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trailer break: ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


I’ve been scolded already for not understanding the appeal of Scott Pilgrim, and I think I can pretty much promise those scolders that if this trailer is representative of the film, I will continue not to understand the appeal of it. Cuz it looks like yet another celebration of the Nice Guy(TM), the passive-aggressiveness doormat who constantly complains that women like only assholes and this is why he — the Nice Guy(TM) — is alone… while simultaneously reinforcing the notion that women really do only like assholes.

Guys: Why would you want to date someone with seven evil exes? Does this not call into question the judgment of such a woman, that she would have made so many bad calls when it came to relationships? Do you really want to be next?

Michael Cera is correct here: Seven evil exes is not “baggage.” It’s a reason to run away very fast.

But I guess, as usual, if the woman in question is hot enough, a guy will put up with anything. And men enjoy seeing themselves depicted this way, as poor saps who can be manipulated into anything?

I can’t wait to see this, to learn if I’m wrong about the movie. But even if I am, it’s being sold on this basis. Which is depressing enough.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opens in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. on August 13.


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posted in:
movie buzz | trailers
  • JoshDM

    I’ve never read the source material; I just heard that it is very very very very entertaining stuff, the sort of comic book that wins awards and critical praise, etc.

    Maybe I should; I do read a lot of comics.

    I do question the concept, though. Ramona Flowers better be worth all the trouble having to battle her evil exes, otherwise George Michael Bluth might be better off going for the more physically attractive (to me) and seemingly understanding girl sitting in the swings next to him.

  • JoshDM

    I’m going to read the books before I see the film, but only if I can get the books on the cheap.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    Actually, Scott Pilgrim is a doormat, and learns to be less of one through his love for Ramona and how he learns to fight for it. Or at least, this is what the comic book is about.

    And Ramona has seven “evil exes” because she’s a runner, afraid of commitment in a different way than Scott, and she grows up as well. As a side note, her exes are not necessarily “evil” in that they are bad people. It is just a video game kind of construct in which Scott gleans something from each of her past relationships.

  • http://wildandbad.com C David Dent

    @TylerFoster

    That’s a very concise description of the story. Bravo!

    What’s more, Scott is sort of a “likable bum” who tramples on his friends in an endless series of clueless impositions that they tolerate. But eventually he begins to realize how much of a burden he is to them when they don’t allow him to do the same thing (cluelessly) to Ramona once they start dating.

    I really enjoyed how it is portrayed as a video game with Scott “levelling up” from clueless kid to proper human adult.

    Yep, the studio is marketing it as “same old same old” because that will sell but I trust Edgar Winter to do the story real justice.

    I am reminded of how they studios marketed “The Invention of Lying” as a screwball magic/romantic comedy and it was so much better than that (as social commentary/satire).

  • http://wildandbad.com C David Dent

    Correction! Edgar Wright…I didnt’ realize what I had typed until I had submitted it

  • Drave

    Yeah, what Tyler said. Since Scott is basically a doormat gamer geek, the story uses video game tropes as the language with which it communicates its ideas. He also isn’t just obsessed with her because she is hot. What the trailer doesn’t make clear is that Ramona is the girl of his dreams in a completely literal sense. As in, the moment he meets her, he recognizes her as someone who has been appearing in his dreams for quite some time. Her appearance in his waking life is the catalyst which causes him to try and “level up” to the point where he is actually worthy of the girl of his dreams.

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    Guys: Why would you want to date someone with seven evil exes?

    Um, if she’s cute and likes video games, sure.

    Let’s face it, the person we’re hooking up could very well have hundreds of poor dating choices stretching back to her/his pre-teen years even by the time we’re in college. And while some can question the wisdom of dating a girl who has Seven Evil Exes, it’s not necessarily *her* fault *they* are evil. We all make our own choices, after all. And good (and smart) girls have been trapped in bad relationships with evil guys before.

    And the Exes don’t seem to be entirely evil, mind you. That one guy says to Romana (after tossing Scott into a stone building) “He seems nice.”

    Try to view the film this way: it’s an American/Canadian version of the UK ubercult classic “Spaced” tv show… just without Simon Pegg and trading in the Star Wars references for Super Mario Bros (the game, not the movie).

    And go to the nearest B&N store and look for the graphic novels! You might be impressed.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    The flipside of what Drave posted is also what makes Ramona special: her magical bag full of giant hammers, her ability to use “subspace” in her job at Amazon.ca to rollerskate through people’s dreams, etc. She’s not just another pretty face, she’s awesome.

  • marshall

    I am not sure I got the ‘nice guy’ complaining about being alone from this trailer. From the get go he went right up to her and started talking to her. That doesn’t seem to speak ‘door mat’ to me.

  • RyanT

    I have faith in Edgar Wright. That is all.

  • JT

    Never read the comic (although I’ve never heard anything but good things about it either). I admit that this trailer doesn’t do a whole lot to sell me on the story, but the visual style is pure awesome. The comic-book style sound effects, the video game style fight scenes (there’s another trailer out there where you actually see a combo-counter at one point)…it looks wonderfully geeky, and unlike anything else that I’ve ever seen in a movie. So I may wind up checking this one out.

  • Knightgee

    Scott isn’t really a “nice guy” at the start of the series. He’s a bit of a bum, but he’s outgoing with girls and assertive and if anything is more likely to be the one inconveniencing those around him than to be used by those around him. It’s really sort of aggravating that the trailer is playing it off this way actually, as it would be nice to see Michael Cera play a different character for once.

  • Ben

    George Michael Bluth might be better off going for the more physically attractive (to me) and seemingly understanding girl sitting in the swings next to him.

    Yeah, except that I am pretty sure based on the reading that comics that the girl on the swings is his sister (Scott Pilgrim’s that is). A check of IMDB seems to confirm that.

    As others have said, Scott Pilgrim isn’t a nice guy ™ he is a jerk – not that that will make it better for you I am sure, but for example SPOILER in the comic (and probably in the movie) he is dating an underage girl at the start of the story who he first two-times and then quite cruelly dumps for Ramona. END SPOILER

    I have read all the comics so far, and I have to say I don’t like Scott very much as a character (although as others say, as the comics go on he levels up to become a better person). But the story is clever, and has others have said its references to nerd, video game, and comic culture are right in my sweet spot. I am looking forward to the movie for sure.

  • Ryan H

    The comic story arc is definitely more of a ‘time to be a man, not a guy’ arc than a lovable-doofus arc. While nothing is fixed in stone in an adaptation I trust Write to not dumb it down.

    Not sure if it’s on YouTube but the apple trailer site has a newer and longer trailer that feels a little more coherent.

  • Dominic

    It isn’t based in reality. It’s based in a world where people break into Street Fighters battles at the drop of a hat.

    That being said, it is a coming of age story. The characters start out flawed and narcissistic, but eventually become aware of their flaws and learn to change themselves.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    I didn’t even notice you posted the older trailer. Here’s the newer and much-better one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NUBVcit5VM

  • MaryAnn

    Scott Pilgrim isn’t a nice guy ™ he is a jerk

    Nice Guys(TM) *are* jerks.

    while some can question the wisdom of dating a girl who has Seven Evil Exes, it’s not necessarily *her* fault *they* are evil.

    It’s *her* fault that she chooses them over and over again. If she hasn’t learned her lesson after, say, the third evil ex, she’s an idiot. She’s not “cute” — she’s deeply troubled.

    Try to view the film this way: it’s an American/Canadian version of the UK ubercult classic “Spaced” tv show… just without Simon Pegg and trading in the Star Wars references for Super Mario Bros (the game, not the movie).

    And without an equal female protagonist, such as the one *Spaced* has. At least, the trailer does not make it look as if there is one.

    It isn’t based in reality.

    That’s gonna be the excuse for this? *The Lord of the Rings* isn’t based in reality, either, but it *is* emotionally true. Even fantasies must say *something* that speaks to us.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    She’s not “cute” — she’s deeply troubled.

    Yes. And that gets worked out over the course of the books.

    And she’s only 25. At least 3 of the “exes” were extremely brief flings, and not genuine relationships. It’s not like there’s some standard to which the “exes” are held to in order to qualify.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    One of the seven evil exes is a girl? Cool! ;-)

    I never got the appeal of people who insist on dyeing their hair a color not normally found in humans their age but then this movie isn’t being made for me and unlike some people I can mention, it’s not necessary for me to fall in love with a character’s love interest to get involved in that character’s story provided that story is told well. (Just as well. The girl would be way too young for me.)

    That said, it could have potential. Indeed, it’s worth remembering that Spaced didn’t seem all that promising at first–unless you’re the type of person which likes everything–and I mean everything, even BP stock certificates and Spice Girl records–British–and of course, I’m not that type of person.

    So, we’ll see.

  • Chuck

    But I guess, as usual, if the woman in question is hot enough, a guy will put up with anything. And men enjoy seeing themselves depicted this way, as poor saps who can be manipulated into anything?

    We are simple creatures are we not?

  • MaryAnn

    We are simple creatures are we not?

    If men are such simple, hormonally driven creatures of base tastes and lusts, why are they in fucking charge of fucking everything? How can they possibly be trusted with their fingers on nuclear buttons and such if just one pair of tits walking by might distract them so badly that they’ll accidentally push that button? What if a random, unexpected hardon accidentally pushes the button? How can we trust men to do *anything* at all other than rut constantly?

  • JoshB

    What if a random, unexpected hardon accidentally pushes the button?

    Isn’t that why pants were invented?

  • Knightgee

    We are simple creatures are we not?

    Speak for yourself.

  • char

    i’m going to see it because it was filmed in my home town, Toronto. it’s nice to see the beautiful city i live in playing itself for a change. :)

  • JoshDM

    Second trailer is much better than the one posted.

