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Hollywood’s loyal opposition | by maryann johanson

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (review)

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Twilight for Boys

It’s Twilight for boys. It’s male adolescent sexual angst as “an epic of epic epicness,” as the poster tagline informs us… and as the movie matches in attitude and action. It’s the indulgence of everything a not-quite-adult, no-longer-a-kid manchild could want from women, in a package designed to appeal to not-quite-adult, no-longer-a-kid manchildren who would happily see their lives in the metaphors of the comic books, sitcoms, and videogames they were weaned on.
And that’s fine, really. If Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a touchstone of Millennial pop culture, as many of the fans of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.] insist it is, there’s nothing wrong with that… and not with the clever pastiches of superhero stories and Nintendo low-res gameplay that director Edgar Wright deploys to tell the story of 21-year-old Torontonian Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera: Youth in Revolt, Year One) getting a life. (Which is represented, ingeniously, by him grabbing a 1UP graphic from the top of the screen.) Wright is a master stylist, as he demonstrated in his brilliant previous films, the zombie sendup Shaun of the Dead and the buddy-cop parody Hot Fuzz. Here, though, he’s using that style to tell a tale that is deeply off-putting for what it says about young men’s attitudes toward young women, and toward romantic relationships. In this respect, it seems, there’s nothing new about this new generation.

Of course young love can feel like an epic of epic epicness even if you don’t live inside a videogame. (And here’s a secret those still young may discover as they get old: love can feel epic in grayer years, too.) But the terribleness and the wonderfulness of falling in love is depicted here as an heroic battle against the gal a guy is supposedly in love with. Scott falls in love with roller-skating, punk-haired Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Live Free or Die Hard, Death Proof) at first sight, across a public space. He stalks her in a way that’s meant to be adorable, I suppose, if one that makes little sense; since when does Amazon dispatch its own employee messengers like Ramona to deliver stuff you order online? She is literally a dream girl — Scott dreamt her before he met her — so much a dream girl that she agrees to go out with him with no indication of what she sees in him, just so he’ll stop asking, and consequently falls for him… but that’s what dream girls do.

So far, it’s pretty much par for the idiotic course for idiotic romantic comedies: we hardly know nor like either of the would-be couple, but we’re stuck with them for at least another hour. But here’s the appalling twist: In order for Scott to continue dating Ramona, he has to fight — literally battle, videogame style — her “seven evil exes.” Ramona makes a comment about how we all have “baggage,” which is of course true. But these exes are not “baggage”: the first one is a boy she hung out with and kissed once in eighth grade. The others are mostly similarly benign past relationships that barely even rise to the level of “relationship.” (Of course, Scott’s idea of a “dating” is hanging out with a 17-year-old high-schooler [Ellen Wong] and grabbing a slice of pizza after school. Kissing is not even on the agenda.) What’s worse, the entire “battle of the exes” thing has been arranged by Ramona’s most recent boyfriend (Jason Schwartzmann: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Funny People), who really does seem evil. But why on Earth would the other exes go along with such a scheme unless they feel some kind of ownership of Ramona?

And why does Ramona go along with it? Is she not her own self to give or not as she pleases? She is a total cipher, a pretty blank slate upon which Scott can pour his desires but can only win hers not by anything he does for or to her, but by winning her from her exes. She isn’t free to bestow her affections: her affections belong to men and must be passed from one to another. Why isn’t she furious at her latest ex for concocting such a scheme? It’s bad enough that all the guys seem to have no compunction considering her a thing, a possession to be claimed. But why does she give in to that?

If Scott Pilgrim truly wanted to be about two young people navigating the hurts of their past to come together for a fresh start, then why doesn’t Ramona have to fight Scott’s exes… the latest of which seems pretty evil, too, at least on the curve this movie grades evil on? Why must her romantic past, meager as it is, be laid bare for his approval and vanquishing, yet he is not required to do the same for her? Worst of all, why does everyone involved take the whole thing so casually, as if this is to be expected from a man when embarking upon a new relationship?

I know, I know: It’s all supposed to be “funny” and “cute” and “lighthearted.” But for as long as “women as trophies, as prizes for men who do heroic deeds” has been an unfortunate trope of Hollywood, a movie has never been this blatant, this outrageous, this nonchalant about it. And while there’s lots that is indeed funny and cute and lighthearted — the always delightful Chris Evans’ (The Losers, Push) action movie star, one of Ramona’s exes, is a definite highlight — there is no sense of satire in the unmetaphoric winning of Ramona. All the style is nothing but a would-be “sweet” metaphor for men treating women as property… and woman acquiescing to being treated that way.


Watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World online using LOVEFiLM‘s streaming service.

MPAA: rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • LOL

    This is a terrible review and obviously you didn’t see the true meaning behind it. Stupid feminist.

  • Nate

    Huh. You were actually a lot nicer to this than I was expecting you to be.

    Seeing as I disagreed with you about how Kick-Ass portrayed Hit Girl, I’ll have to see for myself if Ramona’s really as submissive a character as you claim her to be. In the trailer she looked like she was doing some fighting on her own.

  • hahahahahahahaha

    hahahahahahahahahaha
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    he… he…
    cough

  • RyanT

    Still looking forward to seeing it since it’s my most anticipated film of the summer beating out even the likes of Toy Story 3 and Inception which I ended up both loving.

    With that said, I’m slightly worried now. I totally agreed with you on Kick-Ass (and most movies in general), so I’m just hoping this is one movie where I can vehemently disagree with you on. Hoping for the best!

  • amanohyo

    “Twilight for Boys” is the sweetest troll bait ever devised. No fanboy will be able to resist that glove slap. There might be a typo at “But for as long as women as trophies…”, better fix it before the next angry dood pops in to call you a feminist and belittles your weak, womanly grammar (if he actually reads that far).

    Like RyanT, I’m looking forward to watching this one to see if the issues in the review are enough to defeat my weakness for classic gaming references.

  • MaryAnn

    There’s no typo there.

    Gotta love the hahahahahahaha guy. Are we expected to read his mind to know what he’s busting a guy about?

  • Sharpless

    Um, why are the majority of the people I know who are fans of the series all females, then? I find that assumption of yours more offensive than anything you thought you saw in the film. It’s a fun, silly, “comic booky” little action-romance, and I don’t really see why you’re looking for run-of-the-mill rhyme-or-reason in a story where a boy has to do battle with his girlfriend’s “evil exes.” If it’s “not your thing,” then fine. If you just don’t like it, or think it’s poorly made, then that’s fine too. But it feels like you’re trying to treat it like something that it’s not. I mean, if you look at a Picasso expecting it to adhere to the same standards and practices as a Rembrandt, your review of it is going to be poorly executed and just plain wrong, no matter how intelligent or experienced you are.

    You know, I really do love and appreciate your Doctor Who content, but I really cannot take most of the other articles you write here. It’s not so much that I disagree – I have no issue with doing that – and it’s not that you’re a bad writer or anything like that. It’s that I often find myself going, “What the hell? How on earth did she get that out of it?” Too often, I have a remarkably difficult time grasping just where your head is at in any given review. It goes beyond simply disagreeing with you.

    I’m sure I’ll just be flippantly disregarded as another troll, but that’s not my intent. You seem like a decent person and I don’t want to hurt or offend you, but I just really don’t know what to do with your blog anymore. Maybe you should really consider some of the criticism you’ve been receiving. I’m sure plenty of it is unwarranted, but some of it probably has a good deal of validity. Anyway, for now, I guess I’ll just stick to the Who posts.

  • Chris

    I agree with Amanohyo… it is sweet troll bait.

    She’s allowed to have her opinion, and it not a stupid opinion. Im sure Im going to absolutely love this movie, because Im a complete comic and videogame geek.

    But at least she has a smart opinion about it.

  • Lauren

    Actually, Ramona is a clever tongue-in-cheek to the “princesses” of video games. The fact that Scott must “fight” for her (and the entire universe switching to video game mode) he has to have a prize, which is the love interest. What I love about the books and the storyline is that Scott (like any video game player/user) has more at stake than Ramona (the prize/end goal), and if he truly decided that it wasn’t worth it, he could just stop playing the game. And in a sense – Grow up.

    As a girl gamer, I get the whole upset with the naked and fully chested video game vixen and weak and helpless princesses or loves. But I also know that it is a stereotype to be made fun of in a pop culture play on the very thing I love.

  • Lisa

    I have not read the comic book but I flicked thru it at the weekend and it seems that they came to the conclusion that Ramona has a problem loving herself but I can’t remember if they ended up together – I think the comic book was written at the same time as the film so no surprises they didn’t address that in the film.

    Hope they don’t release EPL, Pilgrim and The Expendables on the same date in the UK cos then there’d be nothing to see at the cinema.

  • amanohyo

    Oops. I see the “has been” now, my bad.

  • MaryAnn

    Um, why are the majority of the people I know who are fans of the series all females, then? I

    I’m not reviewing the comic book series. I’m reviewing the movie. Have you seen the movie?

    It’s that I often find myself going, “What the hell? How on earth did she get that out of it?” Too often, I have a remarkably difficult time grasping just where your head is at in any given review. It goes beyond simply disagreeing with you.

    Then you need to find a critic whose taste more closely align with your own.

    I’m sure I’ll just be flippantly disregarded as another troll

    Do I flippantly disregard people who make intelligent comments as trolls?

    You seem like a decent person and I don’t want to hurt or offend you

    You don’t offend me.

    Maybe you should really consider some of the criticism you’ve been receiving.

    What criticism should I reconsider?

    It sounds like you’re suggesting that I need to alter my opinions somehow. Or that I should write things I don’t believe in order to appease some readers (while, presumably, doing injustice to those who are actually using my reviews to make decisions about movies because their tastes do align with mine).

    I’m not really sure what you’re saying I need to do differently…

  • MaryAnn

    Actually, Ramona is a clever tongue-in-cheek to the “princesses” of video games.

    I didn’t see anything like that in the movie.

  • Kevin

    You didn’t see that the whole thing is playing with the codes and style of video games (amongst other things)?

    Women shouldn’t be trophies in real life (though aren’t they sometimes? they don’t call them “trophy wives/girlfriends” for nothing), but they certainly tend to be in video games. The film/comics cleverly and amusingly transpose this into a romantic comedy.

    Best movie of the year, I say.

  • doa766

    “Twilights for boys” has already been coined, here’s the trailer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-8kSszZwbI

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

    The movie is not out yet, so it’s hard to say how the fanbase will end up being, but if it follows a trend similar to the comic it will likely have a good number of women fans.

    Also Ramona doesn’t seem to be helpless, getting involved in a number of battles herself (I have seen a preview screening) and holding her own. Ramona is unsure of Scott at first but then later decides she wants to date him. It’s her exes that get in the way and are trying to be possessive of her. She even complains at one point that the reason she moved to Canada was to get away from the league of evil exes and to try to start fresh. Scott could go along and beat all the exes yet still lose Ramona if they don’t get along after all of that.

    Also Scott’s relationship with Knives is a parallel of Ramona’s relationship with Scott. Ramona likes Scott because it’s a simple relationship to her different from her complicated relationships in the past.

    In the end Ramona does have to fight Knives, as while she doesn’t turn quite into an evil-ex, Knives is being over-possessive of Scott in a similar matter that Ramona’s old exes are. The movie is definitely about dealing with relationship baggage, and Scott’s baggage is everywhere from Envy to their drummer Kim. That even if they aren’t attacking, previous relationships make up a part of what people are.

    Also it’s a small thing but Amazon.ca using their own messenger doesn’t make any sense, but works in the context of the movie where their one messenger for the entire Toronto area rollerblades around on top of melting snow, using a Super Mario 2-like subspace to travel from place to place (which sometimes includes going through the dreamspace of Scott’s head).

  • JosephFM

    “Do I flippantly disregard people who make intelligent comments as trolls?”

    Yes. Increasingly often. Because you now have an an agenda that overrides your critical judgement on a regular basis. Ten years ago you would have loved this movie.

  • MaryAnn

    I was a different person 10 years ago.

    Please do tell me what my “agenda” is.

  • MaryAnn

    it will likely have a good number of women fans.

    That may well be true. What does it have to do with my review? Lots of women buy into patriarchal bullshit. Some women don’t even recognize it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  • Bahahah

    AHAHHAHAHA

    Oh wait you’re serious? Let me laugh harder!

    AHAHAHHAHAHAHAH!

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why women should stay in the kitchen.

  • Shylock Holmes

    “NO FUN ALLOWED BOYS. RESPECT WOMEN BECAUSE WE’RE LIKE TOTALLY REALLY COOL.”

    Pretty much.

  • Brian

    ….
    Wow.
    It’s an allegory.

    Scott is already in love with Ramona. He idealizes her. She doesn’t need to “win” him over.

    He is trying to get through to her so that she will be in love with him. He is trying to win her heart.

    You mention that “so much a dream girl that she agrees to go out with him with no indication of what she sees in him, just so he’ll stop asking, and consequently falls for him”

    That shift from “no indication of what she sees in him” to “consequently falls for him” is the whole movie. She is comparing him to her previous romantic experiences… when he comes out favorably, she is closer to falling in love with him.

    The wonder of movie magic enables that comparison process to be visually represented as actual fights. What fun!

    Allegories.
    Movies are often allegories.

    They work best when they are entertaining in their physical representation and interesting in their allegorical exploration.

  • JoshDM

    a tale that is deeply off-putting for what it says about young men’s attitudes toward young women, and toward romantic relationships.

    Hey people, put a little perspective on this thing. Also realize that shoe-horning a several trade paperback epic into a 2 hour film isn’t going to do any justice to your source material. We’ve learned that films should be able to stand alone on their own merit; apparently this one does not.

    That’s not going to stop me from seeing it, but unfortunately I will be entering the film with foreknowledge (for example, I know Scott dreamed of Ramona because she has some sort of weird super-power that enables her to travel through dreams because I read that in a review somewhere) that makes it easier to accept certain things in the film, rather than allow the film to fight for itself.

  • JohnnyInc

    I’ll probably still watch Scott Pilgrim because I loved Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Michael Cera can be enjoyable to watch. I don’t get the Twilight reference. Is there a team Knives vs. team Ramona marketing campaign at Burger King?

  • Marshall

    Kevin,

    The whole trophy wife/girlfriend thing is a reflection of how our society views and treats women. It doesn’t matter if they smart, successfull, talented etc – it only matters if they’re ‘hot’ by society at large. Hollywood plays into this to often, thereby enforcing the image. Unfortunately it is also far to often the goal in video games as well.

  • Chris Zimmerman

    The big problem that I have with this review is that your trying to make this political. This is supposed to be a movie review. You don’t even talk about the acting or the effects. I understand you’re supposed to be a “flickfilosopher” (clever name[/sarcasm]). The problem is that you let one thing in the movie distract you from everything else. As another commenter points out, Ramona has tried to get away from her past. That’s why she moves to Canada in the first place. She gets involved in the fights as well. She’s in no way submissive.

    There are some films that you really shouldn’t be looking for a deep meaning. This is one of those. It’s supposed to fun. Do you seriously expect a guy to really go out of his way and do this sorta thing to get a girl in real life? Hell no.

    I find it insulting that you call this “Twilight for boys.” This is nothing like what Twilight has done. Twilight has bastardized an entire genre of films thanks to their so-called “vampires.” Scott Pilgrim is what comics are all about.

    A film critic is supposed to approach every film objectively. Based on this review, I have serious doubts that you did.

  • Herbert

    There might be a typo at “But for as long as women as trophies…”, better fix it before the next angry dood pops in to call you a feminist and belittles your weak, womanly grammar (if he actually reads that far).

    “There’s no typo there.”

    Um, yes there is. Otherwise that sentence makes no sense.

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

    Well, your review is partly built around that the movie is just “Twilight for boys” assuming only guys will like it. However, do you have a point that some women buy into the passive relationships. Still, once again using the comic book fanbase since the movie hasn’t been released, women seem to be attracted to Scott Pilgrim because it’s filled with strong women. When volume 6 of the comic was recently released a number of comic stores had costume contests and the most popular character was not Scott, but Ramona, often with girls making their own fake huge hammer, as they see Ramona as someone who kicks ass (which is exactly how one character at the party where Scott and Ramona meets, describes Ramona, another saying she has men dying at her feet). Meanwhile, Knives is a bit native teenager, but grows up and holds her own in fight in the movie. Kim Pine is a tough drummer who doesn’t take any BS from anyone. Envy Adams, is a bit more evil in the movie than the comics, where she’s given more of a back story to make her more human. However, even in the movie she’s ambitious, strong and is leading a successful rock band.

    Even in the movie, Scott mentions to Ramona how she’s always been the dumper and never the dumpee, showing that she ultimately decides her fate. It’s just that she has men obsessing about her long after their relationships have ended.

    To others criticizing MaryAnn for not liking the movie, while I’m a fan of the movie, I totally understand that it’s not a movie for everyone. It’s so stylistic that it’s the kind of movie that will click for some and not for others. I have no problem with her not liking it, I just disagree with some of her conclusions.

  • MaryAnn

    I don’t have a problem with the style of the movie. As I think I made perfectly clear in my review. I have a problem what it says about men and women and relationships.

    women seem to be attracted to Scott Pilgrim because it’s filled with strong women.

    How many times must I say this? I am reviewing the movie, not the books. Women standing around in the background saying snarky things does not make them strong characters. They’re still window dressing on Scott’s story.

    Scott mentions to Ramona how she’s always been the dumper and never the dumpee, showing that she ultimately decides her fate.

    But there’s no real sense of that in the movie. There just isn’t. Her *saying* this is no substitute for her having an actual journey as a character through the film.

    Unfortunately, we are so used to male characters having personal journeys while the woman stand around waiting for them, and not changing themselves in the least while they watch, that we don’t see this as a problem. Well, I see it as a problem.

    Um, yes there is. Otherwise that sentence makes no sense.

    There is no typo in that sentence. Perhaps this helps:

    But for as long as “women as trophies, as prizes for men who do heroic deeds” has been an unfortunate trope of Hollywood, a movie has never been this blatant, this outrageous, this nonchalant about it.

  • MaryAnn

    When volume 6 of the comic was recently released a number of comic stores had costume contests and the most popular character was not Scott, but Ramona

    Anyone think this will inspire creators of graphic novels to create one with a girl as the central character?

  • Jason

    So what I’m taking away from this review is that uptight feminists aren’t going to like this movie because it doesn’t explore the deeper meaning of a relationship that takes place in this goofy-ass movie where video game concepts are a part of reality.

  • Jason

    MaryAnn: “Anyone think this will inspire creators of graphic novels to create one with a girl as the central character?”

    Fables, Persepolis, Bone, etc.
    Why don’t you actually read some graphic novels?

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

    Twilight for Boys!

    Totally awesome! SPARKLY GAME-OBSESSED SLACKERS! MUST… WATCH…

    /geekgasm

    Okay I’m done with the snark. MaryAnn made relevant critique of the film. Having read the books, I *will* still go see it…

    Anyone think this will inspire creators of graphic novels to create one with a girl as the central character?

    Terry Moore made Strangers In Paradise. It is honest-to-fucking-GOD very good. And has two girls as central characters.

  • http://bitromantic.com Patch

    I was a different person 10 years ago.

    Ah, we were all younger and more innocent back then. Remember when you wrote a positive review of The Phantom Menace, and I agreed with you?

    (Well, you don’t remember me agreeing with you because I didn’t post a comment, but … nevermind).

    Please do tell me what my “agenda” is.

    You’re definitely writing a feminist critique of most of the movies that you see. There’s nothing inherently wrong with ascribing to a particular cultural movement, but I find reviews written through the lens of an ideology to be less interesting than those written from a more nuanced perspective, regardless of the merits of the ideology in question.

    It’s easy to hold up a movie against a particular ideal, and give it a passing or failing grade; it’s more difficult (and more rewarding, I think), to grapple with a movie on its own terms, and produce a work of criticism that speaks about it along many dimensions, while noting its shortcomings in some aspects.

    Regardless, while I know that there is Much Work to be Done re: women’s place in society, your blog has become more exhausting than provoking or interesting or stimulating lately. You’re turning into a bit of a curmudgeon, and that’s a little sad, as I read your blog more to pick up on gems that I may have missed, than hear about how dire the general state of Hollywood is.

    Peace,
    ~ Patch

  • MaryAnn

    Fables, Persepolis, Bone, etc.
    Why don’t you actually read some graphic novels?

    Oh, right! I totally forgot how Persepolis was the can’t-miss geek event of the summer! Silly me!

    Guess I really need to spell everything out, don’t I?

    If fans of the graphic novel like Ramona more than they like Scott, why does Ramona get the short end of the stick in this movie?

    I’ll answer my own question: Because Hollywood thinks boys’ stories are more important than girls’ stories.

    uptight feminists aren’t going to like this movie because it doesn’t explore the deeper meaning of a relationship

    It’s true: Expecting women to be treated as human beings with lives as interesting and complex as men’s lives is a “deeper meaning.”

    In other news: I am moving to another planet. I can’t take this shit anymore.

  • Chris Zimmerman

    You seem to be the only person that seems to feel this way about the movie. Nobody else seems to have a problem with the movie’s portrayal of Ramona. Most consider her one of the film’s strongest characters. There’s just too many flaws in your argument that I cannot really accept.

    You have yet to address my point as to why you do not talk about the other characters. Your so obsessed with trying to defend this position that you don’t even bother talking about the other actors and actresses who are apart of this film. Hell, you don’t even talk about Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the actress who plays Ramona, except mentioning her name on the side. Isn’t that what a reviewer’s supposed to do? Comment on the actor’s performances?

  • MaryAnn

    Isn’t that what a reviewer’s supposed to do? Comment on the actor’s performances?

    Okay, here ya go: Poor Mary Elizabeth Winstead does what she can with an unforgiving role. She should be the star of the film, but instead she has to take a backseat to boring, bland Michael Cera. If Ramona Flowers is as awesome and as interesting as everyone in the film insists she is, why isn’t the movie about her?

    You’re definitely writing a feminist critique of most of the movies that you see.

    And how does that differ as an “agenda” from all the critics who simply embrace the unfair status quo without comment? Or is bending with the wind not an “agenda”?

  • JoshDM

    HEY COMMENTERS.

    RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE BEFORE YOU’VE COMMENTED ON THE REVIEW.

    @me *doesn’t put hand up*

  • Chris Zimmerman

    It’s true: Expecting women to be treated as human beings with lives as interesting and complex as men’s lives is a “deeper meaning.”

    There are many films that do that, true, but at the same time, how many films directed at women have a hunky guy as the girl’s obsession? Seriously, the same can be said there as well.

  • Mimi

    It’s funny how, you know, the theme of the movie isn’t quite “guy saves the girl!” but more of, “guy needs to actually become a better person and get a life if he wants to get a girl.” Didn’t you see the ending? When Knives goes, “I’m too cool for you anyway.” Ramona was already a strong character, which is why Scott needed to also catch up to her in order to get her.

    I am a female, at the age that Twilight fangirls seem to be common and Scott Pilgrim is MY Twilight.

  • Legs4DaLame

    Oh, right! I totally forgot how Persepolis was the can’t-miss geek event of the summer! Silly me!

    You can’t make a movie to be an event. It simply becomes one or it does not. Don’t blame Scott Pilgrim for having a fanbase that Persepolis didn’t, but it sure as hell isn’t because of sex relations.

  • Sok

    Why on earth is this particular film such a sensitive subject? I haven’t seen it yet, so hey, it may suck regardless of the source material. I’m just a little baffled by the visceral reaction.

    If I’m reading the review correctly, MaryAnn’s saying this one plays out with the bland, shallow tropes of a romantic comedy, just with a veneer of video-game ‘reality’ over it. She didn’t like it; she wants more characterization from the characters not named “Scott Pilgrim”. If/when I see it I may disagree. Maybe it veered too much or drew too little from the source material — it happens. (I enjoy the Silent Hill video game series, but man, that movie stunk.)

    (As far as girl-centric graphic novels, there are several, but I’ll definitely agree that the ratio — both in lead characters and authors — still skews towards men. It’s shifting, though: Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” and Satrapi’s “Persepolis” are the standouts that spring to mind.)

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

    I don’t have time to read this whole comment thread, so sorry if this has been covered (doesn’t look like it).

    She is literally a dream girl — Scott dreamt her before he met her — so much a dream girl that she agrees to go out with him with no indication of what she sees in him, just so he’ll stop asking, and consequently falls for him… but that’s what dream girls do.

    As stated by the characters in the movie, Scott downgrades his date to “hanging out” because he knows the area and “there are actually reasons for you to hang out with me”. During that meetup, she decides Scott’s actually a fairly nice guy, and it turns into a sort-of date. She still decides not to sleep with him, and they make plans to hang out again. It’s not until he asks her “we are currently dating?” on the bus that she’s decided they’re actually going out.

    She says during the movie that he’s the nicest guy she’s ever dated. She’s dating Scott for the same reason Scott’s dating Knives: it’s a cop-out, almost an intimacy-free relationship. Scott’s a Nice Guy, the kind of guy you generally knock, and that’s the idea. Scott and Ramona get closer than Scott and Knives, but Ramona is less jumping for Scott than escaping from Gideon.

    And why does Ramona go along with it? Is she not her own self to give or not as she pleases? She is a total cipher, a pretty blank slate upon which Scott can pour his desires but can only win hers not by anything he does for or to her, but by winning her from her exes. She isn’t free to bestow her affections: her affections belong to men and must be passed from one to another. Why isn’t she furious at her latest ex for concocting such a scheme? It’s bad enough that all the guys seem to have no compunction considering her a thing, a possession to be claimed. But why does she give in to that?

    Gideon puts that chip in her head — “he literally has a way of getting inside my head”. I assume he did that in his sneaky, slimy, Jason Schwartzman-as-villain way.

    As for why she’s attracted to him, I’m sure Gideon can be charming.

    If Scott Pilgrim truly wanted to be about two young people navigating the hurts of their past to come together for a fresh start, then why doesn’t Ramona have to fight Scott’s exes… the latest of which seems pretty evil, too, at least on the curve this movie grades evil on? Why must her romantic past, meager as it is, be laid bare for his approval and vanquishing, yet he is not required to do the same for her? Worst of all, why does everyone involved take the whole thing so casually, as if this is to be expected from a man when embarking upon a new relationship?

    I think it’s a metaphor for what people have to do in any new relationship: avoid letting the past ruin their future. Once Scott and Ramona have resolved their issues with Knives and Gideon, respectively, they’re free to try again, this time for real, rather than as part of the fallout from their previous relationships. Mild spoilers ahead. The film ends with Ramona heading off to fight her other battles, with Gideon out of the way, and Scott decides, having seen how Ramona helped him through his own past, decides to go with her, to return the favor.

    The film is less about any relationship between Scott and Ramona than it is about the beginning of a relationship between Scott and Ramona. The outcome of that relationship is left unrevealed, but both of them agree to find out what happens next, because they do genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

  • MaryAnn

    Don’t blame Scott Pilgrim for having a fanbase that Persepolis didn’t, but it sure as hell isn’t because of sex relations.

    No. But it’s interesting, isn’t it, how boys’ stories are mainstream but girls’ stories are, far more often than not, “niche.”

    guy needs to actually become a better person and get a life if he wants to get a girl.” Didn’t you see the ending?

    Of course I saw the ending. And I saw the rest of the movie too, which in no way shows Scott becoming a better person or getting a life. What do you think consists of Scott “becoming a better person”?

    When Knives goes, “I’m too cool for you anyway.” Ramona was already a strong character, which is why Scott needed to also catch up to her in order to get her.

    Yes, that’s wonderful! Women are perfect and don’t need to change.

    But that’s not true. Women are not perfect. Women are as flawed as men are. A story in which women stand around being cool and perfect and unchangeable in the background whille they watch — or worse, inspire — a man to change and grow is not “a story about strong women.” It’s a story about a man as a human being and women as creatures up on a pedestal.

  • Chris Zimmerman

    Okay, here ya go: Poor Mary Elizabeth Winstead does what she can with an unforgiving role. She should be the star of the film, but instead she has to take a backseat to boring, bland Michael Cera. If Ramona Flowers is as awesome and as interesting as everyone in the film insists she is, why isn’t the movie about her?

    What about the rest of the cast? Kieran Culkin? Brandon Routh? Jason Schwartzman? Mae Whitman? Ellen Wong? Seriously, it’s not just those two! Even other reviews that have been critical of the movie take the time to at least acknowledge the other actors and actresses.

  • Mimi

    Oh, and I forgot to say that Ramona is as flawed a character as Scott is. Which is what makes it more compelling than garbage like Twilight. In Twilight, the male presence is perfect and the female has to come up to expectations. She has no characteristics or hobbies that didn’t relate to her relationship. In Scott Pilgrim, both of the main characters have flaws and it’s in working their way through these flaws that they finally learn how to make their relationship work.

    THAT is how relationships happen in real life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Kris

    Uh, she’s reviewing the film which has not been released yet.

    She is not speaking for the graphic novel (which I have also not read) which may very well be the smart, perceptive satire that you describe. If the movie falls flat of achieving this (which this review indicates) it will be another in a long line of poor comic-book-to-film adaptions. Nothing new.

  • MaryAnn

    Even other reviews that have been critical of the movie take the time to at least acknowledge the other actors and actresses.

    I have no control over what other reviewers do or say or feel or think. And clearly you already know who else is in the film?

    Or do you honestly think that a good performance by Kiernan Culkin makes up for, in my mind, my disgust with the overall experience of the film?

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, and I forgot to say that Ramona is as flawed a character as Scott is.

    Please explain how the film depicts this.

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

    And I saw the rest of the movie too, which in no way shows Scott becoming a better person or getting a life. What do you think consists of Scott “becoming a better person”?

    Scott not being cowardly and unobservant of how his dating Knives is destructive to both his and her lives, realizing how his careless method of dealing with both of them was hurtful to both of them.

    On a grander, simpler scale, learning how to act a bit more grown up in relationships, and how to account for other people’s feelings (not just Ramona and Knives, but also all three of the band members).

  • Jason

    Oh, right! I totally forgot how Persepolis was the can’t-miss geek event of the summer! Silly me!

    Actually you just asked if the popularity of Ramona would inspire graphic novelists to create strong female characters. They already do. I provided examples. You’re just too busy nailing yourself to the cross to acknowledge it.

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

    Please explain how the film depicts this.

    She brings all her “baggage” to the table and then basically runs away from it, leaving Scott behind at several key moments where she could have helped.

  • MaryAnn

    Gideon puts that chip in her head — “he literally has a way of getting inside my head”.

    Right. And there’s nothing offensive about that. Women are just so easy to control! They can’t help it — it’s just the way things are.

    The question is: *Why* is this a plot point in the story? What does it say that it is a plot point in the story?

  • Mimi

    Yes, that’s wonderful! Women are perfect and don’t need to change.

    But that’s not true. Women are not perfect. Women are as flawed as men are. A story in which women stand around being cool and perfect and unchangeable in the background whille they watch — or worse, inspire — a man to change and grow is not “a story about strong women.” It’s a story about a man as a human being and women as creatures up on a pedestal.

    Um, but Knives DID change. ._. She was crazy obsessed with Scott and then she learned that she actually had self-worth and didn’t want to define herself according to his standards.

    I thought Scott actually apologizing to Kim was the best milestone of him becoming a better person. He didn’t realize that he was hurting other people before then. Ramona also “dabbled in being a bitch”, never settling for one person because she thought of herself as being resistant to change. She changed herself before anything could change her. With Scott, she finally saw someone that she wouldn’t mind changing with.

    I’m not sure if you yourself read this from the movie, but I’m a huge fan of the comic books, so maybe I have the upper hand when I watched it. In the books, he actually got a job and everything. I think they had to cut that short in the movie.

  • MaryAnn

    You’re just too busy nailing yourself to the cross to acknowledge it.

    *bang* *bang* *bang*

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

    The question is: *Why* is this a plot point in the story? What does it say that it is a plot point in the story?

    I think you’re reading into this particular point. I mean, why does any villain in any movie do anything to anyone? Schwartzman does it because it’s in his character to do it — to want a woman as a symbol of his awesomeness, and then ignore her. He becomes perceptive of her self-confessed need to run at some point, and installs a chip in her head with this elaborate Evil Ex scheme, preventing anyone else from having her and almost ensuring she’ll come back to him eventually.

    It’s not perfect (the books have a far more elaborate explanation of his scheme that was excised along with several subplots), but I don’t think this particular point is a comment on women. It’s a comment on Jason Schwartzman’s villain. It’s a chip on her head because it’s a simple explanation for the movie. It’s not really any different than the way Envy gets into Scott’s head all the time, except that Envy isn’t as diabolical as Gideon.

