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November 5, 2011 9:39 PM   Subscribe

Cowboys Vs Aliens and Wolfman stank, Scott Pilgrim deserved better, 3D is a gimmick, awards are not a priority, and theme parks may be - Universal Chief Ron Meyer gives his unusually frank opinons while at the Savannah Film Festival.
posted by Artw (179 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
And yet he seems to be under the impression "A Beautiful Mind" was a good movie. A textbook exercise in Oscar(tm)-baiting yes, but if forced to pick one I'd watch "Wolfman" again.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:59 PM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


And I don't know why "Scott Pilgrim" didn't make more money, but to say it "didn't capture people's imaginations" and blame the audience for "not telling your friends" is absurd- it became a cult film almost immediately, and there were sold-out midnight screenings within a month of it opening.

He strikes me a bit as the John McCain of the movie business- just because you paint yourself as a "maverick" doesn't mean much of what you say isn't complete crap.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:02 PM on November 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


For all his refreshing candour and seeming contrition, I can't help but hope Ron Meyer meets his grisly end in the squamous digestive chambers of a shoggoth. In 3-D.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 10:05 PM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Universal’s expensive upcoming 3-D film 47 Ronin, led by Keanu Reeves

*facepalm* There's about 5 things wrong with that sentence.
posted by kmz at 10:09 PM on November 5, 2011 [26 favorites]


There've been 45 Ronins that I never heard about.
posted by Flashman at 10:11 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wolfman and Babe 2 are two of the shittiest movies we put out

Never saw Wolfman, but Babe: Pig in the City is stone cold awesome.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 10:11 PM on November 5, 2011 [30 favorites]


Scott Pilgrim, I think, was actually kind of a good movie. [Addressing a small section of the audience, cheering.] But none of you guys went! And you didn’t tell your friends to go! But, you know, it happens.”
Whereas I only made it through about 20 minutes of Scott Pilgrim before turning it off, and yet Universal did get my money for it. Collect from the cheering cult fans and give me a refund, please.
posted by red clover at 10:11 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The target audience for Scott Pilgrim was also the audience most likely to download the film.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:21 PM on November 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


The target audience for Scott Pilgrim was also the audience most likely to download the film.

People who want their money's worth?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:26 PM on November 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


I feel like I need to sue Kirean Culkin for character infringement or something.
posted by The Whelk at 10:28 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


If someone’s going to get our movies two weeks after they’re released, then they have to pay a premium for that… We still think that’s a valid model.

And if somebody's gonna to release a vile product, like Cowboys & Aliens, and expect consumers to flock to the big screens to see it, then they have to suffer a loss for that.... I still think that's a valid model.
posted by three blind mice at 10:34 PM on November 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Scott Pilgrim struck me as one of those Snakes on a Plane type movies that the Internet spent months frothing about, then everyone downloaded it or went on to the next thing.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:34 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Snakes on a Plane was shit beyond the title and that one quote though.
posted by Artw at 10:38 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I believe Scott Pilgrim is the model for all future films. The film was directed in such a way that no time was wasted setting a scene when the given scene had little to do with the action or the plot. Its fast pace successfully avoided talking down to the audience and that is something to admire. In time, all directors will adopt this efficiency of form, opting only for traditional sequences when they are artistically chosen and not out of film school habit.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:42 PM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Scott Pilgrim was actually a remarkably entertaining movie. I'm surprised it fell over and died at the box office.

Perhaps it was designed for people like me, who watch playthroughs rather than actually play videogames. If that's the case, then I'm not surprised. But watching it, I was convinced I was watching something which should have caught the collective imagination and didn't.

But then, I am one of those people who saw Brazil and Blade Runner and Labyrinth and Tron and Clue and even Baron Munchhausen repeatedly in the theater for the brief time they were in original release, and remain befuddled to this day as to why none of them actually did well at the box office.
posted by hippybear at 10:44 PM on November 5, 2011 [26 favorites]


I am not afraid to say, yeah Scott Pilgrim did really do a good job of feeling like what it felt like to be 19 in 2004, legend of zelda sound effects and all.
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 PM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


a vile product, like Cowboys & Aliens

Never saw it -- was it really vile? It looked like a very stupid movie starring actors who knew what kind of film they were in and had decided to enjoy the ride. It stars Harrison Ford's smirk and Harrison Ford. I was looking forward to semi-enjoying this next time I'm trapped on a long flight. Is it really that bad?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:22 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps it was designed for people like me, who watch playthroughs rather than actually play videogames.

Is that a real thing that people do? How many games have you watched the walkthrough of and not actually played? What percentage of gameplay do you watch? What games?
posted by the theory of revolution at 11:26 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much of Scott Pilgrim's audience skipped the movie because they had already read (and told their friends about) the books. I thought the comics were great and I enjoyed the movie when I saw it on video but I'm in no rush to see an adaptation of a beloved comic. Love & Rockets: The Movie? I'm waiting for the DVD.

your first obligation is to make money and then worry about being proud of what you do.

Fuck this guy.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:37 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cowboys and Aliens: the first third, with (imagine a Patton Oswalt voice here) Daniel Craig as the mysterious stranger who doesn't want trouble? Hell yes!

And Harrison Ford? The dude is awesome

But every scene with the aliens sucked. They were dumb in action and conception. I walked out two-thirds of the way through, and I sat though Hobo with a Shotgun.

Cowboys and Aliens would have been great minus the Aliens. Really, Craig and Ford in a Western? That would be great.
posted by zippy at 11:40 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


But none of you guys went! And you didn’t tell your friends to go!

I went twice. The second time I brought friends. Ron Meyer, I accept your apology.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:42 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I watched a playthrough of most of the void, I didn't bother watching the ending although I probably should at some point, though (there didn't seem) to be much suspense about how it was going to end. I suppose there could have been some twist at the end.

Cowboys & Aliens just seemed like they weren't even bothering to come up with an interesting premise. Just "let's just stick two concepts that have nothing to do with each other together!" Don't forget the sequel: Ninjas and Bacon!

I really liked Scott Pilgrim although I'd never read the comics.
posted by delmoi at 11:43 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


How many games have you watched the walkthrough of and not actually played? What percentage of gameplay do you watch

I've watched playthroughs of Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess and Dead Space on YouTube. In each case I watched the whole runthrough. Dead space wasn't that long but the Zelda games must have taken 20-30 hours.

I've watched several of the Final Fantasy games in person. I've never actually played one but I watched maybe 70% of the game in the ones I watched.

I've probably watched 40 or so hours of Street Fighter, Marvel Versus Capcom and Mortal Kombat. I've never played any of those.

I'm actually probably part of the target audience for Scott Pilgrim, everyone I know loved it but I just can't be bothered. Even good moves nowadays are pretty terrible. Everyone should pick a a video game and watch a play through on YouTube, now that is fun.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:44 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I lost all interest as soon as I found out that Michael Cera was cast for Scott Pilgrim.
posted by yifes at 11:47 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cowboys & Aliens was ok. The alien parts made even less sense than I thought they would, which left me a little disappointed, but ultimately it did what it said on the tin. It was good as a mindless antidote to a grueling finals week, so I imagine it'd be perfectly acceptable on a long flight or a bored Saturday afternoon.
posted by lilac girl at 11:50 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The target audience for Scott Pilgrim was also the audience most likely to download the film.

And then make like crybabies when studios decide to fund movies that audiences, you know, pay for, instead of the ones they like to watch for free.
posted by rodgerd at 11:54 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm am very glad that I like in the United States of America where people are allowed, ENCOURAGED even, to have opinions and to express them publicly.

Even if they are wrong.
posted by LoudMusic at 11:55 PM on November 5, 2011


damn. so close.

... glad that I LIVE in the United States ...
posted by LoudMusic at 11:55 PM on November 5, 2011


Scott Pilgrim had me hooked from the moment the Universal logo came onscreen, and they played an 8-bit version of the usual orchestral swell. I swear to God that music came straight from the Jurassic Park game I had for Sega GameGear back in 1993.

My sister ended up seeing the movie 7 times in the theater, because she kept bringing new friends and family members to watch it. I went back with her 5 times. So...shut up, Ron Meyer.
posted by brookedel at 11:56 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is that a real thing that people do?

Watching GhostRobo do a walkthrough of Batman: Arkham City as we type....
posted by PenDevil at 12:55 AM on November 6, 2011


TwelveTwo: "I believe Scott Pilgrim is the model for all future films. The film was directed in such a way that no time was wasted setting a scene when the given scene had little to do with the action or the plot. Its fast pace successfully avoided talking down to the audience and that is something to admire. In time, all directors will adopt this efficiency of form, opting only for traditional sequences when they are artistically chosen and not out of film school habit."

So, uh, you seem to be saying here that the problem with movies today is that directors inefficiently waste lots of time on pretentious vignettes unrelated to the plot because they have "film school habits." I guess maybe I've been watching the wrong movies, but I was not under the impression that a too-lofty pretension to film-school tropes and art house grandeur was something that commercial films suffered from presently. If you have a list of movies that have led you to this opinion, please pass it along, as I'd be happy to watch all of them.

