An Epic of Epic Epicness

Original Post Date: January 13th, 2012

Author’s Note: Ah, Scott Pilgrim.  This film still holds up for me today…for the most part. Though there are obviously parts that could be considered non-woke in 2018.

Chronologically, this post came before “Even a God-King can Bleed”, so it’s amusing to see the NFL playoff optimism that came before quite a fall. The Dude abides, man.

If you’re an NFL football fan, there are some great showdowns lined up for this weekend. All the regular season games have led to this moment and, hopefully, to the Super Bowl. But first, we need to whittle down the playing field until only two teams remain. On Saturday, you have the New Orleans Saints (13-3) battling against the San Francisco 49ers (also 13-3), as well as the Denver Broncos (8-8) looking to silence the New England Patriots (13-3). Not to be outdone, Sunday offers the Houston Texans (10-6) looking to pick up their second (ever) playoff victory…this time, against the Baltimore Ravens (12-4). Finally, we have my personal favorite: the Green Bay Packers (15-1) playing the New York Giants (9-7) in what could be the game of the weekend.

Will the vaunted 49ers defense be able to shut down Drew Brees and the Saints offense? Has the clock struck midnight on Tebow Time? Will Joe Flacco put the Ravens on top, and get the respect he’s looking for? Will the Packers get revenge for the 2007 NFC Championship game? All of these games have the potential to be very exciting, whether you’re a fan of “Tebow”, “The Belt”….or even just #ManningFace.

With all this going on, you may find it difficult to find time to squeeze in a movie. But, hey: maybe you only care about one of these teams. Maybe your team has already been eliminated. Maybe you’re not a big football fan. Circumstances may vary. So, in keeping with the spirit of Playoffs Weekend, I am here to offer a knock-down, drag-out throw-down of another type. Billed as “An Epic of Epic Epicness”, I present to you:

 “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)

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“We are Sex Bob-Omb, and we’re here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff!”

– Scott Pilgrim

“Man, again? Can’t I think about kittens and tacos this time?”

– DirectingTitan

OK, so you’ve just met the girl/boy/robot/houseplant of your dreams. They’re smart, attractive, funny. What do you do next? Take them out to a fancy dinner at some 5 star restaurant? Spend an evening waiting in line at the hot new club in town? Show them your stamp collection? (Don’t do that last part. Trust me on this one…)

“In the mysterious land of Toronto, Canada”…if your name happens to be Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) and the object of your desire happens to be Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)…then you’ve got a bit more work to do. Naturally, you’re going to have to defeat her seven evil exes in deadly combat. I mean, come on, doesn’t everyone? I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened to me.  And these aren’t just any exes. “Pirates” with mystical powers and an army of Demon Hipster Chicks, skateboarding Hollywood action stars… and twins? Yes, Ramona dated twins.

Our hero Scott spends a lot of time jamming with his garage band, Sex-Bob-Omb. Joining him are his bandmates Stephen Stills (“The Talent”) and everyone’s favorite “smokin’ redhead” on drums, Kim Pine. There’s also his roommate, Wallace Wells, and Young Neil, an additional hanger-on who…well….hangs on. When he’s not laying down tunes with his buds, Scott is also an avid gamer. Other than that…..hmm. Well, that’s about all he does. The man may have no job or ambition, but at least his priorities are in order, right?

Currently, Scott is spending his days with a high school girl named Knives Chau. Poor Knives is quite taken with Scott, who seems to both sponging off her for arcade tokens/food and using her as a crutch to get over Envy Adams, the ex-girlfriend who broke his heart and cast the pieces to the four winds. Enter Ramona Flowers, the rainbow-haired Amazon.ca delivery girl who skates her way into Scott’s heart (and head), leaving him at a loss in regards to how best to proceed.

Do Scott and Ramona have a future together? What to do about Knives? Is Scott truly over Envy Adans? Why are all these people fighting each other? Will Scott ever get a job?? If Scott can find it within himself to defeat all of Ramona’s exes, including head baddie/record executive Gideon Graves (Everyone’s favorite, Jason Schwartzman), he may have a shot at winning Ramona’s heart. In order to achieve this, however, Scott has a lot of leveling up AND growing up to do first.

Hey, DT! Convince me! So…why: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World?

First of all, allow me to admit that I am extremely biased. I was already a big fan of the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels, written by Bryan Lee O’Malley. There are six volumes in all, yet they are effectively squished by director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc) into a 112 minute film. I was already a big fan of Edgar’s based on his previous work, but this movie has helped to make him one of my favorite directors. I strongly recommend checking out the graphic novels if you’re looking for a quick, fun read. Check your local library! (Shameless plug.)

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was also one of the major attractions featured at San Diego Comic-Con during the summer of 2010, which I was fortunate enough to attend. This was my first visit to Comic-Con and, due to my current finances, I don’t see myself being able to make it back for quite some time. Therefore, I was determined to budget my time accordingly and only see the events I really wanted to see. The “Scott Pilgrim Experience”, as they called it, was high on my list.

