Today! Because we are Sex Bob-Omb and we are here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff –
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Michael Cera (x2), Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman (x5), Kieran Culkin, Ellen Wong, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Chris Evans (x2), Brandon Routh, Alison Pill (x2), Aubrey Plaza (x2), Johnny Simmons, Mark Webber, Satya Bhabha, Mae Whitman (x2), Thomas Jane (x3)
When I first saw Scott Pilgrim, I thought it was plenty funny but was just a little turned off by how adorably in love with itself it was. I had never read the comics, so I had nothing much to go on except Edgar Wright’s name and the solid big cast of funny folks, but it left me a little hollow. The video-game-ness of the whole thing was kinda distracting, and while there were tons of cool visuals, it didn’t seem to amount to much. I kind of enjoyed it, but pretty much wrote it off.
But then – like Blue Chips, Idiocracy, and Soapdish before it – I caught bits of it on TV all the time, which was quickly followed by watching it straight through to the end any time I ran across it, followed by talking it up to anyone who would listen. Somehow, once the plot machinations were no longer new, I could focus on the details that I had such a problem with before, and see what they added to the overall. And I found that the little touches didn’t bother me anymore – I still think them a bit much here and there, but all in all the whole thing works. The coins and the battle of the bands and punching the color out of Knives’ hair and the vegan powers and even the extra life – it all fits together pretty great.
And while I enjoyed Wright’s earlier Simon Pegg movies enough to get me basically interested in this bizarro film’s trailer, I’ve never been a huge devotee of his stuff. I’ve seen Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End once each, and I’m not sure I’ve ever sat through all of Hot Fuzz, which I know is a huge oversight. So for me, it’s this and Baby Driver and anxiously awaiting what he does next (oh jeez, it’s not another Pegg movie, is it? Look, Simon Pegg is fine, but I think I’ve never gotten around to Hot Fuzz because I got a little burned out on his shtick, between the other Wright films and the Star Treks and the Mission: Impossibles and yes, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. This is probably hugely unfair to Simon Pegg. I’ll get over it).
How would one go about picking an MVP from this group?! My God, you’ve got Oscar winner Brie Larson’s great turn as Scott’s big ex Envy, Alison Pill as Scott’s other ex/Sex-Bob-Omb drummer, Chris Evans and Cera’s Arrested Development co-star Mae Whitman are the best of Ramona’s exes, hell – Winstead’s Ramona Flowers herself is incredible, but if you’ve ever talked to me about this movie for more than five minutes (and that probably includes a lot more people than I realize), you know who I’m going with:
Look, I love Ramona – who the hell doesn’t? – but I never understood why Scott would end up with her. I think it’s the one major flaw in the movie – not to spoil the whole game or anything. And look, it’s still wall-to-wall awesome, but the fact that the original filmed ending – you can watch it on the Blu Ray – has him reunite with Knives and they chose not to use it baffles me beyond words. I get Scott has to go through all these trials to, like, win Ramona, and I know that the books also end this way, but the obvious best thing is that Knives was there from the beginning, and just liked him for who he was. It makes for a better, more complete, more logical ending. Shit, why the hell would Knives show back up at the end to help defeat Gideon if she’s just getting tossed aside again, no matter how okay with it they make her? I call bullshit.
Ellen Wong is also great on Netflix’s GLOW.
(There were also alleged plans for another alternate ending, where the whole thing was a dream and Scott’s a serial killer – which sounds kind of amusing, but fuck that, it would’ve been a horrible main ending.)
This late in the list, it should come as no surprise the number of new and advancing folks, but this also serves as the first (and maybe only?) film for a bunch of principles, including Winstead, Larson, Kendrick, and Wong, but leading the way is the film’s big bad and new Five-Timer Jason Schwartzman (#319 Darjeeling Limited, #212 Funny People, #372 Walk Hard, and #124 Moonrise Kingdom)! Spotlight!