Moreover, I don't really see the point of "efficiency of form" when we're talking about sitting in a theatre and watching moving images on a screen. Plot is not really the point of movies. Complaining that movies don't convey the plot efficiently is like complaining that Van Gogh paintings don't look very much like the things they're supposed to be of. If you go to movies to see a plot advanced, wouldn't it be more prudent to save the money and just stay home and read the Wikipedia entry instead?
posted by koeselitz at 1:19 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wolfman and Babe 2 are two of the shittiest movies we put out

Doubtfulpalace already pointed out that this is crazed madness, but seriously. Maybe weird or too dark or disconcertingly unlike the original, but shitty? Babe: Pig in the City? Gene Siskel's very favorite movie of the year?

Roger Ebert: "Studio Slaughtered 'Babe 2'"

And in fact, according to this piece, it was pretty much Ron Meyer himself who did the slaughtering.
posted by Adventurer at 1:28 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder whether Ron Meyer might be related in any way to Roger Meyers Jr.
posted by Adventurer at 1:28 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scott Pilgrim suffered from a disconnect with it's target audience with its advertising. A number of people I knew thought they wouldn't want to see it from the trailer (which is odd because I really love the trailer). It also suffered from misplaced Michael Cera fatigue. The amount of bitterness directed at him by haters is stunning to me. It's the kind of film people actually want to purchase and watch though, so I expect it'll make Universal money for the next 20 years at least, a lot more than Wolfman certainly. Shame there won't ever be a sequel because it's one of the most perfect alignments of a director with a project.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:33 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


And then make like crybabies when studios decide to fund movies that audiences, you know, pay for, instead of the ones they like to watch for free.

Generally, it turns out these are the same. People watch movies they want to see, regardless of any amounts of compensation.

Scott Pilgrim is a bad movie for general audiences that found a niche, that niche is not enough to create a blockbuster even if they all went and saw it. Personally, I thought it sucked despite a few moments of brilliance. (the whole vegan thing)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:24 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine noted that one of the big big problems with Scott Pilgrim is that they did a lot of previews, and guest showings, and probably 70% of the people who were the target audience saw it for free.

(I paid to see it, it made me kind of depressed, but I did get a copy of it on DVD. The reason it depressed me is irrelevant, because I enjoyed it despite the situation.)
posted by mephron at 1:36 AM on November 6, 2011


I think another problem with Scott Pilgrim is that Kick-Ass stole its thunder.
posted by rhizome at 2:08 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Opening against The Expendables probably didn't help either.
posted by the_artificer at 2:13 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I lost all interest as soon as I found out that Michael Cera was cast for Scott Pilgrim.

That's a shame, because it's really his least Michael Cera-ish performance. Dude is great in that movie.
posted by EmGeeJay at 2:43 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


My hubby likes the movie more than the graphic novels, while I like both equally. We went to see it twice, and took our friends, so thanks, Meyer.

Based on the commentary, Lee O'Malley was writing Finest Hour at about the same time Wright was writing the movie - you can see where the storylines diverge.
posted by subbes at 3:18 AM on November 6, 2011


That's a shame, because it's really his least Michael Cera-ish performance.

He's still pretty damn Michael Cera-ish though. And waaaaaay too likable a take on Scott Pilgrim. Cera's Pilgrim only ever came off as a jerk because aw shucks he didn't know any better, where the Scott in the comics is kind of a jerk sometimes because he's not entirely a good person.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:29 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm glad someone else besides myself was moved to complain about his evaluation of Pig in the City. Granted, it was an awful business decision to make a film so different from its predecessor.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:36 AM on November 6, 2011


Cera's Pilgrim only ever came off as a jerk because aw shucks he didn't know any better, where the Scott in the comics is kind of a jerk sometimes because he's not entirely a good person.

Oh. Oh, cool! I thought I hated Scott Pilgrim because I took the message too personally (it's okay if I'm a bit messed up in the head and don't always treat people well in relationships, but gosh darn it if I were pretty and quirky, I'd get me a man!), but actually it's because I can't stand films where the main protagonists are all deeply dislikeable. (See: 500 Days of Summer. Except, actually, don't.)

In conclusion, now I really want to read the comics, and I suppose I'm right to just want to hang out with Kieran Culkin's character, who is at least honest.
posted by kalimac at 3:53 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


In time, all directors will adopt this efficiency of form, opting only for traditional sequences when they are artistically chosen and not out of film school habit.

In time, you will feel a fool rereading this comment. In the meantime, go watch some Bresson or some Kiarostami or some Resnais or some Kurosawa.
posted by Wolof at 3:57 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metaselection: perhaps the blue is one of the few internet places where you can find people who both liked and paid for Scott Pilgrim.
posted by The River Ivel at 4:39 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"your first obligation is to make money and then worry about being proud of what you do."

This.
posted by parmanparman at 4:40 AM on November 6, 2011


Anyone who thinks Pig in the City is shit should not be making decisions about what movies do or do not get made.
posted by Huck500 at 4:43 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I went and saw Scott Pilgrim and I also took friends (and bought the Blu-ray). Not easy when it was playing on, like, two screens downtown on opening weekend and barely promoted- IN TORONTO!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:46 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meyer says: "It’s great to win awards and make films that you’re proud of and make money, but your first obligation is to make money and then worry about being proud of what you do." [bold mine]

And that right there is the entire premise of capitalism.

Also, $66 (or $59.99 in the sub-linked article) to watch a recently released movie at home? He's kidding, right? Tell me he's kidding. Tell me this isn't the plan and the backstory to where we'll be going once that wonderful new bit of legislation passes?
posted by likeso at 4:56 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


And I seem to owe parmaparman a coke.
posted by likeso at 4:58 AM on November 6, 2011


parmanparman. Shit. Two cokes.
posted by likeso at 5:02 AM on November 6, 2011


I thought Scott Pilgrim was fucking brilliant.

To be fair, I was high as a kite when I watched it.
posted by ook at 5:05 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked Scott Pilgrim.
posted by ColdChef at 5:16 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Universal’s expensive upcoming 3-D film 47 Ronin, led by Keanu Reeves

I got 47 problems but a ronin ain't one.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:19 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Scott Pilgrim had that thing where nerds who will happily pay to go see stupid shit like 'Sucker Punch' will suddenly decide they only want realistic, serious films with deep characters and gravitas (as though there is ANY evidence to back that up). 99 movies out of 100 they'll talk about turning their brain off and it's fun for what it is and not every movie has to be 'Citizen Kane' (a quote I see nerds use often; how many have actually SEEN 'Citizen Kane', since it doesn't have ninjas or robots in it?) but then that 100th movie comes along and they all put on their monocles and go, "Tut tut, old chap, do you expect me to waste time with such juvenile ephemera? Good DAY, sir!" The next week they're standing in line for some idiotic bullshit that they would know is going to be stupid if they ever questioned their dumbass lizard brains but hey it looks AWESOME and they'll defend it by saying it was better than they expected and you know, not every movie has to be 'Citizen Kane'.

Two other movies this happened to: 'Speed Racer', 'Sky Captain'. None of these movies are flawless gems, but all three got treated like dogshit but an audience that regularly lines up for absolutely abysmal garbage and is happy to do so.
posted by Legomancer at 5:26 AM on November 6, 2011 [20 favorites]


I think the_artificer has noted a key point - SP opened against not only the Expendables, but also Eat, Pray, Love. If it had opened against weaker competition it would have done much better, I think.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:27 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's the kind of film people actually want to purchase and watch though.

I haven't seen Scott Pilgrim yet, but after reading the books, I couldn't wait for it to show up on Netflix on Demand so I bought a copy for $13 or so. The reason I haven't watched it yet is the same reason I didn't see it in the theater... I have kids and don't have the time to watch movies much.
posted by drezdn at 5:38 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scott Pilgrim suffered from a disconnect with it's target audience with its advertising. A number of people I knew thought they wouldn't want to see it from the trailer (which is odd because I really love the trailer). It also suffered from misplaced Michael Cera fatigue.

Misplaced?

That kid, along with his less-likable doppleganger Jesse Eisenberg, and Joseph Gordan Leavitt, who is a better actor but chronically misused, is pretty much shoved down our throats at every opportunity in every single hipster movie and what whoever is doing the casting seems to miss is that he's a really bland actor whose characters all end up seeming like creepy, quintessential "nice guys" who are just so misunderstood and can't you just take this mix-cd he made you, what do you mean, you don't want to hear this song he wrote?! He's nice, so very nice, but he's also not capable of any complexity or depth (Eisenberg and Leavitt are better, but barely). I had enough of those guys in high school.

Honestly, I'd like a lot of these movies (Cera as Nick Twisp? wtf?) much more if Seth Rogan would quit making bro flicks and become the new hipster leading man. Or anyone, really, capable of acting like a grown-up. I know all of these films are about stretching out your childhood until you're 25 or so but that doesn't mean we want to see that theme reiterated through the casting. Why Hollywood thinks we want to watch these doofy man-children, I have no idea.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:08 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


(All that said, Scott Pilgrim was an aight movie.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:09 AM on November 6, 2011


I liked speed racer, and i think it took digital culture seriously (in fact like speed racer), and i liked how it constructed it's narratives--but i think the original text was good to great on woman, and esp. eva's character arc--that was lost in the film.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:09 AM on November 6, 2011


Speed Racer was ahead of its time. People went in expecting a typical cartoon or comic adaptation where the cartoon would be updated to look like RL, and found instead that the W bros had reconfigured RL to look like the cartoon. It was shocking and disorienting because it broke all the usual rules for pacing, character development, and background; but the film looked that way because it was completely true to the cartoon. And it worked, if you could forget all those standards and let it wash over you with the abandon that you gave the cartoon when you were 10 years old and you didn't worry about why cars don't need fuel and falling from 50 feet doesn't destroy cars or kill drivers.

