I have become that kind of unemployed person who sees even blockbuster movies on the dates they are released because she can go to a matinée, and so I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Friday. I thought it a good time. It’s a popcorn movie, but it’s way smarter than popcorn movies are as a general rule, and subject to the qualifications you’re about to read, it contains characters who are young women and who actually resemble human beings. I hardly knew what to do with this. And while I know that a Michael Cera backlash looms, I still find him kind of charming in his unique blend of creep and emo. But I’m a forgiving Canadian like that. (Someday I’ll write you an essay on why I feel like Americans don’t quite get Michael Cera or Ellen Page, but I’ll have to fortify myself first.)
Related caveat: I admit that much of my enjoyment was probably amplified by my nationality, and also having been so recently repatriated to Toronto that it still seems like I have left the center of the universe for its outer reaches. It’s a bit fun to see some Canadian standbys (Second Cup, Loonies and Twoonies) that are neither Mounties nor beavers force their way into the imaginative consciousness of an American movie. But there I go, bringing nationalism into it.
In any event, I had intended to do a longer writeup than this this week, but then stumbled across Mike Barthel’s review at The Awl. I am no comic-book, or, to be more polite, graphic-novel aficionado, though I know it’s snobbery, so I am unable to compare the two in the way he can for you, so I suggest you go read for yourself. A taste:
The problem with the movie is… well, in the simplest terms, it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. For a movie based on an art comic, this is weird, to say the least. And it’s absolutely not true about the comic. One of the best things about it is that Scott often seems like a minor character in the context of his friends, all of whom are living much richer and fuller lives than he is. Female characters form friendships, male characters come out of the closet off-screen, and ex-girlfriends move on. The comic makes a joke about this: Scott’s self-centeredness causes him to assume, as fiction readers do, that nothing important happens without him around. But, of course, things do all the time.
Happy Sunday, y’all.