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    MaryAnn: there are female characters galore in the comic book and also the movie. The second trailer shows them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Scott_Pilgrim_characters

    I hate to point this out, but the reason why there was a lot of flack about you ignoring this as a “need-to-see 2010 summer flick” from your Inception post is that A) there are a *lot* of fans of the books who are hyped about the movie and B) you haven’t read the source materials. I know that can be said about a lot of the movies you have to review, but in this case you really should go find a Scott Pilgrim graphic novel at a bookstore or library and just give it a quick read (I personally can’t say how quick it will go as I’m a fast reader, but Volume 1 took me an hour).

    Here’s a link to the New York Public Library: they’ve got volumes 1-5, try vol.1 first.
    http://catalog.nypl.org/iii/encore/record/C|Rb17252118|Sscott+pilgrim|P0%2C4|Orightresult?lang=eng&suite=pearl

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    If men are such simple, hormonally driven creatures of base tastes and lusts, why are they in fucking charge of fucking everything? How can they possibly be trusted with their fingers on nuclear buttons and such if just one pair of tits walking by might distract them so badly that they’ll accidentally push that button? What if a random, unexpected hardon accidentally pushes the button? How can we trust men to do *anything* at all other than rut constantly?

    Because women are also hormonal and crazy? Not *exactly* like guys but just as bad?

    /glances at MaryAnn’s obsessions with time-traveling Doctors visiting her boudoir to borrow a towel after taking hot showers

    Yes, men are idiots who think with their Pocket Rockets. But women – which one was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard that ran it into the ground and is now running for the California Senate seat? – don’t exactly do any better. ‘Tis better to note that ALL humans are flawed/have issues and whatever the gender is doesn’t fully define what those flaws are.

  • MaryAnn

    MaryAnn: there are female characters galore in the comic book and also the movie. The second trailer shows them.

    That second trailer doesn’t change my perception of what the film is going to be. I don’t see any significant female characters except the object of the male protagonist’s desire.

    A) there are a *lot* of fans of the books who are hyped about the movie and B) you haven’t read the source materials.

    So? Just because other people are psyched for this doesn’t mean I have to be. And if the movie cannot be appreciated without having read the source material, it will fail as a movie. As I’ve already said. That won’t change no matter how many times someone insists I *must* read the graphic novel.

  • MaryAnn

    Because women are also hormonal and crazy? Not *exactly* like guys but just as bad?

    No! Because “women are hormonal and crazy” has been an excuse for a very long time for why women should not be allowed to do lots of things. But when men say that about themselves, we’re not supposed to believe the same about them?

    /glances at MaryAnn’s obsessions with time-traveling Doctors visiting her boudoir to borrow a towel after taking hot showers

    My obsession with *Doctor Who* does not rule my life and direct everything I do, which appears to be the point of guys who say things like “Men are simple creatures”: it’s offered as the explanation for everything that motivates men.

  • http://www.phantasmictales.com Prankster

    You don’t see any significant female characters who aren’t Ramona? Did you somehow miss his female bandmate Kim Pine, his sister Stacey, and the female evil ex? They all have pretty obvious, prominent roles in the trailer. The comic has an abundance of female roles, and they all appear to be in the movie.

    I think you’re seeing something that’s not there. I’m sorry that there are so many crappy or nonexistent roles for women out there, but Scott Pilgrim is the antidote to that, and you’re accusing it of being part of the problem based on a trailer you apparently didn’t even pay much attention to.

  • MaryAnn

    I see women in the trailer there to support Scott in his journey. I don’t see women on their own journey. I think you’re reading something into the trailer that may not be there. There may well be strong female characters in the source material. That doesn’t mean they ended up that way in the film.

    I’ll be delighted to be wrong about this. But right now all any of us have to judge the movie on is that trailer. Including those of you who’ve read the source material.

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    So you’re not even going to glance at the graphic novel.

    (thinks it over)

    Your library card expired and you’re too ashamed to admit it, aren’t you? Well it’s nothing to be ashamed of, I needed to update my card last month. It’s really simple, just go to the circ desk, get them to reset the expiration date, and then just causally walk over to the YA section and check it out… (earnest thumbs up gesture) Support your local library!

  • amanohyo

    I picked up a volume of Scott Pilgrim once and couldn’t get past the crude art style and general lack of quality. After reading the plot summary on Wikipedia, I’m pretty happy with my decision. If you’re going to force me to look at amateurish art, I need something more than a hipster stream of consciousness soap opera sprinkled with out of context pop culture video game references.

    If the relationship stuff at the core was more Scenes from a Marriage than slacker Saved by the Bell, I’d be tempted to take a closer look. Damn standards, getting in the way again. Eighteen year old me would have eaten it up though. Of course, eighteen year old me skipped class to play Samurai Shodown IV five hours a day.

    Also: if you’re going to have martial arts in your movie, even goofy video game physics-ish martial arts, hire a martial artist. All the fancy effects, wires, cuts, and/or CG in the world cannot hide these actors’ complete and utter lack of grace.

  • amanohyo

    Hmm, I just skimmed one of the later books and a couple of the backgrounds aren’t completely amateurish. The content is still subpar. Persepolis has even more simplistic art, but it’s a stylistic choice that suits the content well. More importantly, the content is actually interesting and relevant, the setting is original, and the main character is compelling and fleshed out.

    After reading a few pages, I don’t care whether Scott gets the girl of his dreams or not. He could explode into a shower of golden coins on the next page, never to return again, and I’d feel nothing. The pop culture references are not clever or funny in and of themselves. Yes, Clash at Demonhead and Kid Chameleon are games, and? Yes, a Bob-omb is an enemy in Mario 3, and so…? Yes, Young Neil backwards is Neil Young, aaaand therefore…? Just keep throwing those references out as fast as you can, and maybe no one will notice the puerile teen romance novel underneath it all.

    I sure hope the movie is a heck of a lot better than the books.

  • http://www.phantasmictales.com Prankster

    OK, I stand corrected: this is the earlier teaser version of the trailer, rather than the longer version that just hit, in which we see the array of female characters. (Stacey’s still in the short trailer, though.)

    It’s possible the movie is a major departure from the comics, but the second trailer looks VERY faithful to the source material, including whole lines and shots.

  • http://www.phantasmictales.com Prankster
  • Ben

    [quote]Nice Guy(TM), the passive-aggressiveness doormat who constantly complains that women like only assholes and this is why he — the Nice Guy(TM) — is alone[/quote]

    Ok, I will be more specific then. Scott Pilgrim is not the above Nice Guy (TM) which you defined. He is a selfish idiotic little boy but he has had no problem getting girls. He somewhat fit this TV Trope (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JerkAss) with a bit of perhaps (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JerkWithAHeartOfGold)

    This is not of course a reason to watch the movie, just trying to point out that in your read on it’s plot is not accurate.

    [quote]Even fantasies must say *something* that speaks to us.[/quote]

    True, and those of us arguing that we are looking forward to Scott Pilgrim vs The World are trying to explain what does speak to us (as well as a bit of “you, person on the internet, you are wrong”). I think with just the trailers to go by (which to me have strong hints of his obnoxiousness as well as strong female characters, but the source material biases me) we are just going to have to agree to disagree :)

  • Ben

    nuts… oh I wish there was an edit button so I could add “block” to those quotes :D

  • Muzz

    I’ve never read the book but there’s a certain resonance in the themes I’m seeing. I’ve even seen stats that say girls, on average, are way more adventurous and experienced than their male counterparts by their early twenties. Doubly so in the geeky end of things. This lines up nicely with life, in my humble experience, and a girl’s ‘past’ being represented as boss fights for the hero to measure up against is hilarious.
    Sure it’s from the guy’s point of view, but I guess that’s built in. It’s just a matter of how they handle it. So we’ll see.

    Anyway, can’t you still be a decent worthwhile human being despite failing in your choice of a mate seven times? It can take a while to get to know people. Maybe that’s the point of the story (if only I’d read it).

  • http://bluejaysway.wordpress.com/ Bluejay

    Rock on, PaulW:

    Support your local library!

    With letters and donations, if possible. :-)

    I read Volumes 1-5 a while back (has Vol. 6 come out?) and remember liking the story and the sensibility a whole lot. Don’t some of the female characters go on their own personal journeys too? I seem to recall Knives Chau’s feelings for Scott evolving over the course of the story. And I remember Ramona being fascinating in her own right, not just as the prize for the hero to win; the more we learn about her past, the more fully fleshed-out she seems.

    …The movie does need to stand on its own, of course.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    I see women in the trailer there to support Scott in his journey. I don’t see women on their own journey.

    Well, I maintain that Ramona should be a well-developed female lead, but out of curiosity, if the story is focused on a male hero, is there an inherent problem with women being there to support him, as long as they’re still well-written and intelligent? Scott goes to his younger sister for advice because she’s smarter than he is. Yeah, there are too many movies about heroes and too few about heroines, but that still seems like a positive, non-marginalized supporting role for a female character. A supporting role isn’t necessarily supposed to have much of an on-screen journey. She’s kind of like Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original trilogy, and it’s not like he gets tons of backstory.

  • JoshDM

    So you’re not even going to glance at the graphic novel.

    I don’t think she is concerned about the source material. I figured it out from the Airbender comments.

    She wants to be able to judge a film on its own merits; whether it delivers a story, not whether it properly delivers the story of the source material on which it is based.

    Granted, the source materials for Scott Pilgrim and Airbender (not to mention Watchmen and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) are quite entertaining in a geeky way (I’m assuming in the case of Pilgrim), and probably (definitely in the case of Watchmen and LXG) lose much of what made them great when adapted to the big screen.

    This is why we, as fans, want MAJ to check out the source materials. We saw LXG. We know that NOT ONE PERSON picked up the completely unrelated graphic novel after watching that tripe.

    I found Airbender (the cartoon) to be a very engaging show, and the problem is going to be when someone who hasn’t seen the source cartoon watches the live action adaptation, they are NOT going to WANT to see the (placing bets now) higher quality source. And that is “tragic”. The viewer loses.