Sky Captain was to the Golden Age of SF what Speed Racer was to the Speed Racer cartoon, and its major problem is that it faithfully stuck to its source material too. It jumped the shark for me when the hero let the girl think they were going to die crashing into the ocean and let her find out by living through it that the plane converted into a submarine. That's the kind of thing that sounds funny in description but when you see it, no, it really isn't.

I haven't seen Scott Pilgrim. All the promotional literature made it sound vapid and shallow. I might need to update my Netflix queue.
posted by localroger at 6:25 AM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is that a real thing that people do? How many games have you watched the walkthrough of and not actually played? What percentage of gameplay do you watch? What games?

Um... Well, I have this problem with videogames, this little switch in the back of my head that if I actually play one might go *click* and then it'll be 3 days later and I haven't showered or eaten or even gotten up to go to the bathroom and my phone will have messages on it telling me that I no longer have a job, etc. So I don't play videogames.

I've watched walkthroughs of a few games, not many. Both Portals, Bioshock... A few others I can't remember off the top of my head right now... I started playing World Of Goo but had to watch the walkthrough instead because I could feel that switch starting to move into the bad position... I don't watch many, but that's my main interaction with the medium because of that little problem I have.
posted by hippybear at 6:28 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really liked Scott Pilgrim a lot, and I know next to nothing about comics or video games. As for the backlash against poor Michael Cera...you guys, he was George Michael Bluth. He can do whatever he wants now; I willl never, ever hate him.
posted by naoko at 6:32 AM on November 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Cowboys vs. Aliens was a fun summer movie but definitely a waste of the cast. Harrison Ford doesn't have all that many movies left in him and it'd be nice if he could make a couple of decent ones before he retires.
posted by octothorpe at 6:36 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, I read this article to my gf a couple of days ago. It appeared on The Onion AV Club under the headline, "Universal studio president: 'We make a lot of shitty movies.'"

As soon as I read the headline to her, she asked, "Is this from The Onion?" Er, yes, kind of, but not the way you think.

All that/ being said, we both kind of liked the Scott Pilgrim flick (this thread seems to have become a straw poll on it) but to mind, the single most unbelievable thing in it was the scene of eight or nine people relaxing in the dressing room at Lee's Palace. Anyone who has played there will confirm that getting that many people into that room in real life would look like telephone booth stuffing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:36 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really liked Scott Pilgrim a lot, and I know next to nothing about comics or video games. As for the backlash against poor Michael Cera...you guys, he was George Michael Bluth. He can do whatever he wants now; I willl never, ever hate him.

In Arrested Development, he was a teenager playing a teenager--a teenager who was meant to be seen as goofy and a bit stunted, and who was played off a female foil who was much smarter and more world-savy than he was. We weren't meant to empathize with him, even if we were meant to sympathize with him.

In movies like Scott Pilgrim, Paper Hearts, Juno, Youth in Revolt, Nick and Norah, he's playing the plucky romantic lead who gets the girl. We're supposed to identify with this guy, (or, worse, want him), even though we're grown-ups and he is always, in one way or another, perpetually fourteen years old. Only he's not anymore. He's a grown-up--he just doesn't seem or act like one.

I just find it . . . kind of icky.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:42 AM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Harrison Ford doesn't have all that many movies left in him and it'd be nice if he could make a couple of decent ones before he retires.

I miss Harrison Ford the actor. All we've gotten from him for a long while now is Harrison Ford the action hero. I keep hoping he'll do one or two more quality acting roles before it gets too late. He was awesome in projects like Witness and The Mosquito Coast.
posted by hippybear at 6:45 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe the problem of Scott Pilgrim was that it was boring and that its model of relationships was disturbing. Just because you slap video games on a film, it doesn't mean people who like video games will like your film.
posted by ersatz at 6:49 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cera needs to play a serial killer who targets manic pixie dream girls until he ends up kidnapping his rival, a female killer who targets " nice guys" who turns the tables on him.
posted by The Whelk at 6:50 AM on November 6, 2011 [40 favorites]


What happened to Lovecraft in Brooklyn btw? Here I wanted an explanation of what people liked about the film.
posted by ersatz at 6:51 AM on November 6, 2011


Phob, have you seen Brick? JGL is amazing in Brick.
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 AM on November 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


No, but I'm on it! Sounds awesome.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:58 AM on November 6, 2011


Also, $66 (or $59.99 in the sub-linked article) to watch a recently released movie at home? He's kidding, right? Tell me he's kidding.

Think about it in terms of a family of 4 or a group of 4-6 friends getting together to watch a movie. The price is much more reasonable on a per-person basis, especially given the perks (e.g. ability to choose the starting time and pause the movie). I would seriously weigh investing in an upgraded home theater setup if most movies were released that way.
posted by jedicus at 7:04 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I might chip in $59.00 to have Ben Stiller removed from the motion picture industry. Who's with me?
posted by davebush at 7:10 AM on November 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


So, in the previews before Contagion ( go see Contagion, never has people sitting in labs talking been so gripping! ) they were running interviews with the cast of Tower Heist and the dead look of complete resignation and boredom coming off Ben Stiller was the most entertaining thing in the world.
posted by The Whelk at 7:12 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


How many people would really be willing to shell out that much cash to watch a movie at home when it will be $1 in a Redbox in four months? I'll pay $9 to watch a first run movie in the theater mostly because I like to see movies in the theater, not because I really need to see the movie right now.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


How did Joseph Gordon Levitt get dragged in this? Guy did "Hesher," which is mad and superb. Leave him alone.

Also, Cera was terrific in "Youth in Revolt," in which both his amiable Cera-self and his delicate, peach fuzz-mustached alter ego turned out to be forces of pure malice.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:21 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think JGL is in here cause he did 500 Days Of Summer, which is kinda strange for him, he doesn't play romantic leads much.

Youth In Revolt was pretty great, but no one saw it. It was about as good as Paper Heart was bad.

Also I was pleasantly surprised by Year One, but I had very very low expectations.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 AM on November 6, 2011


Oh also, JGL was in Mysterious Skin which is all hustlers and alien abductions.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on November 6, 2011


N'thing the Joseph Gordon Levitt love with a shoutout to his understated badassedness in Inception.
posted by whuppy at 7:31 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whelk, I would pay to see your serial killer film. The female lead should be a young Alyson Hannigan.
posted by Leon at 7:45 AM on November 6, 2011


N'thing the Joseph Gordon Levitt love with a shoutout to his understated badassedness in Inception.

I'm not sure how JGL got into this thread, but if we're going to be lovin' on him, we simply must mention The Lookout and how outstanding he was in that film.
posted by hippybear at 7:50 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like how he has two completely separate accents for interviews vs conversation, code shifting to the max.
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 AM on November 6, 2011



Cera needs to play a serial killer who targets manic pixie dream girls until he ends up kidnapping his rival, a female killer who targets " nice guys" who turns the tables on him.


If you start the kickstarter to fund this, I will donate so hard.

JGL will always be aces in my book for this.
posted by drezdn at 8:04 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jay Baruchel should have been Scott Pilgrim. I mean, fuck, he almost made Sorcerer's Apprentice watchable. And you know he could take Michael Cera in a fight.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 8:05 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ohhh, Jay Baruchel would have been good... or Paul Brittian. Time travelling Chris Hardwick would have worked too.
posted by drezdn at 8:10 AM on November 6, 2011


Hmm. I wonder if it helped that Pilgrim was only the second film I;d seen with Michael Cera.

Of course, the first was Juno, which you lot alll have a masive hate-on for too, so...

/shrugs
posted by Artw at 8:12 AM on November 6, 2011


I am like, deeply psychologically wounded by the thought that anyone would ever think to put the very extremely awesome JGL in the same category of complete and utter uselessness as Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg, oh my god. This is a Bad Thing.
posted by elizardbits at 8:37 AM on November 6, 2011


I mostly lumped him in for 500 Days of Summer, which was like the quintessential Michael Cera role with a much better actor playing the part.

Youth in Revolt was probably more tolerable if you haven't read the book. Come to think of it, Jay Baruchel would have been better in that role, too. He's got the necessary understated sleaze to play a lot of these parts that go instead to the milquetoast Cera.

(Paper Hearts is pretty much worth a watch if you want to understand why people--not just me!--hate Cera.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:51 AM on November 6, 2011


Also I like Cera, loved Juno, just thought he didn't work as Scott Pilgrim.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:02 AM on November 6, 2011


Oh also, JGL was in Mysterious Skin which is all hustlers and alien abductions.

That's not what Mysterious Skin is about! Mysterious Skin is about child abuse and beautiful music.

But I'd find this kind of description acceptable for pretty much any other Gregg Araki movie, as long as you mentioned the beautiful music.

Nowhere--about ecstasy and kick the can and your high school band and aliens and beautiful music and the end of the world.