  • LOL

    Actually you just asked if the popularity of Ramona would inspire graphic novelists to create strong female characters. They already do. I provided examples. You’re just too busy nailing yourself to the cross to acknowledge it.

    Fables and Persepolis are amazing examples. Of course, Scott Pilgrim will never be nominated for an Oscar like Persepolis did. Of course, that Oscar nomination counts for nothing, does it?

  • Chris Zimmerman

    I have no control over what other reviewers do or say or feel or think. And clearly you already know who else is in the film?

    Just because I know who is in the film doesn’t mean that I know about their acting in this particular film. I mean, an actor can be good in one film and crappy in another. You see Brandon Routh pull off a great line in one of trailers, yet I don’t whether or not he’s that good throughout the film. That’s where reviews come in, to say whether or not he does well.

    Or do you honestly think that a good performance by Kiernan Culkin makes up for, in my mind, my disgust with the overall experience of the film?

    I claim nothing of the sort. I’m just saying that it would be nice to give credit where it is due.

    I just feel you’re trying to be too political here. Did the author of the comics create them to make a statement? No. He created it for those people who grew up in the 80′s and 90′s who grew up with video games, anime/manga, and comic books. It’s meant to be fun.

  • http://twitter.com/heyjeannie Jeannie

    While I think “Twilight for boys” is both the finest trollbait (as mentioned earlier) and a little extreme (girls can like Scott Pilgrim too!), you bring up a lot of points about the movie series and the comics that I hadn’t really thought of before. I’d read the comics before, and understanding its fanbase, expected it to be the nerd-boy’s manic-pixie-dream-girl wankfest that it admittedly was. Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel as disappointed (that’s not quite the word, but I can’t come up with a more apt substitute) as you seem to have. I went into this review expecting to get defensive and write this comment appreciative of your review.

    I’m sure you know not to listen to the haters who insist you scrap your man-hating agenda and get back in the kitchen where you belong, but hats off to you from someone who understands the complexity of modern feminism.

    I still had a good time at the movie, though!

  • http://properfresh.com ez

    In all fairness, what you’re missing (and perhaps this is a side effect of cultural influences) is that Scott is spoiled by his video game upbringing. He isn’t outright mean, but he’s thoughtless and everything he does follows the “reward” strategy. It’s not meant to “glorify” his thoughtlessness, instead it underlines the dangers of looking at life that way… at least the books do. What makes it all so much more funny is that video games really like that: the logic escapes some things, the motivations of some characters seems questionable, and rewards are sort of hollow and silly. That’s part of the point of the Scott Pilgrim series. Life isn’t a video game, but what if it was?

  • Hsillort

    >twilight for boys
    Scott Pilgrim confirmed to be hipster trash

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

    It’s meant to be fun.

    In MaryAnn’s defense, not only is this explicitly acknowledged in her review, this is an impossible way to argue with anyone. It was not fun for her. Telling her it’s supposed to be fun will not make it so. You have to have a counterargument.

    I’d read the comics before, and understanding its fanbase, expected it to be the nerd-boy’s manic-pixie-dream-girl wankfest that it admittedly was.

    Ramona is not a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. It’s close, but Manic Pixie Dream Girls do all the lifting of the mopey Schlub Dude out of his acknowledged rut. Scott barely acknowledges he’s in a rut, and he does all the work to get out of it. Manic Pixie Dream Girls also don’t have problems of their own, they’re defined by the male hero. Ramona has plenty of problems, and at least seven of them attack Scott.

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

    Scott Pilgrim confirmed to be hipster trash

    Of anything to complain about in Scott Pilgrim, the film being hipster is not valid. All of the villains are the hipsters, as explicitly stated within the film. I mean, this is a world in which the ultimate evil is played by Jason Schwartzman.

  • Muzz

    In the fine tradition of reviewing reviewers I say:
    Reads more like an Amber ;)

    At any rate, I can’t skip something that looks for all the world like Spaced – The Movie (I stress ‘looks’). I just can’t. So we’ll see.
    I’ll check back when the thread is in the several-hundreds (so, about an hour at this rate).

  • doa766

    hey commenters: trying to get MaryAnn to analize a movie beyond her point of view is as futile as finding inteligence on a Michael Bay Movie, so don’t even try

    even if her reasons for not liking the movie (or the graphic novel) are exclusive to a small portion of the audience, there’s no way she’s going to actually review it for the rest

    if she were a bomb technician she would’ve given a negative review to The Hurt Locker, because it’s main character was not depicted the way most bomb techs really are, instead he was reackless, placed the lives of his teammates in danger, lack discipline and judgement and so on

    since she’s not a bomb technician she doesn’t give a shit about how innaccurately they’re portrayed

    in this regard she is as conservative as they come

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

    This thread already has some major spoilers, and I’m going to go into more of them in my post. Avoid if you don’t want the movie spoiled!

    MaryAnn: “But there’s no real sense of that in the movie. There just isn’t. Her *saying* this is no substitute for her having an actual journey as a character through the film.”

    There’s all sorts of animated clips showing the backstory of the exes, showing how she dumped them all. She mentions how dumping Lucas Lee for the next pretty boy to come along was cruel joking that she’s “dabbled in being a bitch”. So we are given little snippets of how she ended up the way she is. Ramona’s character arc is that she has learns that she can’t run away from her problems. Also that even without her evil exes, that her emotional baggage makes her what she is and is the reason she’s attracted to the nice and simple Scott.

    Still the complaint I was addressing was that she was a possession and a trophy, that she’s not “free to bestow her affections”. Yet she’s been the one in control of the relationships, as others have pointed out she was the one deciding if Scott & their relationship would continue not Scott who was already smitten with her. The one except being when Gideon put that chip in her head, more of a plot device than anything, but even when it’s removed she doesn’t automatically end up with Scott.

    That said, Knives has probably the biggest character arc in the movie, more so that Scott, as she has a lot of growing up to do throughout the movie. She starts off very bright eyed teenager, native about love and the world and by the end of the movie, she’s quite assertive and more sure of herself.

    “Anyone think this will inspire creators of graphic novels to create one with a girl as the central character?”
    Others have given many other great examples, but even with Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan O’Malley, his comic before Scott Pilgrim was called “Lost At Sea” featuring a lead female character. There’s a lot of them out there, but I guess you’re complaint is about them becoming big summer movies.

    MaryAnn: “Oh, right! I totally forgot how Persepolis was the can’t-miss geek event of the summer! Silly me!”
    It was a great movie, but I don’t think anyone expected an animated movie with a character growing up during the religious revolution in Iran to become the big summer hit.

  • GGG

    It’s a good review but I’m gonna have to see it to believe it. Kinda like with the Last Airbender movie.

  • joel

    Oh wait..is this a serious review?

    I’m reminded of a phrase..what was it..”this person’s acting like a complete idiot…I’ll just give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re trolling.”

    I’m inclined to agree that the movie looks ridiculous, but why does that translate to patriacal and sexist. The only lingering sexist in popular culture (whatever the reality may be on an individual level) exists in the sexism of women, who attack men for being themselves, and having their own desires and dreams.

    Also, movies are fantasies.
    This one is dumb, but you are too.

  • Lisa

    So you’re critising her for writing from her own perspective? Is this your first time on this site?!? Is this your first time reading a film review?!

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

    @Lisa, anyone who came here and flung insults at MaryAnn didn’t come to express a fully formed thought. They came to fling insults.

  • MEGA SCOTT PILGRIM FANOLA

    YOU ARE A MAJOR POOP HEAD FOR NOT LIKING THE FILM ADAPTATION OF MY FAVORITE COMIC BOOK THAT I HAVE NOT YET SEEN AND MUST PRE-JUDGE TO BE THE BEST BECAUSE THE BOOK IT SO AWESOME. HOW DARE YOU BESMIRCH MY MOVIE MADE EXPECIALLY FOR ME! IT MUST BE AS GOOD AS THE BOOKS AND TOTALLY NOT SHALLOW AND COMPRESSED! I KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM.

  • D

    Dear Mary Ann:

    I came to this thread mostly for the sure-fire hilarity of a reviewer calling a geek movie “twilight for boys”– I stayed to see if you’d actually reply to your critics who had actually seen the movie and had legitimate things to add to the conversation.

    You… completely ignore those people.

    People mention that, in the film, Ramona DOES try to separate herself from her exes– she moved to Canada. They mention she actually gets into (if I understand this correctly) TWO different fights, one of which mirrors Scott’s relationship to HER.

    And you ignore them. In order to reply to people talking about the comics and the idiots tilting against strawman feminists.

    I’m still waiting, Mary Ann. Reply to the legitimate complaints.

  • CB

    I’m inclined to agree that the movie looks ridiculous, but why does that translate to patriacal and sexist.

    For the reasons stated in the review. It’s not like she was vague about it. Most of the people who disagree with her were able to pick up on that and actually address the point.

    The only lingering sexist in popular culture (whatever the reality may be on an individual level) exists in the sexism of women, who attack men for being themselves, and having their own desires and dreams.

    Buuuut instead you’re going to troll with this. Yeah, in popular culture, men are never the ones with desires and dreams. It’s always the women who desire things and pursue them, while the men wait to be their reward. That is a viewpoint completely in touch with reality.

    Haha. The only lingering sexism in popular culture is the sexism against men. As trolls go, an oldie but goodie.

  • Curtis

    MaryAnn doesn’t have to respond to anything. This is her perspective, and if some people do not like it, they can suck it up and deal.

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

    I KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM.

    Hey, I’ve seen the film. Three times, in fact.

  • D

    Perhaps not, Curtis, but she’s selectively replying anyway– and that says a lot about her and her review, doesn’t it.

    When one ignores legitimate challenges in order to pick at the idiots, well….

  • Aaron

    Honey, stop being such a feminazi
    1. twilight sucks ass
    2. scott pilgrim has a fuge gemale fan base
    3. your name sucks
    4. your a bitch
    5. im running out of numbers
    6. herpa derpa cunt
    7. and have a good day
    8. midols on sale at target also, better hurry!

  • Femefacist

    I wonder when they’ll make a twilight for us stuck up femenazis?

  • Knightgee

    This is a terrible review and obviously you didn’t see the true meaning behind it. Stupid feminist.

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why women should stay in the kitchen.

    *sigh* I called it. I’m gonna go get my bingo card.

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

    Anyone claiming MaryAnn is just a “feminazi” should go marvel at the fact she gave The Expendables a more positive review.

  • http://bitromantic.com Patch

    Perhaps not, Curtis, but she’s selectively replying anyway– and that says a lot about her and her review, doesn’t it.

    It could just say that there are a lot of comments, and our Filosopher is but one person.

    And how does that differ as an “agenda” from all the critics who simply embrace the unfair status quo without comment? Or is bending with the wind not an “agenda”?

    Agenda’s probably a poor word — it’s the sort of thing paranoid right wingnuts like to say. How about “lens”. You view stuff through a feminist lens. (Compare and contrast to a queer lens, or a nonviolent activist’s lens or an “ignorant proponent of the patriarchy” lens.) Most movies are going to be problematic when viewed through the right (wrong?) lens.

    I’m just saying that, in your best reviews, you are capable of stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture.

    To be fair, you’ve kind of been backed into a corner by Scott Pilgrim fanlings on this one, so I can see why you jumped on the movie the way you did.

    I’m just saying that I like the open minded, witty M. Johanson more than the judgemental, slightly petulant M. Johanson, and I’ve been seeing more of the latter and less of the former on this blog lately.

    Peace Out,

    ~ Patch

  • Jason

    Funny how this is now staring to make it around to the blogs. No one agrees with her opinion. Were it an actual review of the movie and not a soapbox rant, no one would have cared (myself included).

    This is starting to remind me of when Ebert said video games could never be art. One critic has a prejudice against something beloved by many, makes outlandish remarks and defends them to the bitter end despite the plethora of well reasoned responses. Maryann found the way to get more than 10 comments per post. Grats!

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

    One critic has a prejudice against something beloved by many, makes outlandish remarks and defends them to the bitter end despite the plethora of well reasoned responses.

    Anything citing the books is invalid. Anything telling her to approach or watch the movie with a different mindset is invalid. That’s not how movie adaptations or people work, respectively. There are a few, but I don’t see a plethora of well-reasoned responses.

  • mortadella

    I love the folks who defend the movie by asserting the female characters are empowered then refer to MaryAnn as a feminist bitch. Oh, wait, no I don’t, I just pity them.
    Also, why are you trogs trying to argue her out of her opinion? Are you that flipping insecure? It’s not like MaryAnn is the only reviewer who didn’t like the film…..did you flame those guys as well? The condescension is priceless too. The “feminist lens” comment was pure stupidity at it’s best. You’re basically saying that the review is wrong (which is kinda impossible, since film reviews are subjective) because she didn’t see the film through YOUR eyes.

  • Anonymous

    Drivel. Why are you reviewing Hollywood blockbuster movies at all? You know from the get-go, for a movie whose audience is going to be average young males, a woman is a woman first, and a character second. You can’t fault anything for this.

    As for “women being trophies” – this is how men see women biologically. You’re being way too idealistic. A movie where a woman is not a trophy – there’s no movie there (unless the romance aspect is non-existent). Because in a movie you need resolution (to get catharsis) and you’ll never have that until a man has “lost” or “won” her (like a prize). This is how it is, no matter how rosy you try to paint the picture, about exploring the woman’s feelings, or whatever. I’t still the same.

    I’m sure this movie is terrible, at least you assured me not to see it.

  • Alma

    I’ll start this off by saying that I haven’t seen this film.

    But I will say that I really feel for Mary Ann because I think there is a clarity to her feminist critiques that is uncompromising and unparalleled. If her viewpoint clashes with 95% of what’s out there, it isn’t because her point of view is lacking, but rather because films today are unfeminist, period.

    Movies as early as the 40′s and ’50′s (read: the Golden Age of Hollywood) had more feminist female characters than films of our supposedly enlightened era. Posters on this site are saying that ‘Pilgrim’ is supposed to be fun. ‘Lighten up! Don’t take it so seriously!’ But it is serious. Scott Pilgrim might not be a “bad” film and it might not be a misogynistic one. It might not be mean-spirited. But from what I read it sounds like it is, at best, mediocre. Just because a film isn’t blatantly misogynistic (and when is misogyny and sexism not blatant?) is no reason to celebrate it and assume that it hasn’t fallen prey to a sexist and standardized viewpoint of the world. If this kind of ‘nit-picking’ annoys some readers here, too bad. It isn’t nit-picking for a lot of us.

    Even if the film does allow Ramona some humanity and complexity, the fact remains that it is still about a boy. This becomes significant when you look at the statistics and realize that (was it 89% ?) of films that are made and distributed today are made by and are about men. The few actresses that do momentarily grace the screen alongside their male counterparts are consistently relegated to cipher-dom and treated with disdain and condescension. Early 20th century actresses put these girls and women to shame with their depth, complexity, and gravitas, not because they were better actresses, but because the ENTIRE FILM was feminist, and allowed them to shine. In order for a film to be considered fair, it needs to be feminist at its root. Otherwise it is not fair and it is sexist, even if not mean-spiritedly or blatantly so. This is a difficult concept for many people to grasp, especially those who don’t really like to be bothered to think too hard about things.

    We’re living in an age of banality right now and a ‘barely passable’ film is enough to get people to buy a $12 ticket. I think what Mary Ann is really trying to say is that unless a film is explicitly feminist (not necessarily female-centered or with a female as the protagonist, but FEMINIST) it won’t be anything more than merely passable, just like we wouldn’t treat a film that uses black people as ciphers as a redoubtable masterpiece without stopping to strongly question the state of our conscience.

    I hope you read this Mary Ann, because I strongly sympathize. I think you have been putting up with a lot. The incredulous posts made by your readers (i.e. “how the hell did she get THAT from the film?”) simply confirm the idea that viewers today are ok with movies being unfeminist (and mediocre, as well) as long as they’re not ‘blatantly’ so, although even that is questionable (*cough* Judd Apatow *cough*). It’s ok for them that women are ciphers. But it’s not for those of us who have a critical and slightly more noble spirit.

    I’d like to say that I admire you very much Mary Ann. It takes a strong soul to withstand the slew of juvenile close-mindedness that you’ve been receiving lately, and I imagine that you must doubt and question yourself occasionally (I know I would). But I’d like you to know that it isn’t true, this “Mary Ann vs. the world”. There are plenty of us who think like you. I wish you good things and I hope the tides turn for you, and the film industry, soon.

    -Alma

  • Knightgee

    As usual, people too insecure in their opinions rely on sexist language to try to intimidate or shame Maryann out of her opinion.

    Also, there is no such thing as making it “too political” given that the issues she brings up are the reasons why plenty of women have a hard time relating to and enjoying such stories. It is as much personal as it is political for her to feel as if the movie traffics in too many stereotypes and cliches about the roles of women in stories.

    Though I do love how Ebert invalidating the artistic merit of an entire medium is somehow the exact same as Maryann not liking one movie.

  • Greg

    It’s a parody of movie and video game tropes. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. It’d be like taking Robin Hood: Men in Tights seriously. The movie’s saying “here’s a stupid concept from video games and fantasy stories. Let’s put it in the real world for laughs.”

    You missed the point, and that’s why you’re so hung up on something that isn’t there.

  • Orangutan

    @mortadella:

    You’re basically saying that the review is wrong (which is kinda impossible, since film reviews are subjective) because she didn’t see the film through YOUR eyes.

    You hit the nail right on the head. I’ve talked before about how people now seem to internalize their likes/dislikes, and if you dare to disagree with them, then you’re attacking them personally. Not the movie/book/band/sport/whatever, THEM. They are seeing this as a critique of themselves, not the movie.

    That’s my theory, at least. It’s the only explanation I’ve managed to come up with that makes even a little sense as to why so many people seem to react so violently to a negative review of something they love. Well, that and the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, of course.

    Look, no one is saying you’re not allowed to carry on loving what you do. For example, I love Avatar: The Last Airbender. The TV series, not the movie. Let us not speak of the movie. MaryAnn did not appreciate it. Such is life. I was disappointed, but I did not rail against her opinion (OPINION!!), call her out or suggest that she is need of coitus. She is allowed her opinion the same way I am.

    Speaking of opinion, I saw some people saying that movie reviews are supposed to be objective. Bull. Every reviewer, from the pros down to your grammatically-challenged buddy on Twitter, brings their own views and ideas and notions to a review. You want an objective review, here, but don’t read any of the user comments. That’s an objective review.

    So, Pilgrim Fans, please relax. Carry on loving your movie/comic. Go read it now if it’ll help you come down from your fanrage. But really, take a step back, because some of you really are starting to sound like the Twitards, and no one wants that.

  • Nate

    You hit the nail right on the head. I’ve talked before about how people now seem to internalize their likes/dislikes, and if you dare to disagree with them, then you’re attacking them personally. Not the movie/book/band/sport/whatever, THEM. They are seeing this as a critique of themselves, not the movie.

    Well, to be fair, I don’t know of any male who would take kindly to their hobbies being compared to Twilight.

  • JoshB

    Funny how this is now staring to make it around to the blogs.

    It is? Cool. That’s a good indicator that whatever else this review might be, it’s not boring.

    No one agrees with her opinion.

    And for someone as weak-minded as you, that would be a horrible thing. But why should anyone of intelligence care?

    Were it an actual review of the movie and not a soapbox rant, no one would have cared (myself included).

    Why do you care? No seriously, let’s get a rational explanation here.

    One critic has a prejudice against something beloved by many, makes outlandish remarks and defends them to the bitter end despite the plethora of well reasoned responses.

    Awww, is it beloved? How dare she tell you that your beloved movie sucks!

    Mewling about how the big scary feminist hurt your pwecious feewings does not constitute a well reasoned response. It’s fuckin’ embarrassing, actually.

    Some people have offered interesting counterpoints. You are not among those people.

    Maryann found the way to get more than 10 comments per post. Grats!

    This is the sorriest insult yet. In order to cut, an insult has to be at least kinda true. You’re shooting blanks here, Oswald.

  • Lenina Crowne

    Sounds like Scott Pilgrim will never be as cool as his time-travelling grandpa Billy. That’s all I could think every time I saw the trailer.

    Also, re: the graphic novel thing. I think what MAJ meant was, would it inspire creators of this type of graphic novel to make one with a girl in the forefront. That, it seems, is what “one” meant in “make one”. MAJ is obviously aware of Persepolis; she reviewed it and everything!

  • http://bitromantic.com Patch

    Also, why are you trogs trying to argue her out of her opinion? Are you that flipping insecure?

    To be honest, I’m probably posting because I a) haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim v. World yet, b) really want to enjoy the hell out of it, and c) suspect that I’m going to spend most of my time trying to pick apart whether or not it is offensively patriarchy-enforcing and/or grinding my teeth at how ignorantly patriarchal it is.

    It also links up to an unrelated conversation I had this weekend about how frustrating (from a feminist, non-violent, rational perspective) U.S. culture is, and how overwhelming the problems seemed to be to fix.

    The conclusion of that conversation was to note that destructive things like griping and getting depressed about the problems weren’t particularly useful, that the best one can do is to express the principles one supports, as fully as possible, in one’s own actions and words.

    Part of that expression, for me, is to try to subvert or reject patriarchal norms in my own writing; part of it is to relax a bit about what other people say and do — you win more converts by inspiring than you do by lecturing.

    Of course, in my comments above, I have made a fail by lecturing MaryAnne, which wasn’t very useful.

    So: the opening sentence was hilarious; the grace note about love being epic even in our greying years was lovely. The rest of the review felt a little flat. I’ll develop my own opinion of the movie when I see it this weekend.

    (And thank you for the review of “The Other Guys”. I was going to skip it, but may see it, and have a lot of fun, because of your review.)

    Peace Out,

    ~ Patch

  • Orangutan

    @Nate:

    Well, to be fair, I don’t know of any male who would take kindly to their hobbies being compared to Twilight.

    When I first saw that comparison earlier today, I agreed with you. I thought it was hitting below the belt. But after seeing some of the comments… =/

  • Ann Elise

    While skimming this thread, I keep thinking of MaryAnn’s post from last month: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2010/07/073010quick_list_five_reasons_for_di.html

  • Chris

    While I’m not going to call this out as pure flame bait, it’s just somebody who seems to be looking for deeper meaning in a film clearly rooted in fantasy. Scot Pilgrim doesn’t live in the real world – he lives in one with true love at first sight, and people who are evil for the sake of being evil. These aren’t meant to be deep, insightful characters (if the videogame sound effects, comic-book style onomatopoeia, and flash-bang direction didn’t tip you off.). Scott Pilgrim is fun, for the same reason any comedy is entertaining – over the top moments, occasionally rooted in reality.

    You can call this film a disturbing look into the young male psyche, but perhaps you should be looking in a film that wasn’t directed by the same guy behind Shaun Of The Dead.

  • Knightgee

    While I’m not going to call this out as pure flame bait

    How gracious of you to not waste your clout on such a gesture. *rolls eyes*

    it’s just somebody who seems to be looking for deeper meaning in a film clearly rooted in fantasy.

    This is a weak excuse. The story is very clearly meant to be about relationships and growing up. Maryann disagrees with how it goes about portraying this. She is not unraveling it for deeper meaning, she’s critiquing what is very clearly the *actual* meaning.

    I’m defending Maryann’s negative review of a movie based on a series I like. That is how ridiculous so many of these comments are.

  • Gadget

    You never read the books, and not to mention your review is completely biased.

    You over-feminist types need to learn how to shut your mouth at times, as you are in no position to be comparing a great work such as Scott Pilgrim to bullshit such as Twilight.

  • http://bitromantic.com Patch

    You never read the books, and not to mention your review is completely biased.

    The word is “biast” ’round these parts. Get it right ;-p

    (Though the current tagline is giving the old “biast” tagline a run for its money …)

    Peace Out,
    ~ Patch

  • Mo

    It’s Twilight for boys. It’s male adolescent sexual angst as “an epic of epic epicness,” as the poster tagline informs us… and as the movie matches in attitude and action. It’s the indulgence of everything a not-quite-adult, no-longer-a-kid manchild could want from women, in a package designed to appeal to not-quite-adult, no-longer-a-kid manchildren who would happily see their lives in the metaphors of the comic books, sitcoms, and videogames they were weaned on.

    Wow. Just wow. I was bracing for you not to like this. I was bracing for you to have many of the problems you did have (because as much as I disagree with your interpretation of things, I will admit most of your issues could equally be applied to the books from your perspective). I was all prepared, if you had the problems you do, to say that I thoroughly disagree, but I can totally respect why those things were deal-breakers for you even if they aren’t for me.

    I was not prepared for that.^ I’m really don’t think I could ever come to respect that in any way. It’s a cheap shot (seemingly designed to bait the very trolls that were being whined about earlier in the trailer thread), and it’s really insulting to the story’s primarily female fan base (of which I am one- does that make me a manchild with an identity crisis?). I am really disappointed that this is the approach you chose to take, because I expected a lot better of you.

    I first stuck around this site because you were the first geekgirl I ever came across with a voice “out there” who liked to point out that girls like action and various geek things too. And now you’re lumping all my favourite geeky things in a big pile with a flashing ‘for boys’ sign over it, just above the pile of contempt spread on the top. I don’t think it’s necessary to see the movie to feel insulted and let down by that generalization.

    Anyone think this will inspire creators of graphic novels to create one with a girl as the central character?

    *raises hand* It inspired me. I’m working on one right now. (Granted the story would have existed anyway, as prose, but being inspired to go the graphic novel route solved a lot of plot problems…)

    Which is kind of the big problem I have with the whole “Hollywood thinks boys stories are more important” line of reasoning in regards to this specific movie. Scott Pilgrim is an indie comic (ie. completely outside of the system) that as I understand it was first written by a starving artist essentially to amuse himself since supposedly no one else was going to read it besides his boss at the comics shop. He wrote a character loosely based on himself- he even has a real-life younger sister named Stacey who worked at a Second Cup. Why is Scott a guy? Because O’Malley is a guy and he wrote himself into the character. Here’s a bigger question, why is Scott white in the books? O’Malley is half Korean. It’s what he chose for his story, and he’s the author. Like thousands of indies before it, chances are this comic would have been forgotten.

    The comic wasn’t forgotten because O’Malley has the loopiest world view to come along in a while applied in a way that resonated with lots of different people in lots of different ways, and the writing was really good. It became popular because it had something interesting to say in an interesting way. It made its way into the right (Wright?) hands because of that too. Wright is a bit of an outsider himself with a history of unusually strong females in his work and his life, and he fought for this project because something resonated with him- the story reminded him of Spaced. The ONLY place where Scott being a guy was an advantage was with the suits with money at the financing stage, and even then if it was a story about a girl, I think it still would have been green-lighted based on Wright’s reputation. Hopefully it will be one day, but this wasn’t the right story for that.

    My point is, it’s a matter of odds. If a girl had something just as resonant to say, the same skill to say it with, and the desire to say it as a graphic novel with a female character based on who she is, I honestly believe she would have equal odds of being sucessful as O’Malley. (Plus comics seem much more accepting of strong women characters than movies are.) But it would take just as much fighting as O’Malley went through- the part about sharing a bed with a roommate because he couldn’t afford his own is from real life. You have to be prepared to deal with a lifetime of crappy part-time jobs supporting your hobby, failed comics that you poured your lifeblood into, and zero money and praise all for a love of comics. Not many people are willing to go through that for their art. (I’m not, no matter how much I wish I was.) Very few girls love comics enough for all that, as much as some girls really truly do love comics, so the percentages are against them. Based on the number of Scott Pilgrim fangirls I’ve come across who have completely re-evaluated their opinions of comics in general because of the books, maybe -hopefully- that is going to change soon, but it’s not the first medium women writers are drawn to.

    This is the quirky comic that got a shot. I don’t doubt for one second that ‘Hollywood likes men’ syndrome is a near universal truth, but I also don’t for one second believe that this is one of those instances. It’s a story that got a chance as a movie based on a new, original (completely mental) voice.

  • Alma

    “you over-feminist types need to learn how to shut your mouth at times”

    haha. There’s no such thing as being over-feminist, just like there’s no such thing as being overly race conscious or overly gay rights conscious. The idea of being ‘overly feminist’ exists only in the minds of privileged white guys. Though u may not be white, but you are a guy, I gather

  • Knightgee

    This is the quirky comic that got a shot. I don’t doubt for one second that ‘Hollywood likes men’ syndrome is a near universal truth, but I also don’t for one second believe that this is one of those instances.

    Except it is, because if it were Ramona vs. the World, it would have maybe gotten a small indie film made about it 5 years after the series had ended because a long-time–likely female– fan finally had the money and resources to adapt it.

  • CB

    You never read the books

    Yeah, and it’s totally unfair of her to lambaste the books so badly when she hasn’t even read them!

    Oh wait, what’s that? She’s not reviewing the books, but the movie? Oh.

    Great if you liked the books, but this isn’t the book. For the record, I read the first couple books and enjoyed them, and haven’t seen the movie, but if the only reason I’d like the movie is because I read the books and it tickles the “I recognize this” portion of my brain, then that’s not a good movie.

    Whatever happened to the kind of fanboy who never thought an adaptation could be as good as the original? You know, the fans who hate the Lord of the Rings movies because it didn’t have Tom Bombadil in it? The kind who dreaded the idea of their favorite video game being made into a movie? The kind that would be happy to have you hate on the movie?

    Now, instead, disliking the adaptation is somehow the same as hating on the source material.

    What’s next? “These Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Happy Meal toys are terrible.” “Screw you, you didn’t read the books and are biased!”

  • hdj

    I love this review it beats my mindless rage of just screaming “I fucking hate Michael Cera and Manga!” into a debatable and sophisticated thought out review that donkey punches both Cera and Manga peeps

  • Explosive Cake

    “women as trophies, as prizes for men who do heroic deeds”

    Way to miss the point of the story completely.

    I have no idea why I continued reading your “review” , and frankly I think you just read a crappy synopsys of the comic and wrote your “review” based on that, you most likely didn’t actually see the movie (otherwise you would have seen a lot more of the underlying themes of the story and whatnot). When you called it “Twilight for Boys”, I knew you had no fucking clue what you were talking about. That’s pretty bad when the first words of a review show that you know nothing about what you’re reviewing.

  • CB

    Okay, now for the same post with a much different and more sympathetic tone.

    Which is kind of the big problem I have with the whole “Hollywood thinks boys stories are more important” line of reasoning in regards to this specific movie. Scott Pilgrim is an indie comic (ie. completely outside of the system) that as I understand it was first written by a starving artist essentially to amuse himself since supposedly no one else was going to read it besides his boss at the comics shop. He wrote a character loosely based on himself- he even has a real-life younger sister named Stacey who worked at a Second Cup. Why is Scott a guy? Because O’Malley is a guy and he wrote himself into the character. Here’s a bigger question, why is Scott white in the books? O’Malley is half Korean. It’s what he chose for his story, and he’s the author. Like thousands of indies before it, chances are this comic would have been forgotten.

    Okay, first, lemme say that I think Mal is a great comic artist and a pretty cool guy. I don’t know if he still goes by “Mal”, but that’s how I’ll always know him. I loved his stuff long before Pilgrim ever came around and not more than a couple dozen people on an artist forum knew who he was. And I’m happy as hell he found success with his comic, and just as happy he (hopefully) got a nice pile of cash for this movie. But this isn’t about Mal. It’s about the movie, which he neither wrote nor directed.

    The “Hollywood thinks boys stories are more important” line was in regard to why if, as people say (and I agree), Ramona is such a strong character in the graphic novels, that didn’t come across to MAJ in the movie. And MAJ has liked comic-book-logic movies with male protagonists before, and found strong female characters in them. I haven’t seen the movie, but if Ramona didn’t come across to her in the movie like she did to fans of the book, then I think that’s a problem with the movie.

    It’s the movie she’s reviewing.

    I’m prolly going to see it anyway, just because it looks fun, even though I find Michael Cera to be overused and kinda annoying in a way that I hope is just typecasting and not a sign of limited range. But whether I like it or not, it’s not the same thing as the comic.

  • Mo

    Except it is, because if it were Ramona vs. the World, it would have maybe gotten a small indie film made about it 5 years after the series had ended because a long-time–likely female– fan finally had the money and resources to adapt it.

