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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quote of the Day - 8/15/10

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I'm gonna be up front with you all.  Though I risk losing some e-credibility by speaking my mind on a movie that's become a uniting beacon of righteousness for self-proclaimed internet "nerds" everywhere; I have to say that there's something about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World that just didn't work for me.  My mind wants to blame Michael Cera, who's been playing the same Michael Cera since being birthed by Jason Bateman in the early part of the 21st Century.  Maybe it's the fact that I'm from Iowa, or the fact that I'm fat, or the fact that I don't wear faded t-shirts with logos on them, but there's just something about the guy that I can't really relate to at all.

But I don't think Cera's the entire problem I have with the film.  I've very much enjoyed Superbad, Arrested Developement, and Juno, and in each of those cases I felt Cera was essential to the material's success.  Seeing him pushed as a hero here doesn't work for me, but after pondering the film for a day I'm left thinking that he had less to do with that concern than I originally thought.  The more I think about the film, the more I realize the story - as adapted from a comic - comes off as another lazy love story that assumes that "quirky" characters don't need to be deep or interesting as individuals.
 Should I really be looking for something deeper in a Hot Topic-friendly comic adaptation?  Maybe not.  The story centers on apparently unemployed 22-year old Scott Pilgrim (Cera), who's part of a band and is dating a 17 year old Chinese girl (Ellen Wong, who seems to be having a ton of fun in one of the film's better roles).  He doesn't want to be dating her from the start, so when he sees Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) at a party, he falls in love with her.  Apparently she's literally the girl of his dreams (there's a funny line about some kind of subconscious hallway that's never expanded on), so he begins that stalker love trend we've seen since John Cusack bought a boombox.  Ramona has her defenses set to receive, and thus they begin dating, only to find that Scott has to fight Ramona's 7 Evil Exes before he can date her.

It's a fun story, but people are reacting to these characters as if they're family members or loved ones, and I don't get why.  The side characters are pretty entertaining, but there's little aside from Scott's t-shirt collection and knowledge of music (a must for any prospective romantic stalker) and Ramona's changing hair colors that make their relationship any different from any other characters in teen films.  Director extraordinaire Edgar Wright does a fine job of blurring this dynamic with his skillful recreation of the hip/indie scene and video game love that was expected from the film, but after the film ended and I thought about it for a few hours, the underlying plot seemed like just another film in which infatuation is assumed to be synonymous with love.

From an entertainment standpoint, I wasn't disappointed with Scott Pilgrim as a film.  There's a lot of fun action, cool special effects, and some great moments where side characters steal the show.  Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, and Brandon Routh all bring laughs; and a cameo by one of my favorite dudes (I won't name names, but I've been saying that he makes every movie better since Deep Blue Sea) was the highlight of the film for me.
Maybe I'm just the jaded dude who's sick of Cera's shtick and lazy "romances".  I laughed at the film, I enjoyed Edgar Wright's direction (though the pacing seemed a bit slow at times), and admire the originality of it all.  But when the whole story is about a guy fighting for the woman he loves and we know next to nothing that makes the guy or the woman interesting, I start to wonder what people see that I don't.

Maybe Scott Pilgrim will become more likeable to me on repeat viewings - it definitely offered enough fun and originality for me to give it another chance - but for now I'm left feeling disconnected from that which is supposedly so incredibly cool.  I guess I really am from Iowa.

(P.S. - Yes, I'm aware there's an Iowan in the movie.  But he graduated from high school with more than 57 people and probably never fed a pig.)

(P.P.S. - One last serious question: Is the music Scott and his band "play" really supposed to be "good"?)

We're going to Disneyland!

Well...when I say Disneyland, I mean Disney World.  And when I say we, I mean Narcosleepy and The H-Bomb.  Not The Mike, of course.  Who else is gonna hold the internet down?

So, the married half of (O)PP's staff are gone away for a week, leaving myself and our mysterious fourth blogger to take the steering wheel of this site and drive it straight into your hearts.  Like a stake, only of happiness. 

The duo will be checking in from time to time (I won't drop names, but one of them already texted me to say "There are huge boobs everywhere at disney."), but you might expect a bit less from us over the next week.  Between last week's craziness and this week's vacation, we've all been a little swamped.

In the meantime, I want to take care of some housekeeping duties.  Big thanks to Zach of and Morgan of The Kid in the Hall for spreading some love to (O)PP during our first few weeks.  Your support is greatly appreciated!

So, since I'm running this mofo at present, do y'all have anything you want from (O)PP?  More movies, more music, less videos, etc.?  Please let us know (like, you could even use the comments below or the facebook or the twitter!), so we can keep having fun and rocking your universe!

(For example, I'll be giving y'all my controversial review of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World tonight!  BEWARE!)