    (By “tragic”, I mean in a minor sense; not “tragic” like the BP oil spill).

    In the same sense, having been burned before, those who have read the Scott Pilgrim comic source material want Geek Reviewer MAJ to read it, and are nervous that the adaptation won’t hold up to the source (it never does) an MAJ would never end up reading it.

    It’d be like someone who has never heard of Douglas Adams watching the “recent” Hitchhiker’s Guide movie and then deciding it is not worth it to read the book series because the adaptation was so crappy.

    That last sentence right there; that is what we who know the source material fear.

  • JoshDM

    Speaking of which, let’s TRAVEL BACK IN TIME FIVE YEARS and read the review which is prefaced by someone’s endearing love for the source material (and blatant expression and explanation of bias – an excellent advertisement for the source material), and followed-up with utter disappointment in the resulting adaptation.

    And now I pose the question.

    MAJ, after (or even before because we all saw the trailers) watching Hitchhikers, did you feel you need to defend the novel to those who saw the film but never read the books?

    Because I believe that is how many of my fellow commenters who have read Scott Pilgrim or watched Airbender are feeling right now.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    Well, it’s worth noting that contempt for or ignorance of the source material doesn’t always mean contempt for the movie version of said source. Just note the many critics who looove Coppola’s The Godfather but hate the Mario Puzo novel which inspired it. Or who loves Brian DePalma’s Carrie but hate the Stephen King novel that inspir–you get the point.

    Nor does that formula automatically change in respect to comic books. Not everyone who likes The Mask liked the original comic book series which inspired it. Indeed, I suspect many of that film’s fans weren’t even aware it was based on a comic book. And it’s the same story with Men in Black. Or the X-Men series.

    There are no doubt many Blade fans who had no idea that the character originally debuted in an old Marvel comic book–and wasn’t even considered a major character for much of that book’s run. Indeed, few of that comic’s fans would have predicted back in the 1970s that Blade would be the one character in that book who would prove to be a huge hit with non-comic fans–much less the title character in a series of hit movies.

    And, of course, familiarity and affection for the original source material doesn’t always guarantee you’ll also like the actual movie. After all, some Alan Moore fans liked the movie version of Watchmen. Some did not. Some Moore fans liked the movie version of V for Vendetta. Some did not.

    And people who read portions of the original Spirit were often more disgusted with the recent movie version than people who had never heard of Denny Colt and had no idea why he was supposed to be so special.

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    @Tonio, very wise words.

    Okay, so if you don’t want to read the graphic novels, MaryAnn, can you at least go to the local library and read “Road Dogs” by Elmore Leonard? It’s a follow-up to “Out of Sight”…

    …what? I’m just trying to drum up business for libraries over here…

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    @ PaulW. Thank you, PaulW.

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    And the pity of all this wailing and gnashing of teeth? We’re overlooking the horrifying possibility that The Hobbit is gonna get directed by Brett “Hey, Joel, can I borrow that Batsuit with the nipples?” Ratner.

    http://movies.ign.com/articles/109/1097884p1.html

  • JoshB

    @PaulW

    No, not even Hollywood is that dumb. I’m not worried about it. Nope, not at all…

  • hdj

    this movie looks bout as entertaining as a vagina dentata

  • Nate

    I just recently watched the trailer for the first time, and I really don’t know where you’re getting this impression that Scott is a “Nice Guy(TM)”. To me he just seems like someone struggling with his own lack of self-confidence to ask a girl out, not much different from your average teen/young adult. There’s a difference between being passive-aggressive and just being shy.

    Like other have said, I’m guessing the whole “evil” ex-boyfriend thing is just a video game construct and they’re probably not really evil. The U.S. trailer hinted at this with the “e-mail message” exchange.

  • MaryAnn

    In the same sense, having been burned before, those who have read the Scott Pilgrim comic source material want Geek Reviewer MAJ to read it, and are nervous that the adaptation won’t hold up to the source (it never does) an MAJ would never end up reading it.

    Guess what? I was never going to read the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel. I have more than enough reading material to occupy the few hours I have for reading, and graphic novels do not appeal to me.

    MAJ, after (or even before because we all saw the trailers) watching Hitchhikers, did you feel you need to defend the novel to those who saw the film but never read the books?

    Defend how? If someone said, “I hated that movie, so the book must suck,” I would point out the error of that statement: not that the source material *must* be good or that this person would definitely enjoy it, but that a movie does not necessarily represent an accuarate reflection of the source material. And if the poor quality of the movie was now acting as a deterrent to someone reading the book who had previous expressed interest in reading the book… then sure, I would give them a smack.

    But I have never ever ever had any intention of reading the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel. Not ever ever. I’m just not interested in it. So this movie has had no impact whatsoever on my decision to not read the source material.

    As with the whole *Airbender* thing, just because we like some things in common doesn’t mean we’re going to like all things in common. You want to recommend I read a novel that is kinda reminiscent of *Hitchhiker’s Guide* because you know I like that book and so I might like this one? That’s a fair recommendation to make, and one I might be open to.

    But please don’t get angry when I say I’m simply not interested in graphic novels (or in pseduo anime TV shows for children). It’s not intended as an insult.

  • JoshDM

    45 days later, let it go.

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, well, I just saw the movie last night, and I’m ramping up for the grief I’m gonna get once I post my review.

  • JoshDM

    Well, check it back, lady (and maybe get laid or something, sheesh, whatever *rolleyes*).

    My beef was towards Avatar-related, primarily, and as I’ve said, I haven’t read the Scott Pilgrim books. From what I can tell it’s something that probably would have ended up being a webcomic had it not been published.

    I’ve heard from multiple sources and reviews that they’re good reading. Apparently, this movie takes all of them (like 10 trade paperbacks) and jams them into a single film. I know the books, and the trailer confirms, apply a lot of common videogame tropes, so as a lifetime long videogame player (since Channel F, which I played at my babysitters prior to second grade), it is possible the movie will appeal to me.

    Then-again, it could be The Wizard all over again. Hopefully it will be more Last Starfighter.

  • amanohyo

    Is it wrong that I eagerly await the influx of furious fanchildren? I’ve tried so hard to be good – damn you schadenfreude, why must you be so undeniably delicious?

  • Ryan H

    I’m fully expecting to disagree with MaryAnne on this one. That may be why I’m even more interested than normal to hear her take on it. I often gain more appreciation and insight from a well reasoned disagreement than any other discussion.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    Is it wrong that I eagerly await the influx of furious fanchildren? I’ve tried so hard to be good – damn you schadenfreude, why must you be so undeniably delicious?

    I have to be honest, your attitude is pretty aggravating. Okay, so you did look at the books. That’s something, I guess. Your biases are not completely unfounded. Then again, from the tone of your posts, it’s almost as if you read it solely so you could be dismissive of the movie.

    The thing that bugs me is, of course you’re looking forward to a comment thread on the internet following a review that, from the sounds of it, will not agree with the majority opinion. Unless some stroke of magic prevents all trolls and morons from posting here, you’re going to get exactly what you want: a bunch of people posting hasty or outright dumb responses which you can tear down easily and reinforce your own belief that everyone who likes either the film or the comic book is an idiot. Even if there are a few people willing to try and reason with you, it just sounds like your mind is made up and the internet is a wide wide place in which you can validate that opinion without even having to acknowledge anyone who doesn’t live that through.

    It’s rare that I am truly bothered by someone on the internet, but your borderline glee at sniffingly trashing something that I love and nobody forced you to give your attention to is vaguely infuriating. “Schadenfreude” may be a joke, but if you really get pleasure out of that kind of thing, doesn’t that make you a bad person?

    Way to be Armond White.

  • Paul

    I’ve had relationships, perhaps all of them, in which I felt I was metaphorically struggling with the men of my girlfriends’ past (abusive fathers, insensitive exes), because the shadow of their past hung over the relationship of the present. I also ended up dating two girlfriends because I was beat their exes in sparring matches.

    And any woman who dates me has to deal with my divorce making me far more skeptical of marriage than I was before. On the flip side, but possibly harder, I wouldn’t want to marry someone unless I could say I love her more than anyone else before, and that’s not an easy thing either.

    The over simplification of this movie isn’t the violence, it’s the idea that when you date a person, you’re only competing with the bad exes; you’re also competing with the good exes. Everyone leaves a footprint in your soul, just some are softer than others.

  • JoshDM

    For those who aren’t paying attention, my second response above is in reference to this article on five reasons, and was written after those 5 reasons were posted.

    ‘course, explaining a joke kills it, but I don’t mind.

  • Jurgan

    graphic novels do not appeal to me.

    Um, Watchmen? I’m not sure how that got past your filter/bias, but it’s clear some graphic novels appeal to you.

  • MaryAnn

    With *Watchmen,* my interest in the subject matter — deconstructing and rethinking superheroes — overcame my lack of interest in the medium.

    But I simply do not have any general interest in graphic novels that compels me to check out any graphic novel, no matter what the subject, merely because it’s a graphic novel.

  • Jurgan

    But I simply do not have any general interest in graphic novels that compels me to check out any graphic novel, no matter what the subject, merely because it’s a graphic novel.

    Isn’t that a given? I’m not trying to be facetious or start an argument, but that sort of statement really confuses me. Of course you don’t read a graphic novel just because it’s a graphic novel- what would be the point if it’s not about something that interests you? I suppose I’ve known some anime fans who’ll watch any anime, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, since a lot of it is very bad, and it covers many different genres. The same could be said of novels or movies or video games or paintings. Unless you’re interested in becoming a professional in the field and feel a need to expose yourself to everything the medium is capable of and determine what is successful (as you personally do with movies), I can’t see why anyone would read/watch/whatever everything in a particular medium.