    I don’t think so, not if Edgar Wright had gone to bat for it like he did here. And he’s done a comic book video about a girl before, for his then girlfriend Charlotte Hatherley’s single “Bastardo”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlEPVsmrB7U (About a supposed ex of hers at that)

    BUT, I do think for narrative reasons that if it was going to be Ramona vs. the World that Scott and Ramona would have to have swapped personalities for the story to work… to answer a question up there somewhere of MaryAnn’s,

    If fans of the graphic novel like Ramona more than they like Scott, why does Ramona get the short end of the stick in this movie?

    Because she lies to herself. Both she and Scott do, but Scott mentally runs from his problems by turning them into something vast and mental and fun to watch, while Ramona literally runs. How do you make a movie about an unreliable narrator who deals with problems by stuffing her (or his if they traded places) emotions away from even herself until the moment they catch up with her, at which point she runs again? There isn’t much to go on because she wants it that way. Scott is outgoing, she isn’t- the hair should be a dead giveaway of that. Outgoing people are more likely to be in movies about them and are more likely to get into the sort of trouble the keeps a plot going.

    Anyway, that’s my book answer- I’ll wait till I see the movie to elaborate on that, and on why I don’t think the girls are trophies here.

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

    @CB:

    It’s about the movie, which he neither wrote nor directed.

    It is worth noting that while he did not get WGA credit, O’Malley had input into every draft of the film and wrote a fair amount of the dialogue himself, as per Edgar Wright in numerous interviews, including the one I did with him.

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

    Sorry, “fair amount of the dialogue” is not what I meant to type. “solid chunk of dialogue” would be more accurate. Probably a page or two worth of lines scattered throughout the film.

    But all changes to the book in the film were approved by O’Malley, as he saw every draft and gave notes on each one.

  • Mo

    But this isn’t about Mal. It’s about the movie, which he neither wrote nor directed.

    But the question was essentially why wasn’t Ramona the main character in the movie. The movie is the way it is because of the book. My point is that it was all arrived at organically.

    Maybe Ramona does come across as weaker in the movie. She’s such a cypher there is a strong possibility that that happened, tragic though it would be. Girls like her because she seems cool, but the coolness is a defence mechanism to keep everyone out, which is almost impossible to anchor a story around, especially when you’re telling it visually. I’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

  • Some guy

    I just wanted to say I enjoyed your review, and yeah, don’t let the trolls get you down. A bad movie is a bad movie is a bad movie. :D

  • amanohyo

    Did anyone honestly expect this to hit 100 comments two days before the movie was widely released? Come now fangirls and boys, at least give us (and yourselves) a chance to watch the movie before launching into detailed arguments about its quality. This is all kind of silly – like disputing the review of a restaurant you’ve never eaten at or been to (although you have been to a completely different restaurant that this one is loosely modeled on).

    Pace yourselves please. At this rate, all the fun discussions will be over before the movie is even out.

  • Lianne

    Wow. Oh my God, 80% of these comments are the most horrible things I’ve read all week. I’m really sad that Scott Pilgrim is bringing out the douche in so many people.

    Scott Pilgrim is about and was filmed in my neighborhood in Toronto, and was written about people I know (including my boss, the real-life Wallace). They sent a bunch of us locals to a screening of the movie last week. So please believe me when I say I’m fond of the Scott Pilgrim franchise and I speak with nothing but love and pride for our little corner of geekdom in TO.

    MAJ is totally right. This movie completely trivializes every one of its female characters, most notably in its big final battle. The biggest shame is the comic is actually very fair to its female characters–when Scott is terrible to them, and they realize he’s a selfish manchild, they shut down romantically and he’s left with some lukewarm female friends who will never, ever touch him again. One of the big points of the comic is Scott has to grow up, get a job, take responsibility, and suffer for his transgressions before he can be with Ramona, who is as awful a person as he is. He and Ramona bond over being weak and childish and decide they deserve each other and they can grow up together.

    In the movie, Ramona is a manic pixie dream girl AND the girl who has to be saved, Knives is reduced to a perpetual child who lives and dies by Scott’s feelings (something she learns to grow out of in the comic), and Kim…Kim is just a symbolic, snarky ex-lover instead of Scott’s closest friend and a painful reminder that he’s capable of being a true dick to people he loves. The movie DOES build the idea that Scott has to grow up before he actually deserves anybody, because the movie follows the comic for the first 75% of the story…and then the last fight undermines everything the story is building toward and COMPLETELY misses the point of the comic. Scott learns self-respect in order to win? What the hell? If anything, he needs to learn respect for OTHERS. I love Edgar Wright, but was he even watching his own movie? Scott is clearly juvenile and selfish–he hops from one girl to the next, avoiding responsibility and living on his enabling friend’s dime. So why is his final power-up “self-respect” and not, I dunno, “sense of responsibility,” “sense of human decency,” or the catch-all “Scott gains the power of GROWING THE HELL UP!” Had a few lines at the end been changed and the women allowed self-respect in the final fight instead of becoming shrieking, childish harpies who need to be saved from themselves, this movie actually could’ve avoided being sexist, even if it didn’t have time to properly develop Ramona and Kim. But nope! Final battle is all about Scott having his epiphany and the girls lining up to fight alongside him because they’re just props for his coming-of-age, who cares what they were going through!

    I was extremely disappointed in the ending, and it just proved to me, once more, that it doesn’t matter if a piece of media is willing to consider women people–as soon as Hollywood gets anywhere near the story, everyone with a vagina is thrown under the bus. Such a shame…the movie is really, really fun until the end. It’s worth seeing, but read the comic if you want to see the themes handled with actual care and the women treated as actual human beings.

  • Huh?

    I saw this film, and Ramona without a doubt isn’t the submissive woman that you write her as. She’s very proactive, and at one point (spoiler) she squares off against one off her exes. She’s also very proactive by encouraging Scott to keep fighting and helps tackle some of his past problems with him.

    This is my first Maryann review, and my last. I would appreciate it more if you critiqued the film rather than setting it up as a sacrificial lamb for your political points.

  • Wendy

    Though I haven’t seen this movie (though am a fan of the comic), and do feel that it is your review and you should write whatever you thought about the movie I just want to point out that I was deeply offended by your calling this movie ‘Twilight for boys’ and the reasons behind that. I am a young woman who lives in New york as well and as soon as I read that I cringed, not because I’m a fan of this series, but because it sounded so wrong. To say that ‘male adolescent sexual angst’ is any different or more full of action then young female sexuality is not only insulting, but buys into the ideals that movies like Twilight have brought up about it and into what you seem to be fighting in this review. It came off like young male movies, no matter how untrue, are like like Scott Pilgrim, full of action, lots of fights, and video games. Young females movies are afraid of sex, have displeasing male characters, and not only a bland female character, but a bland main character (at least Scott has a personality, unlike Bella, though this is more the fault of the writers of the books these movies are based on) Because that’s what girls like right?

    Wrong. I’m a girl and I like video games, comics, epic (that’s right I used the word!) fight scenes, and super heros. Even if Scott Pilgrim’s main character is a guy, I relate way more to him then the characters in Twilight. Why wouldn’t I? Becasue Scott’s a guy? Because he’s after a girl (and no girls are after girl yeah?)? Because it’s not what women are suppose to like? Even if you didn’t like this movie, even if you thought it was sexist because Scott has to fight for Ramona, don’t sink down to their level by equating power and nerdy things with ‘being for boys’. It’s offensive and annoying and comes off way more sexist then anything you brought up in your review.

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com Matthew Fabb

    Lenina Crowne:Also, re: the graphic novel thing. I think what MAJ meant was, would it inspire creators of this type of graphic novel to make one with a girl in the forefront.

    I guess you missed my post where I point out that the creator of Scott Pilgrim has actually done a series with a female in the forefront called “Lost At Sea”. That was his first graphic novel he did on his own, Scott Pilgrim series being the second. It’s completely different tone from Scott Pilgrim, instead of video game world it had cats that steal souls. It did have a similar beginning in that the main character was getting over a relationship that had ended very badly.

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com Matthew Fabb

    Did anyone honestly expect this to hit 100 comments two days before the movie was widely released? Come now fangirls and boys, at least give us (and yourselves) a chance to watch the movie before launching into detailed arguments about its quality.

    There were a number of screenings at San Diego Comic-Con, and a lot of the tickets to preview screenings were given out in contests at comic book stores across the US and Canada. So a small but decent sized chunk of the core fanbase has seen the movie. Just look at the comments and a number of people are referring to the way the movie ends and beyond what is seen on any of the clips or trailers.

  • New Waster

    Ugh. Scott Pilgrim fans, you are embarrassing yourselves.

    Nice review, Maryann.

  • Anonymous

    Did anyone honestly expect this to hit 100 comments two days before the movie was widely released? Come now fangirls and boys, at least give us (and yourselves) a chance to watch the movie before launching into detailed arguments about its quality. This is all kind of silly – like disputing the review of a restaurant you’ve never eaten at or been to (although you have been to a completely different restaurant that this one is loosely modeled on).

    Pace yourselves please. At this rate, all the fun discussions will be over before the movie is even out.

    If this were the review of a Twilight movie, the critic would likely be on the receiving end of death threats by now.

  • http://www.mysticsheepstudios.com Rhea Ewing

    As both a comic artist and a feminist I really appreciate your review. I am a huge fan of the original comic books and was wondering how things would come across in the movie. Ramona Flower’s role in the comics is an active one, but always in a much subtler way than Scott’s and it seems that the movie may have lost what little she had, which is a shame.

    Anyway, the comments are all over the place for this but such is often the case when you try to look into gender (or race, or..) issues in something that has such a huge fan following. Relax people, it’s okay to look at and critique a move from a feminist standpoint. It doesn’t change all the good things about the movie, and it doesn’t mean the creators are all evil evil misogynists. Exploring these issues is important work and I thank the reviewer for speaking so plainly about the movie from a feminist perspective.

  • Bill

    “I mean, if you look at a Picasso expecting it to adhere to the same standards and practices as a Rembrandt, your review of it is going to be poorly executed and just plain wrong, no matter how intelligent or experienced you are.” – Sharpless, way the fuck up there at like post #7

    can’t we all agree that there is some virtue in looking at a picasso through a rembrandt lens? like maybe it’ll unveil something we otherwise would not have seen in the picasso or ourselves or the pollock on the other side of the room?

    dead horse flogged, as per internet SOP:)

  • MaryAnn

    Wow. I go out for a few hours and all hell breaks loose.

    First, it astonishes me how many people are comfortable with the “It’s supposed to be fun!” excuse. Do folks mean it’s okay for something that is “supposed to be fun” to be sexist (or racist, or bad or wrong or annoying in some other way)? Or does that mean that something that is “supposed to be fun” simply cannot be sexist (etc)? I’m not clear on this.

    Next, to those who think saying “it’s a videogame parody/it’s a fantasy/it doesn’t take place in the real world” means a movie can’t be sexist (etc), or that it’s okay for such a movie to be sexist: This story may be set in a fantasy world, but it is aimed at real people in the real world at this very moment. It was created to be geared toward the real interests and real prejudices of those real people. This story did not spring forth from the minds of people with no connection to the real world, or from people who are not influenced by the real world they live in. And this movie reflects — as do all movies (and books, and comic books, and videogames, and music, and so on) — the influences, beliefs, and prejudices of those creators and the perceived audience. If it didn’t, it would not have any relevance to an audience. A work of popular entertainment *must* bear those reflections if it is to find the audience it seeks. Everything — even “fun” movies — “make a statement,” whether they intend to or not.

    You can call this film a disturbing look into the young male psyche, but perhaps you should be looking in a film that wasn’t directed by the same guy behind Shaun Of The Dead.

    Are you suggesting that *Shaun of the Dead* doesn’t have a lot to say about the male psyche?

    As a corollary to that, it makes no sense to defend this movie by saying things like, “The movie had to be about a guy because the comic book was about a guy, and that was about a guy because the creator is a guy.” Yes, that is all true. But one need only look around at the sea of pop culture we swim in to see that entertainments created by men dealing with men’s particular concerns and aimed at male audiences are *far* more likely to actually get produced in the first place. And for everyone saying things like, “Well, all of the cool and interesting stuff about Ramona simply had to be cut because they crunched all these comics down into one two-hour movie” are revealing their own prejudices: Assuming that it’s true what you’re all saying about how Ramona is depicted in the comic (which I have to wonder if I’d agree with, because some of you seem okay with how she is depicted in the film), a *Scott Pilgrim* movie did not *have* to be exactly like the one we got: it could have had a different focus; it could have brought more balance to Scott’s and Ramona’s stories. But you’re revealing your own blinders to how male-dominated Hollywood and its products: it sounds like you think this was the only way this story could have been told, but isn’t it possible that you think that because you’re so used to Hollywood stories looking just like this one, with men in the center and women off to the side?

    A few specific comments:

    Ramona has plenty of problems, and at least seven of them attack Scott.

    This is part of my problem with the movie: How are the exes her “problem”? Even if she did dump them, how do they have any right to demand to fight her new boyfriend? And why do they agree to do such a bizarre thing? I could almost understand them wanting to fight her, because she’s the one who wronged them. How did Scott wrong them… unless it’s that he wants to possess something that once belonged to them. And why does Scott agree to fight them… unless he see this as his path to possessing her?

    Yes, yes, I know: It’s a metaphor. It’s a fantasy. But the assumptions behind the mindset that would structure something that is supposed to be “just” a “fun” story in this way are disturbing. Ramona may have an evil chip in her head, but how does the villain control everyone else? Or does he simply not need to control anyone else because they buy in this possession notion too?

    Yet she’s been the one in control of the relationships, as others have pointed out she was the one deciding if Scott & their relationship would continue not Scott who was already smitten with her.

    So you’re saying she is free to like Scott, she’s just not free to do anything about it — like date him — until and unless he fights her exes. That’s hardly better.

    Knives has probably the biggest character arc in the movie, more so that Scott, as she has a lot of growing up to do throughout the movie. She starts off very bright eyed teenager, native about love and the world and by the end of the movie, she’s quite assertive and more sure of herself.

    If she changes, it happens entirely offscreen. We don’t see her change. And as with Ramona, her purpose in the story — as a piece of the puzzle that is the narrative — is all about supporting Scott in his journey toward change.

    That said, I don’t think we see Scott change very much either, and the little bit he does change does not happen in any interesting way. (Fighting the evil exes is not interesting, and it’s weird and creepy for all the reasons I’ve been trying to explain.) But the movie does think it’s about Scott’s journey. He is the focus of the film in the way that the girls are not.

    And I don’t see how anyone can alter that I see the metaphor of a man having to physically fight a woman’s evil exes in order to win her hand is deeply, deeply wrong on so many levels.

    I’m still waiting, Mary Ann. Reply to the legitimate complaints.

    I’m trying not to repeat myself. But I guess I have to. No matter how often someone says “Ramona does this” or “Knives does that,” it doesn’t change the fact that the movie clearly does not think it important to share with us, the viewers, how these women change or what they have to go through to change. (And I don’t see the change myself.) I also don’t see how Scott having to fight Ramona’s exes causes him to grow. What is it, specifically, about these fights that is empowering to Scott?

    Is there another “legitimate complaint” you’re waiting for me to address, D?

    You view stuff through a feminist lens. (Compare and contrast to a queer lens, or a nonviolent activist’s lens or an “ignorant proponent of the patriarchy” lens.) Most movies are going to be problematic when viewed through the right (wrong?) lens.

    And the majority of film critics are white men, and as such they are reviewing films thorugh a white-male lens. Is it okay for them to do that?

    Or we you assuming that white-male lens isn’t a lens at all?

    Well, to be fair, I don’t know of any male who would take kindly to their hobbies being compared to Twilight.

    The fanboys do love hearing *Twilight* get trashed, though, don’t they?

  • Realist

    I bet this author doesn’t have a boyfriend.

    This is that typical feminist discussion on the first date woman that can’t watch a movie with someone without saying how it oppresses women. This is based on a graphic novel that’s a cool idea for a movie. I might not see it, but not for this reason.

    Under the same logic you could say Inception was about clingy, suicidal housewives. It’s simply not true.

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

    @Lianne,

    MaryAnn only responded to one sliver of my comments, I hope they’re not getting lost in this thread. You should look for my other ones for further elaboration, but anyway… (Mild to medium spoilers ahead.)

    In the movie, Ramona is a manic pixie dream girl AND the girl who has to be saved

    But Scott doesn’t save her, really. He stops Gideon from controlling her, but is she rescued? She still feels like the same person at the end.

    Knives is reduced to a perpetual child who lives and dies by Scott’s feelings (something she learns to grow out of in the comic)

    The ending of her arc in the book was more satisfying, but I don’t see how she isn’t someone who “lives and dies by Scott’s feelings” in the book, or that she doesn’t grow out of it in the movie. She moves on at the end.

    Kim…Kim is just a symbolic, snarky ex-lover instead of Scott’s closest friend and a painful reminder that he’s capable of being a true dick to people he loves.

    The movie does truncate Kim’s plotline quite a bit, but I feel it’s a fair concession. While I would have liked to see more of Kim, it’s six books into one movie. There’s just not enough space for everything, and Kim’s plotline is a) a major through-line that b) isn’t the central story.

    The movie DOES build the idea that Scott has to grow up before he actually deserves anybody, because the movie follows the comic for the first 75% of the story…and then the last fight undermines everything the story is building toward and COMPLETELY misses the point of the comic. Scott learns self-respect in order to win? What the hell?

    “Self-respect” means multiple things. Not being a careless douche to the people around you is part of having self-respect. If you’re a careless douche, clearly you don’t care what people think of you. Maybe it could have been phrased better, but fighting Gideon because he’s an ass representative of everything Scott could ultimately become — a completely emotionless, passive-aggressive black hole — is a more valid reason than doing it to “win” Ramona. I suppose there is an element of rescue in there in terms of freeing her, but he’s doing it because it’s the right thing, not because he wants her.

    instead of becoming shrieking, childish harpies who need to be saved from themselves

    Scott interrupts their fight not because they need to be saved from each other, but because he knows Knives is fighting Ramona for the wrong reasons, and he confesses. First the wrong way, then the right way. I think that’s valid.

    who cares what they were going through!

    Again, I’ll concede that the movie is not particularly focused (at least, at that moment — there are several other moments when you see how in pain she is) on Knives’ emotional state. But I think what Ramona is going through is addressed throughout the entire movie, all the way through to the end.

    As I’ve said before, I really wish Ramona took a more active role in kicking ass than just her one beat, but clearly this is a side effect leftover from the fact that the film was made with a different ending (Scott ends up with Knives), and the last two or three minutes were re-shot to bring it more in line with the book, once it was published. That is why Knives fights so much at the end and Ramona doesn’t, because the focus is on how well Scott and Knives work together.

  • MaryAnn

    The incredulous posts made by your readers (i.e. “how the hell did she get THAT from the film?”) simply confirm the idea that viewers today are ok with movies being unfeminist (and mediocre, as well)

    I think it’s even worse than that, Alma. I think most men, even the very best of them, simply do not understand why many, many things are unfeminist. They just cannot see the unfeminism. Privilege is a very powerful, very blinding thing.

    I’d like to say that I admire you very much Mary Ann. It takes a strong soul to withstand the slew of juvenile close-mindedness that you’ve been receiving lately, and I imagine that you must doubt and question yourself occasionally (I know I would).

    Oh, I am doubting myself, absolutely. Not doubting my opinion, but doubting whether it’s worth putting forth when so many people simply cannot hear it even when they hear it. I mean, when someone can write something like this:

    You over-feminist types need to learn how to shut your mouth at times, as you are in no position to be comparing a great work such as Scott Pilgrim to bullshit such as Twilight.

    it makes me think there’s just no hope.

    But I’d like you to know that it isn’t true, this “Mary Ann vs. the world”. There are plenty of us who think like you. I wish you good things and I hope the tides turn for you, and the film industry, soon.

    Thanks. I needed to hear that.

    it’s really insulting to the story’s primarily female fan base (of which I am one- does that make me a manchild with an identity crisis?).

    now you’re lumping all my favourite geeky things in a big pile with a flashing ‘for boys’ sign over it

    I’ll be interested to hear, Mo, whether you still feel this way after you see the movie.

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

    Even if she did dump them, how do they have any right to demand to fight her new boyfriend? And why do they agree to do such a bizarre thing? I could almost understand them wanting to fight her, because she’s the one who wronged them. How did Scott wrong them… unless it’s that he wants to possess something that once belonged to them. And why does Scott agree to fight them… unless he see this as his path to possessing her?

    They don’t demand to. Gideon assembles them, and explains what he wants to do. You are right, they feel wronged, because Ramona emotionally used most of them and then bolted. They fight Scott because he’s trying to form the emotionally satisfying relationship they were denied. He doesn’t really agree to fight them either. Matthew sends him a letter, and when Scott ignores it, Matthew just shows up. Scott fights because he has to fight. He repeatedly states throughout the film that it is exhausting and painful for him, but he believes a relationship with Ramona is worth it, and eventually just because it’s the right thing to do — Gideon is evil, and deserves to be destroyed. At the end, when they step through the door, he agrees to help Ramona face whatever she needs to face, even if, unlike the Evil Exes, those fights do not force themselves on him.

  • MaryAnn

    While I would have liked to see more of Kim, it’s six books into one movie.

    But this *is* part of the problem, Tyler. What goes into the thinking that a six-book story that (everyone insists) is somewhat evenly focused on male and female characters can be cut down into one film? I’ll tell you what: Some studio exec said, “Just cut out all the shit about the chicks and focus on the guy. That’s all anyone’s gonna care about anyway.”

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

    The worst thing about this thread is how instantly of a self-fulfilling prophecy it is. I’m glad the moron brigade has popped up to defend Scott Pilgrim.

    I’m guessing these people are akin to the lone guy at my Expendables screening who tried to start some sort of whooping “fuck yeah” chant at the worst moments in the film, or the dude who couldn’t stop saying “saucy!” at Land of the Dead whenever a gun or Asia Argento was on screen.

  • MaryAnn

    Scott fights because he has to fight.

    Scott fights because he has to fight *because the story is structured this way.* It didn’t have to be.

    he agrees to help Ramona face whatever she needs to face

    Yeah, offscreen. After the end of the movie. Thus reinforcing the notion that journey is worth watching but hers isn’t.

  • Bill

    “I think most men, even the very best of them, simply do not understand why many, many things that are unfeminist.”

    as one of the very best of them, i can confirm that this is the Truth. it’s like quantum mechanics. nobody really *gets* it, but you gotta accept it because of the mountain of evidence that suggests some weird, fucked up shit is going on. and also it’s a good idea to check in from time to time with somebody who keeps change in their pocket by sittin’ around thinkin’ about it. and the practitioners argue most viciously amongst themselves.

    rode that analogy off the rails. it’s late.

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

    But this *is* part of the problem, Tyler. What goes into the thinking that a six-book story that (everyone insists) is somewhat evenly focused on male and female characters can be cut down into one film? I’ll tell you what: Some studio exec said, “Just cut out all the shit about the chicks and focus on the guy. That’s all anyone’s gonna care about anyway.”

    I think I fairly addressed this in the post you were quoting: Kim is a major subplot that travels through all six books, but she is not really part of the focal Scott and Ramona or even Scott and Knives stories, which are the backbone of the movie. There’s just no way this particular B-story would fit into the movie.

    And I still don’t think that’s true. I guess the best way to put it is that I feel Ramona’s story is reduced in a scale equal to that at which everything else from the book is reduced. It does not feel like she has been extra-reduced compared to everything else. It may have been greenlit as a movie because it happened to be about a male hero, but I don’t think there was any pressure put on it or that anyone forced it to be about a male hero more than it has always been, or less about a female hero than it is less about all of the characters in the book.

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

    Scott fights because he has to fight *because the story is structured this way.* It didn’t have to be.

    I disagree. If he refused to fight, the Exes would chase him. Eventually, all of them would be trying to fight him at the same time, and Scott would get killed.

    And if you are asking to remove the Evil Exes, your problem is with the source material. Which is either a valid point of discussion, or it isn’t, and up until this point, you have said it isn’t.

  • Jim

    Written like someone who truly has a chip on their shoulder…

    I have followed your reviews enough to know I don’t tend to agree. However, I am truly impressed by your hubris this time.

    Maybe you should try to look at a movie as a movie as opposed to an opportunity to stand on your soap box and cry foul?

    I know you and your kind. I know how upsetting it must be to see your relevance fading away. My advice to you is evolve and become a better person.

    As is, you are a dinosaur flailing mindlessly, completely oblivious of your own extinction.

  • Alma

    “Written like someone who truly has a chip on their shoulder…
    I know you and your kind. I know how upsetting it must be to see your relevance fading away.”

    I don’t think MaryAnn has ever been more relevant actually. The film industry is in desperate need of her critiques if you ask me, especially from a feminist standpoint.

    “My advice to you is evolve and become a better person.”

    Wow. Condescending much? What makes you think you’re a better person than she is?

    “As is, you are a dinosaur flailing mindlessly, completely oblivious of your own extinction.”

    She wrote a bad review about one film and she’s suddenly facing “extinction”? ha. I think the only one who has a chip on their shoulder is you, Jim.

  • MaryAnn

    And if you are asking to remove the Evil Exes, your problem is with the source material. Which is either a valid point of discussion, or it isn’t, and up until this point, you have said it isn’t.

    I’ve said I haven’t read the source material. So I can’t have a problem with it.

    You’re really still not getting it, Tyler. I am not “asking to remove the Evil Exes.” I am pointing out how fucked up are the underlying assumptions and prejudices about men and women and relationships that go into creating a story about a guy who has to fight his new girlfriend’s seven Evil Exes before he can have a relationship with her.

  • Jim

    “She wrote a bad review about one film and she’s suddenly facing “extinction”? ha. I think the only one who has a chip on their shoulder is you, Jim.”

    You have a very valid point.

    In truth, I was really bothered by this review. I found it callous and poorly reasoned. However, upon reviewing my comment I find it to be distastefully harsh…

    Maybe it is I who has this chip on his shoulder…

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

    I am pointing out how fucked up are the underlying assumptions and prejudices about men and women and relationships that go into creating a story about a guy who has to fight his new girlfriend’s seven Evil Exes before he can have a relationship with her.

    And I’m saying, since it is a situation entirely manufactured by the villain of the story, that I don’t see where assumptions are being made about men and women.

    Also, what would those assumptions be, and for what reasons would you say the movie is suggesting they are applicable to all women or all men? Maybe I’m just naive or something, but I don’t see the stereotypes you’re seeing here. The only one you’ve explicitly stated is that “women are to be won”, but as has been covered, once the Evil Exes are defeated, it’s not like she’s an insta-prize. He just proved himself more worthy than those who tried to win Ramona’s affections before, and sticks by her when she tries to run. If she fell into his arms after defeating Gideon and they dipped into a super romantic kiss and he walked off into the sunset and everything was happy, I think there’d be a better basis for this line of thinking, but the message I took away from the ending was that “relationships are a challenge, but as long as you’re there for each other even in your partner’s weakest moments, that’s something worth appreciating”.

  • Presidentpez

    I liked the film, which I saw at comic con. The audience consisted of fans of the comics, men and women, or as you see it little boys and women. I agree that Ramona Flowers is slightly underdeveloped as a character, but I find your troll baiting (great term btw) intro and your generalization of comic fans, video gamer players, and men to be as offensive as you seem to think the film is.

  • Jim

    “You’re really still not getting it, Tyler. I am not “asking to remove the Evil Exes.” I am pointing out how fucked up are the underlying assumptions and prejudices about men and women and relationships that go into creating a story about a guy who has to fight his new girlfriend’s seven Evil Exes before he can have a relationship with her.”

    Have you ever considered the fact that you may be forcing this to be something it clearly isn’t? I get the distinct impression that you are projecting your own prejudices on this film…

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Although I imagine you would argue that it is a phallic symbol with heavy ties to power and control…

  • http://bitromantic.com Patch
    You view stuff through a feminist lens. (Compare and contrast to a queer lens, or a nonviolent activist’s lens or an “ignorant proponent of the patriarchy” lens.) Most movies are going to be problematic when viewed through the right (wrong?) lens.

    And the majority of film critics are white men, and as such they are reviewing films thorugh a white-male lens. Is it okay for them to do that?

    Or we you assuming that white-male lens isn’t a lens at all?

    I think that part of the reason we seem to be missing each other is that there is a fairly high percentage of useless comments on this thread, and I think that I’m getting lumped in with a group that I do not necessarily agree with, or identify with. I’m also trying to make my points without rambling, and I’m probably not giving you enough context for where I’m coming from. (For example, totally on board with white males looking at things through the lens of white male privilege — even cracked a joke about it in my post, though it wasn’t, admittedly, a great one.)

    Needs to be said: you’re the only film critic that I read with any regularity. I’ll check up on metacritic or rottentomatoes before or after seeing a movie, but your website is the only film critic’s url that my fingers have memorized. So I have a great deal of respect for you writing and for your opinion. Historically, you and I have had similar opinions on movies.

    My original point was that your reviews do tend to be written from a feminist perspective, and you tend to be very hard on a film if it fails on feminist points. You tend to be less hard on films for being hetero-normative, or for being racially insensitive (why are both of the protagonists in The Other Guys white, for example — why are the minority actors relegated to supporting roles?) Not that you don’t occasionally scold a film for failing on one of those points, but your central concern is feminism.

    I disagree with your implication that a feminist lens is clearer, or more free of smudges. Culture is a complex thing, and a movie can fail along one of many axes. Lenses can also be blinding — I’m not sure that you realize how insensitive your post from the other day sounded, when you compared underpaid writers to underpaid migrant workers working under truly brutal conditions.

    (I think that my own lens, growing up as a lower class white male who did some backbreaking work himself as a teenager, might give me a better perspective on that particular issue than you have.)

    Lensed criticism is also less interesting to me, as a reader, especially as the humor in your critiques has gotten harsher, with more pure snark, and less clever wit. (Note: I also dislike Lewis Black as a comedian, and George Carlin can grate on my nerves; I am not criticizing you for being harsh just because you are a woman.)

    I am well aware that our society still has patriarchy baked into its core. I try to be an agent for change as much as I possibly can as a white male. But there’s only so much self flagellation and guilt-tripping that one can do. You and I, as citizens of the most powerful empire in history, sit atop a massive engine of oppression and destruction. If I considered the full consequences of every little action I took, I would be paralyzed with guilt and grief.

    We pick our lenses in order to live with ourselves. It sounds like, whatever it’s shortcomings from a feminist perspective, Scott Pilgrim v. World is a creative, entertaining, “awesome” movie from a geek perspective. I think that I’m going to view it through my geek lens, and probably let it slide for any subtle feminist gaffes it might make.

    I respect that you feel differently, and I respect that you’re not necessarily going to back down from your position — more than a hundred comments, a lot of them negative, don’t really make for a fertile place for middle ground to be found.

    So that’s the long version.

    Peace Out,

    ~ Patch

  • Maki P

    I’ll have to watch this movie (if it comes to Costa Rica), but I read the comic and your complains are adressed there. Ramona DOES fight Scott’s exes, and she fights Gideon herself, it’s even stablished that it’s all Gideon’s fault and that he’s manipulative bastard. Maybe it’s because the final volume wasn’t written when the movie was made

  • Victor Plenty

    Note to attackers of the reviewer: a condescending approach here is the opposite of persuasive. MaryAnn is absolutely not alone in being damn tired of the unhealthy, unbalanced, unrealistic male-female relationships in far too many movies.

    The pathetic abusive attacks on her from trollish fanboys are only proving she’s right. In its movie form, and in the crazy devotion it’s receiving from fans, this thing really is “Twilight for boys.” How can you expect anyone to accept the movie you love as something suitable for adults, when you are running right out and proving yourself incapable of acting like an adult?

    A few of the fans have given calm reasons for disagreeing with the review, and that reflects well on them. Too bad they’re in the minority.

  • katharine

    somebody who “who drinks too much wine and thinks way too much about such inconsequences as movies, TV, books, and the meaning of life” should not be reviewing scott pilgrim. not because you won’t do it the “right way”. there is totally no right way to conduct a view. it’s just that i fear that your age and interests place you in the wrong frame of reference to understand this movie.

    i am a young woman feminist comic book/videogame nerd. i love the scott pilgrim comic series and am excited to see the movie. maryann, you may be happy to know that, at least in the comic book, ramona is actually a well developed character with a personality. she does not blindly fall for scott, in fact she pretty much does what she wants when she wants and is at no point pressured by him into anything. she may have actually been a well developed character in the movie. could it be possible that you missed out on it because you were expecting her to be a certain way?

    i get the feeling that you may not understand how my generation’s sense of humor works, what our problems are, and what our views on equality are.

    or maybe it’s just my own giant gay crush on ramona, haha.

