“Scott Pilgrim” Thoughts

Technical difficulties this week prevented me from voicing my thoughts on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, so I thought I’d do it here.

I didn’t love the film as much as Matt did, but I did like it a lot.  It felt like a goofy comic-book walking tour of my early 20s, steeped in metaphors based on the emotions of that time in my life.  I have a suspicion that (in addition to the awful trailer) is why it failed at the box office.  They were marketing it toward the high school and college crowd, but the film works better if you have some self-awareness and emotional distance.  The film is largely ridiculing the way men and women behave at this time in their lives–everyone in the movie is sort of a horrible person, with the possible exception of Knives Chau (who’s pretty much delusional).  People in their late teens and early 20s have that heady combination of feeling like they know everything and like they’re completely invincible, physically and emotionally.  A film that mostly mocks them will just make them angry.  “This movie doesn’t get it, maaaaan.”

But it does.  Oh, does it ever.  Despite the goofy, over-the-top nature of the film, this film has more moments of truth and sparked more bad memories than any romantic comedy that’s come out in the past decade.  Maybe it’s too hard to market a film about 22-year-olds to an older crowd, or maybe Universal just doesn’t want to market to anyone older than 25.  I’m not sure.  That would certainly explain why they make so many shitty movies about 40-year-olds acting like emotionally unstable 15-year-olds.

At any rate, the humanity of the story is what really made it work for me, although Edgar Wright uses every visual trick in his arsenal to make the film look like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  No amount of sugary gloss can polish a turd, but there’s a solid story and interesting, well-acted characters.  I also appreciated Wright for not fetishizing the characters’ nerdiness.  Their nerdy interests are simply a part of who they are–nobody takes pride in their geekiness, nobody has long-winded Kevin Smith pop-culture combinations to prove their geeky street cred.  As a nerd, I’m kind of sick of “geek chic” pandering to my alleged interests.  To paraphrase Seymour in Ghost World: “Why would I want someone who shares my interests?  I hate my interests.”

My major gripe is mainly theoretical.  I liked this movie a lot because I related to it.  As a nerdy male who played in bands and dated an unending rabble of chaotic women, this felt like a wacky variation of my own personal story.  However, not everyone is me, and I honestly didn’t feel like the film did a great job of making itself available to outsiders.  It’s very esoteric, and Scott and Ramona remain ciphers for most of the film.  So I can easily understand moviegoers not buying into the central relationship.  If you can’t relate to that particular attraction, the film doesn’t do the greatest job of selling it.  It simply wants us to accept that this character we barely know is obsessed with this other character we barely know for reasons that don’t merely involve her crazy hair and nice rack.

I did like the movie a lot, though.  Hopefully, it’ll find a nice audience on DVD.

posted by D. B. Bates in Uncategorized and have No Comments

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