Kaboom--about guiltless sex and mind control and beautiful music and the most colorful plate of macaroni in a film ever and stylish clothes and the end of the world.

posted by byanyothername at 9:08 AM on November 6, 2011


Scott Pilgrim, 'Speed Racer', 'Sky Captain'. None of these movies are flawless gems, but all three got treated like dogshit but an audience that regularly lines up for absolutely abysmal garbage and is happy to do so.

Thought first was dull, missed second, but third looked hugely promising. A great idea sadly squandered, basically because they let the guy who had the idea write the script and direct it and it turned out he had little ability in either direction. The dialogue is painful all the way through, the central character, rather than being the Sky Captain, a misconceived and miscast Paltrow as supposedly spunky reported works not at all. The only character which might have saved the film, Jolie's fighter ace 'Franky' is limited to 10 minutes of screen time and allowed no development. Myself and my housemate were keen to see it and went to the cinema the weekend it came out. About 5 minutes in Giovanni Ribisi says something so clunky that we looked at each other and sighed, it was obvious it was going to be a let down and nothing happened for the rest of the film to change our minds.
posted by biffa at 9:20 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, Cowboys Vs. Aliens is the only film I've ever walked out of. An absolute steaming turd of a film. I can't believe Meyer wants to charge $59.99 to watch a new theatrically released film on DVD. Just because it's only been on the big screen for two weeks doesn't mean it's somehow worth an insane amount more money. Also: why on earth test this idea, which that insane price point, on what looks to be an absolute mess of a film?

This guy has the right idea:
Get DVDs and Blu-Rays on sale in cinema lobbies. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wanted to buy a copy of a film on my way out of the cinema screening. I probably won’t make it back to the cinema to see it again, but I would happily pick up a copy for a tenner on my way out.
Get stuff in front of people, at the earliest possible opportunity, and a realistic price point. Supermarkets have made billions from impulse buying at checkouts and yet the film industry offers the hundreds of millions of people leaving cinemas every year nothing but dogeared cardboard cutouts of whatever film they want to try to get you to see next.
posted by TheDonF at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


IAWTC
posted by d1rge at 9:28 AM on November 6, 2011


You can argue that a night out at the movies for four people will cost $60 and it's probably close to the truth once you factor in the costs of buckets of popcorn and gallon sized diet cokes but that doesn't mean that anyone is actually ever going to be willing to fork over that much for a pay-per-view movie.
posted by octothorpe at 9:38 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem with Scott Pilgrim is that I had already seen FLCL, and it was way fucking better.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:41 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


You can argue that a night out at the movies for four people will cost $60 and it's probably close to the truth once you factor in the costs of buckets of popcorn and gallon sized diet cokes but that doesn't mean that anyone is actually ever going to be willing to fork over that much for a pay-per-view movie.

Well, people seem to regularly fork over $60 for other pay per view events which are running live, such as boxing matches, other sports events, and concerts. I haven't done it often, but I've put out $40-60 for concerts 2 or 3 times in the past decade.

I'd probably not do it for a movie, but then I don't actually attend movies in the theater all that often and usually wait for things to appear on the myriad of movie channels I subscribe to, so the things I DO want to pay for, I'm happy to make it an event and go to the theater, etc.

I'm not the target audience for this, but I can see where some people might be.
posted by hippybear at 9:44 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to see Scott Pilgrim three times, and one of those was with my OH who works in post-production and had already watched most of the film. The other friends I went with also returned, bringing friends with them. So shall I estimate that about half/two thirds of the people made 100% of the ticket sales? Pretty depressing. I found it pacey and funny and enjoyed Edgar Wright's direction which at some points had a similar feel to Spaced (which I loved in my late teens/early twenties). Though I have to say, half of the enjoyment of SP is in the cultural references, which felt like they were aimed at me - a 31 year old - I did wonder how "the kids" were going to feel about it. It was enjoyable reminiscence, a lot like the nostalgia you have for your childhood when you're an undergraduate.

A big problem for me was the trailer. It was awful and put me off to the degree that the OH had to work on me for a week to get me to see it.
posted by everydayanewday at 10:10 AM on November 6, 2011


I want to agree that casting killed Sky Captain. Law and Paltrow wrong wrong wrong. However since it was those two signing on that got the film made (as I've heard it) there's not much that could have been done. Also, critics loved the muted palette but, for me the movie looked like the sucked out corpse of a vampire victim. It was a comic book, for cripes sake.

Also agree that between Cera, Eisenberg, and, to my mind, LaBeouf, the American leading man business is in sorry shape. We seem to be left with a bunch of interchangeable antipodal mesomorphs.
posted by Trochanter at 10:10 AM on November 6, 2011


Scott Pilgrim is easily the best movie of last year that I have seen. I can't really say why it bombed. It's better than its source material, but it takes liberties with its source material that may have been off-putting to its fans...and people who'd read the comic and weren't crazy about it might not have guessed how much they would like the movie. It's not really a movie that's about video games, but people who don't give a shit about gaming might have thought it was and avoided it for that reason...and gamers might have been turned off by something that looked like it was trying to pander to them, in nerds-resistant-to-pandering shocker. (I am skeptical.) It's a movie that's probably best appreciated by the 20-and-up crowd, and that crowd may have thought it was a movie for fourteen-year-olds. Or maybe we all just suck ass, I dunno.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:16 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why Hollywood thinks we want to watch these doofy man-children, I have no idea.

Amen. I don't know how to answer "Cera is less Cera-ish in Scott Pilgrim" except to say, "Not in the 20 minutes of the film that I endured." And it's not his apparent lack of range that bugs me. It's the character itself. Bruce Willis does the same thing, playing an identical character in film after film after film, but it's a cool character and he blows shit up so I'll pay five bucks. For me, seeing a movie poster with Bruce Willis standing in front of an explosion...I know what it's going to be and I know I'll probably enjoy it. Seeing a movie poster with Michael Cera wearing a T-shirt also tells me all I need to know. I won't be watching any more of those.

I don't see much merit in explaining away Scott Pilgrim's lack of success by pointing out that it opened against The Expendables or Eat, Pray, Love. Neither film was Star Wars or Titanic.
posted by red clover at 10:27 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thought Scott Pilgrim worked very well despite Michael Cera being miscast (and doing his best to fit the role, but still) because the star of that movie was really the directing/editing/pacing instead of Scott Pilgrim as such.

I don't totally understand the Jesse Eisenberg hate just yet – what's he been in? He was a great fit for Zombieland (a very fun movie), a great fit for The Social Network (ridiculously glam and shallow, but he was the best thing about it besides the soundtrack), and I guess okay in what I saw of Adventureland? (I've only seen bits of it, and it's kind of distracting in that it's a retro movie that relentlessly culls out the parts of its time-frame no longer seen as cool; all ringer T's with cheesy logos and hipster mustaches and not a goddamn perm in sight) I wouldn't want him to be a go-to leading man either but aside of magazine covers is that happening?

Maybe Scott Pilgrim's not doing well points towards the evaporation of the nerd-chic axis?
posted by furiousthought at 10:27 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cera, Eisenberg, and, to my mind, LaBeouf

Action wise I struggle to see wht Sam Worthington has got so many lead action roles, he seems entirely banal, but I suppose once Avatar was huge he was seen as paying out. (Australian I know but American films.)

What I would really like to see is a film that fits in a semi-parody geek version of the diner scene in Heat with Cera and Eisenberg in the De Niro and Pacino roles and out doing each other on uncomfortable awkwardness.
posted by biffa at 10:32 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


For me, seeing a movie poster with Bruce Willis standing in front of an explosion...I know what it's going to be and I know I'll probably enjoy it.

I am a doctor (though not a film doctor) and if you are looking for a cure I prescribe one showing of Cop Out.
posted by biffa at 10:35 AM on November 6, 2011


Scott Pilgrim had that thing where nerds who will happily pay to go see stupid shit like 'Sucker Punch' will suddenly decide they only want realistic, serious films with deep characters and gravitas

I was a big Nintendo fan as a child, but I don't think SP is the film for me if you mention it in the same vein as Sucker Punch. I didn't see Sucker Punch, because the trailer looked dumb and 300 was a piece of crap.

Also, I still haven't seen Scott Pilgrim because the trailer just seemed like it was patronizing people who liked old video games. I heard of the comic, but never read it. Maybe I'm also just jaded with video game movies in general, and expect them to be bad. I mean, I don't watch The Wizard or Mario Bros, because they're good, I watch them because they're bad and I can laugh at them.

Oh, and I checked out of summer movies this year after watching Green Lantern. It was bad enough that I didn't want to be burned again. Though this winter there look to be some actual good movies with Elite Squad, Tinker Tailor, MI:Ghost Protocol, and A Dangerous Method (Aragorn and Magneto Psychoanalyze).
posted by FJT at 10:35 AM on November 6, 2011


Why Hollywood thinks we want to watch these doofy man-children, I have no idea.


It was to be hoped that the Year of Gosling would have changed this, but nobody seems to want to pay to see his films, for the most part.
Sure Ides of March is a misfire, but Drive is fantastic.

Yes, I'll shut up about Drive now. Or soon.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:38 AM on November 6, 2011


Jesse Eisenberg was in Roger Dodger.
Your argument is invalid.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:39 AM on November 6, 2011


Why Hollywood thinks we want to watch these doofy man-children, I have no idea.