  • Anne

    @Realist
    I very much have a boyfriend, and yet I’m still very much in the feminist camp. At least some of the time, and if I wrote reviews, news articles, books or whatever would be read by the public, I would very much be a feminist, just to be a small blip against the accepted sexism that we live in.

    @Jim
    Be glad there’s an ocean between me and your condesending crap spilling face.
    If you’ve read more reviews by MaryAnn and you tend not to agree with the way she sees the world, WHY do you continue reading/commenting on something you won’t agree on in the first place? I mean, I don’t go to ani-gay christian republican sexist websites and tell them “U Stupid!” (just because you express yourself eloquently, doesn’t mean you’re right).
    If you truly believe that a review should not hold any prejuices of the reviewer and should be perfectly neutral and devoid of human emotion, I suggest you watch the computer generated robot vomit: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2010/08/watch_it_movie_review.html

  • JoshB

    maryann, you may be happy to know that, at least in the comic book, ramona is actually a well developed character with a personality

    Sigh, nature of the internet. katharine, this point has already been covered repeatedly in this thread. MaryAnn is reviewing the movie, not the comic book.

    Note to attackers of the reviewer: a condescending approach here is the opposite of persuasive.

    Poor, sweet Victor Plenty. Always so earnest.

    The only thing they’re trying to persuade MaryAnn of is that she should think twice before saying mean things about stuff they like. Ph33r teh fanbois!

    In truth, I was really bothered by this review. I found it callous

    What is it like, being that fragile?

  • D

    Katherine, I think you hit the nail on the head. The *whoooosh* of the basic premises of video games vis a vis the evil exes going over her head pretty much confirms it for me.

    Asking why Scott has to defeat the exes is like asking why Spiderman wears a costume. This is the first time I’ve really been aware of a fundamental difference in a generation’s perseptions.

  • D

    To the OP: critiquing the basic structure of a comic book movie based off of video games (using patently ridiculous imagery all the while, which pretty much asks “suspend a little disbelief, kthanx”) is pretty pointless.

    As I compared above, asking why Scott has to battle the exes is like asking why superheroes wear costumes. Or, more pointedly, why the couple gets together at the end of a romantic comedy. These are genre conventions. Mini-bosses, and end boss, warp zones…. Just go with it.

  • http://flavors.me/DerBonk DerBonk

    I have to admit that I haven’t seen the film yet, so I will shut up in a second. But one thing I got from the book and is still valid for the movie is the main question of what this world Scott Pilgrim seems to be living in really is.

    The way I see it, it is not what really happens, what we as the reader/viewer see is rather reality filtered through Scott’s childish, video gamey and probably also sexist mind. He never really fights Ramona’s exes, it’s just a metaphor for the discussions they might really have had instead, dealing with her baggage. And a lot of the exes aren’t that big a threat anyway, only Gideon (at least in the comics) is really dangerous and an abusive ex is very real baggage a new boyfriend might have to deal with.

    So, all of it (even the Amazon.ca delivery girl and the subspace stuff) is only possible because we just see Scott’s dream world (in which, of course, Ramona is perfect), not reality. That’s why everyone acts so nonchalantly during the fights, that’s how all of the weird allusions and references work. If Scott Pilgrim wrote a book/movie about his way to Ramona’s heart, it would look like this, even if it has no resemblance to reality. So, in my opinion, through this lens, a lot of the sexism is explainable, Scott is (or was in the beginning) a manchild and this is what his dream looks like. Reminds me of the stupid (German only?if so, this reference makes no sense, sorry) Coke Zero advertisements: “This is how life is supposed to be.”

  • IMNINJA808

    pwned by the internet, straight up. You have to realize the movie is this way because it is Scott Pilgrim vs. the world, it is the narrative of a immature video game loving awesome 23 year old male. The script is written in that way. is it sexist? absolutely! do i care? fuck no its a movie!

  • Huh?

    I’m glad that you actually responded to my comment Maryann. However: A) you cut out a lot of what I said about Ramona’s activity throughout the movie and pick and chose only what you thought would make my argument look worse and B) I think you’ve missed the main point of the movie.

    The movie, for the most part, is about SCOTT and HIS journey. That’s why it is called Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, not Ramona/Knives Chau/Kim Pine/Las Femenistas vs. the World, hence why Ramona or the other girls aren’t followed around throughout the whole movie. However, as its been echoed in the comments, the main theme of the movie is growing up, which, unlike Twilight’s main debate of Which Boy? (which I will admit I have seen Twilight, with no regards to my peers), is a universal theme, something that most people can draw something from.

    I had figured that you were like many feminists that I know and that you would be a little more open minded about the movie. I figured that you wouldn’t see things in black and white, and that you could possibly reexamine your stance, but this clearly isn’t the case.

  • Vancouverzone

    I’ve seen the movie about twice now, first in LA a month ago and then again during comic con. Furthermore, I’m an ardent fan of the comic series. You have gone into quite the tangent in this critique to lambast the film adaptation for its portrayal of the female lead. In fact, shes given alot of empowerment in the film and the whole evil-ex construct is clearly a satirical device for entertainment value. First off, you make it seem Ramona is weak and more of a trophy figure. It is in my opinion the other way around as she is more of a solid and mature character in light to Scott’s manchildisms. In my view, Scott’s struggle to win Ramona’s love is one that can be viewed as a coming of age story where he abandons the meek, sad teenager seeking self he embodies and matures through the course of the film in a more mature, confident character. But that’s just Scott, Ramona too goes through character development throughout the film. From her story you gather that she tries to escape her past and through the metaphors of her Ex’s (could be any manner of personal issue she has interfere with her life), they come back to haunt her, forcing her to leave once again – but finally coming back to face Gideon, figuritively the source and visage of her personal demons. The two main characters both grow up in their own respect. In scott’s case through his drive to appeal to a girl he tremendously loves and Ramona through facing a past and her own doubts. However, with all that said and considering the film being an abbreviated version of the comic, it’s a bit trying to attempt to frame a fleeting example of a phallocentric mechanism in this film. You may have seen this movie through a jaded pair of female objectification but for most people semiotically analyzing this film it appears more of a youth coming of age story through videogame and relative generational culture tropes as satire. But yeah, as said above, it’s titled SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, not hollywood_indoctrination_against_women.mov

    Sorry if I happen to offend but, yeah. Labeling this film in the same B-class as twilight invites such a response as those shown above.

  • Anne

    @Vancouverzone

    First off, you make it seem Ramona is weak and more of a trophy figure. It is in my opinion the other way around as she is more of a solid and mature character in light to Scott’s manchildisms.

    That’s kinda what I thought was sexist: even though Ramona is clearly the stonger one of the two, it is not her place to defend herself apparantly.

    I also think that “Twilight for boys” is in a sense correct: both movies will apeal mostly to their youthfull fanbase and with both movies you kinda hope the viewers don’t take the male/female relationships from the movie as an example for real life.
    An important side note, though, is that this movie clearly doesn’t take itself as serious as Twilight.

    So please, enjoy the movie. It’s not as if the fanbase of these comic books will actually believe skinny gamegeeks can/must handle the hardcore ex boyfriends of awesome women. Or do they? Anyway, we’re all allowed to dream.

  • Linda Binda

    For all the grumbling about Twilight here, not even Twilight fans get this up in arms about a negative review.

    Congratulations, folks: you’re become like Tyler Perry fanatics. ;)

  • Vancouverzone

    Actually, nevermind. Clearly the issue is that it’s so male centric. I mean, sadly to say, it’s something that can not be remedied. You can’t really abbreviate the comic into a film splintered into different character arcs, it’s just poor film making. I could explain what many other people above have said but O’Malley put more attention into the development of the female characters than the male ones. But when it comes to making the movie, they had to really focus on the central plot that is Scott’s and his alone. The director and creators didn’t intend for it to be a stompdown on women but whatever. This is a non-issue to me. And how Scott Pilgrim could’ve been different in how you wish it to be would be completely destructive to the plot and other essential bits that make a film well structured. Especially one that basically exists to be fanservice.

  • Vancouverzone

    @Anne
    “That’s kinda what I thought was sexist: even though Ramona is clearly the stonger one of the two, it is not her place to defend herself apparantly.”

    She does. In the film, she defeats an EX for scott (her ex-girlfriend, she protects Scott from her ex as scott isnt intent on attacking a girl even on the precipice of his defeat by her).

    The Twilight for boys sentiment is sexist. I view films all alike regardless of target audience. I was affronted by the Twilight remark because of the character depth, plot, acting, and other structural points of a successful film/story that were lacking in Twilight.

    I did enjoy the Scott Pilgrim film, thank you. I’m pretty sure no one is so dense that they will mistake the plot of the film so literally, especially if they pride themselves on being geeky/intellectual.

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

    For some reason, I just woke up and it all seemed very easy to summarize, so I will do it:

    There are fights because the fights are orchestrated by the film’s villain. The hero fights, at first because he thinks he has to to be with the heroine, and eventually because he realizes it’s just the right thing to do.

    Yes, Scott is the hero and Ramona is a prisoner, which is the the way the genders shake out in most movies, but I don’t feel like the way this movie gets to that point has to do with stereotypes, and I do

  • Lisa

    I can’t be bothered reading all the comments on the board because most of them are complete bullshit from people who can’t read or are incapable of realising other people and other points of view exist. Honestly, I fear for some of your family and friends (if these people are in your lives).

    But I have to admit, it’s hilarious the outrage that the Twilight for boys comment has produced. Go to an Edward Cullen board and read the comments there. Change the name to Scott Pilgrim. The idiots on this board are exactly the same as Edward Cullen fangirls!

  • Anne

    The Twilight for boys sentiment is sexist.

    You have a valid point there. Is it better if it’s Twilight for gamers (instead of Twilight for sparkly vampire lovers).
    But are you sure that people who haven’t read the comics will also get all that character depth and plot? (I read another (male) review, it’s most important critique was the lack of character depth and the erratic plot)

    I think (no, I read) we both (the other critic I mentioned too) agree that this film is for the fans, not the entire movie going public. Which is perfectly fine.

  • Dan

    Hmm I wonder what gender the writer of THIS article is???

    Go make us some sandwiches! Clearly you do not belong on the internet.

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

    do wonder what happened to the rest of my comment?

    It was something to the effect of, “do think it feels specifically accurate to these characters.”

  • Froborr

    Haven’t read the thread, but I can guess what it contains: People bitching that you didn’t like a movie they haven’t seen, plus two or three people who have seen the movie bitching that you don’t agree with them about everything always, and a few reactionaries freaking out that your review is from a feminist perspective.

    As for me, I haven’t seen the movie yet, and your review worries me because it’s exactly what I was afraid Hollywood would do to it — miss the subtle cues that Ramona is growing up as well as Scott, ignore the evolution of Scott from initial Nice Guy (who, like all Nice Guys, is clearly and obviously a total jerkass) to actually functional human being who recognizes that the way he views the world is horribly skewed, and instead make Scott a Nice Guy who gets rewarded with an empty cipher of a Hot Girl. I mean, did they even have the part where Scott is too much of a Nice Guy jerkass to break up with Knives, even after he’s sleeping with Ramona? Or the part where Ramona dumps him after she finds out? Or the part where he (metaphorically, via absorbing Nega-Scott) has to accept that he was being a jerkass all those times he thought he was a Nice Guy in order to stand even a chance of getting Ramona back?

    I’m guessing they didn’t.

    On the other hand, I totally disagreed with your review of Kick-Ass, so I’m still going to see Scott Pilgrim tomorrow and see how they did. If I like it, okay, there’s no law that says we all have to like the same things. If I don’t, ah well, one more bad comic adaptation.

  • Lenina Crowne

    Matthew Fabb: I didn’t see that, sorry.

    Re: the Twilight comparison. First of all, if MAJ had compared this to Manos: The Hands of Fate there wouldn’t be half as much outrage. Twilight is a girly thing, OMG how dare you!

    Second, “it can’t be Twilight for boys because girls like it, too!” Boy-centered things will generally be more popular with girls than girl-centered things will be with boys, especially when those things pertain to geek culture. If it has ancillary female fans, that doesn’t change who the movie is *for*.

  • Lisa

    Dan is clearly Team Scott and has the tanktop to prove it – how cute!

  • Rykker

    5. im running out of numbers

    Have trouble counting very far past five, do ya?
    Well, you still have a couple of fingers left (that would give you ten, by the way — assuming you haven’t done something stupid resulting in a loss of digits).
    And then, you can use your toes. But you’ll have to take off your shoes so you can see them, which will require you to understand what mommy did to the strings to put them in a bow when she tied them for you.
    And judging by the intelligence of your comment, I’m not sure you have it in you, Scooter.

  • Sonja

    I wasn’t going to comment because I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’ve been keeping an (appalled) eye on the comments and can no longer hold my tongue.

    As I compared above, asking why Scott has to battle the exes is like asking why superheroes wear costumes. Or, more pointedly, why the couple gets together at the end of a romantic comedy. These are genre conventions.

    Just because they’re “genre conventions” doesn’t mean they should get a free pass from criticism. Pop culture is invaluable in revealing the status quo of society – their prejudices and general perception of the human condition (which is also why “this is just a movie for fun, get over it” so called rebuttal is so unsatisfactory and generally made of fail).

    To MaryAnn Johanson: I am honestly shocked at some of the responses to your review – how people say “feminist” like it’s a bad thing. Thank you for writing this — I can’t say if I agree or not as I haven’t seen the movie, but I do respect you for posting the review and how articulate you are about the gender portrayals in films (in general).

  • http://cinematicmusic.blogspot.com Brian

    Cripes, is it too much to ask for a civil conversation that’s relevant to the substance of the review and the movie? Most of the reactions so far have been (a) insistence that MaryAnn must be wrong about the movie based not on the movie, but the comics, (b) insistence that MaryAnn’s perspective cannot be valuable because she is a feminist, or (c) the standard “just don’t think about it; it’s only a movie” cop-out. None of these are strong positions from which to launch an argument.

    If you want to read glowing reviews of this film, go over to AICN. There are plenty there. (Yes, I do read AICN as well – and I’m aware that this conversation is like a graduate seminar compared to the wasteland of foul-mouthed trolls in the talkbacks there.) Otherwise, if your mind is already made up about the film, why do you feel the need to lambaste those who don’t feel as you do?

    In other news, perhaps I need to find a new, less common handle to post under. Now and then I’ll spot someone else posting as “Brian” who says something I’d never say, and wonder if people think it’s me, as in this thread. Maybe I’ll be Brian’ now.

  • http://www.rogue-penguin.com TempestDash

    Wow. MaryAnn probably deserves some sort of recognition for the most patient critic on the internet. I’m not sure there are many who would continue to keep responding to comments on their own website after they’ve reached this level of vitriol and redundancy.

    The Brian in the comment above this one is right. Tone it down a bit, folks. People are allowed to have different opinions than you, and their opinions are valid for them. If you disagree, then you disagree. It doesn’t mean one of you is wrong, it means that you had different life experiences that shaped what makes you happy in different ways. You enjoy different things.

    Unfortunately, the Western culture has evolved in a way that many people have learned to turn a blind eye to sexist behavior because they’ve known little else.

    It IS a little unsettling that we see male-fantasy dominated media on a nearly constant basis. Is that your fault for liking it? Perhaps not. You are in a way voting with your purchases to let it continue, though. You may not be able to change what makes you happy, but you certainly cannot blame people who refuse to turn a blind eye to inequality, like our dear reviewer here.

  • Werbal

    Judging by the hyper-defensive, offensive comments posted in this thread, it seems that this review has struck a particular nerve among the geek community.

    Probably because a nagging part of their subconscious tells them that IT’S ALL TRUE. Scott Pilgrim is unfeminist and dismissive toward women.

    Better analogy than Twilight, though: “Scott Pilgrim is ’500 Days of Summer’ with video game jokes.”

  • Nate

    Better analogy than Twilight, though: Scott Pilgrim is ’500 Days of Summer’ with video game jokes

    If that’s really a better analogy, then it must mean it’s a great flick.

  • MaryAnn

    Tyler Foster wrote:

    And I’m saying, since it is a situation entirely manufactured by the villain of the story, that I don’t see where assumptions are being made about men and women.

    Tyler, you’re arguing from entirely within the context of the story. I’m talking from a much larger cultural context. The situation is entirely manufactured by the creators the film.

    Patch wrote:

    I disagree with your implication that a feminist lens is clearer, or more free of smudges.

    I said no such thing. But when most movies are produced through a white-male lens and most critics look at them through a white-male lens, my feminist lens is invariably going to see these movies quite differently quite frequently. I don’t see how this is a problem, or even an issue.

    It sounds like, whatever it’s shortcomings from a feminist perspective, Scott Pilgrim v. World is a creative, entertaining, “awesome” movie from a geek perspective. I think that I’m going to view it through my geek lens, and probably let it slide for any subtle feminist gaffes it might make.

    I am a geek too, and I did not find the movie creative, entertaining, or awesome. And its “feminist gaffes” are far from subtle.

    But, oops, there’s that pesky feminist lens of mine at work again.

    katherine wrote:

    it’s just that i fear that your age and interests place you in the wrong frame of reference to understand this movie.

    As is always the case, my review will be valuable to those who share my tastes. People of similar “age” and “interests” now know that because I hated the film, they may too. I am under no obligation to attempt to review any film from a perspective I do not have, and I don’t know why anyone would imagine I could or should do such a thing.

    D wrote:

    asking why Scott has to battle the exes is like asking why superheroes wear costumes. Or, more pointedly, why the couple gets together at the end of a romantic comedy. These are genre conventions

    No, “Scott fighting exes” is not a “genre convention.” It is a specific detail of one specific comic. Superheroes wearing costumes *is* a genre convention… and it actually would be quite interesting to explore the notion of why superheroes wear costumes. Superheroes don’t *have* to wear costumes to fight crime, so why do they? What does it say about the place and the time in which the convention was invented that they ended up with costumes? What does the evolution of those costumes say about how times and attitudes changed (or didn’t) over the decades?

    Perhaps the “problem” with my review is that so many people simply are not used to looking at pop culture in a larger context and through an eye that is critical not merely of the technical details of a movie in isolation but on a cultural scale.

    DerBonk wrote:

    He never really fights Ramona’s exes, it’s just a metaphor for the discussions they might really have had instead, dealing with her baggage.

    Okay, fine. I can buy that. In fact, I used the word “metaphor” in my review.

    So why is Ramona’s half of that metaphoric discussion missing?

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

    @Froborr

    I mean, did they even have the part where Scott is too much of a Nice Guy jerkass to break up with Knives, even after he’s sleeping with Ramona?

    Almost verbatim from the books. Scott realizing he wronged them both is a pivotal point of the finale.

    Or the part where Ramona dumps him after she finds out?

    This part I don’t remember from the books, but no, it’s not in the movie, because the truth doesn’t come out until the middle of the third act.

    Or the part where he (metaphorically, via absorbing Nega-Scott) has to accept that he was being a jerkass all those times he thought he was a Nice Guy in order to stand even a chance of getting Ramona back?

    This is one of the major things I think the movie fumbles. Needs a little less Schwartzman, and for Nega Scott to be less of a joke.

    “Scott Pilgrim is ’500 Days of Summer’ with video game jokes.”

    (500) Days of Summer is one of the worst, most hatefully stupid motion pictures I can remember. It’s just so stupid, superficial, and pandering. I absolutely don’t think that film and Scott Pilgrim have anything in common, but that’s me.

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

    Tyler, you’re arguing from entirely within the context of the story. I’m talking from a much larger cultural context. The situation is entirely manufactured by the creators the film.

    Well, for me, I guess internal justification trumps cultural context, which I feel is subjective. I don’t think one could argue using fact that cultural context is absolutely there unless the filmmakers admit to putting it there. What about the film — I feel the evidence has to come from the film — proves to you that this generalization is being made as opposed to just part of the context of the story, and/or that just insists that within-the-film justification is a lacking way to look at this particular film? I mean, you won’t allow the books into the discussion, so what’s the limit on society at large? (Also, even if the film does point to something, but it’s unintentional, how would you say it’s valid to hold that against the film?)

    And I still don’t understand fully what you think it’s saying about the culture, other than “women are prizes to be won”, which I attempted to cover.

    So why is Ramona’s half of that metaphoric discussion missing?

    Well, this is another argument from within the story, but Ramona is more fleeing Gideon than trying to woo Scott, and therefore, she’s not looking to have that conversation, whereas Scott is sort of forced to (and wants to more than Ramona, there is the joke where he says “can we not talk about it right now?” and then proceeds to explain his relationship anyway).

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

    Erk. Let me rephrase part of what I said: For me, I guess the film containing internal justification for what happens trumps the suggestion that cultural context is the reason for what happens. I feel like saying cultural context is more at work than the film’s story is subjective. I don’t think one could argue using fact that cultural context is absolutely the reason the film is the way it is, unless the filmmakers say that it is.

  • Katharine

    dude, stop only responding to snippet quotes that misrepresent the poster’s argument! it’s convenient, but it’s not cool.

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

    Once again, note my post has major spoilers on the ending of the movie, for those who haven’t seen it yet.

    Anne: “I also think that “Twilight for boys” is in a sense correct: both movies will apeal mostly to their youthfull fanbase and with both movies you kinda hope the viewers don’t take the male/female relationships from the movie as an example for real life.”

    Only the main messages from Scott Pilgrim movie is about growing up. Or as a review from the Globe & Mail said “At its heart, Scott Pilgrim is about people trying to make it through change despite, or perhaps because of, all their faults.” Scott can’t beat the final ex without admitting what he has done wrong and admitting how he was unfair to both Ramona and Knives. In fact, he tries to avoid blame at first and it actually gets him killed! However, since this is a video game world, he has a second life and gets a second chance to fix his mistakes. He apologizes not only to Knives and Ramona but apologizes to his old ex-girl-friend Kim. These actions are needed to stop Scott from getting killed a second time.

    So yeah, I would hope this message of growing up and being more mature in your relationships would be something that the viewers take from the movie into the real world.

  • D

    @MaryAnn

    yes, it is a genre convention– it’s a comic book movie using extensive VIDEO GAME ALLUSIONS.

    Gamer conventions include: leveling up, battling mini-bosses to defeat an end boss (I haven’t seen the movie but I’ve read the books, so I’ll assume they still use) Ramonas warp zones.

    Genre. Conventions.

    And for 20somethings, clear metaphors on growth. I suppose in the
    movie they’re relegated to the main character, but asking WHY is just silly.

    Ask why there’s visual sound effects or why Ramona has a giant hammer. Asking why Scott must fight the exes? Pointless.

  • Markus

    I cannot take anyone serious who would even think to compare Scott Pilgrim to Twilight in any way.

  • MaryAnn

    (500) Days of Summer is one of the worst, most hatefully stupid motion pictures I can remember. It’s just so stupid, superficial, and pandering. I absolutely don’t think that film and Scott Pilgrim have anything in common, but that’s me.

    I agree that the films are not comparable: I really liked *500 Days of Summer.* :->

    I don’t think one could argue using fact that cultural context is absolutely there unless the filmmakers admit to putting it there.

    Tyler, these filmmakers do not live in a cultural vacuum. Cultural context is *inevitably* there. It’s inescapable.

    I mean, you won’t allow the books into the discussion, so what’s the limit on society at large?

    Are suggesting that there’s something unfair about pointing to the books to justify something that is NOT in the film?

    Not everyone has read the books. If reading the books is a must in order to appreciate the film, the filmmakers have failed.

    But we all live in this culture.

    Do you not see, Tyler, how it says something about our culture when a young man invents this particular story, and it resonates among many, many other young men? *Why* does it resonate? Because it says something that these young men agree with.

    I keep asking, Why isn’t Ramona the hero? Why doesn’t she have to fight his exes? And no one seems to understand why this isn’t the story: Because the young-male audience this is aimed at would not buy it. They would not find it plausible that a young woman would have to fight to win her new boyfriend’s affections, or that his affections wouldn’t be his to bestow as he pleases.

    Let me give you a counter example that might illustrate the problem. (This is a deliberately extreme example for illustrative purposes, and I will absolutely ignore ANYONE who suggests that I’m saying that *Scott Pilgrim* is akin to the scenario I’m describing.) A female filmmaker makes a movie about a smooth, slick, smart woman who is a serial killer, who sexually tortures rich powerful men before killing them, after which she takes over the corporations they run, runs the companies into the ground, and steals all their money.

    Now, imagine you, Tyler, were to ask me, “But why does she have to slice off their penises and shove them down her victims’ throats? Couldn’t she just kill them quickly? Why don’t they fight back? Isn’t there something weird and creepy and wrong going on here?” And then imagine I responded: “It’s because she’s a serial killer. She’s the villain. She’s crazy. And they don’t fight back because she put a chip in their heads that takes all the fight out of them. It’s just what she does. You’re reading too much into it.”

    Would you buy that answer? Wouldn’t you wonder about what it said about the filmmaker’s attitudes toward men, for her to have deliberated constructed a story that takes, as one of its plot points, a undercutting of men’s ability to take care of themselves, and as another, a not-at-all metaphoric, quite literal emasculation of men? I mean, the story didn’t have to be precisely that way: A story about a female serial killer didn’t have to be constructed in quite this way. But it was.

    And even if there was nothing overt, nothing explicitly stated or even hinted at in the film that said, “All woman want to cut men’s penises off,” wouldn’t you wonder whether than might actually be true if mainstream female audiences loved this movie?

    But here’s the major difference between that scenario and one like *Scott Pilgrim*’s: my scenario works against the grain of cultural assumptions (as about women and violence). *Scott Pilgrim*’s does not. So perhaps it’s harder to see the assumptions at work in it. But that does not mean they’re not there.

  • MaryAnn

    yes, it is a genre convention– it’s a comic book movie using extensive VIDEO GAME ALLUSIONS.

    I don’t think you understand what you’re saying, D. You said Scott having to fight exes is like superheroes wearing costumes. If this were true, then there would be many, many comic books (or comic book movies) about guys who fight exes, just as there about about superheroes in costumes. But there aren’t. Guys fighting exes simply is NOT a convention of the genre.

    Gamer conventions include: leveling up, battling mini-bosses to defeat an end boss (I haven’t seen the movie but I’ve read the books, so I’ll assume they still use) Ramonas warp zones.

    These are conventions of games. Yes, I get that. They are not conventions of comic books. Fights are certainly a convention of comic books. Fighting *exes* specifically certainly is not.

  • Zoogz

    Wading in here briefly to offer my support, MaryAnn. This is a movie I have not seen either, so I cannot judge one way or another about your review. However, I have been impressed with your track record and find myself agreeing with the majority of your opinions.

    Thank you for putting a different point of view up for debate and thoughtful consideration. I feel more enlightened after I read your reviews compared to before I read your reviews, and I look forward to reading your blog in the future.

  • Victor Plenty

    I cannot take anyone serious who would even think to compare Scott Pilgrim to Twilight in any way.

    Well, that’s understandable, because Twilight is for girls and it’s totally about all the icky mushy stuff that girls like to think about.

    Scott Pilgrim is, like, so obviously about totally cool and awesome guy stuff, so of course it can’t be anything like stupid girly Twilight!

    (If you want anyone to “take serious” your comment, Markus, maybe you should spend a little more effort defending your point of view, instead of throwing out a vague quip and then running away. If you think my parody of your reasoning is wrong, then try to explain why, exactly, you think it isn’t valid to compare Twilight and Scott Pilgrim.)

  • JoshDM

    It’s really disappointing that in all these comments, not one person has brought up the significance of Ramona’s sister, Beezus.

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

    Tyler, these filmmakers do not live in a cultural vacuum. Cultural context is *inevitably* there. It’s inescapable.

    I did try and rephrase. What I meant was whether the filmmakers were purposefully using the culture vs. you seeing the culture reflected in it. I would counter that Wright and Bacall tried to incorporate as much of Ramona as possible into the movie, and I think they mostly succeeded, except, again, for her lack of action during the finale, which is due to the original ending that was ultimately re-shot.

    Are suggesting that there’s something unfair about pointing to the books to justify something that is NOT in the film?

    No, although…

    I keep asking, Why isn’t Ramona the hero? Why doesn’t she have to fight his exes? And no one seems to understand why this isn’t the story: Because the young-male audience this is aimed at would not buy it.

    It is true that what you state right here is not in the movie, but it is in the books. And I would say the primary audience you’re responding to at the moment, in this discussion, is fans of the book who have come to prematurely blast you about the movie. This doesn’t make the movie any better (may make it worse, in your view), but the male audience absolutely bought this very thing, if their basis for supporting and defending the movie is the books.

    Would you buy that answer?

    The scenario you described sounds to me like a satire of mindless corporate honchos who mechanically do whatever they’re told to do, as long as it makes them money. Is she emasculating them more by blowing up the banks or chopping their genitals off? It looks like you did not see Hostel Part II, but it’s also worth mentioning that this movie absolutely comes to mind as fulfilling some of these points, and I thought that movie was demented genius.

    I would no more worry about women who liked the movie you described than I would about anyone watching any movie about serial killers. I expect people can separate fact from fiction, metaphor from the true message, and will not re-enact the pop culture they absorb in their daily lives. I don’t want to say you’re wrong to assume that people can’t, as illustrated by pretty much everyone else in this thread, but I guess I’m an optimist, and I’m better at ignoring the people who are unable to do so.

  • Lyude

    Listen, this is Scott Pilgrim. You cannot compare this to Twilight. Doing so causes a rip in the space time continuum, hell, my cat is now a dog. I like dogs, but would never want one as a pet. Thanks a lot.
    I hate you now more then I hate apple and everything that they have ever come in contact with.
    I demand you also give me compensation for my new dog, he needs food, and I don’t feel like earning the money to buy it.

  • Sam

    Oh Josh, everyone knows that’s not her real name… her real name is Beatrice. I’m going to get all fanboyish and upset now.

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

    (Spoilers.) One more comment to add: as a result of this discussion I did rethink some of the things I was writing in my review and the conclusion that I came to is that Scott may unintentionally think that “women are to be won”, but when he meets Gideon and realizes that he doesn’t care about Ramona beyond possessing her, with the chip, like an object, that women are not to be won, and that’s why he earns the power of self-respect: he realizes he should be a better person than Gideon. He defeats the guy, and then almost lets Ramona go — the opposite of cashing in on this supposed trophy. It is only at the encouragement of Knives, who realizes that a relationship between herself and Scott is not the best thing for either of them, that he goes and offers to help her face her demons.

  • TZarek

    There’s certainly a lot of valid cultural criticism being thrown here, Mary-Ann, and a lot of it is totally valid and insightful, but there’s one repeated assumption you keep repeating that I feel like you aren’t fully comfortable exploring or thinking about, and that assumption is that Scott Pilgrim is ‘FOR BOYS’. You repeat this again and again. You state that it is ‘Twilight for Boys’, that it is ‘targeted at young men’, that it resonated with ‘young men’, again and again.

    But Mary-Ann, this just isn’t true. The comic’s fanbase skews female. The movie’s marketing campaign, who it’s ‘targeted at’, is overtly female (look at the broadcasting where it airs its advertising, the composition of the TV ads, etc.) And if the movie succeeds, it will NOT be due to young men, but due to young women and young men, because THAT’s who the story resonates with. Even on these comments alone, you have a bunch of young women for whom the story hits (and no, I don’t think this is a ‘the comic was great but the movie messes it up’; the key issues you have with it are absolutely present in the comic). Scott Pilgrim is held up as a powerful cultural landmark because it resonates so powerfully with BOTH genders.

    I’m not denying that Scott Pilgrim is a story about a boy, framed through a male perspective, examining romance through the male gaze. But it is intellectually dishonest to brand it as a ‘guy movie skewed at guys’ when so much of its appeal and targetting is driven by women. To reduce it to something genuinely guy-targeted (like bro stoner comedies) is to take an intellectually easy way out, and to avoid having to look at the much more complex social and generational issues we’re dealing with here. You can’t claim that something with a huge female fanbase marketed towards women is ‘Twilight for boys’; that’s a copout so you don’t have to consider the more complex differences between Gen X feminism and Millenial feminism and to consider the limitations of your world view. 

  • MaryAnn

    I expect people can separate fact from fiction, metaphor from the true message, and will not re-enact the pop culture they absorb in their daily lives.

