Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Scott Pilgrim movie

Thankfully, I liked the Scott Pilgrim movie more than I have the books. Some quick thoughts:
  • Kieran Culkin as Wallace steals every scene that he's in.
  • The recurring bed gag is great. (I'm not sure whether the bed actually increases in size every time Scott wakes up and there's another guy in it, but it certainly seemed like it did.)
  • I'm not sure that Scott himself is more likable, but he's certainly less unlikable. In Wright's effort to streamline the story, he's dropped most of what made Scott seem like a directionless jerk (his personal life outside Ramona is effectively reduced to him being in a band, but in the movie a) the band is good, and b) so is Scott!) and compressed the timeline significantly, which makes him seem like less of a loser for never learning or growing - it's only been a few weeks! But this Scott clearly does learn and grow, even if the proof in the final battle scene is a bit precious and too explicit. I think Wright is also cashing-in on Cera's own in-built nice-guy type. But anyway... he's still a bit bland, but I actually want this Scott to win.
  • The major goof, I think, is that Envy is built up to be this major nemesis, but she appears, she plays, she and Scott have a moment, and then she's gone for the second-half of the film. Weird. Would it have been too much if she was also under Gideon's control at the end, and was also part of the fight with Ramona and Knives? Maybe.
  • Wright's version of the Nega-Scott battle - its foreshadowing, its placement, its hilarious and wholly appropriate resolution - is faaaaaar better than O'Malley's.
  • I had trouble with the film's grammar in places, which wasn't like a comic nor was it much like a movie. There are spots where the scene and time change rapidly from shot to shot, to show that Scott is in a daze, but it left me completely disoriented and confused. Which was maybe the point, but I found it aggravating rather than appropriate.
  • And it was nice to see my hometown in a movie without it being passed off as some other city.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


It's occurred to me a few times that the UFC and So You Think You Can Dance have followed bizarrely parallel paths:
  • Both started as hybrid formats where specialists in one area competed against specialists from another, with neither necessarily having any familiarity with the other's form (boxing vs. karate, hip-hop vs. ballet, etc.); as a performance it could be ugly, but its unpredictability was part of its charm.
  • Both were quickly dominated by specialists whose training made them particularly adaptable in countering/performing the styles of others (jiu-jitsu and contemporary)
  • Both have evolved (?) to a point where particular specialities have taken a back-seat to a broad-based training in multiple disciplines (the single-specialty folks are a rarity, and are pretty much doomed to fail - the boxer on the last UFC card, the breaker in the last season of SYTYCD); the athletes are undoubtedly better, but they're characterized by a sameness that has eliminated a lot of the fun and all of the novelty.