Friday, August 27, 2010

scott pilgrim

let's take a break from videogames. for me. for you. for us. Most nights recently, the TV has been occupied in the evening and into the night. And I'm working now, so  I don't really have any time or opportunities to really put in quality time with games. Therefore I will be using movies as fuel for today's entry because I like the mental flow created by writing. It's fun to do as I like exploring my own psyche and finding out why I think things I think. Let my say before I get all up in this thing that if you don't know me in person, me and all of my friends and most of my relatives kind of have this joke about me. I usually will declare that I don't like...stuff. It's a normal joke in our group(s) that I'm the guy that hates everything, but I've written about this. it's in there up and in that sidebar.
Before I say this, I just want to say (don't get excited) that I kind of liked it. I didn't love it, which kind of disappointed me. I am capable of loving movies, but theyre VERY rare. Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino do it to me most of the time and to a lesser extent Jim Cameron. I didn't know what to expect, but I was aware of a possibility of disappointment. OK wait. I'm kind of confusing myself. Starting over. I lllllllllliiiiiiiiiiikeeeedddddddddd (ouch) this movie, and I was kind of expecting to. I did not love it as much as I was hoping, but where that usually makes me dislike it out of disappointment, that didn't happen in this case. I was able to enjoy it for what I was able to enjoy, and walked out thinking it was pretty good. My psychological tendencies wanted me to look at the movie negatively, but I couldn't because I still liked it. It didn't stir anything special up in me and it's not going in my favorites list, but I still can consider it good. BREAKDOWN!
1. Visual style
Hands down, I can say this was good. No confusion, no complicated emotion about it. It is the single best integration of comic book comedic pacing and live action ever. This is how you use modern-day technology to help to tell a story and give a unique identity (or whatever) instead of pulling a transformers. It's actually kind of uncanny. The "pace" of comedy that results from reading a comic book is eerily replicated using spot-on timing with punchlines. Visual effects are thrown in at just the right time to enhance a given line to make it feel right. The dialogue actually reads like a comic, but this doesn't keep it from working as a movie. Things like the letter "D" shooting out of a bass  guitar seamlessly bond and hybridize real life and book like an sp3 carbon. The style, game sound effects, pace  and such were "spoiled" for me, which kind of watered down the effect they had on me, but I still had some fun playing the NES/Sega recognition game. While I never really got immersed (oddly), the fight scenes at least did that thing to me where you wanna throw an air punch. I kind of look at that as a more superficial immersion, but I can't say it didnt happen. It embarasses me to admit that kind of thing. You win this one, movie. Oh, before I forget. I'm not really into the hipster Wolfmother-type rock culture that this movie lives in (using that band name probably proves that), but it didn't necessarily bother me. It did nothing to enhance my experience and I felt like I was missing out because that's not what I like, but hey not everything is for me.
2. Story
Like I said, I already knew that the movie was kind of structured like a videogame, meaning it was a linear series of "boss fights". This was fine with me, as I like that story structure even if movies that use it haven't wowed me as much as I would expect them to. I tend to cling to things that work as theories and have real potential, like Sonic the Hedgehog. I don't care what anyone says, I'm still rooting for him, Wii games or not. Back on topic --  Movies like The Warriors, Battle Royale and such weren't as badass as their "boss fight" structures sounded, but they were still good (I'm still trying to get my hands on the Running man). So, no real complaints there, but nothing to write home about. The fights were well coreographed and all, but that's usually not something I'm into. Enjoyable, but peripheral. As far as the love story goes, I liked it well enough, but like the rest of the film somehow it just didn't light me up the way I think it did other people. I feel like a lot of people responded to it the way I did to 500 Days of Summer. Where I really bought into the love story in that movie, somehow I never really did the same here. If it had been up to me, I would have structured it so that (like a videogame), Scott had been dating Ramona for a long time already.  Then the big bad comes in and Fs it all up, declaring that if he wants to keep dating her he has to fight. Rather than try to do the boss confrontations and the love story at the same time, they could have saved themselves the effort. Again, the love story in SPvTW, like the whole movie, was good. I can't call it bad even though it's much more convenient to do that. I'm actually giving it more grief in text than I'm actually holding for it in my head. It receives a passing grade from me, and maybe a wink and nod.
3. Characters, actors
Another part of the film I genuinely enjoyed. Whatever small gripes I may have about select characters (I'm with the people who say Scott is kinda hard to sympathize with), I can at least say it was cast with great skill. Hands down, my favorite character/actor was Keiran Culkin as the gay roomate. Like many I was glad to see him defy the usual archetypes, but that was just a nice refreshing part of it. Im not gay myself but I know for a fact that that's not how they act. Anyways, +1 for that. I'm kind of torn between agreeing with Spoony that Michael Cera doesn't deserve the same-guy-everytime reputation and just joining everyone else by saying he does. Fifty-fifty? We good with that? I am. You'll basically see what you want to see if you look hard enough. Both camps are probably correct if that makes sense. I'd compare him to Arnold Scwharzenegger. He gave us the same character every time too, but somehow also didn't. Its odd. Mary Elizabeth Winsted (whom I'd only known as that cute girl from Die Hard) also gets the job done well, and looks genetically engineered to star in a side-culture romantic comedy. I liked her though it's hard to describe why. She did her job well, didn't mess anything up and for that I guess I can say I have no big problems.

Bottom line, see it. If you were on the fence, go anyways. It's probably a movie that's better in theaters. You won't regret it. If you can kind of sniff out that you won't like it, you're probably right, but otherwise, it's a safe ticket purchase

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