    I expect that too, Tyler, and that’s not the worry. I don’t imagine that young men are suddenly going to start battling their new girlfriends’ exes. But people do harbor attitudes about things that do not get expressed in such dramatic ways as a movie might express them.

    Do you see *nothing* at all telling about the fact that the heart was cut out of the female protagonist when the story was adapted to film?

    The scenario you described sounds to me like a satire of mindless corporate honchos who mechanically do whatever they’re told to do, as long as it makes them money.

    Perhaps it is impossible to come up with a scenario that will illustrate for you what it is like to be a woman in our culture, treated the way our culture treats women, and to see, over and over again, celebrations of that treatment presented as “fun.”

    Perhaps you would react differently to my scenario if we lived in a culture where men lived in fear of being randomly assaulted by female serial killers who chopped their penises off. But we don’t. So you have the freedom to see such a scenario as the one I presented as “satire,” even though I did not go into any details about how such a scenario is presented. It can *only* be satire to you, because it’s so outlandish that it is unlikely to ever happen.

    What I meant was whether the filmmakers were purposefully using the culture vs. you seeing the culture reflected in it.

    But this really makes no difference as far as what can actually be taken from the film. You may not see it, but I do, and whether it was intentional or not on the part of the filmmakers doesn’t change the fact that I see it. Not everything that can be taken from a work of art has to have been put there intentionally.

    but when he meets Gideon and realizes that he doesn’t care about Ramona beyond possessing her, with the chip, like an object, that women are not to be won, and that’s why he earns the power of self-respect

    You’re still talking about a movie that shoves aside its female characters to focus on the central man. Wright could have made a movie that actually *depicted* Ramona as a human being so that we could actually *see* what it is about her that causes Scott to love her. But Wright didn’t do that. He didn’t think it was important enough. Instead, he made a movie in which Ramona is an object to be won, and in the last few minutes, says, “Oops, maybe she’s not an object after all.” The movie itself does not support such a contention.

  • http://www.rogue-penguin.com TempestDash

    But it is intellectually dishonest to brand it as a ‘guy movie skewed at guys’ when so much of its appeal and targetting [sic] is driven by women.

    I don’t suppose you’ve heard of peripheral demographic? Or that a movie based on a comic might have a different target audience than the original comic did?

    One of the false assertions that is prolific in these comments is the idea that “because it’s true in the comic, it’s true in the film.” But that’s not necessarily true. The movie is an adaptation, which means some person (or a group of people) interpreted the comic by reading it and filtering it through their preconceptions — these people were probably men, older, and have been thinking in movie demographics terms for longer than is advisible — then gave it to a couple other people to adapt into a movie, taking out comic conventions and replacing them with movie conventions, then that script was given to a director to filter through HIS preconceptions so he could direct actors full of their preconceptions about what to do in a scene, while fielding several thousand ‘comments’ from his Executive Producers and/or studio heads and then give his film to an editor and sound designer and…

    It’s a miracle that a movie adaptation bears any resemblance to the source material it was derived from. To claim that a movie and it’s source material will appeal the same people in the same way is unjustified. There’s a chance it might, but it’s not certain at all.

    Of course, the marketing people may have seen the film… or maybe they didn’t. Maybe they got a summary and a handful of clips. Maybe they got a copy of one random volume of the comic and told to run with it. Maybe all they got was the sales statistics on the comic book.

    I haven’t seen this film yet, so I can’t comment on whether the movie appears male oriented to me, but certainly not out of hat for someone who HAS seen the film, like Mary Ann, to say that it is.

  • MaryAnn

    TZarek, for the last time: I am reviewing the movie, not the books. The movie panders to boys, and to boys’ attitudes about girls and relationships.

    I’m done with the conversation, unless someone has something new to say. I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall here. I’ve now written thousands and thousands of words — between my review and my comments here — explaining my reaction to the film. I don’t know what else I can say.

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

    Do you see *nothing* at all telling about the fact that the heart was cut out of the female protagonist when the story was adapted to film?

    I mentioned before, the reason I would say no is because she is reduced at the same scale as everything in the movie. I don’t think extra focus was put on reducing her character vs. reducing everything else. As a lead role, she fares about as well as Scott, Gideon, and Knives.

    You’re still talking about a movie that shoves aside its female characters to focus on the central man.

    Actually (in regards to the finale) it assembles both of the primary female roles (as well as the biggest supporting female role) on stage with Scott against the villain. And that’s where my problem comes in, that Ramona does not do enough during the ending.

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

    Once again warning about spoilers…

    I keep asking, Why isn’t Ramona the hero? Why doesn’t she have to fight his exes? And no one seems to understand why this isn’t the story: Because the young-male audience this is aimed at would not buy it. They would not find it plausible that a young woman would have to fight to win her new boyfriend’s affections, or that his affections wouldn’t be his to bestow as he pleases.

    Yet as already pointed out Ramona does fight one of his exes, towards the end of the movie as Ramona battles it out with Knives. In the comic Ramona also fights another one of Scott’s exes, Envy Adams, but this is cut from the movie. I honestly don’t think it was cut from the movie because men wouldn’t find it plausible, but simply because time and budget constraints. There’s a lot of material that is cut to streamline over 1000 pages of comic into a under 2 hour movie.

    Yet still you ignore the fact that Ramona’s affections in the movie are her to give as she pleases. That she’s the one that broke up with all the previous exes and she’s the one that determines the speed that her relationship with Scott. She determines when hanging out with Scott becomes a date, he has to ask her permission to make out and she stops them from having sex when they are in bed together half naked. The one exception to this is the plot point where she has a chip in her head. However, even after that Scott and Ramona are not automatically together, they both still have to choose each other.

    In the end, the story is partly autobiographical and Scott Pilgrim is a guy because Bryan O’Malley is a guy. Perhaps if O’Malley’s wife, who Ramona is partly based on wrote the story then Ramona would be the hero (she’s joked about writing a tell all story called “I married Scott Pilgrim”). O’Malley’s wife also dated 4 guys with the first name Matthew, which he found funny and wondered what would happen if they all got together to form an evil league together. Perhaps, he could have switched genders like he did when he wrote the autobiographical comic Lost at Sea but he didn’t. Once again I don’t think this was a decision based on what men would like, since O’Malley was just trying to make something that he and his friends would enjoy expecting at the time no more of a success than Lost At Sea was. Perhaps, if he had dated 4 girls named Heather that it would have sparked an idea of his wife battling them.

    Take it another way, you could write an review going into the sexual politics of why Scott Pilgrim shares a bed with his gay roommate Wallace. However, in the end the reason has very little politics, but it was done this way was because when Bryan O’Malley was a struggling artist he actually did share his bed with his gay roommate.

    Yes, the comic is not the movie, but the comic is basis of the movie and when looking why things are certain ways, many times it is because it was done that way in the comic.

  • Knightgee

    And for 20somethings, clear metaphors on growth. I suppose in the movie they’re relegated to the main character, but asking WHY is just silly.

    Here’s the thing: We all get that. That the central conceit of Scott Pilgrim is that Ramona’s past and baggage takes on the literal form of a team of super bosses as if they were villains from a video game. Maryann’s question is why is it necessary that Scott fight her exes? Why is Scott doing the work? Why is Ramona not rebelling against her exes or having to fight Scott’s exes(within the context of the film)? Why is she playing second fiddle, the passive damsel in a story that seems so much about her?

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

    Why is Ramona not rebelling against her exes or having to fight Scott’s exes(within the context of the film)? Why is she playing second fiddle, the passive damsel in a story that seems so much about her?

    This question has been covered, but, again, as written, she is a character that doesn’t want to deal. She actively and very clearly extracts herself from these battles because she’s trying to run away from them rather than confront them. It’s not like she just stands and watches.

    And she does sort of fight Knives, although she basically just defends.

    why is it necessary that Scott fight her exes? Why is Scott doing the work?

    Scott fights because the exes confront him, and he wants to remain with Ramona. He is pursuing her. She is okay with him, but she is not pursuing him, she is fleeing Gideon.

  • Lisa

    Y’all have convinced me that this movie sucks

  • Tzarek

    I thought I made it clear, but I’ve seen the movie and read the books, and I think the difference between them is pretty minimal; Mary-ann’s criticisms apply equally to the books, and I’m confident that if she were to read the books, her reaction would be very similar (see: avatar). IF the
    movie landers to males, THEN the books absolutely do too; my argument is that neither do, and that making a movie ABOUT a guy is very different from pandering to guys.

  • D

    Lady, just because you don’t understand what I’m saying doesn’t mean I don’t understand what in saying.

    You just quoted me and STILL managed to miss the obvious, so wrapped up as you are: are those comic book conventions? No. But if you wrote a comic book… You know what, if you wrote a NOVEL using video game allusions, the idea of a characters journey done through fighting minibosses resonates for a reason!! An entire generation raised on Mario crushing mushrooms to save a princess from a dragon, the president from a bunch of BAD DUDES, flying a spaceship to fight gigantic aliens that look like babies….

    Those folks? Male AND female? We don’t need to ask “why does he have to fight them!” the metaphor is clear.

    Also: why not Ramona? I don’t know, why not Little Men? Why not Lord Darcy’s Diary?it’s a silly question. It couldve been Ramona fights her exes– but she runs away from her problems, it’s a different character altogther (the original character I speak of, you don’t know– you haven’t read the books).

    Also: I’d watch that serial killer flick. Like a modern American Psycho!

  • MythicSorin

    Wow. Somehow the comment section has made me get emotionally invested in a movie that I only had passing interest in.

    Allow me to start off by first saying 2 things: 1, I’m male, and 2, I recognize that a good portion of modern culture (including stuff that I like) is built on sexist bullshit. It infuriates my knee-jerk side, because it doesn’t want to acknowledge that it has flaws, but I try to acknowledge it in my viewings/readings nonetheless.

    I think that most of the fan take issue with you comparing this to Twilight because Twilight is poorly written, and not simply ideologically offensive. It has flat characters, a Marty Stu love interest, and irritating prose. Also because it made vampires sparkle. The fact that Jacob clearly has pedophilic leanings and Edward is an emotionally abusive stalker take the back seat here. It’s just that your average fanboy/fangirl has difficulty communicating without making excessive use of the capslock. (So I guess this is an apology on behalf of “my people”). I don’t think most people who read critics are used to them making judgments about a film based on its ideological basis. Not all offensive films are poorly made; just take a look at _Birth of a Nation_. Every film teacher I’ve encountered has told me to watch it, saying “It’s a good film, just racist as hell.” Essentially, by saying that the film is sexist and that you shouldn’t see it based on that regard, you’re proclaiming to the world “This movie is horribly made because it’s sexist”. At least, that’s how my brethren (and sistren, judging by the comments) will judge it.

    Second point is a short point that probably will be cause for my immediate dismissal: people don’t like taking things seriously. But when other people take them seriously, they will do so in kind. So when geeks see their beloved vampires became perfect sparkling boyfriends, they tend to react rather nastily. But on the whole, your average non-basement-dwelling geek (yes, they exist) hates people taking things they like seriously. They’re in it to have fun. They don’t like having to dissect their own lives (a wholly depressing endeavor) to extract the sexist/racist/homomphobic/generally assholish cancer that permeates them. They don’t like looking in the mirror and seeing that yes, they have flaws (do you? Does anybody?).

    Next point: yes, fanborls (since I can’t find a gender-neutral pejorative version of “fanboy”) are that insecure. Mostly because when you judge something that they like, you’re judging them. They get invested in them. This is a group of people that got the crap kicked out of them in high school because they liked DnD. They _are_ their interests. It’s also the concept of being stereotyped based on what you like. When people criticize metal, they don’t just do so based on its merits. They also accuse their audience of being church-burning sociopaths. I lack symmetrical chromosomes, so I’m sure that this is trivializing the concept of discrimination and stereotyping, but to nerds, it’s very real. It’s a slow thing that eats away at their subconscious, until you get people who will start trying to be as offensive as possible to the people who would dare strike at their beloved franchises. Go to any video gaming forum, and you’ll see this.

    I haven’t even _seen_ the film (and probably never will, because I won’t be able to enjoy it now that I’ve got a voice in my head chanting “SEXIST PIG! SEXIST PIG!”) but I have to admit, as an individual with fanboyish tendencies, Twilight comparisons and accusations of me being a manchild tend to get under my skin and make me hostile. I’m sure that you feel that the only way to get peoples’ attention is to beat people over the head with a rusty crowbar of rhetoric until they bleed, but really, this should be expected. Twilight is the most sensitive nerve you could have touched, and the knee-jerk reaction from both sides (simian shit-throwing and smug condescension, respectively) will probably only serve to galvanize both sides.

    I fully expect that the next few comments will serve only to rip apart my life, call me a basement-dwelling patriarch who only views women as objects, a fanboy, a know-nothing twit or (if it gets _really_ weird) a traitor to my own gender because _that’s how comments sections work, muthafucka_.

    Actually, screw that. Odds are this will be lost in a sea of antifeminist twaddle that will make the Taliban look like Simone de Beauvoir.

    But hey. I hope to be disappointed.

  • Paul

    “Maryann’s question is why is it necessary that Scott fight her exes? Why is Scott doing the work? Why is Ramona not rebelling against her exes or having to fight Scott’s exes (within the context of the film)? Why is she playing second fiddle, the passive damsel in a story that seems so much about her?”

    Because, traditionally, the Princess is in another fucking castle. Traditionally, a goddamn plumber has to save her. Does it make much sense? No. No, nowhere close. And yet you go with it, because that’s the rules of the game. The game works because you establish those rules. Don’t like the rules? Play a different game.

    But these are the rules for this universe: The fights are filtered through Scott’s eyes. If this film was from Ramona’s perspective, it would be a different animal. But it’s not. It’s from Scott’s, a man-child forcing himself to grow up the weird way, and that means following the tropes of videogames as they progress. And in videogames, the boy fights the bosses and saves the girl. Whatever that means. Unless it’s Portal, or Metroid.

    Also, this:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129150813

  • http://rantocracy.blogspot.com/ MC

    I just wanted to be comment 200.

    Continue?

  • Lisa

    SHIT – beat me to it, MC!!!

    Have the dullards left yet?

  • Bobbin

    MaryAnn, I have no idea what your problem is regarding this movie. I’ve read your comments over and over, and it seems to me that what you’re really trying to say is, “This film is bad because a guy has the starring role, and as a feminist, I believe this is bad.” You said in one comment:

    If Ramona Flowers is as awesome and as interesting as everyone in the film insists she is, why isn’t the movie about her?

    The answer is quite simple. I’ll give you a hint: the film is called “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”. In fact, if you want to be technical about it, the movie is about her; she is a key character, and the movie revolves around her very existence, although the film isn’t actually detailing her perspective.

    Now get a sense of the real world and stop hiding behind your feminist ideals. A movie isn’t bad just because it doesn’t have a prominent pro-feminism message, and it’s immature to claim, or even imply, that something is bad because it’s not giving the message that you personally want it to give.

  • Rose

    I want to ask a question to Scott Pilgrim fans…

    Is what happens, basically that Scott Pilgrim has video game fights with people? Because that sounds like a boring film, like watching someone play a videogame actually.

  • CB

    An entire generation raised on Mario crushing mushrooms to save a princess from a dragon, the president from a bunch of BAD DUDES, flying a spaceship to fight gigantic aliens that look like babies….

    Those folks? Male AND female? We don’t need to ask “why does he have to fight them!” the metaphor is clear.

    Hey, you’re describing me, and guess what? I do need to ask why, and for there to be a reason. Not “why stylized combat”, yes the metaphor of video game boss fights as a stand in for more mundane relationship conflict is obvious.

    But there has to be a reason for that conflict to exist in a movie about relationships. In video games a boss monster can show up and have to be destroyed for no more reason than that the game makes you to beat the level. You rescue the princess because that’s what video game princesses are for. Princess Toadstool isn’t a person, she’s a MacGuffin*. Who cares? The point of these games is the gameplay, not the story.

    Well a movie is a story, so then it kinda matters why things are happening. And if there’s no better reason for why Scott has to fight the Exes to win Ramona while she sits on the sidelines than because it matches the sexual politics of 80s/90s video games**, then that kinda emphasizes MAJ’s point. If you’re making that movie in 2010 you’d better have a good explanation for how things ended up that way, instead of just relying on your audience to not care because it reminds them of Super Mario.

    (the original character I speak of, you don’t know– you haven’t read the books).

    And gee, maybe if she needs to have read the book to see Ramona as more than a Princess Toadstool stand-in to be fought over and understand why she isn’t the one doing the fighting, then maybe that is a failure of the movie.

    Naw. Can’t be!

    * Except in Mario 2, where Peach kicked ass. And then went right back to being the Obligatory Damsel in Distress.

    ** Remember how shocking, amazing, and revolutionary it was when it turned out Samus Aran, the character you’ve been playing the whole game, was a girl?! Yeah… just goes to show you than even when using a video game framework there’s more available than “the girl needs to be rescued and that’s just the way it is.”

  • Henry

    Thanks, CB. This comment section was making my heart hurt.

    Strong work on the review/discussion, MAJ.

  • JT

    (Oh noes, I don’t know how to do quotes…)

    MaryAnn wrote:

    “I keep asking, Why isn’t Ramona the hero? Why doesn’t she have to fight his exes? And no one seems to understand why this isn’t the story: Because the young-male audience this is aimed at would not buy it. They would not find it plausible that a young woman would have to fight to win her new boyfriend’s affections, or that his affections wouldn’t be his to bestow as he pleases.”

    I don’t think this is true–I would buy such a comic, if it was as well written as Scott Pilgrim. Of course, if I’m right, and a market for such stories exists, why aren’t they being written? So maybe I’m wrong, or maybe publishers just don’t realize that such stories would sell. But I must say, the idea of living in a world where a kick-ass story about Ramona Flowers fighting Scott’s evil exes wouldn’t sell is pretty depressing. Hopefully we’ll start seeing more stuff along those lines soon.

    BTW, MaryAnn, major props for actually responding in this thread, and keeping a cool head about it. Facing the internet idiot brigade like this is never easy, and I really admire you for dealing with it so well.

    I’m still pretty psyched to see Scott Pilgrim. Obviously I’ll be able to respond to the actual review once I have ;-)

  • amanohyo

    @Paul, that’s an oversimplification of the conventions of classic gaming. Although I haven’t seen the movie, it seems as if the fighting game genre is heavily referenced (I think I saw a bit of rpg as well). What percentage of fighting game or rpg characters have a story that revolves around defeating the other characters to win the girl (or even boy)?

    The elements of this movie may very well be recognizable conventions of some classic games, but the specific conventions that were selected and the way they are employed and combined are totally at the discretion of the filmmakers. I love classic gaming, and I know you could make almost any kind of movie you wanted to by picking and choosing from the wide variety of classic gaming conventions.

    Pulling back even further, let’s say for the sake of argument that every single classic game and comic is about a male character fighting a series of boss battles against the former boyfriends (or girlfriends) of a princess in an attempt to win her affection(which again, is clearly not the case). So. what. So you can’t make a movie that simultaneously references those conventions and acknowledges how screwed up they are (hopefully even playfully subverting them)? Bullshit.

    If this movie obliviously accepts the sexism inherent in mainstream geek culture as much as this review suggests it does (and as much as most of its defenders seem to do in this comment thread), then do you really think it’s okay to just shrug and say, “the conventions of gaming are sexist, what can we do? What, you wanted the girls in the movie to be actual characters? Princess’s in classic games don’t get any meaningful development or agency, what can you do?”

    That’s lazy and irresponsible filmmaking, and it serves to perpetuate and ignore the imbalance between male geek and female geek perspectives. Sure, that imbalance was inherited from the culture at large, but I expect more from us geeks, and it’s pretty depressing how often it seems that gaming, comic-loving geeks are even more cluelessly wrapped up in male privilege than their supposedly less cutting-edge, non-geeky cohorts.

    Don’t hide behind implied universal conventions of gaming that aren’t universal at all or use the source material as evidence for qualities that aren’t apparent in the movie. Please judge the movie for what it is (or isn’t) and reference specific parts of the movie and/or review in your arguments (not that many of you haven’t done that). Sheesh, I’m gonna have to eat my words if I end up liking this.

  • SpecterM91

    You know what’s kind of funny? No one’s attacking the reviewer for being honest, like some people defending her are claiming. They’re attacking her because she just equated an Edgar Wright film to one of the most poorly made movies of the last decade and called everyone who enjoys the movie man-children. You don’t want people pissing and moaning in your comments? Don’t make inflammatory remarks just to piss people off. You whine about trolls an awful lot to pull a stunt like that.

  • lolololol

    lol i bet she wrote this while being drunk. she said herself that she drinks too much wine. stop reviewing movies… and i hope you were not paid for this..

  • Anonymous

    Go back to your Twilight.

  • Lugh

    I don’t know if you’re even reading this anymore Maryann, but I just wanted to say that even though I strongly disagree with you, I found your opinions very well thought out, and I enjoyed reading them.

    I think this is an example of the negative affects of the power given to Rotten Tomatoes and other review aggregate sites. Because your review prevented Scott Pilgrim from getting 100%, people come on here to berate you. Why? I’m still going to see the movie, and I would even if it got, say, a 40%. One of my favourite movies, Highlander, got one star. I still like it.

    Critics are here to aid in your entertainment choices, not to tell you what to do.

  • MaryAnn

    I am still reading this. Just not responding unless there’s something to say that I haven’t said before.

    Oo, here’s one thing: I played Super Mario Brothers, too, as a kid, and I loved it.

    Because your review prevented Scott Pilgrim from getting 100%

    There are plenty of other Rotten reviews of this film on RT. I’m not the only hater, not by a long shot.

  • Daesim

    So. How were the acting, the special effects, and the direction? How was the cinematography? When I read a professional review of a film, these are the sorts of things I expect to find. Don’t get me wrong, you wrote a lovely diatribe about sexism; it just would have been nice if you could have interjected a better critique in there, instead of a patronizing lecture. Throughout your entire review, you never said out-and-out if it was a good movie or not.

  • amanohyo

    @SpecterM91, wait who would ever expect an attack on someone for being honest in their review… and why? MA doesn’t seem to be whining about trolls pissing and moaning so much as people not taking the time to read and understand what she’s written.

    No one really pays any attention to lazy, hit and run RT trolls like the cookie-cutter Mr. lolololol or nonsensical Anonymous above, but when someone intelligent actually takes the time to type out several paragraphs in defence of a movie (which I suspect they might not have even watched yet) that addresses issues which are adequately covered in the review, and then clarified three more times in the comment thread, then some head banging might be in order.

    It may be unrealistic to expect someone to skim the entire 200 comments, but at least read the review and respond to it, citing examples from the movie. If you don’t consider yourself a manboy, then simply describe what parts of the movie appealed to the non-manboy in you. If the comparison to Twilight seems harsh, then point out why the comparison doesn’t make sense. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

  • Lugh

    There are plenty of other Rotten reviews of this film on RT. I’m not the only hater, not by a long shot.

    Oh, I know this. But you have become one of the most visible ones, probably because your reasons for disliking it are different than most other critics. Don’t doubt that these people are ranting at those other critics too, though.

    If you don’t consider yourself a manboy, then simply describe what parts of the movie appealed to the non-manboy in you.

    I haven’t seen the film yet, but the comic appeals to me as a modern magical realism bildungsroman, and it addresses the extended adolescence so common today. How does one grow up, yet still hold on to the things they love?

    The comic, specifically the last installment, also addresses Scott’s entitlements and delusions very nicely. Despite the ending sequence being changed for the movie, due to the last book not being created yet, I hope that this transfers to the movie. I also hope the strength of the female presences in Scott’s life are there as well, and that he does learn the lesson that it sucks to hold the women in your life at arm’s length, and that they should be incorporated into life, like anything else, like in the comic.

    That’s another thing – a lot of people feel that Maryann is insulting the comic by proxy.

  • AL

    Aren’t the seven evil exes the ultimate fantasy within Scott Pilgrim? What a relief it must be for this young slacker to avoid convincing the woman of his dreams that he is worth her time. All he has to do is defeat other men. It is so much safer for him.

  • Lugh

    Scott has to convince Ramona through normal means that he’s worth her time as well. This is plainly evident in the comic – there are quite a few downtime relationship moments. I hope this is spelled out in the movie as well.

    The seven evil exes are more representative of Ramona’s tendency to run away from her past and burn her bridges. Scott seems to have that problem as well, and this story is about them changing that trend.

  • joe c

    Why is everyone bitching at her? She’s never gonna get it.

    This movie has a pretty specific audience, and they’re gonna love it. And it’s those other people who guarantee it won’t get a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • SpecterM91

    @SpecterM91, wait who would ever expect an attack on someone for being honest in their review… and why? MA doesn’t seem to be whining about trolls pissing and moaning so much as people not taking the time to read and understand what she’s written.

    I’m talking about the article someone listed in an above comment with some list of hers that equated to “I hate trolls, how dare they disagree with me or tell me that a movie was not meant for me!” My point is, if someone doesn’t want to get trolled, they need to act like they’re actually a professional reviewer. I see no comments about acting, cinematography, fight choreography, and so on in this review. It boils down to a virtual soapbox and an insult toward anyone who enjoys the movie. That kind of stupidity deserves to be trolled.

  • SpecterM91

    If you don’t consider yourself a manboy, then simply describe what parts of the movie appealed to the non-manboy in you. If the comparison to Twilight seems harsh, then point out why the comparison doesn’t make sense. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

    Oh, and as for this, why SHOULD people have to explain to a supposed professional why a baseless insult and a comparison that was obviously made just to get attention are wrong? I’m not even dignifying the stupidity of the man-child response, that alone should get a reviewer black listed from sites like RT and Metacritic. But the Twilight comment is completely unfound for several reasons.

    A) Twilight is written like a twelve year old’s fan fiction. I don’t even like the Scott Pilgrim books, but even I know they’re more thought out and intelligent than that drivel.

    B) The actors in the Scott Pilgrim movie show, y’know, emotions instead of standing perfectly still with no expressions on their face while reciting lines.

    C) You can’t see the wires in Scott Pilgrim. (I apologize for being vague on that one, I hate to spoil it, it’s too funny)

    D) Scott doesn’t stalk Ramona (assuming he’s in Edward’s position) and he doesn’t try to kill himself when she doesn’t love him back instantly. (If the original point was that he was in Bella’s position)

    E) Scott Pilgrim has enough class to NOT have a graphic vampire-McGuffin baby birth that rapes all established impossibility of such an event.

    F) Scott Pilgrim doesn’t treat women like airheaded morons who try to suicide when their first crush doesn’t worship them enough, and it doesn’t present men as emotionless pedophiles with great abs who do nothing but stand around looking pretty.

    G)Scott Pilgrim has appeal to people beyond eight year old girls and forty year old house wives.

    H) Scott Pilgrim’s staff seems to have a genuine interest in the story and the things that inspired it, several people involved in Twilight admit that they despise the stories and are only in it for the cash.

    You know what’s really Twilight for boys? Porn. Because if I want poor writing, awful acting, shitty camera work, and bare chested women prancing around, I’ll just watch porn. The only difference is, men don’t act like porn is art.

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    Ha ha ha, holy shit!

    I am re-thinking seeing this movie in a theater if I’m going to be surrounded by these assholes. Much better to watch it from my couch in a few months.

    ProTip: Your likes/dislikes of popular culture must not define you; they are but one small side of what should be a multifaceted personality. Divorce yourself from the things you enjoy or you risk becoming a total lamer douchebag that nobody wants to sit with on the bus.

  • amanohyo

    Thanks for taking the time to write that SpecterM91. Most of those are good points, and I agree that the comparison to Twilight seems a bit harsh. But, not having seen either movie yet, I can’t say for sure.

    E) I’m not clear on this one. Is it the impossibility or the graphic nature of this scene that disturbs you?

    G) This is only point I can dispute right now. I despise Twilight, but even I know that it appeals to girls and women of all ages, including large numbers of teens and twenty somethings (even a few guys I’m guessing).

    Men don’t act like porn is art, but do they act like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is art? Maybe MA was comparing the emotional response young men have when seeing Scott Pilgrim to the emotional response young women have when watching Twilight rather than comparing the quality of the acting and filmmaking?

    I don’t think she was making the comparison solely to bait trolls. She seems to be suggesting that Ramona is the fulfillment of immature male geek fantasies about women in the same way that Edward is the fulfillment of immature female geek fantasies about men. In the movie, is Ramona just an Edward for male geeks or does she have greater depth than Count Sparkula?

    @core1012003, you seem like a nice, intelligent young man – could I by any chance interest you in a subscription to this fine site? There’s an All Caps happy hour every Thursday night (exclamation points are on the house) if that sweetens the deal.

  • Martin

    Wow.

    Talk about poking a caged tiger.

  • Martin

    And by that I mean MaryAnn upsetting all those poor, insecure fanboys.

    Damn my regret and damn the lack of an edit button.

  • SpecterM91

    Thanks for taking the time to write that SpecterM91. Most of those are good points, and I agree that the comparison to Twilight seems a bit harsh. But, not having seen either movie yet, I can’t say for sure.

    E) I’m not clear on this one. Is it the impossibility or the graphic nature of this scene that disturbs you?

    G) This is only point I can dispute right now. I despise Twilight, but even I know that it appeals to girls and women of all ages, including large numbers of teens and twenty somethings (even a few guys I’m guessing).

    Men don’t act like porn is art, but do they act like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is art? Maybe MA was comparing the emotional response young men have when seeing Scott Pilgrim to the emotional response young women have when watching Twilight rather than comparing the quality of the acting and filmmaking?

    I don’t think she was making the comparison solely to bait trolls. She seems to be suggesting that Ramona is the fulfillment of immature male geek fantasies about women in the same way that Edward is the fulfillment of immature female geek fantasies about men. In the movie, is Ramona just an Edward for male geeks or does she have greater depth than Count Sparkula?

    Not a problem, I apologize if things got too heated, like someone up above said, seeing a creature I grew up with turn from a suave Bella Lugosi or Christopher Lee style villain to a sparkly pedophile irks me.

    As for the E point, it’s a little bit of both. For one, it’s needlessly graphic and disgusting. I can watch something like Flowers of Flesh and Blood or Let the Right One In or The Thing and have no problem with the amount of gore. Why? Because they set a tone that makes gore and violence feel a bit more expected. A tweenage romance about non-vampires and dog-men fighting over a cardboard cutout does not. So having a sudden, pointlessly bloody birth in which a “fountain of blood” is vomited by the mother to be and her womb is popped open like a pinata with her man’s fangs is just annoying.

    To make matters worse, the damn chest burster wannabe is an impossibility, even in a world where vampires sparkle in the sun. They make it clear the the “vampires” are totally dead, right down to the baby batter cells. I don’t care what kind of “venom” deus ex machina Meyer pulled out of her ass, the freeze dried man milk of hundreds years dead “vampire” is not impregnating anyone. It’s one thing to build up a terrible mythos around a creature that’s existed in popular culture for a hundred years, but it’s another thing entire to disregard your own nonsense just to give your main character’s runner up non-boyfriend some underage poon of his own.

    For G, you’re right, but my own personal anecdotal evidence makes it kind of hard to me to agree. A friend of mine has been a literature nut and a vampire fangirl since she could read, but she’d rather her tits eaten off by fire ants than sit through another Twilight book or movie. Hell, her little sisters are the same and they’re significantly younger. It seems like every female I know between the ages of eighteen and thirty dislikes the series, but anyone above or below worships it.

    I don’t think any Scott Pilgrim fan, none that I personally know at least, treat the books as art. They’re seen as a quirky love story full of gaming references and nonsense. I doubt the creator himself sees it as some kind of art piece. It’s more of a fan wank than anything, just a fun romp. It doesn’t exactly take itself seriously, and I doubt many of its readers do. But again, I personally don’t enjoy the books much myself, but I can admit that they’re fairly high quality and accomplish exactly what they want.

    But I personally wouldn’t compare the emotional response, or the message, of Scott Pilgrim to that of Twilight myself. Both give an unrealistic look at a relationship between two strange people, but despite all its insanity, Scott and Ramona seem a lot more “real” and understandable. You can feel a connection between the two that goes beyond “you’re purdy and sparkly!” and “you’re bland but I can’t read your mind!” No one should take relationship advice from either series, but I think SP’s is healthier.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but from every source but here I hear the differences between it and the books are minimal. Based on what I’ve read of the series, Ramona seems like a bit of an anti-Edward. She doesn’t fall for Scott, exactly, she’s just kind of with him in a very loose way. She runs out on her past boyfriends, she straight up says “I’m not going to have sex with you, Scott Pilgrim” with a smile as if it’s a taunt in the first book (kind of cute, and much less melodramatic than Ed’s chastity), she doesn’t use Scott or obsess over him like Edward, she doesn’t spend the whole book prancing about shirtless and showing off how awesome and perfect she is, and she’s just a likable character rather than a blow up doll with glitter and painted on abs.

