOTALLY not a nerd you guys!’

    **I need to give WORLD’S END another shot.

  153. Forget what I said. Baby Driver is awesome but you all will hate it because you are awful people lol

  154. No you!

  155. From Vern’s Attack the Block review, I have to accept that there exists American nerds who love everything British, because they’re British. Re-reading it, he mentions talking to Americans who’ve gone so far as to adopt slang like “shite” and “wanker.” I’ve never encountered these people (I live in Toronto, maybe it’s specifically a US thing) but sure, I buy that they’re out there. Lumping in people who love Edgar Wright movies with this supposed subculture is bullshit, though. I have no great affection for Monty Python and I can’t stand Doctor Who, but Edgar Wright is one of my favorite directors.

    Really, Vern’s take on Edgar Wright movies is where I might disagree with him the most (well, that and his opinion on a certain TV show’s awesome theme song.) I cannot wrap my head around how he finds so much to like in every boring, staid, right-off-the-assembly-line movie that Clint Eastwood has directed since Unforgiven, and then so much to dislike in everything Edgar Wright does.

  156. I didn’t mean to lump every (non-UK) Wright fan as a crazy British fanboy. I just brought it up because of Vern has mentioned it a few times (btw I live in the U.S. South and I have heard people/nerds down here adopt UK slang) and the sites I used to go to where guilty of over-hyping his movies to the extreme. I don’t even dislike his movies and have admitted that I just don’t like them as much as everyone else seems to and his (US) fanbase is annoying. Thus I’m more acting negatively towards the hype/fans than his actually art. Which is not fair to him the artists or the art itself. I’d like to say that I’m getting better at not doing that (still working on it though). Hell, I was even down for him doing ANT MAN for Marvel Studios (another case where I’m more down on the fanbase than the movies themselves and thus come across as annoying anti-Marvel guy a lot of the time).

    Since I no longer go to said horrible movie news sites, I have read reasonable positive reviews on BABY DRIVER and thus do not feel like it has to cure poverty in order to meet (studio marketing department mandated) expectations and hope to be able to enjoy it on it’s own merits (like I’ve learned to do with Marvel Studio and Michael Bay movies).

  157. I don’t know why any of you listen to “the internet”. They’re the worst. This is literally the only fan base of internet talkers that I can stand to interact with.

    I like Wright and am excited for BABY DRIVER. I loved SHAUN and HOT FUZZ. I appreciated WORLD’S END more than loved it. I don’t think he’s the greatest thing ever, but I like his work. SCOTT PILGRIM is my least favorite but that one is outside my reference zone. I will remember until the day I die being in the balcony of the old Neptune theater here in Seattle when they showed regular movies and me and my friends totally losing it in SHAUN OF THE DEAD when they said, “We’re coming to get you, Barbara!” because that was before the internet took over the world and we had no idea anyone but us used that quote.

    I also have to admit to picking up slang from other cultures, places, etc. But I like words and using quirky words, so I hope I’m not one of those douche bags Vern talks about using shite and wanker. Both good words in my opinion.

  158. Yeah, there are Anglophiles here in the States who assume that if something comes from Great Britain, then it’s automatically the greatest thing ever. I may be wrong, but I think this is dying down some. I’ve seen a lot of backlash against that Sherlock show, for instance.

    I do think there are cultural differences that sometimes give British show runners and directors a bit more leeway than they have in the U.S. British film and television can be a bit darker and pessimistic than here in the U.S. I can’t imagine a TV show in the U.S. would ever have gotten away with the original ending to the U.K. Office, for instance.

    But at the same time, there was a brief moment where people were lumping Downton Abbey in with what I would consider more sophisticated shows like Mad Men when it was basically lame middlebrow entertainment. I also can only imagine that the veneer of Britishness is why The Imitation Game was up for best picture or why Eddie Redmayne is considered a good actor by the Academy. (I know that the Academy regularly rewards shitty movies and actors, but those are pretty extreme cases in my opinion).

  159. Never understood the grouchiness Wright seems to inspire around these parts. All he ever did was make four highly entertaining and fastidiously crafted genre comedies. Is that such a crime? I hate “the internet” too, but I don’t see how that’s poor Edgar Wright’s fault. Maybe you don’t think his movies are as good as they’re hyped to be (though I do; at the very least, the level of careful attention to detail in each screenplay is basically unequaled in modern mainstream filmmaking), but I have yet to hear anyone seriously claim that they’re not entertaining and well-crafted. If we can’t get excited about that, jeez, what can we get excited about?

  160. Edgar Wright’s movies have exceptionally tight scripts; nothing is wasted in his movies, almost every line is either setting up or paying off a joke. They are energetically directed and filled to the brim with visual gags. This makes them seem very refreshing next to most modern comedies, which are often loose, improvisational and indifferently shot. That’s why people like them. How is this such a mystery to you weirdos?

  161. In my defense, I liked all of Wright’s movies until WORLD’S END (which I liked the fights in). I just have always felt that everybody else liked them WAY MORE than me and it made me feel like there was something I was missing.

    But I honestly expect BABY DRIVER to be the one I love. It looks much more my speed. I’m hoping to be on the Wright train with everybody else.

  162. I’m indifferent about Wright. I don’t think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread but I also feel that his voice and storytelling methods are needed in cinema. I find him harmless. Back when the internet had people saying that SHAUN OF THE DEAD was one of the coolest things ever I ended up feeling the same way after seeing it. With that said I haven’t really seen anything else by him all this time. I’ve seen bits and pieces of his other movies but it’s never enough to make me want to actually sit down with the entire thing. It’s just there. With that said BABY DRIVER did look interesting to me as a lover of cars and car stunts. So it’s unfortunate to hear that in the end that really plays a smaller role in the final film than the trailers will suggest. Now I’ll just wait for cable.