It was to be hoped that the Year of Gosling would have changed this


Yeah, Clooney's The American was pretty amazingly great. Apparently nobody saw it. Heck, WE didn't see it until it hit HBO or something.
posted by hippybear at 10:41 AM on November 6, 2011


No, no, no...Cop Out doesn't count because its movie poster had other flags. Between Kevin Smith and Tracy Morgan, I wouldn't have gone to see Cop Out even if I were Bruce Willis' own mother.
posted by red clover at 10:42 AM on November 6, 2011


Action wise I struggle to see wht Sam Worthington has got so many lead action roles, he seems entirely banal, but I suppose once Avatar was huge he was seen as paying out. (Australian I know but American films.)

Did he get any big roles after Clash of the Titans though? The interesting thing is Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner is still going on strong and seems to have gotten better action star roles (The Town, Mission Impossible, Avengers). Not to mention he got nom'd for Best Supporting in The Town as well.
posted by FJT at 10:43 AM on November 6, 2011


Did he get any big roles after Clash of the Titans though?

Believe it or not, that was a worldwide smash. The sequels are already on their way.

I think Worthington gets these high-profile gigs precisely because he is such a flavorless vessel.
He's blank. I've seen him in like 4 movies and I couldn't pick him out of a crowd.
If you are making these mega-budget, internationally-marketed, fireworks displays then there's a certain logic to having a generic....avatar (oh Im so smooth) running around the works as your protagonist.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:50 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did he get any big roles after Clash of the Titans though?

Aside from the two upcoming Avatar sequels?
posted by hippybear at 10:57 AM on November 6, 2011


There was lots wrong with Clash, but one thing I liked about it was the reveal of the Krakken thingy. The sense of scale was well done. But maybe those of you who'd been playing God of War for a while were less impressed.
posted by Trochanter at 10:57 AM on November 6, 2011


I can't stand films where the main protagonists are all deeply dislikeable.

Exactly. This is my I didn't like Scott Pilgrim. I didn't give a shit about all the assholes up on the screen, and the gimmicks couldn't carry the entirety of the rest of the film for me.

(See: 500 Days of Summer. Except, actually, don't.)

Ok, I actually really liked this film.
posted by Windigo at 11:02 AM on November 6, 2011


Scott Pilgrim had some pacing issues - it just draggggggggggggged at times, which is anathema to a movie born of the quick-cut generation..
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:05 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


As to the watching walkthroughs of games, I actually read them. For really big games that I'll never have time to play like Planescape: Torment and KOTOR2, it beats not playing them. The best of those types of threads are ones where the guys playing really know their shit and can go into the backstory of the game and the cut content and whatnot. This KOTOR2 one is really good and it's something I'd never have time/the attention span to play, much less play through multiple times to see the storyline or hack/mod to see all the areas they cut. And if you don't mind Something Awful, this one for P:T is excellent.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:15 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a movie that's probably best appreciated by the 20-and-up crowd, and that crowd may have thought it was a movie for fourteen-year-olds.

The more I think about my knee-jerk dislike of Cera's films, the more I suspect it might come back to this: a sort of inability to really choose the target audience. Scott Pilgrim, Nick and Norah, and Juno are all more culturally resonant with people my age. TheWhelk is so right about SP being just like what it was like to be 19 in 2004, and if you're in your late 20s and from New Jersey and haven't seen Nick & Norah . . . well, you should. It's about us. Even Juno's pop culture references were to, like, Thundercats. I have no idea how teenagers perceive of all this stuff. They're pretty used to being inundated with our generation's nostalgia porn, but there's just no way this stuff means the same thing to them as it does to us.

So in a way, they're nostalgia pieces for people born in '83 or so, but they're also written as if we're still teenagers, without adult self-reflection present. That's where you get an actor like Cera, playing a character who is just an uncomplicated, dopey nice guy--but the men my age have matured past that; the women my age know better. Better for us are movies like Away We Go or Blue Valentine (which was awesome and heart breaking). And there have been a few hipster flicks that seem to deal with adolescence with a bit more thorny perspective--Rocket Science, The Squid & the Whale--but those get, like, no advertising bucks. Probably because they don't have teen heartthrobs (and, seriously, all the teenage girls I know think Cera is a mega hottie) like Cera in them.

I guess I think that these movies would do better financially if they'd just stick to their genuine target audiences, which are teenagers, rather than trying to also court the 20-something geek crowd.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:18 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


there was the unsettling feeling when watching SP that not only did I know what every t-shirt was supposed to be and where it came from, I owned about three of them.
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, no, no...Cop Out doesn't count because its movie poster had other flags. Between Kevin Smith and Tracy Morgan, I wouldn't have gone to see Cop Out even if I were Bruce Willis' own mother.

Yeah, I didn't know it was Smith until the credits rolled, so trying to eke out one positive from the experience I can at least say it means I watched one of his films without bringing any prejudices to the table, and boy is he a useless, talentless fuck. (But please, I am not hoping to make this another pin the tale on the donkey thread.) My only experience with Tracy Morgan (as a Brit) is 30 Rock which I enjoy, is he generally bad? I struggled to make out a lot of what he was saying though I doubt perfect diction would have made for a significantly improved performance.
posted by biffa at 11:39 AM on November 6, 2011


I think one of the big problems with Cop Out is that he felt intimidated by his stars during a lot of the shoot, and as such there's no real control or vision which was exerted over the production. Smith himself tells a lengthy story about how Willis kind of bullied him into not actually directing him during the movie (although Smith doesn't present it that way, but that's what the story actually relates). I'm willing to bet that energy pervaded the entire movie shoot and as a result, there is little to be seen aside from what the stars wanted to do.

I'm not saying that the script could have been saved through stronger direction or a different director. I don't think it was a very good script to begin with. But there isn't much of Smith to see in that movie overall, and it is a failure on a lot of levels.
posted by hippybear at 11:45 AM on November 6, 2011


Oh and yes, having seen SP like 4 times (I dragged people to it) I can say it's major flaw is just the pacing, it's so choppy and never settles into a groove (this is actually a problem the book has to, now that I think about it).
posted by The Whelk at 11:51 AM on November 6, 2011


One of the main things I learned from my time doing theater is that when there's a problem with a theater production or a movie, it's very often the pacing is wrong. Especially at the community theater level, there are too many times when the production simply has crappy pacing, which can kill even the most hilarious script.

This happens in movies, too. Witness the horrible movie versions of Noises Off and Prelude To A Kiss, both of which are outstanding scripts and both of which have TERRIBLE pacing in the filmed versions.
posted by hippybear at 11:59 AM on November 6, 2011


timing is so
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


important
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


(There are too good examples of how pacing can kill a good script, Mystery Men and the movie version of the musical version of The Producers. both movies step on jokes and are completely tone-deaf to the pace the script wants to set up. It's maddening to see perfect good jokes ruined.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:02 PM on November 6, 2011


Two things which always kill pacing -- stepping on jokes, and lingering too long on them. Either of them are deadly. Whether the humor is joke-based or character based, if you don't find the right timing, you end up looking either humorless or too precious about your own cleverness.
posted by hippybear at 12:07 PM on November 6, 2011


On the other hand, Clue seems to get pacing nearly perfect during its entire running length. There are sections while they're exploring the house while the power is out which fail a bit, but nearly all the scenes are otherwise spot-on with their pacing and delivery.
posted by hippybear at 12:09 PM on November 6, 2011


The Whelk is so right about SP being just like what it was like to be 19 in 2004, and if you're in your late 20s and from New Jersey and haven't seen Nick & Norah . . . well, you should. It's about us. Even Juno's pop culture references were to, like, Thundercats. I have no idea how teenagers perceive of all this stuff. They're pretty used to being inundated with our generation's nostalgia porn, but there's just no way this stuff means the same thing to them as it does to us.

It suddenly occurs to me that Whip It had the exact same problem, despite also being quite good. The pop culture reference thing is hard to get a handle on, though. Easy A did very well and has that extended paean to John Hughes. I think a lot of cultural references are ossifying.
posted by furiousthought at 12:10 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's this quick joke in The Producers after you return from the intermission, the entire set has been painted white. Max and Leo enter, shocked, with Ulla doing some filing. "Ulla, when did you do this?" Ulla responses quickly "In the interval!" and you get a small chuckle out of the audience.

The movie version kept the joke in, despite being a joke about an intermission that doesn't exist in the movie. You have a close up shot on the white paint, then a shot of Ulla painting, then a wide shot of the painted office, then another shot as Max and Leo enter. Close up on Max "Ulla, when did you do this?" reaction mugging by Ulla, "I skip lunch!"

Not only have you turned a quick one-beat gag into a ponderous 5-beat set up for a joke that doesn't need it and isn't worth it, you're trying to adapt a meta-gag about an intermission that isn't there by changing it to a completely different joke. There is no reason for this gag to exist in the movie version.
posted by The Whelk at 12:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Clue runs like a goddamned machine, which is exactly how farces are supposed to go.
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh. I think I'd rate Easy A amongst the most excruciating film watching I've been through in recent years.

/not the target market.
posted by Artw at 12:15 PM on November 6, 2011


Heh. I think I'd rate Easy A amongst the most excruciating film watching I've been through in recent years.

/not the target market.


