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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

it was a fun little romp, but it lacked shape. as in, it kind of felt like a pop song that does verse/chorus/verse/chorus/verse/chorus a bunch of times with no variation in chords, texture, volume, or anything other than lyrics. If you care enough about the lyrics or how the song affects you on a more primal level that might not matter so much (Smells Like Teen Spirit), but if that stuff doesn't strike you then the song is otherwise bland. Scott Pilgrim was kind of like that, not *bland* exactly, but once the structure was set, the expectation was set, the expectation kept on being *met*, and any good musician/composer will tell you that what makes a successful piece of music is one that plays with expectation once expectation is set up by fulfilling it some of the time, not fulfilling it other times, and completely breaking the mold other times. That's what made Hot Fuzz a much more successful Edgar Wright production than this.

it was still pretty to watch, although after a while Cera got on my nerves. The ending was pretty confusing too, even more so since apparently it was written to end in a completely coin flip originally which is annoying because a decision like that feels like it shouldn't be arbitrary. maybe it wasn't, but it feels like it.

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shazamaramack
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
I first read this a week or two ago and I had no idea what you were talking about. Now, after reading your music entry on your website, I have a better idea of the point you're trying to make. However, this isn't a movie I love because it set up expectations and then dismantled them. In fact, I don't think any movie can ever be among my favorites because of that. The movies that I love the most are the movies that draw me back to watch again and again and after I've seen a movie countless times, it's impossible for it to present me with the unexpected. The same goes for music, my favorite songs are songs I've listened to 100s of times and I know every beat and note that's coming.

The reason I love this movie is tricky, especially since the first time I saw it all I could think about was how annoying Michael Cera is. But there's so much more to it that appeals to me. I love all the old school video game stuff, I love the crappy garageband music, I love Michael Cera's character's struggle with relationships. I think the casting and direction were excellent and all around it was very well done, but there's something else that I can't put my finger on that makes me happy when I watch it. A form of nostalgia. It's hard to say.
lifeofmendel
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:50 am (UTC)
setting up expectation and breaking them isn't ruined if you see it over and over again, exactly. There's a difference between teasing/playing with expectation and sometimes breaking it versus being surprised by something. It's more subtle than that, otherwise i wouldn't love watching some of the movies i love or listening to the music i love over and over again either.

probably the easiest popular example that i can come up with in a movie is the first matrix movie. There was an expectation set up with its martial arts scenes to start that got broken when the laws of gravity and physics could be bent in a way that a lot of american audiences weren't used to. Bu the fact that we're used to that now and it doesn't surprise us anymore doesn't take away the concept of the expectation of what was possible vs not possible in the context of those fighting scenes being broken nor does it detract from how those scenes orchestrate and manipulate your sense of expectations. When your expectations fail to be met and establish new ones, it may not be new on repeat viewings, but it's still new in its context, and when you can achieve still achieve that effect in that way, it's successful.

Part of the problem with Scott Pilgrim is that there wasn't any big picture shape to it in the same way that the Matrix had, or, a better example, Kung Fu Hustle had. It gave away the game way too early and thus flattened out. It was enjoyable to watch, but it wasn't really fulfilling. I wasn't being taken on a journey, i was on a roller coaster ride that didn't go anywhere. Generally that's not what i'm looking for in my visual entertainment.

something like that anyway. i'm a little tired.
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