    The flip side, though, is that it’s rather strange to dismiss a medium generally. Saying “I have no interest in this medium- unless the subject interests me” seems- I don’t know… obvious? Trivial? Since most media can tell many different types of stories, what’s the point of passing judgment on an entire medium? We had a similar discussion in the Avatar thread, and I swear I’m not trying to bring that up again. I’m trying to figure this out about myself as much as about anyone else. I consider myself an anime fan, because I like many of the different anime I’ve seen, but at the same time I realize there’s tons of it that’s uninteresting, or childish, or derivative, or pornographic, or many other negative qualities, and so I avoid that. When it was new to me, I guess I would devour most any anime I saw, but after a while I got… jaded? Now I’m more discriminating.

    Maybe the point is that one is a fan of American movies or British television or Japanese animation or French novels because a large portion of them tell stories (s)he is interested in? But then, you said you’re not interested in graphic novels, but you are interested in superheroes (and it can’t just be “deconstructions,” judging from your reviews- besides, who’d want to see something deconstructed if not already interested in it?), and yet superheroes are by far the MOST common genre for American comic books. So why aren’t you interested in graphic novels generally when the majority of them are focused on a subject you are interested in?

    Again, I hope none of this comes off as me putting you to an inquisition or criticizing you for not thinking like me. It’s certainly not meant that way. I just find this a fascinating topic, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for years, ever since I started wondering what it meant that I was an anime fan and other people said they weren’t interested in something so broad. I’m trying to figure out your framework, but also use what you say to figure out my own. I know this site keeps you busy, so if you don’t have time to go in-depth, that’s fine, but I’m genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say.

  • JoshDM

    I figured out my beef with this stuff.

    OK. In my opinion, a film adaptation of a source material should make you want to view the source material. Whether you actually do or do not is irrelevant. In the case of poor movies like Airbender and Hitchhikers, it is quite likely the film has turned people away. In the case of Watchmen, well sales on Amazon showed a massive pre-film increase. In the case of Scott Pilgrim, I know I haven’t read the books still; and I probably won’t get to see the film till it hits DVD and likely won’t read them beforehand. Will the movie make me want to seek out the source, and if it does, will I follow through? That’s my overall question.

  • MaryAnn

    I don’t know how many ways I can repeat myself. I’m not interested in anime or in graphic novels because those mediums do not, for me, generally convey the depth of emotion and drama that a live-action movie/TV or written fiction can. And as I think I’ve made it perfectly clear in my reviews across the years, there are plenty of filmed stories that cannot do it for me either. But for me, no dramatic experience can match live-action film/TV, when it’s done right. Well, stage, maybe: but not animation or comic books, except in very rare exceptions with animation. When animated films work, it is because there is a depth of artistry in the animation that a big-budget movie can afford that a low-budget TV show cannot.

    For instance, I have absolutely no interest in the *Firefly* comic books, as desperate as I am for more filmed *Firefly.* Because it simply would not satisfy that craving.

    I’m not sure there’s anything “reasonable” about this prejudice. Movies just happened to capture my imagination at just the right age. I suppose comic books could have done it at the same time — but they didn’t.

    I can’t see why anyone would read/watch/whatever everything in a particular medium.

    But that is exactly what I feel about movies! I will watch almost any live-action movie because it’s a movie, no matter what the subject matter: I will often be disapointed in the individual movies, but so far, I haven’t been turned off movies as a medium. Live-action movies as a medium speak to me — for whatever various reasons — in ways that comic books and animation generally do not.

  • Knightgee

    Oh, Maryann didn’t like it? *Looks at the side* Oh, it’s red? Oh…oh no…this won’t be good at all. Though this might give me an opportunity to use my “Sexist Language” Bingo Card.

  • http://www.jejunecomic.com Accounting Ninja

    @Jurgan: I am the same way about anime, and the rest of your comment really resonated with me.

    This might kill my geek cred, but like MAJ, I am largely uninterested in most traditional published comic books, while I love the idea of superhero stories. I’ve tried getting into comic books, and a few have been very good, but largely the medium is male-centric and the stories the all same, or too concerned with “fighting” but not character development. It’s not written for the likes of me, and I feel that most keenly when I try to read it.

    Even the non-superhero graphic novels are a chore to pick through to find something different, unique, and not sickeningly male-centric. God, how many graphic novels on the shelves of Barnes and Noble are about some self-absorbed slacker dude learning about life and love and being dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood whilst loving then losing his manic pixie dream girl? The reverse is far too uncommon, like Ghost World, about a female slacker, although I thought the movie was actually better than the comic.
    (Before anyone misunderstands me: It’s not that I think comics about or containing males are bad, it’s more the way the story is structured and the way the female characters are just plot devices for the male, or the females are written as unrealistic or mere fantasies. After a while, it gets damn tiresome.)

    Manga has been more accessible to me, because it’s far more diverse, and I’ve read a lot of it, but that has it’s own problems. The character stereotypes, the muddled-for-no-reason plots, the romance that never went anywhere…sure, some have been awesome, but I have to look for it.

    Webcomics have been the best for me, I’ve found so many I love. It is true that most are…subpar, but when you find those gems, wow! Maybe it’s because they aren’t published, so are extremely varied and not forced to conform to homogenous comic standards.

    I still love the idea of comics and graphic novels. Maybe it’s arrogant of me, but if I can’t find stories that speak to me, I’ll write my own! And that’s why I’m doing that right now with my online comic. I don’t know if it will speak to everyone, but at least it’ll be something *I* enjoy, finally.

  • amanohyo

    Knightgee, Maybe this is overly optimistic, but I don’t think we’ll see as much overt sexism as we would in say, the comments on the review of a Judd Apatow or Adam Sandler joint. I’m gonna guess angry RT posters will hit numbers one and three on the “reasons for dismissing a review that don’t cut it” list:

    “This movie is made for gamers. If you knew anything about gaming, you would love this movie.”

    “If you took the time to read the original books, you would understand this so much better.”

    I suffered through part of the fist book, and it seems likely that a significant percentage of its fans are teenaged girls who will make the latter point. On the other hand, we might see a couple hilariously sexist hardcore male console gamers pop in to deposit some steaming wisdom of the former variety. (And yes, I know my generalizations could be construed as being sexist).

    Because many regular readers also read Penny Arcade, I’m thinking that they will also make the first point in the movie’s defense. The question is, are the inside jokes and gaming references enough to make an otherwise bad movie good? I’d say no, but it’ll be interesting to hear rational people argue the other side. Because the producers want to make money, I’m also gonna guess that there will be “helpful” infodumps for nongamers sprinkled throughout the movie which will nullifiy a lot of the “you just don’t understand the classic gaming references” complaints.

    Accounting Ninja, I feel similarly about comics in general, Ghost World, manga, and webcomics. Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • Jurgan

    As for animation, like I said, for me a strong voice performance can move me to tears even if the animation is sketchy. Conversely, if something is beautifully detailed in its animation but the voices are lackluster, I’ll just be bored. But that’s a legitimate difference of opinion, and neither one of us is right or wrong.

    The thing is, every time I think I’m getting your point, you throw out something that just baffles me. The statement that you’re not interested in GN’s unless they’re about superheroes is hard to understand considering that most comics/GN’s are about superheroes. Maybe I’m oversimplifying- you liked Watchmen because it did something different with superheroes? But then why would you be interested in that unless you were already into superheroes? And if you don’t read the comics, then what is it you’re a fan of- just superhero movies? I guess that’s possible, but until about ten years ago there was precious little there worth being a fan of.

    But that is exactly what I feel about movies! I will watch almost any live-action movie because it’s a movie, no matter what the subject matter: I will often be disapointed in the individual movies, but so far, I haven’t been turned off movies as a medium.

    I find that hard to believe. I’m sure even without this website you’d still watch tons of movies, but a Judd Apatow manchild movie? An Adam Sandler gross-out comedy? A “bitches be crazy” romcom? Wouldn’t you ignore these movies if it weren’t part of your job to watch them? You said the story is what counts- wouldn’t the fact that these stories don’t interest you stop you from watching?

  • Mo

    …Oh boy, this came back to life. And it is red. Here we go again.

    I had never heard of Scott Pilgrim until a couple of weeks ago when I became so obsessed with the trailers and movie clips that were available that I couldn’t wait to find out what happens and I went out and bought all of the graphic novels. It’s the third comic series I have ever read. (Fifth if you count Tinin and Asterix) They were so good and so fun to read that I made it through the first five in a couple of days. I finished six- the last one- on Saturday.

    I have never in my life come across something that so perfectly embodied the essence of Gen Y culture. As far as Canadian Broken Social Scene-obsessed hipsters who grew up playing video games go, O’Malley has it perfect. (And before the feminism card gets played, let me point out that Toronto and Montreal probably have the most egalitarian rock scenes in the world right now. Just look at how many of the Broken Social Scene women play electric guitar- and then compare it to the best that anyone came up with in the Runaways thread. The books reflect that culture quite well.) Now most of the clips I have seen are word for word, camera angle for camera angle, and scene for scene straight out of the comics. Which could be the death of the movie, but based on fans’ reactions from ComicCon, I don’t think so. I really don’t see how I could not like this movie based on the plot and style.

    Here’s my problem, and it’s aimed at almost all critics over the age of 30 who have weighed in so far, even the ones who begrudgingly liked the movie even though they didn’t quite get it, not just MaryAnn. A big part of growing up Gen Y was growing up thinking that Gen Xers were the coolest people on the planet. You’re the ones who formed the basis of our culture- we just mixed it up in new ways once we hit our 20s and of course mixed in a bunch of our own issues. Having grown up seeing some of the grief Gen Xers got from the grown ups about their culture I honestly had thought they would have themselves grown up open minded enough to at least try to be different from their parents by trying to embrace or at least understand our culture and it’s little quirks and rules and things even if they didn’t like some of the elements that went into it. They haven’t. In the reviews for this movie I have read so far, every negative criticism has been a criticism of an element of the culture it represents rather than the movie itself. And having grown up thinking of gen Xers as the ultimate in cool, being rejected by them really, really hurts. (So yes I’m sorry for all the wounded but inarticulate trolls who will be wandering this way, but there’s more on the line for them than a rotten tomatoes score. In any case I’ve seen so far, it’s the essence of their existence and their world that is being dismissed.)