Although I had nothing to do with the actual making of this project, I still consider it a baby of mine. I was there at the beginning stages. I waited in outdoor lines in the San Diego sunshine with scores of others nerds for hours just to make it into “The Scott Pilgrim Experience.” I was wearing a Philadelphia Flyers hoodie to avoid the sunburn I knew that I would get as a result. (And burn I did! I’m pale.) I ate the free garlic bread they passed out to ease the wait, and deliriously considered attempting to snatch some from my fellow line mates. I scored a free Sex-Bob-Omb t-shirt. I met Alison Pill (Kim Pine) and Mark Webber (Stephen Stills). I babbled like a starstruck ass. Author Bryan Lee O’Malley shook my hand, complimented me on the Pilgrim shirt I had brought from New Jersey, and mentioned he hadn’t even seen that design yet. Pill, Webber, O’Malley AND Edgar Wright signed a poster for me which, unfortunately, is still in its cardboard tube, waiting for me to frame it.

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Edgar Wright signs an autograph. My arm is in this picture!

It was because of this film that I also met two awesome friends from Australia, while waiting in (yet another) at Hall H. Hall H, you see, is the giant auditorium used for the larger events. It doesn’t get cleared out between Comic-Con events (of which there are many), so if you’re planning on catching something in Hall H…you need to be in line several hours in advance. As an aside, someone was stabbed in the eye with a pen in Hall H, the day after I attended. This is neither here nor there, but is still worth a mention. Seriously. A pen. It made the news and everything.

The point I am trying to make, while simultaneously reminiscing, is that this is a movie that is very close to my heart. There are some great laughs to be had and lessons to be learned, and you can have fun while doing so. It won’t make you think too hard, and it doesn’t insult your intelligence. It won’t beat you over the head with a heavy moral code. It’s a treat for the gamer and nerd in all of us. Those of us who were never really interested in video games or music may find it nonsensical or difficult to comprehend. However, you will find just as many people, if not more, who feel Scott Pilgrim vs the World is destined to reach cult classic status…if it hasn’t already. It didn’t rock the box office and, as far as I know, there are no planned sequels. But, in the grand scheme of things, there is more to a successful movie than how much money it makes or how many installments it gets. The true success of a movie is measured in how many people it touches and how many lives it influences. And Scott Pilgrim gets the job done.

In the end, all you can do is give it a fair shot. Which I sincerely hope you do.

Now that you’re here, check out:

The star-studded cast: There is an impressive group of actors and actresses in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and half the fun is trying to match names with faces and remembering where you last encountered them. I won’t spoil your fun by giving you a cheat sheet, but it’s worth a trip to IMDB afterward to see if you got them all…or missed a few. Trust me, there are some great moments and hilarious quotes contained in this film and, to me, it was cast almost perfectly.

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From the Comic-Con panel I attended, it really sounded like the cast had a blast making the film and regarded it as a great experience. Some cast members have since seen more roles offered to them, while some have gotten the opportunity to create & share their own films (see Mark Webber’s The End of Love, which will debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival). Author Bryan Lee O’Malley has stated that Scott’s story is finished, and he is hard at work on his next project. Still, based on all the Scott Pilgrim questions he receives on Twitter, who knows if Scott will make another appearance someday. And those who need more Pilgrim in their life are encouraged to download Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

The soundtrack: The original motion picture soundtrack has a lot of audio goodness to offer. It’s made up of songs that O’Malley enjoyed during the creation of his graphic novels, as well as music that Edgar Wright grooved to while directing the film. Last but not least, it also contains some original songs from Beck, Metric and Broken Social Scene. The soundtrack also features tracks from The Rolling Stones, Frank Black, T-Rex and even Sex-Bob-Omb (Yes, Sex-Bob-Omb…with vocals by Mark Webber/Stephen Stills).

Who brings a DVD to a gunfight? You do (If it’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World):

For those who read last week’s review of Miracle and desired a bit more “crunch” in their movie-going experience, look no further. Do fireballs, psychic vegans, 50 hit combos and frequent KNOCKOUTS interest you? Do shiny golden coins interest you? How about dueling bass guitars? Of course they do! Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will give you all of this and more, including numerous stunt doubles, rampaging monsters and plenty of “bosses” for you video game lovers.

And no, there is no logical explanation for the rampant battles that seem to began at the drop of a hat. Or the monsters. Or the fact that villains turn into currency when they are defeated. Or the fact that all these dangerous ladies are irresistibly attracted to Michael Cera. Just go with it. But don’t try it at home.

This is the end…

So, whether you’re taking a break from football this weekend or avoiding it like the plague, give Scott Pilgrim vs. the World a shot. Don’t be afraid to let your geek flag fly. After all, I did…and I’m a richsuccessful blogger now! There’s no shame in it, and you may end up enjoying yourself. It is up to you to decide which films you dig and which films you’ll skip over. Put your feet up, throw on that old Space Invaders or Pixies t-shirt and try something new. See if you can count the numerous geeky references over the course of the film. Grab the closet person and argue vehemently that the movie/book is better than the book/movie. Tell all your friends that you were there before Scott Pilgrim was cool. Think back and remember your first Ramona (or Scott) experience. Or, just relax and enjoy an “Epic of Epic Epicness.” PS: Coins are for spending, not for eating.

– DT

 

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