Hmm. I'm three years older than you are, and I thought Easy A was one of the best comedies I'd seen in a long time. Emma Stone has great timing and her parents were warm and hilarious. I loved that movie.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:22 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Emma Stone made Easy A for me.
Tucci and Clarkson did a lot of the heavy lifting too.
But Stone is a huge surprise. She has great timing and a really distinct comic voice.
She is an absolute breath of fresh air and I think I would watch her in anything, not counting The Help, because ...well...no.

But I don't hold that one against her.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:32 PM on November 6, 2011


Liked Scott Pilgrim, but wish they had cast another actor instead of Cera. He was just...bleh. Would have preferred to see Franco...Sean William Scott...Christopher Walken...
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2011


It would appear that I was misread.

The habit, which I referred to, that Scott Pilgrim did not succumb to was the habitual use of an establishing shot, or context-setting line of dialogue. The visual or auditory action used to explain to the audience the context for the next sequence. I am sure there is some correct film term for these moments. But Scott Pilgrim omitted them haphazardly, and only used them when they were absolutely necessary.

But, let's see how they were unnecessary. I do not wish to be misread as demanding a music video aesthetic where time and space are completely optional.

The action never broke into two full parallels in time. The parallels, when they did form, formed within the same location, often around the same central action. At most, these parallels showed differing reactions, not different actions. There are two exceptions, both surrounding the use of phones, but they again only circled one path of action. They never established a second parallel story. What this simplicity allows is haphazard omission of shots establishing the relation between the two parallels, and the location of where these parallel sequences are happening. A good third of the time, these jump cuts taken to show reactions could have been set in a featureless void.

Now, you might be catching that something is being omitted. Wasn't there quite a few parallel sequences in the movie? They cut to moments in the past then returned to the present. When this happened it was everyone's friend: the flashback. The two points that have to be distinguished in a flashback is the Present and the Past. But, observe, if we know where the Present is set, we do not need to establish where the Past is. To rely on such simplicity the flashback sequences must open where the location is well established in the viewer's minds. So, with a bit of looking we will see that these flashbacks occur only in recurring-locations, such as the apartment. But wait, that isn't true. Ramona Flower flashbacks operate very differently, they occur in one-off locations such as a bar that is about to be destroyed by a fight sequence, or a nondescript street scene that is in motion. When a Ramona Flowers story is told they may not even be in the same location they were when the audience left to attend to the Ramona Flowers story.

So, there were two types of flash backs. Ramona Flowers flashbacks, and Scott Pilgrim flashbacks. The first used a misogynistic drawn form, implying a certain crudeness and frankness to her storytelling, and Scott Pilgrim flashbacks which were live action. This implied that Ramona Flowers' past is only what she says, while Scott Pilgrim's past is an objective truth and that his silence about it makes him a deceptive character. In a Scott Pilgrim flashback, the story was told visually, and the relation between the present and the past was implied in dialogue or in a pop up text. If it was not, then the simple difference between present and past settings would resolve the ambiguity. (Honestly, the use of "earlier . . ." could have been dropped, but it was presumably a nod to the comic book. Which I still haven't read.) Now, in a Ramona Flowers flashback, her story was told dictatorially. While it was context-establishing dialogue that was limited in Scott's flashbacks, Ramona's flashbacks were limited visually. She told and told the audience that there was nothing to show. Scott did not tell, and he failed to show that there was nothing to tell.

In a Scott Pilgrim flashback, establishing the situation in the past was unnecessary. It was already shown in the action of the flashback sequence, or it was implied by the other characters in the present. They cut away from every moment that was obvious, and stuck with the sequence when it would not turn out as we all expect. Repetitions were truncated, changes of repetition were dragged on. This is condescending in its own special way, but never did the script get stopped to explain in a Family Guy-like fashion the next set and situation. It was more like Inception. The audience asks, "why are they in the snow?" The movie screams, "It doesn't matter why! Look! Snowmobiles!"

In the Ramona Flowers flashback, my reasoning appears to break down. They were commonly established three times. Three times they told us that they were cutting to a another point in time. First, someone asked her about her past. We knew what that meant after the first story-telling session. Second, the visual style changed. Third, she said when it happened. The reason for this massive redundancy is that Ramona Flowers sequences happen when things were happening. It is not just hanging around on a couch. It is at a bar, or before a fight sequence, or in an transition to another location.

What about ordinary cuts from one sequence to the next? The movie was set in three archetypal locations: a fight backdrop for a fight, an apartment, or a place to walk. Let's cover each of them in sequence and observe the differences in how they go to them or leave from them.

In a fight location, it would traditionally be necessary to establish its layout and set up the context of the fight to come. But in Scott Pilgrim, this is all but cut. They provide us a video game like sequence to establish the title and name of the boss but that is nearly it. Even in situations where they appear to establish the layout, the fight sequence throws it out. They burst through walls into new environments that are never completely understood by the audience. Usually when this happens in an action movie it ruins the sequence. You can't keep up and the hero gets punched in the back of the head when you swore that guy was to the left of him. (For terrible fights: watch Salt.) A good fight scene should place the entire topography in the mind of the viewer. The audience should know where the pillars are, and that jumping left will throw the villain out a window. Add the approaching sound of a train to the left, and the audience won't be irritated by how the scene closes but they might still be surprised. But in this movie, none of that applied. The context was minimal, the continuity was minimal, and details were minimal. The logic of the fight was just that they fight. The logic of the location was that it was there. The logic of the sequence was even 2-dimensional. This is neither exaggeration or metaphorical. The fight only happen forward and back, or left to right. They choreographed 2-dimensional fights. This ruthless simplicity breaks only in the final boss battle which was staged on one set of stairs. With such a flat fight there really is not much to explain or convey to the viewers. The movie recognizes this and capitalizes on it. Then when it is over, we cut to another sequence without care. The level is over.

Sometimes, the movie cuts to one of the "Places to walk (or bus)." These never recur, and because they are only places to talk, nothing happens. Their relation from here and there, to there and here are obliterated. They could be wide white voids and a loading screen with the characters walking side by side talking. The omission of a backdrop would only matter to the fans of the comic book, and the audience in Canada. The desert is one of these places. This deep irrelevance of location in the transition-places is even nodded to when the characters walk through a transition to another scene and observe the change. These are dreamlike places. These are loading screens. This is where Pac Man goes before he loops around to the other side of the map.

Now we have an Apartment. The recurring ones are established the first time we enter the scene, but the ones that don't recur are not. The one time an apartment location is RE-established they play the Seinfeld theme to mock the redundancy. This is to be underlined. The one time they actually use an unnecessary establishing shot they make fun of it. All other times they cut directly to it, and the very obvious one-roomness of the location makes it all the more obvious they are there and not, let's say, at Ramona's. You only have to remember the wood paneling and that is a basement apartment. You show dialogue with wood paneling, you know it is the apartment. If transition-places are dreamlike non-spaces, and fight locations are video game flat worlds, then the Apartment is the only real thing in the whole movie. Which does explain how it can successfully function as something to-be-lost, while no one cares if things get broken at the music venue or if every transition place allows for instantaneous travel between points in time and space.

It was a simple movie. But they could have very easily pretended it was not so simple, which would have made its simplicity all the more obvious. But instead, there was no contrast between how it was told and what was told. But look again, many many movies do produce such a strange division between form and function. We are told that the characters are at a cafe when we do not need to be expressly informed they are at a cafe. It is obvious. There is a Starbucks brand look-alike in the window. And it doesn't matter. It is just a place they talk. But, the script must stall for a precious second to show where they are. In Scott Pilgrim this never happens. They start the audience in the middle of action in the middle of a situation in the middle of an environment-- knowing full well that you will figure it out quick. If you don't, and here is the strange idea implicit in the film: it doesn't matter. Scott Pilgrim skimmed a critical email, an email which would have explained the logic of the film, and by doing so, the audience is forced to catch up with the plot along with the protagonist. This is more than a simple gag, this is the theme and logic of the whole film. The film was a cliffnotes of itself. It skimmed itself. They could have tried to convey a depth and realism to the locations and the relation between locations. They did not. They did not care. They did not need to. It wasn't that important.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I thought Scott Pilgrim was great, though I can understand why it didn't attract a universal audience. The one thing that I hope against hopes that SOMEBODY that may be involved in making future films takes away from Scott Pilgrim is this is how you make a video-game movie. Scott Pilgrim was the best video-game movie ever made, and it wasn't even based on a video game.

If bombs like Doom or Street Fighter (both of which hold a special place in my heart the way Rocky Horror seems to for the rest of the world) were more unabashedly "this is a video game, reality works in a different but internally consistent way" they might have been something worth seeing. In the 90's, DOOM was the coolest thing on the planet. How do you fuck up a movie about the coolest thing on the planet? You make it a listless, generic action movie, the beloved imagery of the game desperately trying to seep through the cracks of Hollywood mandated by-the-numbers drivel.

Also, I will not tolerate a discussion about Joseph Gordon-Levitt that doesn't involve the fantastic "Brick".
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I wrote about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World a while ago, just because I wanted to:
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World combines a charming, smart, and funny script with a visual style that blends comic-book sensibilities with live-action anime, Bollywood films, and the gaming culture. Each member of the cast is perfect (standouts are Alison Pill, Brandon Routh, and a hilarious turn by Kieran Culkin).