    Let me put it like this; I’m not attacking the reviewer here, she can obviously piece together a sentence, she obviously knows what she’s talking about. But this doesn’t feel like a review at all, that’s my problem. I’m not pissed because I’m a Scott Pilgrim fan, I’m pissed because when I review something I try my best to look at it in a non-biased, fair way (ie. “while I personally didn’t like this, some of you may,” etc), and cover every detail I can. But she’s written something here that tells us nothing of the actual quality of the film, no real critiques, and no real criticisms. This is just a platform for her to rant about something completely unrelated to the movie, and that’s unprofessional bullshit. On top of that, she specifically insults her own readers for disagreeing with her. (You can argue about the wording, but claiming that a movie is only enjoyed by man-children is a straight insult)

    This is not a professional review, this is well made disguise for a rant. There’s nothing wrong with ranting about things like discrimination, mind you, but don’t bring it into a movie review, give it its own space.

  • MaryAnn

    I’m pissed because when I review something I try my best to look at it in a non-biased, fair way (ie. “while I personally didn’t like this, some of you may,” etc), and cover every detail I can.

    SpecterM91, there’s certainly room for that kind of criticism in the pop culture sphere. In fact, that’s what *most* of the criticism is like. I specifically set out, 13 years ago, to do something different. This is and always has been my thesis: to look at movies in the larger cultural context. I have always made it absolutely clear that I am biased, and that I don’t know how to not be biased. And I am upfront about those biases so that everyone knows where I’m coming from.

    I appreciate that not everyone is going to share my biases. That would be impossible. I also don’t find it interesting — for me myself as a writer — to say something like “While I personally didn’t like this, some of you may.” That applies to absolutely everything about which people can have an opinion, and it should go without saying. So I don’t see how that can possibly be useful to my readers.

    I’m doing something different here. It’s deliberate. I don’t expect it to appeal to everyone. I’m not *trying* to appeal to everyone.

    I hope you’ll stick around, maybe read some reviews of films we both like and see if you find them interesting or provocative. But if you don’t find them interesting or provocative, then you should find another critic that works for you. Because this is what I do.

  • SpecterM91

    SpecterM91, there’s certainly room for that kind of criticism in the pop culture sphere. In fact, that’s what *most* of the criticism is like. I specifically set out, 13 years ago, to do something different. This is and always has been my thesis: to look at movies in the larger cultural context. I have always made it absolutely clear that I am biased, and that I don’t know how to not be biased. And I am upfront about those biases so that everyone knows where I’m coming from.

    I appreciate that not everyone is going to share my biases. That would be impossible. I also don’t find it interesting — for me myself as a writer — to say something like “While I personally didn’t like this, some of you may.” That applies to absolutely everything about which people can have an opinion, and it should go without saying. So I don’t see how that can possibly be useful to my readers.

    I’m doing something different here. It’s deliberate. I don’t expect it to appeal to everyone. I’m not *trying* to appeal to everyone.

    I hope you’ll stick around, maybe read some reviews of films we both like and see if you find them interesting or provocative. But if you don’t find them interesting or provocative, then you should find another critic that works for you. Because this is what I do.

    I agree, there should be room for pop culture criticism, especially when it comes to discrimination and why it’s so easily accepted in our movies. The thing is, those kinds of criticisms belong in a blog dedicated to that and that only. If you claim to do reviews, then you need to stick to reviews, not ranting and raving about something that has no business in a movie review. If this kind of article was posted as a backup to expand upon the review, then that would be fantastic. But the two should not be merged together.

    It should go without saying, but you obviously don’t may much attention to your own comments if you think it actually works that way. You need to be specific, you need to give details, you need to explain to people why YOU feel this way about something and why it’s okay for THEM to think differently. You can’t boil something down to “this is a movie, I don’t like it because it goes against my beliefs in some sense, you shouldn’t like it either because I find it offensive.” That’s not how a review works, it’s as bad as Ebert spending the entirety of his Kick-Ass review whining about Chloe Moretz’ character, it’s just unprofessional.

    You shouldn’t have to TRY and appeal to everyone, people with similar views should naturally flock together when it comes to things like this. But the thing is, you should try to appeal to your group while at least humoring the other groups, otherwise you come off as narrow minded and far too opinionated. Your work should appeal to your group, but not outright insult groups who feel differently.

    I’ve read a handful more and I can honestly say that there would be no point in me sticking around. If you can’t go one “review” without dragging the “why isn’t every main character in existence a woman?” complaint, then there’s no reason to keep reading. I just feel disheartened explaining this nonsense, because I simply run a blog on ScrewAttack, I don’t have some huge community or awards, but somehow I come off as more professional and fair. When a random blogger has to tell a “professional” why its wrong to insult their readers, there’s obviously something that needs fixing.

  • Jurgan

    “If you can’t go one “review” without dragging the “why isn’t every main character in existence a woman?” complaint,”

    Wow, nice strawman there. Is that a square on the bingo card?

    Can I also ask, why do people care if a movie gets 100% on RT? I accept something in the 90′s as near perfect- is it that important that EVERYONE agree with you?

  • JohnnyInc

    I watched the movie last night. Pretty cool. Loved Scott’s roomate and Aubrey Plaza. The fights were well done too. Overall, I think it is a movie that I’ll buy when it comes out on DVD.

  • bats :[

    230 comments! Just like AICN!! Wooo!

    (Please don’t ban me, MaryAnn :)

  • JoshB

    If you claim to do reviews, then you need to stick to reviews, not ranting and raving about something that has no business in a movie review. If this kind of article was posted as a backup to expand upon the review, then that would be fantastic. But the two should not be merged together.

    What are you even talking about? Why on earth are you attaching a moral imperative to movie review methodology? Does it hurt you in some way that the focus of these reviews is on cultural relevance rather than cinematography?

    You need to be specific, you need to give details, you need to explain to people why YOU feel this way

    She was specific, she did give details, she did explain why SHE feels this way.

    and why it’s okay for THEM to think differently.

    So what she needs to do is set aside a space in every single review to balm the wounded pride of everyone who disagrees with her?

    Or in the alternative, everyone who disagrees can pretend that they’re emotionally secure adults who don’t need their opinions validated by another. But nah, why do that when you can throw a fit in the comments section.

    That’s not how a review works

    You lack imagination. There is no one way that a review works. Reviews were invented by humans and they can be changed by humans.

    otherwise you come off as narrow minded and far too opinionated.

    There is no such thing as “too opinionated,” except in the vulnerable egos of man-children (and woman-children, if you insists on fairness).

    If you can’t go one “review” without dragging the “why isn’t every main character in existence a woman?” complaint, then there’s no reason to keep reading.

    Yes, I agree. If your reading comprehension is that bad, then there’s no reason to keep reading. Faulty reading comprehension = pointless to bother reading. Totally fair statement.

  • Matthew Morse

    After reading (and being a fan of) the comic, my big fear was that the movie would go wrong in precisely the ways you say it goes wrong. I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I don’t know if you would agree with me that the comic gets it right, but your review has certainly reinforced my nervousness about the movie.

  • SpecterM91

    What are you even talking about? Why on earth are you attaching a moral imperative to movie review methodology? Does it hurt you in some way that the focus of these reviews is on cultural relevance rather than cinematography?

    She was specific, she did give details, she did explain why SHE feels this way.

    So what she needs to do is set aside a space in every single review to balm the wounded pride of everyone who disagrees with her?

    Or in the alternative, everyone who disagrees can pretend that they’re emotionally secure adults who don’t need their opinions validated by another. But nah, why do that when you can throw a fit in the comments section.

    You lack imagination. There is no one way that a review works. Reviews were invented by humans and they can be changed by humans.

    There is no such thing as “too opinionated,” except in the vulnerable egos of man-children (and woman-children, if you insists on fairness).

    Yes, I agree. If your reading comprehension is that bad, then there’s no reason to keep reading. Faulty reading comprehension = pointless to bother reading. Totally fair statement.

    No, it doesn’t hurt me, but this is supposed to be a review of a movie, not a rant. If this is being counted by sites like Rotten Tomatoes, then it needs to actually critique the movie as a movie. If this was just a personal thing for someone’s blog, then they can knock themselves out. But the second it’s factored in with other reviews, certain things need to be addressed. This is a movie, if you’re critiquing it, you kind of have to factor in music, acting, writing, choreography, so on and so forth. Otherwise, like I’ve said, it devolves into something that shouldn’t count as a review, because it’s offering no real insight into the film itself, just vague complaints about the supposed ideology behind it.

    She was specific about why it “offended” her. She never explained why you should skip it beyond the fact that it goes against some of her personal beliefs. You have to be fair when recommending a movie or telling people why they shouldn’t bother with it. If she had pointed out WHY it’s worth skipping to people other than herself, then there wouldn’t be a problem. If she didn’t like the over the top style of the fight, the dialogue, the acting, the music, and so on, this would be a fine review. But that’s not how things went down here. She just questioned the entire concept while making no actual critiques of the movie.

    I won’t even go into the irony of you whining about fits when you’re acting about as civil here as half the other bitchy commentators. The thing is, why should someone just grin and bear it when something they enjoy is misunderstood and attacked because of that misunderstanding? Like I said, I don’t even like the Scott Pilgrim books, I doubt the movie is some kind of masterpiece, but I understand why people are annoyed. Do you want someone insulting you because you enjoy a movie or book? If someone called you a basement dwelling virgin for enjoying 2001, would you nod politely and say “I respect your opinion and your attack is both fair and balanced, good job” with a smile? No, you wouldn’t, no one would. People will defend what they enjoy, and if someone has the right to attack it, they have the right to defend it.

    I don’t lack imagination, I just want structure. When I read a review of a film, I expect actual critiques about the movie itself, not endless complaints about the overall concept and a rant about it. There’s nothing imaginative or original about neglecting to mention damn near everything involved in a movie when you’re claiming to critique it.

    As for the rest of your post, I’m not even bothering. I’ve made my point well enough, I think, I may reply to other people if they act civil, but you aren’t worth it.

  • MaryAnn

    This is a movie, if you’re critiquing it, you kind of have to factor in music, acting, writing, choreography, so on and so forth.

    Those things are factored into my response. And I do mention things like style and humor and cleverness. They are not enough to overcome my visceral reaction to the story the film is telling, and the attitudes it evinces. A beautiful film telling an ugly story is still an ugly film.

    If she had pointed out WHY it’s worth skipping to people other than herself, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

    But that’s exactly what I did: I said the movie is clever and stylish but uses that style to tell a repellent story. And I explained, specifically, what I found repellent about it. It doesn’t take a lot of reading between the lines for someone to figure out that if the idea of a woman as a prize doesn’t bother them, or if they don’t want to let it bother them, they’ll probably like this movie.

  • DaveC
  • JoshB

    Do you want someone insulting you because you enjoy a movie or book? If someone called you a basement dwelling virgin for enjoying 2001, would you nod politely and say “I respect your opinion and your attack is both fair and balanced, good job” with a smile?

    I wouldn’t care. People insult things I like all the time. MaryAnn has insulted movies that I like. It doesn’t bother me one bit.

    If the critique was boring I wouldn’t even respond. If the critique was interesting I might argue about it, but it wouldn’t be a hyperemotional sobfest like what you’re defending. I’d argue because it’s fun to argue.

    Here, knock yourself out: My favorite movie is LOTR. My favorite band is Tool. I’m very emotionally attached to both. See if you can hurt my feelings (you can’t).

    She was specific about why it “offended” her. She never explained why you should skip it beyond the fact that it goes against some of her personal beliefs.

    See, this is exactly what I mean by faulty reading comprehension. She’s not panning it because it “goes against some of her personal beliefs” but because it’s full of boring, passive, and/or immature characters. If they were allowed to express a fuller, more mature range of real human emotion and interaction then they would be more interesting.

    Unfeminist cultural attitudes = boring characters (of both genders) = not good movie.

    Here, read her review of Inception. Inception is not a “feminist” movie. It even has mostly male characters, including a male star. See any “ranting” there?

    Kinda annihilates your whole point. MAJ doesn’t pan unfeminist movies unless the unfeminism becomes a problem to the storytelling.

  • http://xanga.com/thepitts Thera Pitts

    I’m a girl, I found the movie delightful and the female characters kickass(I especially love that there wasn’t one girl there to represent all womanhood like in the A-Team or The Losers, which pisses me off way more than a few cool female supporting characters who aren’t the focus of the story but are still featured heavily). I don’t think my reason for liking the film is because I buy into patriarchal bullshit, but I suppose if I did I wouldn’t realize it. My reasons for liking the film are because it was hilarious, creative, visually stunning and full of fun characters. I actually loved Scott, whom you found bland. I thought he was sort of weird and adorable, if a bit of a dick at the beginning. As for your belief that there aren’t any graphic novels with women front and center, well, there are quite a few. They may not get translated to the screen but I hardly see how that is the fault of the people writing them. Although I disagree almost completely with your review, I agree that there aren’t enough stories about women in Hollywood. I like that you are so unfliching in your rallying against this problem, I just don’t think that Scott Pilgrim is a viable Target for your derision.

  • MaryAnn

    I don’t think my reason for liking the film is because I buy into patriarchal bullshit, but I suppose if I did I wouldn’t realize it. My reasons for liking the film are because it was hilarious, creative, visually stunning and full of fun characters.

    So, you were either able to ignore that patriarchal bullshit, or you didn’t think it was patriarchal bullshit, or you didn’t care that it was patriarchal bullshit — all of which are perfectly valid — and enjoy the film. But I wasn’t. It’s as simple as that.

    As for your belief that there aren’t any graphic novels with women front and center, well, there are quite a few. They may not get translated to the screen but I hardly see how that is the fault of the people writing them.

    No, that is not the fault of the people writing them. I didn’t say that it was (or perhaps I misrepresented what I wanted to say if I did). It is certainly Hollywood’s fault that it ignores those comics over ones that focus on male characters, and it’s even worse (and I’m repeating myself again) when it takes a comic that does feature (or so everyone says) strong women and waters them down.

    Try reading this and get back to us

    I have already read that, and I’m not sure what you expect me to say in response. This is hardly the first time I’ve “reviewed the audience,” and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

    In this case, here we have a film that is explicitly about a very young man whom — even his defenders admit — is a jerk, who has to learn how to be not a jerk. Even if you *love* the movie, I don’t see how you can say that this film is NOT about male adolescent sexuality, or that his journey takes the form of a videogame. I’m being told here that the videogame is a metaphor for Scott’s growing up, and that this is a good thing.

    Now, I’m not saying that reading comic books or playing video games is necessarily a childish thing. I’m saying that how *this particular story is told* is a childish representation of something that, even the lovers of the film concede, is about growing up. I can understand why young men’s Scott’s age might like this. I don’t understand why older men who presumably have already grown up still like it… unless they’re regressing to an adolescent mindset to do so.

    I don’t think an adult man who likes playing videogames is childish. I do think an adult man who sees romance as a videogame probably is.

    Again, just my opinion. I keep assuming that doesn’t need to be said. Perhaps it does.

  • Jim Mann

    The thing is, those kinds of criticisms belong in a blog dedicated to that and that only. If you claim to do reviews, then you need to stick to reviews, not ranting and raving about something that has no business in a movie review.

    You have a very narrow definition of the word review.

  • Xenos

    Well the trick to me is that in Twilight the author believes her tween fantasy, that Edward really is so damn wonderful and Bella should be so disturbingly dependent and doe eyed on him. Meanwhile O’Malley knows full well that Scott is a very flawed character. He really is a horrible person and comes to realize it. To be fair, after seeing a pre-screening, I’m not sure if it comes across as clear in the film. Plus I’m not sure if younger fans will notice it or just be dazzled by the video game topes and fights and think that’s all there is to winning a girl. Still, unlike Twilight, the fantasy here is aware of itself and has a texture of biting irony behind it.

    Now Ramona isn’t as fleshed out as in the full six book series, but I thought she stood out as more than a trophy. Plus it’s the movie’s sly deconstructing the trope in games, as well as movies, of rescuing the princess from the final boss. Plus a number of other female characters fill the screen. Never mind that this is a very gay friendly movie with Culkin’s Wallace stealing the scenes. Neither is really part of a typical male ‘Twilight’ fantasy.

    Reading the early volumes, I was reminded of the fell of a favorite film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The ending of the books and film cemented that feeling. It made me think, Hey, here’s two messed up lovers walking away at the end who might just find happiness.

    Oh and at the two pre-screenings I caught, there were a number of female fans. Some even dressed up as characters like Kim or the drummer from Clash at Demonhead who was barely in the film. Plus let’s not perpetrate the myth that girls don’t play games. They’re different in their gaming, but they are there and certainly would be fans of the old 8-bit generation this movie heavily plays with.

  • MaryAnn

    Plus let’s not perpetrate the myth that girls don’t play games. They’re different in their gaming, but they are there and certainly would be fans of the old 8-bit generation this movie heavily plays with.

    Who is perpetuating that myth?

    I played 8-bit games way back when.

    Girls don’t play this *Scott Pilgrim,* game, though. Only Scott gets to play.

  • http://xanga.com/thepitts Thera Pitts

    So, you were either able to ignore that patriarchal bullshit, or you didn’t think it was patriarchal bullshit, or you didn’t care that it was patriarchal bullshit — all of which are perfectly valid — and enjoy the film. But I wasn’t. It’s as simple as that.

    I’d go with the middle option. Either way, I won’t let something as silly as you feeling a different way about a movie than I do (which has happened more than once) keep me from following your awesome reviews.

  • HeadphoneGuy

    Come on guys do we really need to over analyze this, Scott Pilgrim is suppose to be someone the viewer/reader can place him/herself into and see the exboy friends as the obstacles keeping them from their own “Ramona”. Not to mention in the book Scott pilgrim realizes the type of person he is and all the effects are suppose to be game references thats a big part of that series. Also I’m not sure how breaking the 4th wall translates into the film but i liked it in the book. This is a film i haven’t seen but know i will love.

  • Daniel Williams

    Ok. I think I speak on behalf of all the people to at least make it pubically known why we and many more people coming in after me are even here in the first place. Its not because of a horrible review of a good or bad movie. Its because of those four words you started this review.

    “It’s Twilight for boys.”

    Of course you’ll have some people that already have a problem with your review from the serious side of things but the reason why we’re mostly here and why you’re on a trolling fail site is that one statement. I’m not asking you to change it but really? Where are the vampire chicks
    who are afraid of giving you a blow job because of their teeth and the werewolves that make you question if you’re a furry or not? WHERE I ASK YOU?! WHERE?!

    If you want “It’s Twilight for boys.” its right here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-8kSszZwbI
    That’s Twilight for guys. Its not really twilight? Well that’s “Twilight for boys” and it seems to make complete sense to me seeing as this is the polar opposite of twilight. Oh wait. Twilight had a smart girl who was too stupid to deal with RL bullshit. So she ended up sucking off a vampire. Is that what Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is? A guy choosing between necrophilia and beastiality? No. Its not. So why compare the two? But meh. Just keep a lookout for the people who begin their comments with “Twilight for boys” k?

    Thank you for your time.

  • Lucy Gillam

    I got about halfway through the comments before giving up in despair, so let me just say this: MaryAnn, as the person who annoyingly persists in pointing out things like the fact that a given movie has exactly one named female character, THANK YOU, and keep on doing this. I used to hope that my daughter wouldn’t be typing this same kind of movie review when she’s the age I am now. Now, I just hope more people might be listening when she does. So for her and me, please keep being the voice pointing out this patriarchal crap.

  • Paul

    One reply, and then I’m done, I swear:

    “So you can’t make a movie that simultaneously references those conventions and acknowledges how screwed up they are (hopefully even playfully subverting them)? Bullshit.”

    You certainly can. And this movie certainly did.

    Again, and maybe I’m just not making this point clearly: This is SCOTT’S paradigm. This is not MY paradigm. The kid thinks this way, so that’s how the universe of the movie operates. Is it immature? Fuck. Yes. He starts the movie as an anti-hero… no, not even as that, he’s a NON-hero who doesn’t DO anything. Does he move past it in the end? Yes, I think he does. He takes his sweet, sweet time getting there, but he grows up.

    The characters and stories of gaming influence the way people perceive the world, and it’s usually a black-and-white view. The thing you have to defeat in order to proceed is a Bad Guy. Your character improves and the enemies get harder. If you’re raised on these games/stories, it makes perfectly flawed sense to envision this crisis of extended adolescence in this manner. Other than play in a band, that’s all Scott does. He sees his life in terms of that B&W worldview.

    What Scott’s actually fighting are aspects of himself that he needs to overcome if he’s ever going to become an adult — at least that’s how the whole damn thing appears to me, YMMV. And to this end, Ramona kicks Scott’s ass HARD. She’s the reason he put skin in this game, and she’s the reason he keeps fighting to change who he is. She doesn’t go gentle on him. She’s not a Manic Pixie Girl who’ll simply accept him as he is, fucked-up psyche be damned. She doesn’t have more agency than this because the story isn’t about her — it’s about Scott’s quest to grow the hell up. Ramona’s more of a guide who also happens to be a love interest. Ramona’s take on the story would invert itself, and would be an interesting tale as well, but it wouldn’t be THIS one.

    Again, it doesn’t seem that MAJ has a problem with the movie so much as with the script. She finds the story repugnant, specifically, this premise that Ramona is a prize to be won. She’s not. Ramona’s the Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City, the White Rabbit, the MacGuffin that starts Scott down the REAL storyline. “Getting the girl” is the B-plot in disguise. The prize is adulthood and he has to defeat seven aspects of himself to get there. Hell, the last enemy is all about treating women as programmable sex dolls. He defeats this. There’s your subversion of gaming tropes AND your support of feminism in one scene.

    And this is why I get so tired of so-called “male privilege” bash-fests: Yes, it exists, but nowhere near as much as folks like to claim. To paraphrase Ramona, we all bring our baggage with us, and it’s laid out pretty clearly on this thread — by ALL parties, self included. Male, female, trans, cis, whatever, it doesn’t factor into it. We’re all carrying truckloads of it here.

    So enjoy the movie. Or don’t enjoy the movie. Your call. There’ll be better ones in the future to coo about, and worse ones to tear your garments over. But I find the whole thing about as subversive as you don’t.

  • Chris

    I honestly thought the point of the movie was how Scott stopped being the male that you seemed to hate, Jason Schwartzman’s character is suppose to be the ultimate douche that you always rail against, who does see Ramona as a possession. But this is textbook Mary Ann, who flat out admits that the movie is funny (which I thought was the most important aspect of a comedy film) and instead allows her own elitist views to trash her credibility as a respectable critic. She cant put bias aside, the biggest being her sexist views towards men, which means movies like Eat, Pray, Love get a pass just because they are about a woman’s self empowerment (which I have no problem with) and trashes movies such as this because not every fucking male character is Prince Charming. Here is an idea Mary Ann no sex is perfect. Women see men as possesions as well, which is why a lot of times good honest guys dont get the girl, simply because the girl would rather have the sexier looking asshole than someone who may actually care more about her in the long run.

  • IMNINJA808

    I stand corrected. You have been raped by the internet. Take your fem goggles off and realize this is Scott Pilgrim 23 year old slackers fantasy land, not eat, pray, love! I think youre looking to deeply in the wrong areas, your fem goggles are giving you tunnel vision and you didnt fully enjoy the experience. Im finding this quite common with scott pilgrim reviews, focusing on something not entirely movie related then nitpicking the crap out of it and giving it a shitty review. I guess thats why youre the best online movie reviewer. Typical troll.

  • TZarek

    I can understand why young men’s Scott’s age might like this. I don’t understand why older men who presumably have already grown up still like it… unless they’re regressing to an adolescent mindset to do so.

    And what you’re not even attempting to fathom to understand, what you’re conveniently and increasingly dishonestly avoiding, is why so many WOMEN, young and old, enjoy this story that deeply resonates with them.

    For the reference, I just got back from a screening. My audience was packed with both genders, and some of the loudest responses and applause at the end came from girls.

  • Admiral Snackbar

    I think this review says everything I want to about the film while doubling as a great defense of the books (to which the film, energetic as it is, doesn’t nearly match up): http://www.factualopinion.com/the_factual_opinion/2010/07/too-many-movies-a-big-fat-metaphorical-construct-for-certain-things.html

    It also says much the same thing as MaryAnn, that Ramona is denied agency in the face of Scott Pilgrim becoming a stereotypical slacker hero of the kind Cusack cursed us with twenty-five years ago. Hate to spoil the books, but here’s the thing: that last fight against Gideon? In Volume Six, the fight is Gideon against Scott AND Ramona. And it’s about more than swords and choreography, it’s immersed in the character dynamics, like all the fights in the books. Joe McCulloch has it right in that review when he mentions that the key moment in Volume Six was when Ramona returns to “share revelatory space with Scott.” She gets an equal number of big heroic moments in that book. It’s less about Scott learning to be a man than it is about her dealing with her baggage (that star bag she carries? It explodes in that fight, which is such a great visual metaphor I’m shocked the film didn’t use it), and the two of them leaning how to understand each other. It killed me that the movie took all that away from her, especially when Mary Elizabeth Winstead just dead-on nails the part. Like, that first date scene, when she’s talking about her baggage? Watch her face, it’s pretty stunning to see her let out that depth of feeling as if it’s an accident, as if she didn’t mean to.

    In case I wasn’t explicit enough, don’t use your distaste for the film to neglect reading the comics. They use the framework to tell a story with a much larger scope, a more thorough upending of genre conventions, and a far greater depth of characterization.

    There’s flashes of brilliance in the movie: in Winstead’s performance (and Culkin’s); in using Broken Social Scene’s Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl as Knives Chau’s personal soundtrack – a song with so much weight to it already that using any more of it than the opening line would’ve stopped the movie dead; and especially in that eerie and beautiful desolation of the winter night shots on the first date. The movie broke open for me for that one scene and filled the room in the same way the comics do, because Wright shoots it like Scott and Ramona are the only two people on earth, and recognizes that the two of them together in a vacuum is exactly what they want and exactly the most dangerous thing they could have at that point, because until they sort themselves out it inevitably leads to them alone in their own heads. Given that scene, I expected a better understanding of the source material.

    I know I’m rambling, but here’s a great shorthand for the differences. In the film, Scott practically knights/blesses Young Neil by ceremonially removing the “Young” from his name. In the book, Scott casually introduces him to another person as just Neil, because he realizes that he’s totally neglected the kid and Neil deserves better treatment. It’s Neil’s happiest moment, but it’s just a quiet act of basic decency from Scott. The books are about gaining that kind of nuanced understanding into other people. The movie’s about kicking ass and being a Man. Like we didn’t have enough of those stories already.

  • NSM

    @TZarek

    What you’ve mentioned is what I find so odd about this review; the insistence that it’s targeted at young men when it seems to be, at least conceptually, a movie which appeals to both genders. The implication seems to be that filmmakers are totally fine with alienating half of a movie’s fanbase for the sake of “manchild appeal.” I find that to be an incoherent argument.

    If someone is going to argue that this movie is targeted at young males, then it’s fair to ask how it was targeted. What aspect of its marketing campaign indicates that this was the audience they had in mind when promoting it?

    Beyond that, MaryAnn says constantly that she is reviewing the movie and not the source material, which presumably invalidates the criticism leveled by some posters. But she has also explicitly stated that the concept of a guy fighting off a girl’s exes is a part of what offended her about the movie, and this concept is lifted directly from the source material. She is, by extension, criticising the work on which the movie is based.

  • dddddddddd

    scott pilgrim is shit and anybody who says otherwise is shit too

  • JoshDM

    Winner of best of post of thread: Daniel Williams

  • MaryAnn

    Ramona’s the Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City, the White Rabbit, the MacGuffin that starts Scott down the REAL storyline.

    Oh, she’s the *MacGuffin*? Well, that makes it all better then.

    But she has also explicitly stated that the concept of a guy fighting off a girl’s exes is a part of what offended her about the movie, and this concept is lifted directly from the source material. She is, by extension, criticising the work on which the movie is based.

    No, I really am criticizing only the movie. It’s entirely possible that that same basic plot is dealt with in a way in the comics that would not offend me. I’m complaining about it *only* as it is dealt with in this movie.

    As for why so many women love this movie, I cannot possibly say. All I can repeat — again — is that either these women don’t see what I see in the story, or they don’t care. And that is their prerogative. But please don’t accuse me of “conveniently and increasingly dishonestly avoiding” anything. I’m not. I look at this movie, and I still see *Twilight* for boys. Saying that lots of girls and women like *Scott Pilgrim* is absolutely par for the course when it comes to movies: Women embrace movies about men, but men do not embrace movies about women. If a woman who likes geeky things and video games and and so on wants to enjoy a movie about those things, she has no choice but to enjoy *Scott Pilgrim,* because there simply isn’t another option for her.

    She cant put bias aside, the biggest being her sexist views towards men, which means movies like Eat, Pray, Love get a pass just because they are about a woman’s self empowerment (which I have no problem with) and trashes movies such as this because not every fucking male character is Prince Charming.

    I refuse to accept this criticsm. I often praise to high heavens movies about men with few or no female characters. I have prasied movies about men who not Prince Charming.

    I judge movies on their own merits. Which means I try not to let my frustration with the fact that most movies are about men spoil my experience of each individual movie. But this movie is supposed to be about a guy who grows up and gets a life *because of a woman*… and we learn next to nothing about that woman. And the very few things we *do* learn about her are exclusively about her relationships. If Scott sees anything at all in her beyond that she’s “hot,” we never learn it. Ramona exists *entirely* as a reflection of men. She’s supposed to be inspiring Scott, but we don’t know why or how she is inspiring him… except that she’s “hot.”

    In a story that’s supposed to be about a man *and* a woman, how is that justifiable? Perhaps it works for male viewers, because they’re used to this trope: that all a woman has to be is a pretty body standing around waiting for them. Perhaps it works for some female viewers, because they’ve resigned themselves to the fact that this is the role women are relegated to in most movies.

    But I refuse not to howl about this when it comes to this specific movie. This specific movie should not be allowed to get away with being the same old shit. If it wants to subvert conventions, then it fucking well has to actually *subvert* them, not embrace them.

  • greatjustgreat

    maryann:

    just to let you know you’re not alone here, i was pretty repulsed when i had the concept of scott pilgrim explained to me. and just to let you know that the tropes in these types of stories actually DO bleed over into real life, i had the concept explained to me by a guy who was breaking up with me – as a way of letting me know what he was going through. his reason for breaking things off? i had had as many sexual partners as he had, and he liked me SO MUCH that he “couldn’t deal with it.” i think there *is* something detrimental to heterosexual relationships in this portrayal of women’s sexual histories as bad and scary. i wasn’t a blank canvas when i met this guy i really liked, and he freaked. now, i actually would love to see this movie, since i’m a big fan of lots of the people involved, but i feel like i would spend the entire two hours remembering how it felt to get called a whore. i guess i should have thought about that before all those dudes i fucked.

    to commenters who are giving her shit:

    there was a recent development in literary criticism and film studies called “deconstruction.” what it means is that you can take apart the surface structure of a work of art in order to examine its assumptions. it is fairly standard practice in many schools, which are not accessible via your gaming console. thx.

  • Tyler

    I’ve just read about half of the comments (and spent way too much time doing so!), and I’ve come to the conclusion that MaryAnn has zero concept of subtext and judges movies with a bold feminist agenda as her critical albatross. I hope whoever is paying her to do this is reading these comments. This woman does not deserve her job.

  • I get to pick my own name? Cool.

    I wasn’t going to see this movie. Now, I’m going to see it. And let me tell you, I will enjoy every frame of this film knowing that by seeing and liking it, I will be pissing you off. Doesn’t matter if the movie is good or bad, it will be quite enjoyable knowing that I am seeing something that you don’t want me to. Childish? Of course I’m childish! And I will continue to behave in this way. There is nothing you or anyone else can do about it.

  • NSM

    Oh, she’s the *MacGuffin*? Well, that makes it all better then.

    This wasn’t referring to my post, but do you think Alice in Wonderland is offensive to rabbits, or that the use of the White Rabbit is part of a pro-human agenda?

    If a woman who likes geeky things and video games and and so on wants to enjoy a movie about those things, she has no choice but to enjoy *Scott Pilgrim,* because there simply isn’t another option for her.

