Why Scott Pilgrim beat Expendables for me…


Yes, you may be wondering at the title. Scott Pilgrim (the always amusing Michael Cera) is just this twenty-something rocker in Toronto. The Expendables have a veritable who’s who of action stars – Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and Mickey Rourke. It’s a matter of testosterone vs. style. Not that the big guys don’t have style – but it’s a different world…

You might think this is comparing apples and oranges. And maybe you’re right.

But I was looking forward to both of these flicks for months. Each trailer whet my appetite a little more until I was almost drooling in anticipation… (Ok, not really – hypersalivation isn’t a real problem…) These hit different parts of my movie goals…

Action movies have been hit and miss this year for me. The A-Team was a miss, but The Losers was a hit. The Book of Eli was a hit but Legion did poorly at the box office (though I liked it, I didn’t love it). I hated The Wolfman but loved The Crazies… Even Iron Man 2 was a bit of disappointment.

Though I liked parts of The Expendables (some awesome fight scenes), it lacked much emotional connection… Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on the other hand had me at hello. From the 8-bit style of the Universal logo and theme song to the end, I was enthralled and in geek heaven.

The trifecta of Knives (Ellen Wong), Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Cera as Pilgrim worked on so many levels even before you add in the geek. At it’s heart, this story is about the loves and losses of our 20s – those decisions we make and regret that follow us around like lost baggage from the airlines.

But when you add in the amazing soundtrack, the hilarious video game references, and the insanity of a “League of Evil Exes” and you have a film that is transcendent. This is the first truly multi-media inspired film that I can remember that works video game bits directly into the storytelling. I’m sure I missed a bunch of them, but they were seamlessly integrated with the love story.

Is this movie for people under the age of 16? Probably not. Is it for people over 50? Only if they’re extremely hip. This film (and the comic that spawned it) is a generational thing. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Fast Times at Ridgemont High were products of the generation I grew up in… These were homages to the inanity of growing up in that world of the end of the ’70s and early ’80s in much the same way that Scott Pilgrim captures the music-and-video game generation of today.

So why hasn’t it done well at the box office? Heck if I know. But The Expendables keeps making money based on name recognition.

I can only hope that Scott Pilgrim takes off on DVD & Blu-ray to save itself from total anonymity.

If you haven’t seen either film, I’d see Scott Pilgrim first and The Expendables second. Or the other way. Doesn’t really matter I guess. They both have a lot going for them. But damn I enjoyed the saga of Scott and Ramona so much more…


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