So, let me be up front about this. I've been a terrible nerd this year. I've barely seen any movies in the theater, let alone that many midnight showings, I can't get my girlfriend into Firefly, and I started this blog thing that I keep 'forgetting' to update.
Pretty typical, as nerds go, I suppose. But then, like a typical nerd, I find something new to be obsessed over. This time, it's Scott Pilgrim. Having devoured all six volumes of the graphic novel, I've been awaiting the movie adaptation since I saw the preview in late January, geek fires stoked on by the knowledge that it's directed by Edgar Wright, he of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, two of my very favoritest movies ever. I expected editing that would give Orson Welles ADD, super-intelligent lines delivered at breakneck speed, and fight scenes that would make The Matrix not only cry, but give it all up and wonder why they hired this Keanu guy anyway.
What I wasn't expecting was a love affair to my generation, a symposium of light, sound and gay jokes aimed directly at the frontal lobes of anyone who came into orbit of a video game in the 80s and 90s. Using the plot-line of the novels as a loose jumping point, Wright launches us into the reality of a true comic book movie, textualized sound effects flashing across the scream as bass notes are slapped out, fists collide into faces, and in true video game fashion, villains explode into coins (though not enough for bus fare home). While the plot-line strays from the comics, it never leaves its roots, and how can you? A slacker musician nerd fighting a succession of seven bad-asses to win a girl's love? It's a bit hard to get wrong.
Some characters are lost in the fray, as are some awesome quips ('Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it in the balls'), but I've always loved how Edgar Wright makes you feel for the characters in their trials and woes by making you laugh along with them, and his adaptation of Brian Lee O'Malley's varied and colorful cast is no disappointment. Some saw fault with Micheal Cera's casting of the titular hero, I realized him to be perfect for the role. We spend so much time seeing Pilgrim as a bad-ass in the comic we forget that he spends whatever time he's not fighting Evil Exes to be slacking, hitting on Asian high schoolers, and generally failing at life. Cera brought out the loser in Pilgrim, and in return, Pilgrim brought out the Holy Shit factor in Cera.
I've seen it twice now, and I fully intend to see it again, then buy it on Blu-Ray and it's accompanying digital download and watch the shit out of if on hi-def TVs and my iPod Classic on lunch-breaks (just noticed, whenever spellcheck underlines something, I tend to choose the hyphenated option. I wonder why). I've bought the complete deluxe soundtrack and listened to little else in the past two weeks. I've even picked up the guitar and started trying to get my poor widdle fingers used to fingering the wire, keen on having all the fun that Scott's band, Sex Bob-Omb is clearly having on screen.
Having gone to the midnight showing, I have to say it was probably the most fun I've ever had in a theater. The crowd's reaction to the film was sublime, cheering every win, laughing like hell at Scott's gay roommate Wallace, and even applauding the theme-appropriate treatment of the Universal logo. I highly doubt The Expendables got that kind of response the next theater over.
Sometimes, heroes inspire us. But only my generation could find a hero in a loser like Scott Pilgrim.
Scott fights for a girl
Ramona's exes will pay
Slap your bass, Fight, Win!