Saturday, August 31, 2013

63. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Code-name: Graphic Novel Triumph
Director: Edgar Wright (yeah, the same dude who did all those Simon Pegg movies, totally fooled me)
Type: Nerdgasmic Fantasy, Romance, Comedy

[Sex Bob-omb]
Scot Pilgrim- Michael Cera
Kim- Alison Pill
Stephen- Mark Webber
Young Neil- Johnny Simmons

[Scott's girlfriends]
Ramona Flowers- Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Knives Chau-Ellen Wong
Envy Adams- Brie Larson

[The League of Evil Exes]
Matthew Patel (the "pirate")- Satya  Bhabha
Lucas Lee (the movie star) Chris Evans
Roxy Richter (bi-curious lover)- Mae Whitman
Todd Ingram (the vegan)- Brandon Routh
Ken Katayanagi- Shota  Saito
Kyle Katayanagi- Keita Saitou
Gideon- Jason Schwartzman

Scott's Roommate, Wallace- Kieran Culkin
Scott's sister, Stacey Pilgrim- Anna Kendrick
Julie Powers- Aubrey Plaza
Comeau [knows everybody]- Nelson Franklin

Write-up/Play-by-play: it a little too late to give warning for my NERD ALERT cuz, based on how I over organized the cast list, I've already crossed that threshold :-P
And I practically give the whole movie away, so be warned if you haven't seen it yet.

Something as nerdtastic as this movie, you kinda have to go all out. Or as "out" as you can get even though you hadn't seen the movie in ages.

I remember seeing the trailers and just not getting it. I thought it was going to be so stupid, etc, etc.
I remember the exact night I gave it a chance and changed my mind completely within seconds...

Lady Gaga's Monster Ball was premiering on HBO and I had to kill the 2 hour period beforehand.
Both were clear triumphs in my mind, but there are few things I love more in movies that unexpected pleasures like this. Going into a movie and experiencing it not only made me like it, but I LOVED it.

Apparently it IS based on a series of 6 graphic novels written by Bryan Lee O'Malley. IMDB says he came up with the idea between two notions coming together.
a) if you found yourself having to fight for your life like the "Street Fighter" games you frequently play, and;
b) while dating his future wife, he found out she dated three guys named Matthew... the League of Matthews eventually evolved into the League of Evil Exes

Personally, my gaming style is more on the side of RPG and platform gaming... Spyro the Dragon, Jak & Daxter, and the Pokémon series... as well as some of the old school arcade games like Galaga and Pac-Man
But I can still appreciate the gaming references in this game for the sheer fact I am a bit of a geek :-P

As if some of my recent movie choices haven't given that away entirely :-P

This movie checks into my countdown just ahead of "Zombieland" because it is purely fun geek-dom that I wouldn't mind experiencing 100's of times... opposed to maybe half that with "Zombieland."

It's also a cut above "Zombieland" because the post-production touches go beyond the rules.
Every little second of this movie has some sort of add-in that makes you feel like you're inside a graphic novel. To me, that's just mind-blowingly awesome. There's no way to describe it other than it being a "full-blown nerdgasm"... opposed to the occasional nerdgasm "Zombieland" provides.

The video game references involved range from Street Fighter to Dance Dance Revolution to Zelda to, again, Pac-Man.
Only a dude as nerdy as Michael Cera could think of using the origin of "Pac-Man" as his pick-up line.

And for the record, I did know about that story... how Pac-Man was originally Puck-Man and they changed the name because people could tamper with it to make it obscene :-P
Although I didn't know "Puck" derived to the Japanese word for "to flap one's mouth".

Before going any father, I have to give credit to Nigel Godrich who put together the music in this movie. I'm not a heavy metal or punk type of music junkie, but it works so well in this capacity.
I mean, what's geekier than underground punk music? It's just as much an exclusive club of fans as I understand it.

Sex Bob-omb is such a kick-ass name too. That's a reference to a Mario villain that looks like a bomb with legs and eyeballs.... which reminds me, I forgot that Paper Mario was among the video games I play.
What supposedly sets them apart from the other bands in the underground scene is the fact they have a female drummer... until they go to one of the battle of the bands and finds out one of the other bands has a female drummer.

The previous time I saw Alison Pill in a movie was "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" and her character Kim couldn't be anymore different from Ella Fitzgerald. Kim is a bundle of joy, and I mean that in the most sarcastic way ;) as sarcastic as she speaks her lines, which is VERY.

I didn't think too much of Michael Cera before this movie. To be honest, I still don't. I saw him in "Juno" and thought he was a good guy. He played up the nerdy guy archetype to the max. And afterwards, I took the time to see "Superbad" (which I hated because Jonah Hill played such a jerk) and "Youth in Revolt," which wasn't meant to be a good movie in the first place.
Word is, though, he is great in that 2013  film "This is the End"... until he was a casualty of the impeding apocalypse.
Between him and Jesse Eisenberg, I take Jesse a little more seriously and he's the better looking of the two.