    Maybe we are architects of our own destruction (or at least rejection). In the age of Google, the only way to keep the illusion of a genuine underground going is to arbitrarily change the rules faster than the mainstream can keep up. And like with any meme, the only way for the rest of us to cling to the hipsters’ coattails is to play along until we figure the new rules out (or they wind up on wikipedia). So if the new rules mean that everyone suddenly lives in a videogamish fantasy world where everyone knows martial arts and runs through subspace, everyone’s going to play along as if nothing was out of the ordinary. The over 30 crowd were never part of that world, so it’s only natural for them to scratch their heads and wonder what is happening and what the logic is behind it and why on earth these kids just accept it.

    But again, it’s part of our culture. We accept it because we have to, because it’s the way it is. Our fantasy worlds don’t quite make sense when they’re at their best because the world we lived our formative years in doesn’t make sense. Someone explain finally ending a non-sensical cold war only to run off to the middle east and start the process again. Someone explain why none of us could find meaningful jobs even before the recession hit and how we’re being told that we’re the first generation in centuries who won’t be able to ever achieve the same standard of living as our parents have just because the big corporations don’t want to pay us the rates they paid our parents, or even have people in those jobs at all. Explain why we pay thousands for college degrees that will only give us a slight advantage over highschoolers as we compete with them for dead end jobs so we can pay off our student loans. That’s the sort of world that Scott’s world reflects and hints at in it’s own twisted little surrealist ways. We were supposed to be the generation that changed to world and instead it only got worse. The real struggle in life and the books is just to try to figure out how to grow up at all. (And I hope the movie caught that element of them.) Maybe escapist fantasy worlds aren’t the way to deal with that, but at least we’re being consistent with past generations when they realized how little power they actually had.

    Now I’ve read on this very site many write ups about how one Gen X landmark or another captures the zeitgeist of Gen X culture, any why that’s a good thing. I also remember a post (that I can’t find anymore) from a few years ago asking why there weren’t any definitive movies that reflected Gen Y culture. Well here’s the answer. It took us longer to figure our culture out. But now that we are beginning to figure it out, and now that the Highschool Musical crowd is in the pipeline to set up their own culture soon, here’s a definitive, possibly landmark-worthy example of what our culture is. Music and bands and video games, manga and lolcats type graffiti all over the screen, bitchy hipsters judging us, crazy martial arts (and the girls fight too!!!), gay roommates, dead-end jobs, meaningless college degrees (or half degrees), and more than anything and more importantly than anything, the shambolic screwed up love lives that happen when your parents generation introduced the world to free love (and suffered the resulting divorce rate).

    If the movie can live up to half of that, I think it really will go down as one of this generation’s defining moments, no matter how well or poorly it does at the box office. I think when Gen Ys want to remember what it was like in their youth 20 years down the road it will be Garden State and Scott Pilgrim. Because frankly, Hollywood would rather spit out Judd Apatow comedies than actually try to come to terms with who we are, so this is probably the best we’re going to get. And I may be biased because I’m Canadian, but I’ll gladly take it.

    So my question is why? Why are the things that make us who we are seen as artistic flaws? Why can’t Gen X get us? (With the notable exception of Edgar Wright, who, after watching the Pilgrim video diaries I’m now crushing on a little.) Why won’t Gen X try to get us? What happened? What did we do wrong?

    I’m too attached to the source material, so I’m going to dump this here and probably avoid the review thread. I can normally take a bad review of something I love just fine, but this one’s going to hurt. A lot.

  • http://www.jejunecomic.com Accounting Ninja

    Well, Jurgan, there’s always Bile Fascination. ;)

    Accounting Ninja, I feel similarly about comics in general, Ghost World, manga, and webcomics. Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    heh heh. Well, you could check out my webcomic../shamelessplug!! It’s still pretty new, so there isn’t a lot yet.

    Webcomics are the true “independent” comic, IMO. You’ve got the typical “gamer comics” like Penny Arcade which seem to define the genre, but really, webcomics are as varied as their creators. Some of my favorites are Girl Genius, The Meek, Gunnerkrigg Court. All of those have great plots, strong female characters…

    A related anecdote: the other night I picked up a manga at B&N called Solanin, it had a female lead and seemed to be a slice-of-life type manga. So I gave it a read, but I quickly found out that, although the female is the main character, the story ended up being mostly about her boyfriend and a tragedy surrounding him. Okay, fine. But I read on, and ugh, maybe it’s because I’m in my 30s? But the same old narratives about disaffected youths seeing adults as cogs in a machine and OMG I’m such a unique snowflake!! And what am I gonna do with my pointless liiiiife? ….it doesn’t speak to me anymore. And a LOT of manga/graphic novels/comics are just youthful self-wankery. Like, stories about high school students don’t grab me much anymore. Now, if it’s well done and not stuck in its self absorption, like Ghost World, then it’s good (hint: she grows up in the end, plus she had a very strong personality that you don’t see much in media girls/women).

    I mean, I didn’t HATE it or anything, I was just like, meh. Needless to say, I didn’t end up buying it.

  • Orangutan

    @Accounting Ninja: Can I toss a couple titles at you, just in case you haven’t tried them already? Have a look at Fables, and possibly Y: The Last Man. But more Fables. They’re both Vertigo books, I think you’d like them.

  • http://www.jejunecomic.com Accounting Ninja

    @Orangutan: I have actually tried to read some Fables, but honestly, I got a bit overwhelmed in the bookstore. That series is huge and sprawling…what’s the first book in the series??
    As far as Y is concerned….I admit I’ve been avoiding it. The last male survivor in a world of all women…could be intriguing, or it could be a total gender clusterfuck. The few pages on amazon.com didn’t help me get a feel for it either way, though I wasn’t impressed with how male-gaze-y Beth was drawn…but maybe I’ll check it out.

  • Orangutan

    Fables IS a pretty long series, even more so when you count Jack’s own separate series. But it’s so worth it.

    Legends in Exile is the first in the series, and sets up the story. Followed by Animal Farm. And you hit on precisely why I hesitated a little with the Y recommendation. I think it’s a great book, but I admit there are times where it falls into some gender cliches. Beth, though, is kind of the exception and not the rule. Just like with most Vertigo series, the characters are all drawn very distinctly from each other. But this is why I love B&N! Grab volume 1 (Unmanned) and find one of their cushy chairs. If it clicks, super, if not, no loss. :)

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    I know you aren’t going to read the comic book, but I see all of the female characters in that as well written and Ramona as well-rounded. (She’s far less well-rounded in the movie, as her journey, which runs parallel to Scott’s in the book, is almost completely excised on the basis of time alone, since they’re cramming 6 books into one 2-hour movie and Scott is, after all, the protagonist.)

    My question for MaryAnn is still this: setting aside the fact that male-oriented stories are all Hollywood makes, if a story like Scott Pilgrim were to include well-written, non-pandering female supporting characters, is there anything wrong with that? I guess I’m getting the impression you’re going to hold it against the movie that it lacks a fully-rounded female character, but I think all of the women in the movie are, despite being glossed over, positive role models (as far as anyone is a role model), given relevant roles to play, and non-stereotypical.

  • http://www.jejunecomic.com Accounting Ninja

    @Tyler, I don’t recall her ever saying that, specifically. She is just not interested in comics. Full stop.

    I think it was everyone else who pondered on the state of the female characters.

    Although, I am eager to see what about the film is “red”.

  • Knightgee

    Knightgee, Maybe this is overly optimistic, but I don’t think we’ll see as much overt sexism as we would in say, the comments on the review of a Judd Apatow or Adam Sandler joint.

    Hopefully you’re right. I’ve read the first three books and have enjoyed the series so far, though I can see how it’s not written in a way that’s not accessible to everybody, both because it’s esoteric and because the subject matter at times is just plain boring (I myself couldn’t didn’t even enjoy most of the first volume just because it felt so dull) So with that I can see why this particular fanbase may not resort to cheap sexist attacks. I won’t hold my breathe though, as I’m always surprised at where casual sexism, racism, homophobia lurks and how it all rears its head when properly pulled out. Though I’m always open to a bit of optimism.

  • amanohyo

    Mo, most of us Gen Xers don’t even like each other. Why would we possibly like you Gen Y whippersnappers? Just kidding, most of us don’t love or hate Gen Y as a whole, being highly individualistic and flexible (according to Wikipedia), we tend to take things on a case by case basis. =) You did remind me of the number one reason that people will give when dismissing negative reviews of this film:

    “You’re too old to enjoy this. It’s made for people of a younger generation.”

    Good art is good art. Popularity is very strongly tied to “timing the market” when it comes to art, but quality is not. The Graduate is still a good movie even though I was negative ten years old when it was made. The 1927 Metropolis is one of my favorite movies. Decades from now, another movie will be no doubt be made that attempts to capture the spirit of some future generation. If you or I are still alive, and we happen to enjoy it, it will be because it is a good movie, not because it speaks to us in a secret language that only the young can comprehend.

    Anyway. I guarantee there will be many critics way older than MA who go gaga over this movie… I’m talkin’ bonafide baby boomers

  • MaryAnn

    But then why would you be interested in that unless you were already into superheroes?

    I don’t think I’d say that I’m “into” superheroes. I am interested in exploring what the superhero trope says about our culture.

    I find that hard to believe. I’m sure even without this website you’d still watch tons of movies, but a Judd Apatow manchild movie? An Adam Sandler gross-out comedy? A “bitches be crazy” romcom? Wouldn’t you ignore these movies if it weren’t part of your job to watch them?