  163. It’s more cat and mouse with cars which is interesting to me. Unpopular poison but the F&F movies are so boring to me because I don’t care about cars.

  164. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was stellar on this season of FARGO.

  165. She’s stellar in everything. I LOVE that lady. She was really great in the tv show Brain Dead last year. I highly recommend that if you haven’t seen it – the recaps of the previous episodes are the best thing ever. She was great in Cloverfield Lane or whatever that was called.

  166. I’d also like to sing the praises of Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She must work nonstop, because she pops up in a lot these days. I even started watching the Civil War hospital drama Mercy Street (which isn’t very good) in part because she was in it. But I think her crowning achievement will always be hot Mary Todd Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Also, check out Smashed if you have a chance. The movie does a good job of addressing alcoholism without turning into a TV movie special.

  167. Agree on Winstead.

    On the topic of actresses working non-stop: Naomi Watts is the lead in a 10-episode Netflix show that just got released. She must literally be going right from one set to the next. How did she have time to do that (and also appear multiple times in Twin Peaks) while still being the lead or a major supporting character of four movies every year?

    (I saw Baby Driver and loved it, btw, but will wait for Vern’s review to get more into it.)

  168. TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN was shot about 2 years ago. I agree that Winstead rocked it as Nikki Swango though.

  169. The movie, that put Winstead on my map, was SKY HIGH, which y’all should definitely check out, even if you have an allergy against Disney and Superhero movies. (It also stars Michael Angarano, Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell and a ton of other cool actors.)

  170. CJ: Of course I’ve seen SKY HIGH. It’s a Kurt Russel superhero movie written by the creators of KIM POSSIBLE.

    Winstead is always great. One of the few really dependable actors working today and one of the even fewer actors who’d convince me to maybe see a movie just based on the fact that they are in it. FARGO TV always gets great performances out of its actors, Winstead got to go the full gambit of range though from comedic, romantic, smitten, weirded out, etc. On a show with so many great things, even in the ‘least’ of all the seasons, she got to stand out in the pack right along with the always excellent David Thewlis.

  171. Okay, am I really the only one who thinks that season 3 of FARGO was much better than season 2? I liked season 2, but “Gang war in a small town” wasn’t really the most interesting story, compared to “Average Joe is seduced by the devil” and “Family feud turns ultra violent when one party strikes an accidental deal with gangsters”.

  172. My only problem with season 3 is that I thought they leaned a little too heavily on the LEBOWSKI references (Stranger-like magical philosopher in bowling alley, henchmen in flight jackets (one Chinese), peeing in mug (combines peeing on rug with throwing mug at the Dude), etc. I realized after a while that this is because I think of LEBOWSKI as being in a more comedic world than FARGO so it doesn’t jibe for me mentally to use it as a template for this reality. But that’s a completely personal thing and not a problem I expect everybody to have.

    If I had to choose a standout performer it would be Thewlis’s hilarious evil, but then you have Winstead, McGregor and Coons. And Stuhlbarg. They’re all fantastic.

    I love the Hollywood tangent because she’s following this trail that we know will not lead to the killer she’s looking for (since we already know who it is) but then we wonder if she’s onto something else entirely. The whole adventure is unrelated but makes her think of something, just like the Mike Yamagita scene in the movie.

    And of course the chase through the woods was the highlight of the season. I am a little iffy on the sort of magic shit that goes on in the bowling alley right after that, but that’s okay. I like that the show is never predictable.

    I also love when you see Varga’s coat in the elevator and for a second it seems like he just disappeared, Obi Wan Kenobi style.

    Season 1 is still my favorite – hard to top Thornton’s character, and it was just so consistent, like one long movie. But all three seasons are great. I hope Hawley thinks of a good enough idea for another one. Hopefully with a Solverson in it.

  173. Haven’t seen 3 yet but was underwhelmed by season 2 when I saw it a year ago. It popped up on netflix recently and I gave it another go round. Liked it a whole lot more. Didn’t mind the gang war sameness because I was enjoying the performances of Dunst, Donovan and especially Woodbine.

    I still have no idea what the appeal of Patrick Wilson is to anybody who likes actors to play a character with a distinct personality. Straight-A cop. Loving husband. Attentive father. Whoopee do. He was the Marge Gunderson of this season, but nowhere near as memorable as McDormand.

    I liked the UFO callback to THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE, and the allusion to Ted Danson being an x-files-type believer with his office full of alien symbols, and (spoiler) when he reveals to his daughter what they REALLY are, and his theory on communication between people of different languages as a means to avoid war and violence and suffering, well that was just a beautiful way to end the season.

  174. Yeah, they went a bit overboard with Coen references in general this season. It went from “Let’s put in some easter eggs for the fans” from “HEY HEY HEY, IT’S THE COEN BROS HOMMAGE SPECTACULAR!!!!!” in some episodes, but it wasn’t something that ruined the show. (Also I love when Hawley pulls some super ridiculous shit, like the bowling alley or the UFO in season 2 and they still insist that this is a true story.)

    If Thewlis doesn’t win every possible award this season, there is no justice. This was really some next level creep-out shit from an actor, who is never bad, but also rarely standing out.

  175. So am I the only one that realized that Varga did not pee in Sy’s mug but just rubbed his dick all in it?

  176. Thewlis doesn’t need any awards, this year he got to have a climatic fight with WONDER WOMAN. Surely that’s reward enough.

  177. Saw Baby Driver again. Yup, still awesome and best movie of year so far. Better win a sound editing award.

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