The movie bombed financially, but my in opinion this was due to a disastrous marketing campaign, not the movie. Millions of people who would have loved this movie missed out big time. I’d say the “target audience” is both male and female between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five, though we older geeks and nerds will love it as well (I certainly did, and I'm a 42-year-old woman).

If you haven’t seen it, Netflix it, stream it, buy a download, ahem it, whatever, but do yourself a favor and check it out. I highly recommend watching it with a friend or a group of friends, because there’s little in this world that’s more fun than watching a movie with an entire audience that gets it.
I don't think you have to be a comic fan, or an anime fan, or a Bollywood fan, or a gamer to enjoy this film immensely. As an actor/acting fan, I was thrilled with the casting choices (far more people need to give Brandon Routh and Kieran Culkin the chance to show off their brilliant comic timing), and as a flat-out movie fan (all kinds of movies), I had the best time at this movie than I have had in a movie theater in a very long time. I went in mostly blind except for the trailer (though I'm a comics fan, I'd never read the series) with a friend (another 40-year-old woman) who had also never read the comics. We were crying with laughter and delight through the entire thing. It was an absolute joy, and it's one of the very, very few movies I have bought on DVD in the last five years.

In my opinion (and most people will disagree with me--often with extreme prejudice *g*), it was the most entertaining movie of 2010, hands down. The "best?" Probably not. But when you laugh from beginning to end, that's the hallmark of something special.
posted by tzikeh at 12:51 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


TwelveTwo: your comment makes me happy that I still have SP on my DVR. I'll have to watch it again with your insights in mind. I hadn't really analyzed it that deeply on a filmographic level when I watched it last, but now I'm intrigued.

I like movies that take intelligent viewer interaction for granted and don't spoon feed things to the audience. When I watch movies from 20-40 years ago, one of the things I'm constantly amazed at is how many movie minutes are wasted showing a car driving up to someplace, parking, and the characters getting out and walking up to a house and ringing a doorbell. Or whatever the equivalent is for such things across the spectrum. Really, the only time that should be necessary is when there are parts of that which are reveals to the audience which can't be shown any other way, which 99% of the time those shots are not.

So, thanks for inspiring me to go back and watch this again. Great comment.
posted by hippybear at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2011


(Also, in movie terms, this is part of the pacing problem overall -- including establishing shots or intermediary bits which truly are unnecessary to the narrative and work against the flow of the overall plot. Movies can be as easily killed by having these kinds of moments as they can by having bad line delivery or poor editing, or as The Whelk points out, working too hard to establish a context for a joke which should just be a throwaway or not included at all.)
posted by hippybear at 12:54 PM on November 6, 2011


For an excellent movie that does what Scott Pilgrim did but tells a better story: Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:02 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's the other problems of directors and actors who feel like they're in completely different movies then the one we're seeing - Mystery Men's direction really really wants to be an action film (they ruin a fine joke by spending 2 whole minutes on explosion shots and suck all the energy out of the scene) but it's script and actors are having none of that, they're inside a loopy comedy dammit. See also, Stardust, where the director seemed to think he was shooting Lord Of The Rings but at least half the cast is trying to turn it into The Princess Bride.
posted by The Whelk at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


(leading to one of my favorite things, characters that seem to be inhabiting a completely different movie.)
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2011



(leading to one of my favorite things, characters that seem to be inhabiting a completely different movie.)


This is also one of my favorite things.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:05 PM on November 6, 2011


What happened to Lovecraft in Brooklyn btw? Here I wanted an explanation of what people liked about the film.
posted by ersatz at 6:51 AM on November 6 [+] [!]


He took a self-imposed Metafilter holiday for some obscure but deeply felt reason (sorry, I read the post he did it in and I'm still not sure I understand why - hope he comes back, I liked his posts)
posted by Sebmojo at 1:07 PM on November 6, 2011


Now that we're on about pacing, maybe I won't have to waste an AskMe with the following question: What recent movies have been paced very well? In particular if anything is paced better than Men In Black, I'm interested.
posted by Jpfed at 1:07 PM on November 6, 2011


Fiona Shaw in Super Mario Brothers, the only person who seems to realize she's inside a lubricious camp disaster and decides to vamp it up to SOON THE UNIVERSE WILL BE MINE
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not really recent, but the original British version of Death At A Funeral seemed to have pretty good pacing overall. It's been a while since I watched it, so I can't say for sure.
posted by hippybear at 1:10 PM on November 6, 2011


Contagion (I swear I will stop talking about it soon) has a very interesting pace, it' keeps the tempo at this very careful level, speeding up for very short scenes and then coming down again. Most people call it "clinical" but the heavy hand makes it so the faster sequences are very jarring and effective. The overall feel is a kind of "Shit just keeps happening" fatalism. It's almost Stoic.
posted by The Whelk at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2011


In particular if anything is paced better than Men In Black, I'm interested.

That's an interesting thing, because when I saw MIB, the movie suddenly ended, and I found myself wondering what happened to the second half of the film, the part where the plot actually got going and things got real. I don't know why the whole bug plot seemed to be merely a subplot to me, but that was my initial reaction to the film, and the movie continues to feel like it lacks resolution to me even on repeat viewings.

Still, it seemed to be well paced. I'd have to watch it again -- it's been quite a while since I actually sat through it.
posted by hippybear at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2011


Contagion did seem almost perfectly paced. In a big star heavy disaster movie like that, you'd think that it would be a big temptation to make a two and half hour epic out of it but seemed just right at less than two hours.
posted by octothorpe at 1:25 PM on November 6, 2011


Lots of good debate on Wolfman in this thread.
posted by Senator at 1:30 PM on November 6, 2011


on good pacing, Zodiac, cause I walked out going "Well that was a quick movie" and three hours had gone by.
posted by The Whelk at 2:08 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ramona Flowers flashbacks, and Scott Pilgrim flashbacks. The first used a misogynistic drawn form, implying a certain crudeness and frankness to her storytelling

I don't think a doubtfully misogynistic crudeness was the intent there. Those were actually panels directly from the comic.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:15 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


(in the comic, the crudeness of the flashbacks has a purpose, which is to suggest Scott isn't remembering things exactly as they happened, which is a major point in the last book)
posted by The Whelk at 2:17 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wolfman was doomed by it's own fear. Giving del Toro his shot was a risk, and because of that, it's like everything else had to be lock down boardroom safe. The suits had to hedge their Benito bet by tacking on Hopkins. Screenplay was cursed by having to weaken what, in archetypal terms, should be one man's story. If other aspects had really worked, if Benito had truly been a star waiting to be born, or if Hopkins had been 20 years younger it might have been saved. I think if you're going for that two man dynamic, things have to be about sexual competition and sadly, for that, Hopkins was too old. So the whole schmear ends up muddled and not resonant.

A movie we'll never see is Hopkins in his thirties playing Talbot. I wish all of you could see his Othello and imagine what that actor could do with all the horrifying self discovery in the Wolfman story.
posted by Trochanter at 2:26 PM on November 6, 2011


I don't think The Wolfman was all that bad. Clearly, decisions were made by studio suits after the fact that kept it from being the movie it might have been -- when someone gets the incredibly brilliant idea to cut Max Von Sydow out of a movie, you really have to wonder what else that nameless genius might have fucked up.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:36 PM on November 6, 2011


Sebmojo, thanks.
posted by ersatz at 3:25 PM on November 6, 2011


So, there were two types of flash backs. Ramona Flowers flashbacks, and Scott Pilgrim flashbacks. The first used a misogynistic drawn form, implying a certain crudeness and frankness to her storytelling...

I was going to favorite your comment until I got to this and I'm hovering now because I feel kind of weird; those sequences featured Bryan Lee O'Malley's art. They were just a reference to the source material.

Otherwise, it's a good observation that SPvtW doesn't have many establishing shots; I think that actually makes the fairly hectic pacing feel totally natural.
posted by byanyothername at 5:01 PM on November 6, 2011


Yeah, I should have edited that out. If I could edit, then I would edit that one word out of there.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:04 PM on November 6, 2011


Yeah, I know you weren't being disingenuous or anything, but I wasn't sure what to do with that. I think the Romona Flowers sequences are like that just because there are more of them, so there's more opportunity for winks and nods.

The rest of your comment is really good, though. SPvtW is an interesting movie; I feel like it's perfectly paced, but I wonder if the editing techniques would make anything feel more well paced.
posted by byanyothername at 5:12 PM on November 6, 2011


The misogynistic reading is actually a left over artifact from an earlier sketch when I was going to go in with the immediate feel of the movie from an outsider's perspective, attack it for all its flaws, feigning to agree with the misreading of my tiny-text. Then I would progressively invert it until it is like, oh whoa, wait, this movie isn't anything more than what it is telling us it is. It isn't an action film, it isn't a romance. It has all the narrative depth of a generic video game, without the pretension of, let's say, Elektra. There is no reasoning behind the magic powers they have or the fighting. The shock that the movie provides is the sensation that it isn't trying to buffalo us. It isn't serious, but it is serious about not being serious. I suspect this is the major reason why it resonates for the target audience. "Authenticity" and all that, y'know? It is also why those expecting more from it can be disappointed within the first twenty minutes. If you weren't won over by the first fight sequence, then there isn't anything in there that will. To make it all the more insulting, it does not even whisper sweet promises into the ears of the audience. It warns from the beginning, if you don't like this too bad, we are still having fun if you aren't. So the movie disappoints you right off the bat, or it charms you. The movie unfolds like a night with goofy friends, conversation or dialogue never forms, but no one cares, we all just banter into the night. Sometimes though, they are total dicks who won't talk about what is going on in their lives or listen to what is going on in yours. They are too busy quoting, "It's Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This" and scenes from Arrested Development.


so basically i did not have the writing skill to pull off a sort of dialectical motion and then after i rewrote i did not edit fully
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:36 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Squid & the Whale
Eisenberg haters should really give him a chance and watch this - so good.