    You’re getting things backward. When I started this site, there was no advertising, no one paying me to syndicate my reviews. I started a movie review site precisely because movies speak to me in a special way. And yes, given the choice between Apatow or Sandler movie, or a graphic novel, I will chose the movie every time.

    You want someone who doesn’t love movies that much doing film criticism? Because there’s a lot of that around.

    Having grown up seeing some of the grief Gen Xers got from the grown ups about their culture I honestly had thought they would have themselves grown up open minded enough to at least try to be different from their parents by trying to embrace or at least understand our culture and it’s little quirks and rules and things even if they didn’t like some of the elements that went into it.

    I’ve got absolutely nothing against Gen Y. I think you’re all adorable, in fact. And I’ve praised Gen Y movies, like *Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.* The Harry Potter movies are very Gen Y, too.

    My beef with *Scott Pilgrim* has everything to do with male privilege, which unfortunately remains just as powerful in Gen Y. I’m not gonna get into into more until I write my review, but that’s my problem with the movie. It’s not a generational thing.

    Why are the things that make us who we are seen as artistic flaws? Why can’t Gen X get us?

    And it’s not that I don’t “get you,” or see what makes you what you are an “artistic flaw.”

    I know you aren’t going to read the comic book, but I see all of the female characters in that as well written and Ramona as well-rounded.

    Well, bully for the book.

    (She’s far less well-rounded in the movie, as her journey, which runs parallel to Scott’s in the book, is almost completely excised

    So regardless of the fact that this might be the thing that makes the source material unique, it has been removed from the movie. WTF?

    This is not an argument in favor of the movie.

    on the basis of time alone, since they’re cramming 6 books into one 2-hour movie and Scott is, after all, the protagonist.)

    Of course he’s the protagonist! He’s a guy! He’s worthy of being the protagonist of such a story. Women are not. Or so Hollywood thinks. It’s not “on the basis of time alone.” A smart screenwriter who knew that Hollywood was not looking for a male-perspective film could have crafted a story that included female characters who were not mere spear-carriers. That has not happened. (*Nick and Norah,* on the other hand, is not dominated by a central male protagonist.)

    My question for MaryAnn is still this: setting aside the fact that male-oriented stories are all Hollywood makes, if a story like Scott Pilgrim were to include well-written, non-pandering female supporting characters, is there anything wrong with that? I guess I’m getting the impression you’re going to hold it against the movie that it lacks a fully-rounded female character,

    You say that like it’s a minor thing. It isn’t, and abso-fucking-lutely certainly not in a story that is supposed to be about the protagonist’s relationship with one of these supposedly well-written, non-pandering female supporting characters.

    but I think all of the women in the movie are, despite being glossed over, positive role models (as far as anyone is a role model), given relevant roles to play, and non-stereotypical.

    I honestly believe you can only think such a thing because you’re not female, and you have not spent your life seeing even interesting, supposedly well-rounded female characters take a backseat to boring, self-centered male characters.

    How on Earth can a character who is “glossed over” be a positive role model? Except in the most remote sort of sense. In the same way that a dying person will welcome a drop of water in a desert, I’m sure that young girls may applaud a spear-carrier who happens to be a female drummer. But that doesn’t make her a “well-rounded” character.

  • Jurgan

    I don’t think I’d say that I’m “into” superheroes. I am interested in exploring what the superhero trope says about our culture.

    Hmm. Okay, I get the distinction, and I can see why Watchmen would appeal to you even if more standard fare does not.

    You’re getting things backward. When I started this site, there was no advertising, no one paying me to syndicate my reviews.

    Yeah, I know. I remember the yellow background days (well, maybe I showed up a little after that- it was about 2002).

    And yes, given the choice between Apatow or Sandler movie, or a graphic novel, I will chose the movie every time.

    *blink* Wow, I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything or I would have just done a spittake. You’d really rather watch a movie you expect to hate than read a comicbook or watch an animated series about something that fascinates you? *Long pause- someone is heard coughing in the distance*

    Well, okay. I guess if that’s what you really think, then so be it, even if it’s an absolutely incomprehensible attitude to me. At least I know where you’re coming from for future reference. It seems to contradict your claim that the story is what’s most important, though. Whether it’s a graphic novel or a movie isn’t part of “the story” (at least as you’ve previously defined it), so it’s now clear that the medium used to tell the story trumps the story itself. You see why I’ve been getting confused? It’s really amazing to me that I’ve been coming here regularly for seven or eight years, and yet I’ve had to radically reevaluate my understanding of your reviewing priorities and methods within the last three days. You think you know someone… Well, again, thanks for taking the time to engage your readers in such depth. Really makes the place feel more welcoming.

    By the way, do we have to be Generation Y? It’s so derivative. I’ve always kind of liked Millenials. Well, it could be worse- I was worried for a while that we’d get stuck with being called The MTV Generation.

  • MaryAnn

    You’d really rather watch a movie you expect to hate than read a comicbook or watch an animated series about something that fascinates you?

    I didn’t use the word “fascinates,” actually. But yes, a movie is far more likely to end up surprising and delighting me than a comic book is.

    I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is. I’m being totally upfront and honest about my biases.

    so it’s now clear that the medium used to tell the story trumps the story itself. You see why I’ve been getting confused?

    Not really. Because at the risk of repeating myself, *how* a story is told is *vital.* And I just don’t find myself moved by graphic novels.

    By the way, do we have to be Generation Y? It’s so derivative. I’ve always kind of liked Millenials.

    Someone else used Gen Y, so I repeated it. Millennials works fine, too.

    But you want to compare cultural dismissal? My generation got slapped with the Gen X label because they couldn’t figure out what the hell to call us… :->

  • Jurgan

    I didn’t use the word “fascinates,” actually.

    I know- I thought it was implied that, even if the subject matter did fascinate you, it still wouldn’t be enough. Well, I guess there are a few exceptions, so maybe I overstated it. At this point, it’s just semantics.

    But yes, a movie is far more likely to end up surprising and delighting me than a comic book is.

    Oh, I think I see. Even if you expect to hate a movie, some sort of- let’s call it “movie magic” inherent in the filmmaking process might surprise you into liking it. For you, that magic doesn’t exist in other media, so it’s usually not worth your time to investigate it.

    I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is. I’m being totally upfront and honest about my biases.

    No need at all to apologize. That was astonishment on my part, not criticism. You can like whatever you want, and I’ve got no problem with it (it’s really hard to express that sentiment without sounding like I’m condescending- of course you don’t need my permission). It’s something that I cannot understand at all, but I’m very grateful for you taking the time to spell it out. It will make it a lot easier to understand reviews in the future.

  • Mo

    My beef with *Scott Pilgrim* has everything to do with male privilege, which unfortunately remains just as powerful in Gen Y. I’m not gonna get into into more until I write my review, but that’s my problem with the movie. It’s not a generational thing.

    Well that’s sad. The best part of the books is *spoilers* realizing that Ramona and Scott are both equally screwed up and self-centred/privilaged in the same ways, and watching them both have to fight to get over themselves and come to terms with the crappy things they’ve done to their exes before they can begin to have an adult relationship together. They both make each other better people equally. If Ramona’s half of that mirrored character arc got lost in the shuffle, I will be a bit dissapointed. /*spoilers*

    Funny thing about Gen Y male privilage, the guys don’t care anymore, it’s the girls who always enforce it now… (And then they wonder why I always prefer to hang around with guys…)

    By the way, do we have to be Generation Y? It’s so derivative. I’ve always kind of liked Millenials. Well, it could be worse- I was worried for a while that we’d get stuck with being called The MTV Generation.

    Everything about Gen Y culture is derivative of the last 50 years in one way or another, so it’s rather appropriate. I like it. But yeah, I’ve kind of come to like Millenials better too- there’s more hope for the future in it. I thought Gen Xers were the MTV generation. But then MTV didn’t exist in Canada until recently. (And it still doesn’t play music anymore.)

    Good art is good art. Popularity is very strongly tied to “timing the market” when it comes to art, but quality is not. Decades from now, another movie will be no doubt be made that attempts to capture the spirit of some future generation. If you or I are still alive, and we happen to enjoy it, it will be because it is a good movie, not because it speaks to us in a secret language that only the young can comprehend.

    But all great art is built on a system, and when the system changes and causes a paradigm shift, people who are too attached to the old system are going to have a lot of trouble comprehending the new one. It’s like when I argue with my classical loving Dad or my Metal obsessed friend about what makes some of the more out there forms of electronica good- the things that are making it good are working within the framework of a very different system and learning to comprehend new systems is a learned skill. People who never learn that skill will usually cling to the two or three systems they learned instinctively when they were young and evaluate everything within that incompatible framework. That’s why you get so many people (of any age) who complain that they like something that logically they’re supposed to hate and they feel guilty for it. It’s incompatible with the system they know and therefore “bad” in their mind, but it’s still working perfectly within an unfamiliar system, which is why some part of their brain still finds pleasure in it. New, younger things are just the most frequent targets of that because they’re based on new or evolved systems that weren’t around earlier.

    So yes, I’m totally prepared to be the old fogey in the near future. I’ve already been whining at Twilight fans about Buffy for a couple of years now. At the same time I’m really looking forward to seeing what new systems for things come along in the future. I love trying to figure out what makes a new system tick.

    but I think all of the women in the movie are, despite being glossed over, positive role models (as far as anyone is a role model), given relevant roles to play, and non-stereotypical.

    Even Julie?! Because she may be really true to real-life, but I would never want any kid of mine to look up to her. ;P (Even if the “Canadian politics circa 1972 but you’re secretly Batman” party kind of makes my life.)

  • http://www.jejunecomic.com Accounting Ninja

    @Mo, what do you mean by “girls enforce it?”

    Because of the very aggressive backlash against feminism that peaked in the 90s, when a lot of these girls were small/born, a lot of Gen Yer women have internalized sexism. They are the “I’m not a feminist, BUT” generation, as if feminist is a dirty word.