    This argument is absurdly convoluted. A woman has no choice but to enjoy Scott Pilgrim? So that makes you the arbiter of what women should and shouldn’t enjoy, regardless of what they think they enjoy? That’s…well, it’s anti-feminist and vaguely conspiratorial. It’s like the 9/11 truthers who insist that those who don’t buy their arguments are blinded by their desire to conform.

    Also, the argument that you’ve made is that the movie is targeted at young men. Why would marketers of movies (who are presumably rather good at their jobs) intentionally alienate a group of people who form a large portion of the built-in fanbase? It just doesn’t make sense to me and I see no evidence that this was the case.

  • Vanter

    The Princess analogy has been used by so many people.
    It is the foundation of her character.
    So, a princess in a tower, kept their by the dragon. Traditionally, Dragons hoarded treasure, so yes, you could read between the lines and see Ramona as a “trophy” to be won.
    And as for why doesn’t Ramon deal with her Exes, why doesn’t the princess deal with the dragon?
    And I believe Ramona did have to fight one of Scott’s girlfriends, also?
    This movie is a tribute to what thousands, what millions grew up to. Rock and Roll, Video Games, Kung Fu Movies, Girls.
    Go back to the roots. Criticise the Beatles. The parents. If you are a Christian, go back and criticise Satan for rebelling.
    Ever since I saw the trailer, I’ve been addicted to seeing this. . .
    And now I’ve made almost no sense. Scattered Thoughts.

  • herpderp

    I read this expecting a movie review, not an essay on the roles women play in modern media. If this were meant to be just a general piece of writing that didn’t aim to review Scott Pilgrim and merely use it as an example, I doubt that anyone would have gotten worked up over it.

    This just seems to have used a troll’s tactics. It’s like you knew people would read this if you mentioned Scott Pilgrim and used that as bait to draw readers in. Not only has this spread through blogs but it’s incited the wrath of 4chan. Frankly, at this point it seems like attention-whoring instead of reviewing.

  • sage

    sage

  • I_Sell_Books

    ZOMFG this has to have some of the most bullshitty comments I’ve read since I stopped reading comment threads on CNN.

    Mary Ann, I am really sorry so many of these people don’t understand wtf you’re saying. you keep repeating yourself and they still don’t get it. I’ve been reading FF for a long time – at least 8 – 9 years, and you’ve disliked some of my fave flicks, and hell, I’ve even agreed with a lot of what you’ve said about those flicks, but I would never imagine calling you ‘feminazi’ or lazy or stupid because of that disagreement.

    For the love of [insert deity here].

  • Vanter

    I’m back with a better comment.
    I can see the perspective she is coming from.
    In Twilight, Men are prizes.
    In Scott Pilgrim, Women are prizes.
    So, to say that it shares some qualities with Twilight is true.
    To say that it *is* the Twilight for Men, doesn’t work.
    And saying that Scott Pilgrim is only for men, is like saying that Twilight is only for girls.
    You yourself are pushing Gender Roles on the very people you chastising for this.
    To conclude this, we all have prejudices. We can’t get rid of them, they are a part of us. We can control what we do about them, though.

  • Lisa

    Again, astonished by the stupidity of people on this board and the lack of basic reading comprehension skills. You are behaving exactly like the Twi-hards – exactly like them and then you refuse to recognise your own behaviour! Twilight for boys is an apt description.

  • CB

    This wasn’t referring to my post, but do you think Alice in Wonderland is offensive to rabbits, or that the use of the White Rabbit is part of a pro-human agenda?

    If anthropomorphic rabbit-men were a significant population of our society, and the White Rabbit was allegedly the second most important character that Alice didn’t just follow down the hole, but fell in love with and ultimately fought for… then yeah, you’d at least have to say that it was a throwback and not appropriate for a modern story.

    Also, you’d look like quite the idiot arguing that the White Rabbit wasn’t just a caricature and was really a finely nuanced and detailed character just like Alice.

    I mean you’re just about to call something “anti-feminist”, but here you’re going to act like you don’t understand why there’s such a thing as feminism, and not lagomorphism?

    This argument is absurdly convoluted. A woman has no choice but to enjoy Scott Pilgrim? So that makes you the arbiter of what women should and shouldn’t enjoy, regardless of what they think they enjoy? That’s…well, it’s anti-feminist and vaguely conspiratorial.

    Holy Reading Comprehension Failure, Batman!

    What she was saying is that there aren’t any movies like this that have fully-realized female characters, so if a woman was going to enjoy a movie of this type, wanted to enjoy a movie of this type, it’d have to be this one because there aren’t any others. So they’ll often overlook flaws, like the weakness of the female characters. Not that a woman has no choice in the matter.

    Kinda like how my SO really wanted to enjoy a movie about sexy vampires and sexier werewolves. So she did her best to overlook the flaws of the only movie in theaters that matched. Only this more so, because while there are plenty of other vampire/werewolf movies, there’s really nothing like Scott Pilgrim around.

    Which, on the bright side, means maybe this is the start of a new genre. Maybe someone will make the movie equivalent of Super Mario Bros 2 to Scott Pilgrim’s Super Mario Bros, where the Princess is a character and active participant in the story equal to the male protagonist.

    Also, the argument that you’ve made is that the movie is targeted at young men. Why would marketers of movies (who are presumably rather good at their jobs) intentionally alienate a group of people who form a large portion of the built-in fanbase? It just doesn’t make sense to me and I see no evidence that this was the case.

    Really? Because I see lots of evidence.

    For instance, the first quote you used was MAJ responding to someone who was defending the movie by insisting that Ramona was just the MacGuffin, and that’s why it’s okay that she isn’t a real person. Basically admitting the whole premise of MAJ’s complaint, but brushing it off.

    Even more telling is that nobody is able to defend Ramona’s character as being a fully-realized human being and not just a Princess Toadstool stand-in without referring to the comic. Sounds to me like pretty clear evidence the movie makers did fail to translate the comic to the screen without losing something essential!

    As to why? Because Hollywood tragically and stupidly thinks that the main audience of a video-game themed movie is young men, and that by making the story equally about the girl (as opposed to having her be either the MacGuffin or a slinky bad-ass sexpot — see other hollywood movies) they will alienate the young male audience.

    Oh but right. “Movie marketers” are so universally great at their jobs that there’s no way they could have done this, even if it appears to be the case.

  • CB

    The Princess analogy has been used by so many people.
    It is the foundation of her character.
    So, a princess in a tower, kept their by the dragon. Traditionally, Dragons hoarded treasure, so yes, you could read between the lines and see Ramona as a “trophy” to be won.

    I’ve only read the first two books of the comic, but no, that isn’t what she is in the comic.

    If that’s what she is in the movie, then MAJ is right and Hollywood adapted a great comic into yet another sexist movie.

    That’s all there is to it.

  • NSM

    If anthropomorphic rabbit-men were a significant population of our society, and the White Rabbit was allegedly the second most important character that Alice didn’t just follow down the hole, but fell in love with and ultimately fought for… then yeah, you’d at least have to say that it was a throwback and not appropriate for a modern story.

    I said that mostly in jest, but the point is that a human being acting as a MacGuffin is not an inherently sexist position and to argue otherwise is kinda silly. Tolkien didn’t have it in for Balrogs, because a Balrog is a fictional being used to drive the story forward. The MacGuffin thing wasn’t my argument, it just seemed bizarre for someone to be upset over a character being one.

    What she was saying is that there aren’t any movies like this that have fully-realized female characters, so if a woman was going to enjoy a movie of this type, wanted to enjoy a movie of this type, it’d have to be this one because there aren’t any others. So they’ll often overlook flaws, like the weakness of the female characters. Not that a woman has no choice in the matter.

    If it’s a reading comprehension failure to read what is actually there then sure, that was a massive failure in reading comprehension. The explicit statement was that women (with those interests, of course) have no choice but to enjoy it. She is questioning the judgment of these women, saying that if there were other options then these they’d see the same flaws she did. That doesn’t strike you as being an arrogant position? That women are somehow incapable of discerning feminism in films, but she can and who are they to argue otherwise? What if the reason they don’t see these flaws is because they’re not really there?

    As to why? Because Hollywood tragically and stupidly thinks that the main audience of a video-game themed movie is young men, and that by making the story equally about the girl (as opposed to having her be either the MacGuffin or a slinky bad-ass sexpot — see other hollywood movies) they will alienate the young male audience.

    These sorts of blanket statements don’t sit well with me. In what position are you to understand the collective thoughts of Hollywood’s marketing department (because every movie is marketed by the same company, obviously). You don’t think research is done? You don’t think they analyse the fanbase? Do you not think that one quadrants is preferable to two when you’ve ploughed $100 million (including marketing costs) into a movie? The view just seems naive to me, like “Hollywood” is just this big, blundering fool that couldn’t tie its own shoelaces.

    Oh but right. “Movie marketers” are so universally great at their jobs that there’s no way they could have done this, even if it appears to be the case.

    Make this argument using the movie’s marketing materials and I’ll be more willing to accept it. What about the way this movie was marketed indicated to you that it was targeted at young males, specifically?

  • Vanter

    You could view it two ways, of course.
    That this movie’s message is that Women are better than Men.
    How does that work, after reading several paragraphs of the exact opposite meaning?
    Well, Scott has too prove himself to Ramona first, while Ramona doesn’t have to prove herself to him.
    Oh my god! This movie is sexist, saying that males don’t think while females do!
    RantRantRantRant!
    Inferred meanings can be just as false as outright lies.
    Unless the director and/or Comic Writer come(s) out and says “Yes, I am sexist. Yes, I did make this movie/comic to fit in with this” a reasonable person won’t believe it.

  • NSM

    Perhaps I can put that second point a bit differently. Say a woman goes to see this movie and sees none of the sexism which is apparently so apparent. The argument goes like this:

    Woman A: I didn’t think there was anything sexist in the movie.

    Woman B: Nope. That’s wrong.

    Woman A: But…

    Woman B: Wrong. You’re just blinded by what our culture perceives as being even-handed treatment of women and men.

    Woman A: Oh. Well I guess that settles it then.

    How do you debate that point and argue its merits? Where is there to go but into the gutter when the opinions of some are invalidated because they, apparently, don’t have any other option but to elevate sexist garbage to Shakespeare (a bit of hyperbole)?

  • John Miller

    Did we see the same movie, or did the reviewer just stop watching half-way through? ‘Cause I am pretty sure that while the movie may have started off as a battle-royale for the affections of the girl, by the end things weren’t so much about the girl as they were about the boy himself. Certainly not one of the deepest movies we will see this year, but it is certainly worth better criticism than you are throwing at it.

    For someone how’s byline is “writer and ponderer in New York City who drinks too much wine and thinks way too much about such inconsequences as movies, TV, books, and the meaning of life” I am surprised out how thoughtless this piece was…

  • JoshB

    The MacGuffin thing wasn’t my argument, it just seemed bizarre for someone to be upset over a character being one.

    When the character is one half of the romantic partnership at the emotional heart of the movie, yeah, that’s a problem.

    If it’s a reading comprehension failure to read what is actually there then sure, that was a massive failure in reading comprehension. The explicit statement was that women (with those interests, of course) have no choice but to enjoy it.

    They have a choice, but the other option is to get nothing at all. Which, if there’s as many female Scott Pilgrim fans as you say, is kind of a shit option. And hey! we’ve come back around to MAJ’s original point.

  • http://rawtoys.blogspot.com Monty Prime

    So, I guess I should tell the numerous girls and women I know who read it that they’re now officially boys?

  • Rick

    After almost a decade of reading MAJ, my relationship to her reviews has swung around 180 degrees – I used to read her reviews with the expectation that I would like what she liked. I now read her reviews knowing that, on certain types of movies, our tastes are completely opposite: what she hates, I love; what she loves, I hate.

    It all comes down to the pervasive male/female issues she brings to the table, regardless of whether it has any place in the review. Talk about “baggage”! Gender issues seem to have completely destroyed her ability to enjoy a movie on its terms, rather than hers. Every movie that leaves the slightest opening becomes the latest excuse for her to expound at length about gender inequality issues, and the actual movie review gets lost in the process.

    So, I haven’t read the “Scott Pilgrim” books, but my fiancee and I (both 43, and not really gamers) both loved the movie. It’s visually inventive, the script is brimming with wry wit, and the actors all embody their roles convincingly, no matter how broadly-sketched (even Brandon Routh, who was horribly wooden on “Chuck” this season). Very enjoyable from beginning to end, with the various fights clearly intended to be metaphorical in nature – not the deepest movie you’ll see this year, but neither is it an empty stylistic exercise.

  • amanohyo

    Finally got a chance to watch this. All the cute gaming references and apathetic slacker dialogue softened me up to the point where I was almost enjoying myself (the ninja DDR game put a stupid goofy grin on my face). About halfway in, I began to wonder if there was any emotional core or character development of any kind in the movie, and by the last third, my well of gamer goodwill had run dry.

    Here are the problems:

    1) Knives does not behave like a human. I taught high school for five years – seventeen year old girls do not act like they are twelve all the time. She’s employed primarily as comic relief (which would be fine if she wasn’t crucial to Scott’s “character development”) and appears to have no real will of her own. Even twelve year old girls with crushes have a more nuanced relationships with the object of their affection, and they certainly have interests other than buying clothes, gossiping, and being a groupie for their boyfriend’s band.

    2) Ramona has absolutely no reason to like Scott, who behaves like someone in middle school. Or maybe she does, but the movie doesn’t take the time to let us know what it is (other than he’s “nice”), which is just as bad. More importantly, she doesn’t make any real attempt to point out how screwed up the situation with the exes is. If a girl you were dating said that you would have to fight her older brother and father to continue dating her, she’d surely mention how incredibly stupid it was that these other people were trying to control her life, and that’s far less extreme than people who aren’t even in your family claiming ownership over your romantic decisions.

    3) Scott doesn’t mature in a convincing way. The first part of the film establishes him as an emotionally immature person with an incredibly simplistic view of the women in his life. His significant first step into adulthood is to tell them that he dated both of them at the same time? That’s not even a crack on the sidewalk next to the road to maturity. He’s about as selfish and childlike at the end of the movie as he is at the beginning.

    4) The fight choreography was unimaginative and poorly performed. I loved some of the effects and the over the top game physics, but they couldn’t cover up the tepid martial arts (or the lightweight plot). Even in a cheesy 70′s kung fu movie, each fight contributes to the plot and character development in some way. These fights are completely interchangeable breaks between Saved by the Bell level relationship drama.

    5) Finally, the same reason I was unable to get more than a few pages into the first book: Almost all of the game references obscure rather than enhance the storytelling (one notable exception was the use of Zelda music to evoke certain moods). Using game-like battles against the exes as a metaphor for dealing with relationship baggage is fine and dandy, but a good metaphor reveals some truth in an elegant way, it clarifies and aids understanding. The gaming metaphors and effects in this movie don’t strengthen the themes so much as act alongside them as a (sometimes entertaining) distraction. Once the charms of that distraction wear off, all you’re left with is an uninteresting story, poorly told, and populated with half-sketched characters.

    It’s not that big a deal if the supporting characters are half-sketched, often that’s unavoidable, but Scott’s relationship with Ramona (and to a lesser degree, Knives) is ostensibly what the entire movie is really about. The movie wants you to see a change in Scott that just isn’t there, and how could it be when he’s playing opposite a couple characters that can’t even function as convincing plot devices, much less as human beings? It wants to be a fun yet meaningful melding of gaming culture, indie music, and young love, but sadly ends up being just another flashy, mindless beat em up.

  • Knightgee

    Having seen the movie now, a lot of frustrating changes were made that seem to be based more around compressing the books for the sake of the film. The entirety of the 4th and 5th books seemed to have been left out, the subpsace bits were removed, the closure with Envy (her whole storyline) is removed and she just sort of disappears, characters were left out, the ending (and events leading up to it) was altered, the storylines of the exes and reason for forming were removed. Ramona’s character is underdeveloped and a lot less active in her own life, Wallace is less helpful and less present, his storyline also cut down. In the book, the events take place over the course of a year, so Ramona and Scott’s relationship develops over a reasonable time table, and you also see their friends’ lives develop and change as well. The movie seems to take place over a couple of weeks, which left the central relationship hollow and left no room for any actual development. Most frustratingly, the parts that show Scott actually developing into an adult are left out. It’s a visually interesting movie, but the style has been adopted faithfully at the expense of the characters’ development.

  • Knightgee

    In what is the most blatant bit of removal, there is a critical fight at the end, which is where he realizes that all his “nice guy” ways of looking at himself as the wronged party in his relationships is really just him rewriting the past and obscuring his own jerkish behavior, is actually cut completely.

  • http://ebaumsworld.com Whatever

    Women embrace movies about men, but men do not embrace movies about women

    Ah ha. Total BS.

    Just throwing out random statements to see what sticks, huh. MaryAnn Johanson confirmed for Troll Status.

    Let’s see if we can’t move her to Told Status.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2010/08/12/129150813/-scott-pilgrim-versus-the-unfortunate-tendency-to-review-the-audience

    Hating Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is perfectly fine. It’s got a style; you sort of embrace it and dig it or you don’t. But when there’s too much effort given to tut-tutting the people you imagine to be enjoying it, or declaring and promising that only narrow categories of losers and non-life-havers and other stupid annoying hipsters could possibly be having a good time when you’re not, it sounds pinched and ungenerous. And, not to put too fine a point on it, a little bit jealous and fearful of obsolescence.

    I guess we can!

    Jealous and fearful of obsolescence? THIS reviewer!? No way!

  • http://blogofmcfeely.blogspot.com/ McFeely

    With the amount of comments not just on this site but pretty much anyone that didn’t like the movie or gave it a bad review, I have to say Twilight for boys is dead on. The negative reviews have been jumped on by nerd-raging tweens boggling at the thoughts that someone didn’t like this movie. I’ve never read the books and I really don’t care to (just like Twilight :D ) It’s a review and its not going to be the end of the world, it may seem like it but really it will keep on going. Not everyone like Star Wars, Star Trek, or Doctor Who and not everyone in the world will like Scott Pilgrim so just deal with it.

  • NSM

    When the character is one half of the romantic partnership at the emotional heart of the movie, yeah, that’s a problem.

    Why? The movie is called “Scott Pilgrim vs the World,” not “Ramona vs the World.” I understand, perhaps, the argument that the supporting characters are underdeveloped. That’s an opinion which can be argued one way or the other using evidence from the movie. But there is a world of difference between saying that a character is underdeveloped and saying that they’re underdeveloped due to the pervasiveness of anti-feminism in movies.

    They have a choice, but the other option is to get nothing at all. Which, if there’s as many female Scott Pilgrim fans as you say, is kind of a shit option. And hey! we’ve come back around to MAJ’s original point.

    But that’s not all she’s saying. She has extended that point to say that women who don’t see those flaws are operating under some sort of selective blindness due to there being no other options, glossing over what she sees as fairly blatant anti-feminism. MaryAnn believes that women who don’t see the same flaws she did are blinded by societal norms. There’s nowhere for the conversation to go at that point. It’s like when a 9/11 truther says that you don’t understand because you’re just one of the sheeple. There’s no possible intelligent discourse which can emerge from that.

    And I’m still waiting for a decent argument which explains how this movie was marketed to target young men, specifically.

  • Victor Plenty

    I’m still waiting for a decent argument which explains how this movie was marketed to target young men, specifically.

    Did you SEE any of the trailers for this movie, NSM?

    Talk about selective blindness! If you can’t see that the marketers of this movie believe its PRIMARY audience is young men, that’s a level of blindness fit to disqualify you from having a driver’s license.

    Also, congratulations! You’ve discovered a new corollary to Godwin’s Law: Comparing those who disagree with you to “9/11 truthers” is a sign that you have already lost the debate.

  • LaSargenta

    @ Whatever…Ok, so name a dozen films with a woman truly at its center that got a large male part of the audience.

    (Something tells me that if anyone comes up with such a list they will have be culled from the last 50 years of filmmaking.)

  • NSM

    Talk about selective blindness! If you can’t see that the marketers of this movie believe its PRIMARY audience is young men, that’s a level of blindness fit to disqualify you from having a driver’s license.

    Based on what? I’m not asking anyone to reinvent the wheel. Just tell me which scenes in the trailer indicated to you that this was targeted at young males. Shouldn’t be difficult.

    Also, congratulations! You’ve discovered a new corollary to Godwin’s Law: Comparing those who disagree with you to “9/11 truthers” is a sign that you have already lost the debate.

    Is the comparison fallacious? My problem is that there is no debate. You either agree with MaryAnn or you lack the capacity to see what she sees. That’s not a position which can be rationally argued for or against. And never mind that I’ve said this three different ways to get the point across. Anyways, here’s the point again excluding the 9/11 truther reference:

    “But that’s not all she’s saying. She has extended that point to say that women who don’t see those flaws are operating under some sort of selective blindness due to there being no other options, glossing over what she sees as fairly blatant anti-feminism. MaryAnn believes that women who don’t see the same flaws she did are blinded by societal norms. There’s nowhere for the conversation to go at that point.”

  • MaryAnn

    MaryAnn believes that women who don’t see the same flaws she did are blinded by societal norms.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, I’ll repeat myself again: Either these women honestly and fairly do not believe the film is sexist (this is me saying that I DO NOT expect everyone to see the same things that I see, not because other people are blind but because movies are open to multiple interpretations), or they see the sexism but they’re able to put it aside in a way that I am not.

    And another option is, too, that some people — some — may have so internalized our society’s sexism that they are blind to something they might otherwise notice. It is entirely possible that some people — men as well as women — who don’t see this film as sexist will, at some point in the future, see the film again and change their mind and wonder how they didn’t see it before.

    I would be delighted to hear a rationally argued feminist defense of this film. I haven’t heard one yet.

  • Chi

    I’ve read your reviews and comments, watch the movies and read the books. I should also mention I am a female and I love this movie.

    I was disappointed because you have disregarded a lot of good comments by some of the fans, I don’t know why, you’ll probably ignore this too. However, I am so vexed I need to get this off my chest.

    The truth is Hollywood is based in a capitalist society, so while they are trying to attract new fans to this movie, it won’t succeed if it does not be faithful to the source either. That is why the comics are relevant whether you agree or not.
    The novels *are* called “Scott Pilgrim” and a much earlier post mentioned the reason as to how the author wrote the story he did.

    Watching the movie I thought that Ramona was the dominating one in the relationship. She called the shots in many instances. Deciding when she wanted things to happen, further examples are seen in previous posts which you have not addressed.

    Scott does change, it may have been quick due to the time constraints, but after Knives finds out that he cheated, he sees the consequence of that and so when he gets his second life he makes amends. The women do not have to assert themselves in *this* instance because they have not done anything wrong.

    You can’t continually criticize something that IS based on other material that may be sexist. The film can not change itself dramatically lest it face outrage from original fans of the comic.
    I also should mention that female empowerment is important though my studies have show that my focus should be on developing countries, where women struggle to survive not subtext in a movie that was meant to be enjoyed for its pop culture references and insanity. I can’t comment on where you live, but where I do I find that I am treated equally and have freedom of choice. I guess I one of the lucky ones.

    I do understand and acknowledge that your review is for people who have the same views as you, however the way you’ve dealt with comments has annoyed me and so I too comment if only to release some of my frustration. The way you just quote comments that suit you is no better than the method gossip mags do.

  • JoshB

    Why? The movie is called “Scott Pilgrim vs the World,” not “Ramona vs the World.”

    Bwuh? Who cares what the movie is called? Call it “The Artist Formerly Known As Puff Daddy” for all I care. It still has to be a good story, and a story about romance can’t be very good if one member of the couple functions better as a plot device than as a believable, likable human being.

    But there is a world of difference between saying that a character is underdeveloped and saying that they’re underdeveloped due to the pervasiveness of anti-feminism in movies.

    And if it were just the underdevelopedness that points to anti-feminism, then you might have a good point.

  • MaryAnn

    I was disappointed because you have disregarded a lot of good comments by some of the fans, I don’t know why, you’ll probably ignore this too.

    What have I ignored? I have responded many comments here, some more than once.

    My review speaks for itself. If I didn’t respond to a single comment posted by readers, that would still be true.

    The truth is Hollywood is based in a capitalist society, so while they are trying to attract new fans to this movie, it won’t succeed if it does not be faithful to the source either.

    But many fans are saying that the movie is NOT faithful to the source!

    It can’t be both ways. Either the film is faithful to the source, and if I think the film is sexist I’ll think the source is sexist. Or else the film is not faithful to the source (in how it dramatically reduces the roles of the women), in which I probably would like the source. I’m hearing both things from fans. I’m assuming that everyone is honestly stating their beliefs. So obviously at least some fans don’t think Hollywood did the source justice.

    You can’t continually criticize something that IS based on other material that may be sexist.

    Of course I can!

    The film can not change itself dramatically lest it face outrage from original fans of the comic.

    This is true. (Whether *Scott Pilgrim* has changed itself dramatically is something fans seem to disagree on.) But a distasteful story is still a distasteful story, wherever it came from.

    I also should mention that female empowerment is important though my studies have show that my focus should be on developing countries, where women struggle to survive not subtext in a movie that was meant to be enjoyed for its pop culture references and insanity.

    As I have said many many many times already here, I was not able to enjoy the movie for for its pop culture references and insanity. That’s not enough, not in this case.

    And I refuse to shut up just because some women around the world are worse off than women in North America.

    The way you just quote comments that suit you is no better than the method gossip mags do.

    I don’t know about the methods of gossip mags. But if you think I am obligated to respond to absolutely every comment, even ones that make no sense, appear not to have read my review, or simply refuse to hear what I have to say, you’re crazy.

  • NSM

    Bwuh? Who cares what the movie is called? Call it “The Artist Formerly Known As Puff Daddy” for all I care. It still has to be a good story, and a story about romance can’t be very good if one member of the couple functions better as a plot device than as a believable, likable human being.

    Yes, points seldom make sense when you quote them out of context.

    And if it were just the underdevelopedness that points to anti-feminism, then you might have a good point.

    What else is there? That Ramona agrees to the silly premise? Wouldn’t be much of a movie if she didn’t.

    Character1: So do I have to fight the rest of them?
    Character2: Nah.
    Character1: Awesome!

    *Credits Roll*

    I see no evidence for the statement that:

    “But for as long as “women as trophies, as prizes for men who do heroic deeds” has been an unfortunate trope of Hollywood, a movie has never been this blatant, this outrageous, this nonchalant about it.”

    If it’s so obvious, so outrageous, so blatant, then why is it so easy to miss?

  • MaryAnn

    If it’s so obvious, so outrageous, so blatant, then why is it so easy to miss?

    I don’t know. Perhaps if it’s my feminazi bias that makes me see such a thing, then maybe it’s your troglodyte misogynist bias that makes you miss it? :->

  • JoshB

    What else is there? That Ramona agrees to the silly premise? Wouldn’t be much of a movie if she didn’t.

    Getting warmer, warmer, you’re burning up now, just a little bit closer!…

    See, what you just described is this.

    You really couldn’t have set me up better than that.

  • NSM

    I’ll repeat myself again: Either these women honestly and fairly do not believe the film is sexist (this is me saying that I DO NOT expect everyone to see the same things that I see, not because other people are blind but because movies are open to multiple interpretations), or they see the sexism but they’re able to put it aside in a way that I am not.

    There are two parts to this. Firstly, I mostly accept that and perhaps I misinterpreted what you said earlier. It was your mention of there being no choice that bothered me. The second part of that, though, is your insistence that the movie panders to and was targeted at young men. That’s where we part ways.

    I think it’s a mistake to think that this movie panders to young men because it’s a niche product which panders to not very many people at all. Just look at its performance at the box office. This isn’t Transformers 2. Further, saying that a movie targets a certain segment of the population is making an argument which can be backed up with evidence. To go back to something you said previously.

    What goes into the thinking that a six-book story that (everyone insists) is somewhat evenly focused on male and female characters can be cut down into one film? I’ll tell you what: Some studio exec said, “Just cut out all the shit about the chicks and focus on the guy. That’s all anyone’s gonna care about anyway.”

    That just seems like a caricature of Hollywood. I can virtually see the cigar in the exec’s mouth. The movie was never going to be popular enough to justify multiple sequels, and it’s hardly the first series to be condensed into a single movie (Watchmen, A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Spiderwick Chronicles off the top of my head). To suggest that an executive issued the statement to “cut out all the chick stuff,” just seems conspiratorial. There are many reasons why a series might be condensed into a single movie and obviously a lot character development is lost when that happens.

    However, nothing about the way this movie has been presented and marketed indicates to me that it was targeted at males and I think its Box Office performance attests to that (it’ll be interesting to see a demographic breakdown of viewers). Do you feel it was more blatant than the use of Megan Fox in Revenge of the Fallen?

  • NSM

    Getting warmer, warmer, you’re burning up now, just a little bit closer!…

    See, what you just described is this.

    You really couldn’t have set me up better than that.

    That would only indicate that the movie is BAD, not that it’s anti-feminist, which is the point I was making.

    Those are the rules set out by the movie. It doesn’t ruin the plot any more than the White Rabbit does in Alice in Wonderland. In this case it sets up a metaphorical confrontation with his prospective girlfriend’s baggage.

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

    It is certainly Hollywood’s fault that it ignores those comics over ones that focus on male characters

    In terms of the background (the general level of readership, I guess, or the public profile of the book, as an independent release that isn’t about superheroes), there’s exactly one other comic that has been adapted into a movie that I’d say could be perfectly equated to Scott Pilgrim, and that is Ghost World. Persepolis and Road to Perdition are also good examples, although they’re not quite as quirky.

    I think the kind of comics being adapted makes a difference. The Marvel and DC hero stables are woefully male-centric but I think it would be as unfair to lump Scott Pilgrim in with them as it would to lump the other three movies I mentioned in with them.

    But this movie is supposed to be about a guy who grows up and gets a life *because of a woman*… and we learn next to nothing about that woman. And the very few things we *do* learn about her are exclusively about her relationships. If Scott sees anything at all in her beyond that she’s “hot,” we never learn it. Ramona exists *entirely* as a reflection of men. She’s supposed to be inspiring Scott, but we don’t know why or how she is inspiring him… except that she’s “hot.”

    Do you need to know why Scott is attracted to Ramona? The heart wants what it wants, and the attraction and the fighting are not ultimately related to one another. At first he fights because the fights come to him, then he fights because Ramona makes him, and ultimately he fights because he knows these people are evil, and they need to be stopped. Self-respect trumps love, meaning his puppy-dog adoration for Ramona isn’t the right reason to help her out.

    A better way than the “Ramona Flowers vs. The World beginning” analogy I used before in regards to the ending is that Scott ultimately offers, despite all the conflicts they’ve been through, to start over with Ramona again, back at square one, once the playing field is leveled. Think the ending of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, without the potential that love is bleakly futile.

  • Admiral Snackbar

    Quite frankly, I’m stunned that even after my amazing post people are still contending that the movie wasn’t changed significantly from its source. You’d think the opinion of an Admiral would carry some weight around here.

    I really don’t see how anyone can argue that the movie didn’t significantly change its material when…

    A) The film compresses over a year’s worth of time into less than a month. Tyler Foster’s comment above about the end of this film being “the beginning of a relationship” between Scott & Ramona is dead-on. In the books, we see the relationship grow, we see characters change over time. Their lives are the story, the fights are just a framework.

    B) Ramona, instead of disappearing for awhile to find herself, leaving Scott to fight Gideon in the hopes of moving on with his own life, becomes a Princess Toadstool damsel-in-distress under Gideon’s thumb. You want to talk subversion? In Volume 6, Scott chooses to continue fighting Gideon with the knowledge that the princess is already in another castle, and probably ain’t coming back. (And then she does, but it’s not like he sees it coming.)

    C) The end battle is not Scott & Ramona vs. Gideon, but Scott & Knives vs. Gideon, which seems to position his relationship with Knives as something larger than a rebound mistake. I love Knives, but the book manages to show her growing up on her own, largely because Scott has drifted away from her life.

    D) Crucial to the end battle is Ramona rejecting Gideon and all her accompanying baggage, with that awesome star bag explosion that should be in the movie in a perfect Snackbar world. She fights for Scott, too, throughout the books.

    E) Envy Adams. She and Ramona actually get to fight (I believe MaryAnn questioned why this didn’t happen), and her entire relationship with Scott is laid bare. Not to mention that central to Volume Three is Envy’s relationship with Todd, the fight at the end being entrenched in their history, too. Todd doesn’t hit Knives, he hits Envy. The point of the fight isn’t that Scott beats Todd, but that he and Ramona both end up showing some understanding for Envy. Then she comes back in the last volume, and we see even more of her side of things. It’s fair to her in a way the movie isn’t.