Nick and Norah
Yeah, didn't get this one. It felt like something I would have liked a lot if I were 15, but I'm not, and didn't resonate with me.

500 Days of Summer
I think I have previously (at least once, if not more) on MeFi gone into why I really like this movie as a subversion of the MPDG trope, but not a lot of people ever seem to buy it. Love me some JGL.
posted by naoko at 5:56 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Squid & the Whale is totally worth it for Jeff Daniels as a nuclear grade asshole.
posted by Artw at 5:59 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


The beef I had with Scott Pilgrim was that the audience never really got to see Scott and Ramona really bonding, which makes the ending seem really weird (sorta-spoiler: even if it is the same ending the comics had). In the comics they're together for at least 12 months before the final book. In the movie they're together for 10 days - Tuesday April 5 through Friday April 15 (note: self-link). It makes it hard to jump to that conclusion the movie did. The problem is that while Bryan Lee O'Malley's idea to have seven boss battles in the books was great from his perspective (he gets to write out a long story and make money), its tough to fit that many boss battles into a 2 hour movie, and a lot of other stuff gets cut that I thought was magnificent from the comics. What other movie has seven evil villains to fight in two hours, plus this many people in the cast to introduce, get to know, etc.

I'm so sad I'm late to this discussion, I read it all and loved it
posted by SirOmega at 9:43 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the problem with Scott Pilgrim is that the basic idea is a total misdirect from it's actual contents. It's basically a romantic comedy that looks like anything but that on the surface. When it came out, I recommended it to a whole slew of people who had never heard of the comic, (and mostly weren't the type of people to ever read a comic) but I knew would like it. None of them believed me. Pretty much all of them saw it later on DVD or download and loved it. A few of them even went out and bought the comics and loved those too.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:18 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Cera was terrific in "Youth in Revolt," in which both his amiable Cera-self and his delicate, peach fuzz-mustached alter ego turned out to be forces of pure malice.

After growing up in the actual Ukiah, California, I am pretty much required to hate Youth in revolt, in both it's book and film incarnations, (I mean you got lake county pretty much right, but we don't even have a lumber mill, and the movie was filmed in Texas or something. I am offended.) but that scene, where mustache Micheal Cera Just gives regular Micheal Cera a long contemptuous look, and then eats a handfull of mushrooms.

That is probably the best 10 seconds in cinematic history.

But really our highschool was not like that at all.
posted by St. Sorryass at 1:21 AM on November 7, 2011


I just watched Scott Pilgrim because of this thread. It didn't entirely work for me; but the things that it did well, it did very, very well.

The idea of someone having to defeat the exes of their new love—comic-book/video-game style or otherwise—to keep them, has enormous resonance and potential and I just don't think that this story or script even remotely did the idea justice. Everything else about it was exceptionally good: production design, special-effects, editing, direction, even the acting (though they didn't have much to work with). I'm not saying the script was bad, exactly. It was funny. It was just very thin given the fertility of the material.

This is probably my age showing, but I did have trouble with these characters, given their ages. I wasn't remotely mature at the age of 23, but my world wasn't as, um, teenaged as theirs apparently is, either. These seemed to me like people a year out of high school, no more. My sense is that this is a generational thing, that there's not as much a clear division between late adolescence and early adulthood as there was twenty-to-thirty years ago. It's as if people's—well, men's, anyway; I'm not so sure the same is true for women—adolescence is now prolonged into the early twenties, in a weird mix of adult and pre-adult life. This appears in one form or another in a lot of movies these days, and it is a little alienating to me. In this film, it's heightened because of the graphic novel and video game connection and style.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:25 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ivan: now watch Kick-Ass and tell me it isn't at least 3x better at being basically the same movie. SP has more gewgaws, but beyond that I thought it was a bit thin and definitely much less compelling.
posted by rhizome at 1:24 PM on November 7, 2011


Er, I like Kick Ass but it is in no way whatsoever the same movie.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why We Can’t Have Great Movies

Last Thursday, Universal Pictures chief Ron Meyer caused a splash late last week, when he admitted that "we do make a lot of shitty movies," and listed Land of the Lost, The Wolfman and Cowboys & Aliens among the studio's clunkers.

But the really fascinating thing about Meyer's presentation at the Savannah Film Festival was the insight he gave into why so many movies are crap: there's a kind of downward spiral where the more movies flop, the more risk-averse the studios become, and the more they make movies that are probably going to flop.

posted by Artw at 3:28 PM on November 7, 2011


So, rewatching Scott Pilgrim...

Am I so wrong to read all the fights with the exes as symbolic and not literal? Maybe I partake too much in the Jungian collective subconscious, but nearly every time Scott is fighting an ex, the fight takes on Great Significance and appears to be more about the need for a new lover to overshadow Those Who Have Gone Before than any literal fight between new and former boyfriends.

Anyway, it's a film which is entirely too clever, really great production design, and completely captures the graphic novel roots from which it springs. It's a shame it failed at the box office. It's like Ang Lee's Hulk, only taken to a much more entertaining place as far as film-craft goes.
posted by hippybear at 3:47 PM on November 7, 2011


Am I so wrong to read all the fights with the exes as symbolic and not literal? Maybe I partake too much in the Jungian collective subconscious, but nearly every time Scott is fighting an ex, the fight takes on Great Significance and appears to be more about the need for a new lover to overshadow Those Who Have Gone Before than any literal fight between new and former boyfriends.

No, I think you've pretty much got it. Of course, on top that the world of Scott Pilgrim is a rather fun munge of literal and metaphorical stuff that cheekily has it both ways from time to time.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on November 7, 2011


Yeah... plus the comic book sound effect overlays on top of the physical action are well done and amusing and clever, and the general way its filmed is really nicely done. It's a great mix of classic action, Jackie Chan, anime, and a lot of other genres. It basically takes all those styles and puts them in a blender and says "see, they're all the same, regardless of the visual language which is being used".

It's a better film than most appreciated at the time, all set in a comic book/video game metaphor which only serves to underscore its greatness.

Shame, really. I have no idea why it failed. I'm glad this thread got me to watch it a second time. It might even end up being one I purchase for my library, because I don't buy movies often unless I want to watch them again and again, and it's really that good.
posted by hippybear at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2011


Er, I like Kick Ass but it is in no way whatsoever the same movie.

You're just not thinking basic enough. :)
posted by rhizome at 4:19 PM on November 7, 2011


They're both... a series of images shown in order in such as a way that it produces the illusion of movement?
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you may be indulging in extremism.
posted by rhizome at 6:26 PM on November 7, 2011


They were both released in 2011?
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on November 7, 2011


"Ivan: now watch Kick-Ass and tell me it isn't at least 3x better at being basically the same movie. SP has more gewgaws, but beyond that I thought it was a bit thin and definitely much less compelling."

I started to watch Kick-Ass a few months ago, and wanted to like it, but gave up on it midway through. It didn't offend me or anything, as it did some people, it's just that it seemed to me that it just wasn't really working. I think I know what it was trying to do, and if I'm right, it didn't manage to do it. However, I didn't finish the film, so I could have misconstrued it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:44 PM on November 7, 2011


Misplaced?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi


I didn't exactly mean that people are wrong to have Cera fatigue (you are allowed to dislike him obviously). Just that the fatigue and bitterness seemed to coalesce around the time this movie came out, and the movie (in my opinion wrongfully) bore the brunt of it having built up. A lot of actors who have a number of movies come out in a seemingly short time that are similar in some way have this problem (occasionally Hollywood seems to worsen it by releasing a number of movies that maybe were produced over a longer period of time all at once). I'm a fan of Cera, so I don't have a problem with his manboy thing that angers people so much (but I've also only seen Juno of the movies people seem to have issues with). But Scott Pilgrim was not those movies (and really in no way similar to them beside maybe indie music being involved) and so I feel the movie came out at a time in his career arc where resentment was built up towards him, which is unfortunate. I wish it had been a smashing success because I think Edgar Wright deserves it, and it was my favorite movie of the past year so I'd like to see the people who made it get rewarded, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

Also someone mentioned they thought the movie was pandering to people who like videogames. I think that is DEFINITELY not the case, the movie has a pure and genuine love of videogames and draws inspiration from them in some both really broad and really subtle ways. It gets videogames in a way that no actual movie based on a game has yet. Certainly not pandering by someone, but made with genuine love and affection for videogames and music. And the music! Hasn't mentioned it much here but the music in the film is FANTASTIC, original songs written by Beck and Metric which are really, really great and suit the film perfectly.

Clearly from the thread you can tell this movie isn't for everyone, but for some of us it hits just right. So see it if you haven't! You might be one of us!
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:02 PM on November 7, 2011


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