    A lot of Gen Yers display some alarming sexism, male and female, actually. It’s like, in order to be seen as cool, you can’t take offense to anything, or be “sensitive” or god forbid PC (The anti-PC hipster thing makes sexism “cool”, like in Family Guy, etc.). And for a woman to be cool and “one of the guys”, she can’t ever voice any disagreement with sexism in beloved pop culture. Doing so gets her trampled.

    -Gen Xer, albeit on the younger side.

  • Muzz

    As an aside: People shouldn’t use Watchmen as some exemplar of graphic novels, really. It basically ruined comic books for me forever. By and large it and Moore’s other major works aren’t written at all like your typical comic book, where as most graphic novels still are, and I for one could never go back.

    Countless times I’ve been told that if I liked Watchmen’s genre busting I’d like -some work- only to find it’s still just a comic book. Even if it has an interesting and imaginative premise/story/characters they’re mostly still comic books. Moore may be imitated endlessly but he wasn’t influential enough on comic book prose, that’s for sure.

  • Mo

    @Accounting Ninja: No, not quite like that. I mean that if I want to be treated as an equal, I will hang around with a bunch of guys. You just have to be able to work within a pack system to fit in. If I want to be judged and treated like the scum of the earth for a myriad of reasons, I’ll hang around with a group of girls. Everything will be judged, and a lot of the judgments take the form of twisted modern versions of traditional roles.

    The guys don’t even like that stuff anymore. And if they have a problem they will either tell you to your face or ignore it. (Downside, fights, upside it gets out there and over with quick) The girls are more likely to wait for an opportunity to use a beef to stab you in the back. It’s like an old Tori Amos quote I saw once: “The violence between women is unbelievable. Women try to make each other crawl so that their knees are bleeding.”

    It’s not fair to be so broad, plenty of guys are still jerks, and plenty of girls are great, especially geek girls- who are automatically persona non grata to that crowd. But almost every time I see a blatant example of really pig headed sexism against a woman, it’s coming from another woman.

  • http://www.jejunecomic.com Accounting Ninja

    @ Mo, I think you should read this: On Women Being Their Own Worst Enemies

  • Muzz

    More asides: It’s funny that negotiating a pack system is analagous to equality.

    I know the whole male bonding thing is storied as this sacred trust that exists for men only and women can’t understand etc, but I don’t think it really exists. I mean, I’m sure it occurs here and there but really it’s just as cruel, exclusive, self serving and heirarchical as anything groups of women could be accused of being. The particulars are different but broadly speaking they’re the same.
    For the Masculinity backlash to behave, sometimes, like all men are soldiers bonded by unspoken connections of maleness is somewhat ludicrous to me. If you look, most people had a couple of real friends and that was about it. With whom they bitched about the other assholes they know and consort with and endure. It’s not a male thing.

    Females can be pretty vicious to each other too, no doubt. But how many times do guys blame some woe on girls being a closed, self protective, gender based clique. People will play it both ways to confirm their preconceptions.

  • Knightgee

    Because of the very aggressive backlash against feminism that peaked in the 90s, when a lot of these girls were small/born, a lot of Gen Yer women have internalized sexism. They are the “I’m not a feminist, BUT” generation, as if feminist is a dirty word.

    Gen Yers seem to reject labels in general as a matter of course. But consider that we’re also post-third wave now. The flaws of essentialist feminism were being exposed as these girls were growing up. For some of them, a refusal to identify as feminist is not unwarranted, though I don’t doubt that the majority refuse to do so as a result of mainstream demonization of the term. But it’s not as if Gen Yers are inflicted with some kind of unique brand of internalized sexism that Gen Xers avoided.

  • http://www.jejunecomic.com Accounting Ninja

    Oh, it exists in Gen Xers of course. Maybe it’s because I’ve just finished reading Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism’s Work is Done by Susan J. Douglas….

    Maybe it’s because Gen Xers are older (and on the whole, more mature due to age and less likely to SPOUT sexism despite being sexist), but I hear my Gen Y friends of both genders rag on women about how they are all crazy sluts (they rag on men too, but the insult to women is always sexualized). A distressing number of the guys (my brother in law and his friends are Gen Y and I’m often privvy to their conversations) echo some of the Ev Psych bullshit about how women have evolved to look for “providers” and how they all evolved to love Megan Fox, etc. When I shake my head, they act like I’m denying evolution itself! lol.

    Anecdota is not evidence, naturally. But then I look at the popular culture of Gen Y: good old Family Guy, adult swim, Jersey Shore, Kardashians, Tosh 2.0 etc…they are rife with sexism clothed in humorous hipster clothes.

    Muzz, that’s interesting about masculinity. I’ve often heard guys say that only men understand loyalty and true friendship; women just constantly stab each other in the back, and it’s not only a Gen Y thing. It’s just not true! That is not to say, Mo, that the women you know might not be assholes, but there are assholes everywhere and it’s unfair to paint all women like your friends. (On the same note, I am not saying ALL Gen Yers are like the above; it’s just a pop culture trends I’ve noticed.)

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    Of course he’s the protagonist! He’s a guy! He’s worthy of being the protagonist of such a story. Women are not. Or so Hollywood thinks. A smart screenwriter who knew that Hollywood was not looking for a male-perspective film could have crafted a story that included female characters who were not mere spear-carriers.

    Well, this is what I’m getting at. I don’t think Scott Pilgrim has “the male gaze”. The major factor for me is that the emphasis (as far as I was concerned) was never “Ramona is sexy!” but that “Romance is awesome!” I think the audience can put themselves in the shoes of either Scott or Ramona, or just generally apply the movie’s message about how to act like an adult, in life and relationships, and it will still be a good movie.

    How on Earth can a character who is “glossed over” be a positive role model?

    All of the women in the movie legitimately seem to know better than Scott and tell him as much at every opportunity, and not in a way that I would say lessens them (i.e. I don’t feel the movie “uses” them because the movie has several beats where the characters — all characters — are concerned about things other than Scott).

    It’s not “on the basis of time alone.”

    I don’t know what to say. I genuinely think it is. I think the movie is pressed to get in what it gets in, even. Perhaps the movie’s fundamental flaw is that it goes for all six books in one film, but that’s a different argument, and I guess I can’t see two movies ending where Scott is still a tool working out better.

    I honestly believe you can only think such a thing because you’re not female, and you have not spent your life seeing even interesting, supposedly well-rounded female characters take a backseat to boring, self-centered male characters.

    That may be true, but the question I was getting at was more…I mean, there are movies that exploit women far more than this. And I was just wondering how much that matters when it’s just that the film is only lacking in women, rather than containing poorly-written eye candy for frat boys, etc. I mean, do you hold this criticism against, say, John Carpenter’s The Thing? I admit that I’m disappointed by the fact that the movie short-changes Ramona but I felt that gave the very ending a different meaning that I do like (not sure if I want to talk about it here since the film’s not even open yet), and I’m not sure the movie commits any particular crimes in the way it writes the women it contains, it just doesn’t contain very much of them. And I guess that seems like the lesser of two evils, especially since, as I said, I think they’re all smart characters who help teach the main character something, which is a positive, and I don’t think they’re just stuck in there for show or anything like that.

    But I’m interested to read your review.

  • MaryAnn

    I’m not sure the movie commits any particular crimes in the way it writes the women it contains, it just doesn’t contain very much of them.

    That IS the crime! It’s one thing when a movie doesn’t feature any or maybe only one minor female character (such as *The Thing*). That’s can be annoying enough (depending on the story). But when a story is supposed to be about a relationship, and one half of the relationship is barely present, that’s a huge problem.

    And I guess that seems like the lesser of two evils, especially since, as I said, I think they’re all smart characters who help teach the main character something, which is a positive, and I don’t think they’re just stuck in there for show or anything like that.

    Tyler, you’re still not getting it. It’s not a “positive” that in most movies, women are *only* present for how they support the male protagonist. Women are not wise, beautiful, noble, perfect creatures who exist only for what they can do for men. (Nor are they the other kind of female supporting character: the demanding, castrating bitch who hinders the male protagonist.) Women are complex, fucked-up, flawed human beings with complicated lives and motivations who deserve to be the center of at least *some* stories… to be the center of stories in which *they* get to learn something and grow as people.

    And here we have yet another tedious movie about men and their wants and needs. Sure, some movies with central male characters are indeed interesting, and I have *never* rejected a movie *merely* because it is male dominated. (I’d hardly ever write a positive review if that were so.) But there are many, many reasons why *Scott Pilgrim* is an *excellent* example of how out of balance Hollywood films are.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    when a story is supposed to be about a relationship, and one half of the relationship is barely present, that’s a huge problem.

    I know this is a total cop-out, but that is Ramona’s character trait — instead of dealing with her problems, she runs away. A good portion of the time she’s not around in the movie, she’s not around because the character has decided or chosen to avoid Scott or be somewhere else.

    Tyler, you’re still not getting it. It’s not a “positive” that in most movies, women are *only* present for how they support the male protagonist. Women are not wise, beautiful, noble, perfect creatures who exist only for what they can do for men. Women are complex, fucked-up, flawed human beings with complicated lives and motivations…

    Well, I’m not talking about most movies. I’m talking about Scott Pilgrim, and I guess I don’t feel the women in Scott Pilgrim are only present for Scott’s benefit. Ramona is working through her relationship choices at the same time Scott is. Kim spends far more time in the film worrying about the band than she does Scott. Most of Scott’s sister’s advice is filtered through gossiping with Wallace. And it’s worth noting that aside from Scott, Ramona, Wallace and Knives — two male and two female characters — it’s not like any of the male side characters are more or less developed than the female side characters. I watch the movie and think it’s a fair representation of people intersecting with the protagonist’s life, in the section of his life being covered by the movie, and I don’t feel like anyone’s getting shortchanged (except Ramona, and only then in relation to the book).