Scott Pilgrim is meant to be the quintessential nerdy guy who is likely to die a virgin because no respecting girl would be with him.
At least that's the way I interpret it... not that I believe all nerdy guys are doomed to die virgins. That's just the wildly accepted stereotype.

However, he begins this movie in a relationship...  with a 17-girl Chinese school girl named Knives Chau.
As a sucker for Japanese animation, I responded to that almost immediately and couldn't wait to see what was next.
Obviously, Ramona Flowers is what happens.

Funny enough, Scott sees Ramona in a dream... so she IS his "dream girl," but it turns out that she's real. Right now, he's into her and more or less forgets he's together with Knives.
He breaks this off sooooo awkwardly, but it certainly isn't the first time we see Knives in the movie. Which is awesome because she's one of my favorite characters. You will never find a more enthaustic fangirl for an underground band nobody's heard of ;)
I also thought her to be the girl in the latest Peppermint Patty ads, but that's another actress entirely :-P my bad... goes to show how much I loved the character and this movie.

Scott meets Ramona, who has pink hair.
That resonated with me because of the sheer fact another movie on my list features a girl who wears a pink wig to hid her identity when she's not posing as someone else.

They don't exactly hit it off right away, but once they do, she tells him that he may have to defeat her 7 evil exes if they're going to be together.

And so it begins....

In the oddest of times, most of which happen the same night Sex Bob-omb has a gig... the evil exes arrive to fight Scott to the death.

Matthew Patel is more of a Street Fight, ending with a direct hit and him bursting into a pile of coins.

Lucas Lee is on the set of his latest movie. Scott happens to be there because she's hanging out with his roommate Wallace (who is gay-stalking him)..
Wallace steals the show more than once, probably one of the most hilarious characters in the movie. He also happens to be at the center of several running jokes in the movie. The one that had my jaw dropping in hilarity was where Scott shoots out of bed, followed by Wallace and his boyfriend(s). What's really insane is when Wallace makes eyes at Scott's sister's boyfriend and within 10 minutes, they're making out. Almost as if Wallace's presence frees closeted gays from the closet.

Scott manages to beat Lucas in a skateboard challenge and wins when Lucas overshoots his bounds and gets himself "killed".
...with the exception of the final ex, there is no blood in any of these altercations.

Another "gag" throughout the movie is Ramona's changing hair color.
After defeating Matthew Patel, her hair is blue the next time Scott sees her. He gets so bent out of shape about it (perhaps more that she's nonchalant about the change and didn't tell him).

Once Knives finds out about her, she dyes her hair half blue in an attempt to win Scott back. Unfortunately, in the one of the "evil ex" confrontations, she gets the dye punched out of her hair. She looked good with the blue, but it is my favorite color.

A few victories later, her hair changes to green, which doesn't look nearly as good as pink and blue.

On multiple occasions, Ramona corrects Scott, emphasizing that she has 7 "exes," opposed to ex-boyfriends... this distinction helps include Roxy in the movie... Ramona helps Scott with that fight because, evil ex or not, he doesn't want to hit a girl.
The "bi-furious" line was the only one I remembered from the trailers and I say, ain't nothin' wrong with that 8-)

Another villain featured in the movie was Scott's ex-girlfriend Envy Adams, who left Sex Bob-omb for another band. For a short time, she holds power over Scott, but after defeating her vegan boyfriend (another evil ex) Todd Ingram, that gets taken care of.
Supposedly being vegan gives you superpowers, but because Scott slips him coffee with half and half, his powers get revoked by the vegan police.
I know, totally weird, but who really cares at this point?

Envy also incurred one of my favorite running gags. She would make a comment about Scott's hair getting shaggy and a split second later, you'd see him hiding it under a knit hat :-P

Not did they have all these cool post-production touches with various words and video-game widgets on the screen throughout the movie, but the editing was so sharp from scene to scene... giving it a pace so fast you can't help but pay attention to everything going on.
Another great moment, which a few people loaded to YouTube, is where Scott jumps out the window to escape facing Knives... a moment later, Wallace says Scott isn't around.

The Katayanagi twins show up at another battle of the bands and take on Sex Bob-omb. It's a battle of guitars vs. keyboards, monsters vs. dragons. Ultimately, Scott comes out on top again, only to lose Ramona to Gideon... who happens to be Gman, the person Sex Bob-omb was hoping would sign them to his record label if he liked them.

Gideon would prove to be the toughest ex to defeat (also one of the coolest characters, even with how annoyingly arrogant he can be) and it would take EVERYONE to defeat him... including Knives, who fights alongside Scott in the style of their favorite arcade game, which combines ninja skills and dance dance revolution.

Once it's all finished, it felt like a very open-ended deal. Would Scott choose Knives because their final battle showed them to be the better team? Or would he choose Ramona, who he fought this entire movie to be with?
Knives makes the final choice and pushes Scott to Ramona... and there you have it.

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