    …who deserve to be the center of at least *some* stories… to be the center of stories in which *they* get to learn something and grow as people.

    This is totally true. I don’t disagree with this statement at all. I just disagree that a film called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World — not Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers vs. The World, or something to that effect — either positions itself (i.e. misleads the audience) or should inherently be that film. Ultimately, the film values the power of self-respect first, and love second. If you don’t like that, that’s subjective, but I don’t think there are any, uh, “tactical” errors (?) in choosing to do that, which seems to be more what you’re arguing, like the film’s lacking something it suggested it would or should have.

  • MaryAnn

    which seems to be more what you’re arguing, like the film’s lacking something it suggested it would or should have.

    No, you’re right, Tyler: The movie does not suggest that it is anything different from the standard Hollywood crap about men and men’s problems and how men see the world and how men need to change to make themselves better and men men men men men.

    And that’s what I’m complaining about.

    Ramona is working through her relationship choices at the same time Scott is.

    I’m sorry, but the movie simply does not show that. Not at all. One or two lines of dialogue referencing her issues does not constitute “working through” anything.

    it’s not like any of the male side characters are more or less developed than the female side characters.

    That’s true. But again: the protagonist is male. And he’s not an interesting protagonist. He’s only “interesting” because he’s a guy.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    No, you’re right, Tyler: The movie does not suggest that it is anything different from the standard Hollywood crap about men and men’s problems and how men see the world and how men need to change to make themselves better and men men men men men.

    And that’s what I’m complaining about.

    I think what you say at the bottom about him not being interesting is a complaint that I can better accept. It’s a subjective opinion about the character of Scott. What bugs me about the quoted argument is that it doesn’t seem to connect to Scott Pilgrim specifically. If the exact same movie was released in a time when men and women had equal share of the spotlight, then your latter complaint would still stand but it would seem like the one quoted would not. It strikes me as odd to hold the environment in which a movie was made against it. And I still think Scott Pilgrim, if it lets its female characters down, it only does so in unintentional ways as opposed to the aggressive, pandering, stereotype-reinforcing ways that 9 out of 10 Hollywood films do. I’m super-sick of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope, for instance, and I think this is definitely not one of those films.

  • Jurgan

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like this is another case of “if it were just this movie it wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is the norm for all movies, so it’s getting old.” Right?

  • MaryAnn

    It strikes me as odd to hold the environment in which a movie was made against it.

    I’m not holding the environment alone against the movie. I’m saying that if you want this kind of movie to succeed with me in this environment, the male protagonist had better be pretty damn kickass awesome.

    This I cannot say about Scott Pilgrim.

    To be fair to Hollywood, it only cares about pandering to teenaged boys and young men, and this movie absolutely does that. It will make a ton of money.

    but it sounds like this is another case of “if it were just this movie it wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is the norm for all movies, so it’s getting old.” Right?

    Sort of. I wouldn’t like this movie if it weren’t the same old shit, but I’m even angrier about it than I might be if we saw lots of crappy movies about boring female protagonists. Even in shitty rom-coms, which are supposed to be female-friendly or of more interest to women than to men, both halves of the couple generally get about the same amount of screen time and character development. So that sucks, too: Hollywood’s idea of a movie for women is about women *and* men equally, but Hollywood’s idea of a movie for men — even when it’s about men in a heterosexual relationship — is still mostly about men.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    I’m saying that if you want this kind of movie to succeed with me in this environment, the male protagonist had better be pretty damn kickass awesome.

    This I cannot say about Scott Pilgrim.

    I was just listening to Wright on Elvis Mitchell’s The Treatment and I finally worked out what’s nagging at me.

    Obviously, your review is still not un-embargoed, but based on what you’ve been saying so far, you don’t think the person Scott Pilgrim is at the beginning of the movie is interesting enough to make a movie out of. Fair enough that you don’t want to see another journey of a loser dude turning into a less-than-loser dude, but you seem to be also suggesting that a) there are exceptions to the rule and b) the amount of change that Scott goes through isn’t relevant, because you don’t think he’s worthy to begin with (although maybe you’re just saying it’s not significant in the movie).

    Beyond that, isn’t Shaun kind of a loser? What makes him awesome enough at the start to make a movie out of that Scott lacks? What about Liz vs. Ramona? You don’t really learn anything about Liz that doesn’t relate to her relationship with Shaun.

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bio.php?ID=262 Tyler Foster

    Sorry. I knew I had lost part of my train of thought. Let me rephrase more clearly: At this pre-embargoed stage, your arguments thus far gave me the impression that Scott not being interesting enough to have a film made out of him as more relevant than the journey he takes, and that’s what I was trying to get at before with the general state of Hollywood filmmaking being more important than the movie. If it’s really more of an issue that they made another film about a slacker loser guy than what happens in the movie, that seems like a backwards approach to me.

    Also, I’m sure you’re used to my comments by now, but for the record I come back because I think this is an interesting discussion and a good way to get my thoughts in order before my review, not because I want to bicker.

  • MaryAnn

    Bickering’s fine. :->

    We got off on the Scott-is-a-loser tangent, but there’s something else about the movie that bothers me far more. You’ll have to wait for my review, however. It encompasses a major difference between *Scott* and *Shaun of the Dead.*

  • Victor Plenty

    More men ought to be outraged about the trends you’re bringing to our attention, MaryAnn. If our culture had more movies for general audiences that feature women as fully human beings, (rather than consigning such portrayals to “chick flicks,” rom coms, and art house films), more men might gain enough valid insights about the opposite sex have a realistic chance of learning how to relate on an adult level to real women.

    Healthy, stable, lasting relationships between hetero men and women might even become slightly more common than leprechauns distributing handfuls of gold while riding their unicorns to work at fulfilling jobs with good pay, solid benefits, and decent hours.

  • Rose

    This is one of those times I realise it’s good to be a Brit.

    I’d never heard of Airbender or this before. Maybe us poor Gen Y’s in UK have even less to with :)

  • MaSch

    Vicotr: So the rarity of stable healthy lasting hetero relationships is due to men’s lack of valid insights about the opposite gender, i.e. “it’s all teh menz’ fault!”?

    And you believe that popular culture *could* deliver such valid insights if there simply were more fully human female characters on screen?

    “Steile These”, as we say in Germany.

    Personally, I would say that a lack of realistic depictions of *relationships* is one root of the problem – getting fed unrealistically *romantic* assumptions about what a relationship is/should be is far more damaging than having less-dimensional female characters on screen – most people are surrounded by fully human female people, but far fewer people get to know the reality of relationships until they find themselves in one.

    BTW; I agree with your demand for more *good* female characters in pop culture, I only disagree with your assumptions about the effect that would have. And I do realize that a realistic portrayal of a healthy, stable, etc. hetero relationship cannot work without a fully human female partner.

  • Victor Plenty

    MaSch, if the pop culture portrayals were the only thing that changed, and everything else stayed the same, it would not improve much of anything. What I’m pointing out is that any such change in pop culture would have to happen with a number of other changes in society. The net effect of all those changes together MIGHT be an improved quality of relationships for both women AND men.

    Too often, “feminism” is perceived as blaming all the world’s problems on men (like your knee-jerk reaction here). When our culture undermines human relationships, we all suffer the consequences, and that includes both women and men. Whatever men gain from patriarchy, the tradeoff is not worth it. In a world of real equality, everyone would be better off.

    You say “most people are surrounded by fully human female people” but this overlooks the crucial factor of perceptive ability. During the era of slavery in the United States, many whites were surrounded by fully human black people. But so many were unable to perceive the humanity in a black person, so both races were restricted to a tiny sliver of the full spectrum of potential human relationships across that racial barrier.

    We need look no further than the comments posted here under MaryAnn’s negative reviews of popular misogynist “comedy” movies to see that large numbers of males labor under a similar inability to perceive the full humanity of women, despite growing up surrounded by real life examples of female human beings.

  • MaSch

    I do not think “feminism” blames all the world’s problems on men; I do think some people, whether or not they identify as feminists, do this when it comes to relationship problems (and other people blame all relationship problems in the world on women in general or feminism in particular).

    It’s difficult for me to read your comment I referred to as *not* meaning “relationships would become healthy and lasting if men would see women as fully human beings”; and that *is* pretty much locating the problem with men’s mindset.

    I don’t think describing this kind of thinking as “it’s all the men’s fault” is too off the mark, if I haven’t misunderstood you completely.

  • Victor Plenty

    MaSch, I am NOT saying “it’s all the men’s fault,” and I thought my last reply to you made this clear.

    It’s not so much that you’ve misunderstood me, it’s that you’ve read a broad and serious claim into what was mostly an exaggeration on my part for humorous effect. And even in my exaggeration, I never claimed that fixing men’s mindsets through more enlightened pop culture would bring healthy relationships to everyone in the world.

    I said it MIGHT make healthy relationships more common than LEPRECHAUNS riding on UNICORNS. That imagery was meant, in part, to signal that I wasn’t laying out all the details of a serious thesis defense here.

    (It’s true I said there are a hell of a lot of clueless males in the world, but that’s entirely different from claiming every problem is men’s fault.)

    The only serious claim I’m making is that women are not the only ones negatively affected by a society full of gender conflict. Men have multiple good reasons to care about these issues, ranging from the abstract idea that fighting against injustice is the right thing to do, to the practical reality that a world with more equality between the sexes would be a better world for everyone, including men.

  • MaSch

    Victor, if by “gender conflict” you mean (among other things) “the bullshit each gender believes of the opposite gender (and its own gender)” (yeah, I bended the grammar a little, here), I’m totally with you. However, I have the lingering suspicion that a lot of feminists think gender problems in relationships are covered by “the bullshit men (and far too many women) believe about women”. And woe the man who tries to expand that focus …

    Or, in fewer words: Women have to get the stereotypes about men out of *their* systems, too, for a healthy relationship to be possible.