    F) The Glow. Instead of that stupid mind-control chip (which was probably a case of just not trusting a larger audience), Gideon has the ability to trap people inside their own head with their issues. Great use of an old kung fu flick reference as a clever visual metaphor. And it happens to both Ramona and Scott. They have to overcome that to beat Gideon.

    G) Scott is forced to actually FIGHT Roxy Richter, because that whole section is questioning whether his actions in the books are noble, or just cowardice and laziness disguised as nobility. Key dialogue exchange in 3…2…1…
    Scott: I don’t hit girls!
    Roxy: Pssh! You think that gives you the moral high ground?
    Scott: S-sorta…
    RAMONA: Well, it doesn’t.

    I really don’t want to go on any more, because I’m going to look like one of those nerds who brings in those terrible Star Wars books in conversation, when all I really want to talk about is why Admiral Ackbar is the only valuable thing George Lucas ever created.

    Here’s the point. While I understand the need for compressing six books into one film, and while I enjoyed the movie as manic pop entertainment, the changes made aren’t just about compressing events and characters to make the story feature-ready. The changes made fundamentally altered the themes of the book from learning how to be a mature, understanding person, to learning how to be a badass man. The film is about the ancient question, “Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?” Apparently I’m not. I’m okay with that.

  • MaryAnn

    That would only indicate that the movie is BAD, not that it’s anti-feminist, which is the point I was making.

    No, because it’s is Ramona’s idiocy — in not calling bullshit on the whole fight thing — that contributes to the film’s antifeminism.

    Do you need to know why Scott is attracted to Ramona?

    If Ramona is meant to be anything other than a prize to be won, then yes, she has to be a real person, not merely the object of Scott’s affection. I mean, we don’t literally need Scott to explain why he is attracted to Ramona, but we do need to see her as a more fully rounded person so we ourselves can say, “Hey, she’s pretty cool, I can see why Scott is into her.” As it is, however, the only thing we can see about Ramona is her physical appearance. Well, that and her utter lack of any agency of her own.

    And Tyler, no matter how often you invoke *Eternal Sunshine,* you will never convince me that these two films are on a par. *Sunshine* is fully about both the Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s characters in a way that *Pilgrim* is not.

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

    If Ramona is meant to be anything other than a prize to be won

    I don’t see how the fact that a) Scott does not “win” her in the end and b) does not even fight during the final battle with the intent of “winning” her are not valid arguments against this.

  • Eavan

    God some of these comments make me sick. Maryann I really wish I could donate to your wonderful website as you deserve hundreds of dollars for putting up with this crap. I’m thinking of getting a credit card just to give to subscribe to you :) .

  • Bex

    I think the comments of this review were actually more entertaining than the review itself, leading to a few (or 10) conclusions.

    1. It IS Twilight for Boys because my gosh the backlash the review has received for not liking it is like walking up to a 13 year old and saying Edward is an ugly stalker and Jacob is not hawt.

    2. Reminders may be in order that is is MaryAnn’s review and you are welcome to disagree, tho calling her names because she’s honest – instead of selling out to please you- gets you nowhere. In fact, us trolls who never speak walk away thinking you’re douchebags (no offense).

    3. Clearly to understand the complexities of the movie you have to read the graphic novels. Wait… what? It’s a movie. And isn’t that what Twilighters say? You have to read the books to get the movies? (Please see #1). What about those who haven’t read the books? I haven’t read the graphic novels and it looks like a movie I would enjoy. Leading me to #4…

    4. I’m a chick who’s all about girl power but seriously, are we analyzing why Mario climbs ladders while Donkey Kong chucks barrels at him? His goal is to get the girl. I dunno ’bout you, but I never stopped to ask why he is in a room with such odd construction and is clearly not handicapped-friendly. And why is DK is angry with him? And why is the princess just standing there? Shouldn’t she, like, escape herself? Point is, going in expecting Pride and Prejudice, well, I didn’t get that impression… especially when I saw him grab an 8-bit 1up.

    5. You obviously have to go in with a love of old video games and the geek mindset that accompanies it. Otherwise you won’t get it. Just because you played them as a kid sometimes isn’t enough. Do you play them now?

    6. It’s okay if you don’t get it or like it. About 80% of my friends won’t. It’s why I’m watching it with those who will.

    7. If you haven’t seen it yet, and I haven’t, maybe you should wait until you watch it before you get too intense in your argument. If you have watched it, feel free to write your own review that differs from MaryAnn’s. Seriously guys, it’s like she said your mom was ugly. Chill out.

    8. MaryAnn, love ya gal, but you have changed in your opinions from back in the day… some of us who followed you for the sheer love of your reviews are now scratching our heads at some of the latest. Which leads me to 9…

    9. People change. Views change. Friends who bond over similar tastes can drift apart when those tastes change. So too, a reviewer changes. If they’re honest about who they are and what they think, they’ll write what they want. If you respect someone’s views, even if they are not your own, you should also respect that someone won’t sell out, even in the onslaught of angry uberfans. I used to agree with almost every review back in the day, but nowadays its hit or miss. Doesn’t mean I don’t still come back to see what’s been said. Love this site.

    Last but not least…
    10. It’s a movie, people. Really. Like it, Don’t like it. Who cares? Movies are meant to entertain. I personally hate Ben Stiller movies but I love Zoolander and Tropic Thunder. Does that make me a hypocrit? No. Cause I can like what I want. And so can you. So can MaryAnn. She didn’t like your movie. So what. Does that stop you from seeing it ten times? No. When you watch it, are you thinking, “Why do I like this? MaryAnn didn’t.” No. So give it up. Go buy your 11th ticket, and enjoy.

  • Victor Plenty

    Just tell me which scenes in the trailer indicated to you that this was targeted at young males. Shouldn’t be difficult.

    EVERY scene in the trailer indicates its target audience is young males, NSM.

    The young male demographic is always the one group any summer action movie’s marketers are the most terrified of losing. Nearly all movie marketing campaigns are aimed primarily at that group, with very few exceptions.

    This movie’s trailer makes visual and musical style choices, seen especially in the way it presents both male and female characters, that are all perfectly in line with this overall industry pattern.

    If you want to argue that its PRIMARY intended audience is some group other than young males, the burden of proof rests heavily on you.

    You might be able to name some elements of the trailer that could be meant to attract other demographic groups. Marketers always like to pick up extra bonus points whenever they can. But that won’t be enough to prove any of those other groups were ever equal in importance to the young male audience, in the marketers minds.

  • MaryAnn

    I don’t see how the fact that a) Scott does not “win” her in the end and b) does not even fight during the final battle with the intent of “winning” her are not valid arguments against this.

    That’s like saying that a movie about a gang of bank robbers stops being about a gang of bank robbers because they fail in their attempt to rob a bank.

    Whatever happens in the end, this movie is still about a bunch of people who think — even if only metaphorically — that it’s perfectly normally for a woman to be a prize and a man to fight for her.

    I’m a chick who’s all about girl power but seriously, are we analyzing why Mario climbs ladders while Donkey Kong chucks barrels at him?

    No, actually, that’s not what we’re analyzing. Unless you want to say that Scott is nothing more than a cartoon character who is not meant to be taken for a human being. Super Mario Bros. doesn’t pretend to offer any significant commentary on the human experience. *Scott Pilgrim* does, no matter how wrapped up it is in it videogame metaphors.

    Point is, going in expecting Pride and Prejudice, well, I didn’t get that impression… especially when I saw him grab an 8-bit 1up.

    I didn’t necessarily expect *Pride & Prejudice,* but the movie itself does seem to think it’s offering some sort of insight into modern romance in the same way that Austen did for her generation. If *Pilgrim* is meant to be illustrative of how the Millennial generation thinks, that how is it not valid to analyze this film on that level?

  • aquila6

    Never read the comic and only learned about Scott Pilgrim: The Movie from seeing it mentioned here and then a few TV commercials.

    I watched it the other night and thought it was an enjoyable lark full of cool videogame references and snarky humor. From that perspective, I think it more than succeeded. Obviously, with any movie based on previous work, there is going to be the problem of the movie not living up to the expectations created by the previous work.

    The one question I have is how Michael Cera keeps getting work. I don’t find him funny or appealing at all, and he seems to have a bad case of Vincevaughnitis — that is, he doesn’t appear to be acting at any point in the film. His recent 20Q interview in Playboy was almost unreadable — he thinks he’s too cool for school, but he ain’t.

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

    Whatever happens in the end, this movie is still about a bunch of people who think — even if only metaphorically — that it’s perfectly normally for a woman to be a prize and a man to fight for her.

    Argh. This still just seems to me like a fundamental misread to me. Scott explicitly learns that this is not true, and must start over from the beginning with this information. That is the entire point of the journey. The only people who actually believe this are the villains, which is why Schwartzman sets it up in the first place. Frankly, I can’t understand how anything past the point where Gideon stabs Scott makes any sense without understanding this.

    Plus, “Whatever (i.e. regardless of) happens in the end” seems a really weird argument to make about any movie’s journey. How can you criticize a story if you write off the things that happen in it?

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

    Also, even I forgot that these arguments are not just thematic things that I felt people should pick up on but explicitly stated by the film. On Scott’s second go-through at the Chaos Theater, Gideon poses the pivotal question again: “You wanna fight me, for her? Why on earth would you wanna do that?”, and the second time Scott replies, “No. I want to fight you for me.”, a concept that baffles Gideon.

    I only came back to comment this because I wasn’t sure if MaryAnn was arguing that this interpretation is not supported by the film at all, or just not supported strongly enough. I think the one major line conflict in the film is that afterwards, when encouraging Scott to go give the relationship another shot, Knives says “You’ve been fighting for her all along.” That line really bugs me since it directly conflicts with everything else, but I ultimately just shrugged it off.

  • http://www.gamestooge.com Jonah Falcon

    Maryann, you should have stopped your review after four words.

    “It’s Twilight for boys.”

    That’s it.

    End review.

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

    I would like to pop back in yet again with the should-please-everyone note that apparently the ball is rolling on a Ghost World Criterion release.

  • MaryAnn

    Argh. This still just seems to me like a fundamental misread to me. Scott explicitly learns that this is not true, and must start over from the beginning with this information. That is the entire point of the journey.

    Argh. Again I will note that if the movie wanted to subvert the idea that women are prizes, it has to actually work toward that subversion all through the movie, not just in the last five minutes. It has to demonstrate, all along, that women are human beings in their own right and not goals for men to achieve.

  • LaSargenta

    What’s the all-time record for number of comments on this site?

    *walks off whistling*

  • JoshB

    @LaSargenta

    I think it’s this one.

  • Nate

    Argh. Again I will note that if the movie wanted to subvert the idea that women are prizes, it has to actually work toward that subversion all through the movie, not just in the last five minutes. It has to demonstrate, all along, that women are human beings in their own right and not goals for men to achieve.

    Just got back from seeing it, here’s my response:

    I thought it was made pretty clear that Scott was being a douche from the start and that he had a narrow-minded view of women. Ramona even insinuated to Scott about 3/4 through the film that he was turning out to be “another evil ex”. In order for Scott’s character arc to work we’d first have to see his what his view of women is.

    Also, I think Ramona had her own warped views of relationships that are also changed by the end of the film, and Knives serves to counter this attitude. I think Ramona thought men as “prizes” herself given her nonchalant view of her evil exes and of Scott, which she also changes by the end of the film. And even though it’s Scott’s story first and foremost, both Knives and Ramona got chances to shine in the climax.

    You’ll probably disagree, but at least take solace in the fact that a male got something less misogynistic out of it than you did.

  • Mo

    I’ll be interested to hear, Mo, whether you still feel this way after you see the movie.

    Well, I saw the movie on Friday and I’ve been trying to think of how to put everything ever since. I loved it. It is probably one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen, but in a good way. Three hundred posts later I’m not sure if there’s a point in saying anything, but I can’t get it out of my head otherwise so here goes.

    Yes, I am still really, deeply offended by this review, but this many trolls later I’m not going to get into it again. I’ll just say that this actually has gone a bit viral on messageboards, and the fact that you’re a woman or that it’s a feminist critique doesn’t usually even come up. What they get out of the blubs being passed around is that some crazy sounding person fundamentally misunderstood something in the movie and then insulted anyone who might be interested in it. It’s not your point (which got lost), it’s the way your point was made. It wasn’t an example of your best writing plus it included flamebait, and that’s a potent and disastrous mix. It’s the sort of thing 4chan types live for. I’m sorry for the trolls. No one deserves them. Seriously, you deserve a pat on the back for surviving. But opening with an attack is the best way to be attacked back. It’s part of human nature.

    As for your points, I’ve tried to look at the movie every which way and I still don’t see it. From my perspective, looking at the movie from your point of view involves twisting everything into shapes they just don’t belong in, which suggests that either you’re approaching the movie with a big misconception, or the basic framework you’re interpreting the movie with is fundamentally incompatible with the framework it’s meant to be interpreted with.

    If it’s an interpretive framework issue, I really am disappointed because the feminist lens applied to the movie within its own framework turns up a lot of interesting and complex things about the movie and the history of gaming conventions that would have been both more useful and more easily received. However, I noticed this comment in the Expendables thread which suggests misconception: “But as I have explained many many many times in the comments thread following my review of *Scott Pilgrim,* that movie is about a man’s relationship to women.” That I disagree with. It’s called “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” not “Scott and Ramona”. Going strictly by the movie, I would argue that it’s a story about the world ganging up to show Scott everything that he isn’t in the form of the exes. It’s an old fashioned knight’s quest. That’s why it’s focused on the fights with just enough character stuff in between to make them make sense, and that’s why so much of the marketing is focused on the exes. (Yes, the books were primarily about relationships of all different kinds, but that was told through a sprawling series of subplots that would take an entire TV series to begin to tackle. The movie is a pared down version of the one central plot with some tweaks that change the meaning a bit. No, that paring down process is not perfect.)

    Moving on, I’ll try to keep my thoughts on the movie rather than the books, but the two are a bit inseparable in my mind by this point. Sorry that it’s probably all been said before.

    The movie is imperfect. It has some pacing problems which lead to a bit of adaptation-itis since all of the subplots in the books have been trimmed off and a year of character and relationship development has been squashed into a week or two. Plot elements and characters have been swapped around Lord of the Rings style, so that it’s both insanely faithful to the books, often word for word and frame for frame, but on some level the changes do change the meanings of everything. This shouldn’t work half as well as it does, but the splice points are all very cleverly covered up with layers of jokes. Also like the Rings movies, stuff that couldn’t be fit into the plot gets paraded through the background and sets, which I appreciated. This is going to be a fun movie to freezeframe on DVD. The people saying it’s faithful to the books and the people saying it isn’t are both entirely right. (For one thing the script was written before books 5 and 6). It’s a lot like Stardust in a way- the movie is the same central story but the effect is very different between the book and movie. Like Stardust both are good, but some people will probably like one and not the other.

    The one big thing that disappointed me was that Ramona and Envy’s big fight with the hammer was given to Ramona and Roxy instead. In the books Ramona does fight Scott’s exes, except for Kim who she becomes very *ahem* close friends with. But then those fights wouldn’t work in the really rigid level structure of this movie. (But they should have tried, dur.) I also wish Kim hadn’t been played quite so surly all the time, but at least she was still suitably awesome (and still got to wear that ridiculous dress she made *hee*). Kim’s my favorite.

    The movie plays up the videogame structures and metaphors a lot more and somewhat differently than the books, which I thought was interesting. Large swaths of character development had to be cut out reducing everyone (male and female equally, even Scott) to caricatures of themselves but then the game metaphors were used very cleverly to hint at a lot of the character stuff that got left out (in the sort of blink and you’ll miss it moments Edgar Wright always uses).

    I really liked how the movie applied the book’s hints that Scott may be an unreliable narrator to the entire story as though it was all happening in his head, and everyone and everything may actually be a figment of his imagination. It’s not my favorite reading of the books but it is an interesting one, and it does pare everything down to movie size fairly well. It explains why all of the scene transitions are so sudden and dreamlike. It’s the movie reason for why I think Ramona would not work as the central character. I don’t think she would ever imagine a world like this one- it’s not consistent with her character in any of its forms. (And I stand by what I said about her being too reserved to be the central character. She doesn’t want to let anyone in. In the books some of their biggest fights happen when Scott tries to ask Ramona about herself and her past, even after they’ve been living together for months.)

    The plot is actually an old-fashioned knight’s quest. (It’s an ancient, highly structured, and highly symbolic form of storytelling that Mario was originally based on for those of you who think it started with that game.) That’s why Scott has to fight the exes, it’s his task, and traditionally the tasks are arbitrarily assigned just like here to get the story going. In the movie each ex represents something about Scott that he is lacking or that he has to prove himself against. Each one on paper has more of a case to date Ramona than Scott does. Mathew Patel is the hipster Scott could never be. Lucas Lee is bigger and stronger and better looking (and a successful movie star which automatically makes him cooler). Scott Ingram is the successful bassist Scott couldn’t be (and a vegan, which automatically makes him better than everyone). Gideon is rich and powerful. (Roxie and the twins are more complicated thanks to adaptation quirks, but it sort of works.) By defeating them he proves he is more worthy than them.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of trophies because Scott is ultimately fighting for the self respect to be Ramona’s equal. In the end he can ask Ramona out without looking like a doofus for even trying (like he did the first time), and nothing more. The movie Ramona hasn’t come to terms with her running at all, so I don’t think there’s much hope for her sticking around in the long run. The exes meanwhile are fighting on Gideon’s behalf to screw up Ramona’s life in revenge for the times she hurt them. I suppose if she was as upset about the situation as she seems to be she would have called the cops on them, but it’s not her they’re attacking (and there wouldn’t be a story if she did). They’re “fighting over Ramona” in the same way that the exes are “evil”. It’s all heightened language based around the quest for dramatic effect, and it kind of screws the interpretation of everything up if it’s taken too literally.

    The knight’s quest is my favorite type of story and always has been. It’s the reason I studied as much medieval literature in school as I did. It probably explains why I like both versions of the Scott Pilgrim story so much. (You said you like movies more than anything in spite of the stories. I like stories more than anything in spite of the medium. It’s my thing.) Yes, in its most traditional form it is a very male-dominated tradition, steeped in chivalry and full of strong but one-dimensional background women who hang around in castles to tell the knight what his next task is and not much else. Often the end of the story involves the knight winning the hand of his beloved in marriage in spite of her not appearing in the rest of the story, because the women at court loved those ones and kept asking for them. If you find the basic premise and traditions of the quest offensive, I understand but I don’t have much left to say beyond I’m grateful I didn’t have to study Chretien de Troyes with you. If it’s a case by case scenario, I don’t understand how Scott fighting to prove himself worthy of Ramona is any worse than all those decades that Aragorn fought Sauron specifically to prove himself worthy of marrying Arwen. I don’t see a difference beyond that Aragorn had a lot more time to become more than a snot-nosed kid while on his quest. I love this story and I will probably never understand why it was singled out over other fare.

    That was way too long, but then I’ve been upset for too long about this, so here’s the end of it. (Unlike a lot of people around here,) I’m not expecting any replies. If you don’t see me for a while I’m still in shock over this and re-evaluating my interpretation of everything you ever said. So before that, thank-you for this site and all the work you put into it. It’s been interesting.

  • Steve

    I think the Twilight thing is distracting from what is otherwise a perfectly valid and canny response to this film. You’ve essentially poked a stick into the eye of every Twilight-bashing, Pilgrim-loving geek out there. It would appear that some of them are so angry that they’ve left their already-scant logic and grammar at the door.

  • http://www.gamestooge.com Jonah Falcon

    MaryAnn, this is like writing a bad review for Independence Day in 1996. It’ll take a year or two for people to realize THIS IS A BAD MOVIE.

    Bad acting.
    Bad writing.
    Bad plot.

    It’s funny how Edgar Wright can get away with Batman and Robin-level of film badness and get away with it. I defy anyone to prove this film is better than Schumacher’s turkey.

  • http://www.gamestooge.com Jonah Falcon

    PS. Judging by the poor box office results, I’m willing to bet half the people in the comments haven’t seen the movie – just read the comics.

    Incidentally, it’s worse than Batman and Robin in that at least the main two characters weren’t Mary Sues/Marty Stus in B&R.

  • amanohyo

    Being a Mary Sue would be a promotion for Ramona. This is all we know about her: she is an American roller-blading delivery girl who changes her hair color frequently, has seven evil exes, went through a lesbian phase, and is usually the one to initiate the break up. That’s it. She’s too insubstantial to even be a figment of Scott’s imagination. But Scott as a Marty Stu? Yeah, I can see that.

    As far as knights’ quests to battle foes/complete tasks to win the hand of the beautiful princess, of course we all recognize that ancient pattern. It just isn’t compelling for most of us anymore unless it’s being subverted or treated in a satirical way. We’re more willing to accept it from Mario because few people really care about the story in Mario. The fact that the Knight’s Quest has a long history and is still found in modern works doesn’t make it any less primitive and troubling.

    Vaguely beautiful women passively waiting for Mr. Right to prove himself by running the gauntlet just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. The secret is out. Women are human beings. When you’re fourteen, girls might seem like nothing more than mysterious, perfect trophies for the boys who impress them by proving they’re “better” in competitions with other boys. By the time you’re in your twenties, the picture is a lot more complicated. What convincing evidence do we have at the end of the movie that Scott has successfully transitioned beyond the former perspective?

    More importantly, why does Ramona (or anyone else in the movie) like Scott? The movie labels him as nice, but he’s selfish, immature, manipulative, and superficial (and unemployed). Are we supposed to be happy that they end up together? How does he prove that he’s any “better” for her than the other exes were? My wife’s ex boyfriend could beat me in a game of chess (or Guitar Hero), but that doesn’t mean she’d automatically be happier with him.

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

    More importantly, why does Ramona (or anyone else in the movie) like Scott? The movie labels him as nice, but he’s selfish, immature, manipulative, and superficial (and unemployed). Are we supposed to be happy that they end up together? How does he prove that he’s any “better” for her than the other exes were?

    I won’t repeat any real arguments here, I don’t think there’s anything new for me to say, but it’s been repeatedly noted, on both sides of the argument, that Scott is all of those things. It does not label him as nice, it labels him as a guy who needs to change.

    As for how he proves himself better, he proves himself better by learning he can’t “win” Ramona, and that he should do the right thing, whether it’s a challenge or not (like breaking up with Knives). My personal feeling is that they do not necessarily end up together. Just because they choose to try again doesn’t mean it works out. It just means they’re willing to go at it again on equal footing; there’s no insistence that these two are necessarily star-crossed lovers, just that they are key to each others’ maturity.

  • http://xanga.com/thepitts Thera Pitts

    Did you really not see anything in Ramona besides her physical appearance? I thought she was pretty damn cool and sexy (and no, I didn’t think that she was sexy just because of her appearance, there are plenty of pretty girls out there who aren’t the least bit sexy in my opinion, like Jessica Alba and plenty of not traditionally attractive girls who are sexy in my opinion, like Maggie Gyllenhaal. Sexiness come from within). She was mysterious, but she still had a personality, she wasn’t a blank character to me. Bella Swan is a blank character.

  • amanohyo

    I guess it all comes down to how much you’re willing to buy Scott’s transformation. At the beginning, he’s a person with poor communication skills who tries to run away from any confrontation. That’s pretty much the case until his “rebirth” about five minutes before the movie ends when he boldly breaks up with Knives (who is oddly completely fine about it and has inexplicably matured for this scene only) and runs away with Ramona. Oh, and he gains self respect because the movie tells us he does and because he kills the boss and befriends his “dark” side offscreen as a throwaway joke (I was hoping he’d let his dark side beat him up in a cute FFIV reference).

    Thera, here’s what we know about Ramona’s personality. She has a sarcastic hipster wit… but so does everyone else in the movie. She…has trouble with commitment, symbolized by her color changes. She is hot enough to melt snow. She’s oddly prudish and has a chip in her neck that makes her behave like a pet at the convenience of the plot. Oh, she’s not impressed by video game trivia, but she is impressed by (mostly bad) music.

    The only way for me accept her lack of agency is to pretend the whole thing is happening inside Scott’s imagination. But even when I do that, the story is not a compelling one: Immature guy meets hot girl and dates her before breaking up with childish friend. Tries to hide this fact while randomly fighting hot girls’ exes for no good reason. Eventually decides to break up with first girlfriend and run off with hot girl.

    If your plot is that simple, the execution has to be amazing. It was apparently pretty awesomely executed for a lot of you. To me, it seemed like character development totally slipped the movie’s mind until those final five minutes or so. I guess you could argue that procrastination would be in character for a slacker like Scott. The problem is that sudden, forced, tell-not-show character arc resolutions aren’t believable for people who understand how hard it is to change, doubly so when the characters who inspire this change are treated like stepping stones, triply so when the movie is supposedly about relationship drama and the only information you know about the relationships is presented in about twenty seconds of voiceover flashbacks.

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

    Like I said earlier, I was going to see this movie even with Maryann’s negative review. And having come back from seeing it, if I may present my own comments:

    1) The League of Evil Exes come to represent six of the Seven Deadly Sins – Gluttony being the only one that can’t fit. Matthew Patel = Wrath. Lucas Lee = Sloth as he has others do his work for him in the film. Todd Ingram is Envy (hence dating Envy, Scott’s evil ex), as his drive to be a vegan powerhouse is to make everyone else feel inferior. Roxanne Richter is a combination of Pride and Lust (her weakness is a tantric zone behind her knee). The Katayanagi twins are a combination of Lust (Basil… TWINS!) and Luxury/Avarice. And Gideon above all Pride mixed with Avarice and Envy.

    2) Both Ramona AND Scott come into this movie with emotional baggage: Ramona dumping a series of relationships (most of which she started over petty reasons) that all turn into Evil Exes; Scott coping with a harsh break-up with Envy and half-forcing himself into a relationship with an impressionable high school girl Knives who overdoses on her first big relationship. Ramona’s aloofness and near-passivity in the movie can be ascribed to her getting “burned out” by suffering through so many bad relationships (and also from the fact Gideon plugged her head with a microchip): she comes to like Scott as he’s incurably goofy and essentially well-meaning, but she proves too eager to flee and call off the relationship when the two start bickering about the Evil Exes. Scott himself is dealing with his own internal demon (the NegaScott, the possible Evil Ex that Scott *could* become if Ramona truly dumps him…) which the books delved a bit more into but gets glossed over in the film as a non-threat…
    The whole movie is from my POV is rife with relationship symbolism, metaphor, allegory, and other fancy words you’re supposed to use in film critiques (okay, so I’m no Thomas Wartenberg, Existential Philosophical Film Critic, but that’s only because I’m more of a Pragmatist by heart. But I digress)

    3) Michael Cera was sad to say wrong for the role as Scott. Why do I get the feeling the guy playing Young Neil would have been a better fit?

    4) Wallace, the sensible gay roommate played by Kieran Culkin, was totally on game and hilarious as hell.

    5) I loved the idea of casting Brandon Routh AKA Superman Returns as the Evil Ex granted powers by his vegan diet… his entire performance (the floating-in-air, overly broad comic-book gestures, etc) as a kind of Take That to the previous role. Odd to note, he’s BEEFIER in this movie than in Superman Returns…

    6) Should have had a few more scenes of Ramona showing off her subspace travel powers. And possibly explain why the Evil Exes couldn’t let her go (Gideon for obvious reasons is a possessive a-hole, in the books he turns out to be a LOT worse).

    7) I honestly can’t see why this movie got a Red Light. It has its flaws – it can be too campy, there’s a slew of characters and not enough development – but it also has its charms – the gaming motifs, excellent performances by Culkin, Routh and Chris Evans, rather catchy tunes. Would have been a Yellow Light by my measurements…

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

    One more thing: people are comparing Scott Pilgrim – poorly – to Batman And Robin?! Sweet Mother of Clapton, WTF? This is like comparing Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist to Beast of Yucca Flats! Batman & Robin is on a plane of awfulness that even Gigli, Manos, and Star Wars Holiday Special can’t comprehend! Batman & Robin is soooooooo awful, it makes Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor look like From Here to Eternity!

    Scott Pilgrim is nowhere near the level of eye-clawing awfulness that Batman & Robin was. Buy a clue, Jonah Falcon, it only costs you two quarters!

  • amanohyo

    It barely made it into yellow light territory for me too; however, I can totally see why it would be a red light for MA (and a green light for Armond White and the denizens of 4chan). As the review states, the female side of the relationships is short-changed pretty blatantly (compare the development of the female characters in this to that of say… Up in the Air, or even Adventureland). That’s partially balanced out for me by the entertaining visuals, the Vegan Police in their Smartcar, and Ninja DDR. I wouldn’t pay to watch it, but I don’t feel that my time was completely wasted.

  • http://animated-discussions.blogspot.com Froborr

    So I finally actually watched the movie, and my experience watching it was interestingly similar to The Matrix. See, when I first saw The Matrix, I was thoroughly engaged and entertained while the movie was ongoing. Then, about 30 seconds into the credits, my brain turned itself back on and said, “Wait a minute. Visuals aside, that was a pretentious crapheap of cliched storytelling and stoned-college-freshman-caliber pseudo-philosophy. It totally sucked!”

    My post-watching reaction to Scott Pilgrim wasn’t anywhere near that bad. I think it was significantly less mysoginistic than most romantic comedies, in the sense that most romantic comedies portray the childish, stereotyped behavior of the leads as funny and worthy of emulation, while Scott Pilgrim portrays the titular slacker’s childish behavior as funny and pathetic.

    I think what bugs me about the movie is that, at the end, we are told that Scott’s flaw is a lack of self-respect. The hell? Scott’s problem isn’t self-respect, his problem is his lack of self-awareness and his inability to recognize that the people around him are human beings with wants and needs that he habitually treats like crap, especially the women. Particularly telling is his excuse for not breaking up with Knives: “It’s hard.” Not “I don’t want to hurt her,” but “Dumping her would make ME feel bad, so I’d rather passively hurt both her and Ramona than deal with it.” He’s a selfish asswipe who desperately needs to grow up… and in the movie, he doesn’t.

    So, my final verdict: hilarious, great action, visually brilliant, great music, great sound, but seriously lacking story-wise, for pretty much exactly the reasons Ms. Johanson gives.

  • Nate

    I guess it all comes down to how much you’re willing to buy Scott’s transformation. At the beginning, he’s a person with poor communication skills who tries to run away from any confrontation. That’s pretty much the case until his “rebirth” about five minutes before the movie ends when he boldly breaks up with Knives (who is oddly completely fine about it and has inexplicably matured for this scene only) and runs away with Ramona.

    The bold breakup came about halfway through the film, actually. Scott admitted to cheating on her and Ramona at the end. Knives is actually the one who suggests he go after Ramona, if I’m not mistaken. She knew her relationship with Scott was never going to work and it’s not that uncommon for teenagers to switch between immaturity and maturity when it suits them.

  • Nate

    Scott’s problem isn’t self-respect, his problem is his lack of self-awareness and his inability to recognize that the people around him are human beings with wants and needs that he habitually treats like crap, especially the women.

    Well, you can assume from the ending that that is in fact what Scott learns. “Respect” is a vague term that can be applied to actions aimed at both yourself and others (like, say, it would be disrespecting Scott’s humanity if he treated women like he did).

  • Just a Thought

    Okay haven’t seen the movie or read the books but there is something I would like to comment about. I have not read all the post so forgive me if this has already been mentioned and addressed. One thing I see MaryAnn saying over and over again is that it’s “fucked up” that Scott has to fight Ramona’s exs. I agree with her that, it is fucked up for anyone, whether they be male or female and both sexes go through this at some point in time, to have to fight (read compete) with someone’s ex. However, I suspect in the context of this film the fighting is a metaphor for having to fight the ghost of relationships past. Everyone who has any relationship experience has been in a situation where they find them self competing with their partner’s ex. Granted this competition does not usually manifest itself in an actual physical confrontation with the ex, but instead is a psychological fight within the partner’s mind. Is it possible the fights Scott must participate in are just a metaphoric physical representation of what Scott feels like having to overcome Ramona’s past? As for your “it’s written from a male perspective”, well that makes sense considering it was a male that wrote the story. Saying “I’m reviewing the film not the book” doesn’t change the fact that the source material was written by a man. I mean are you suggesting the film makers should have changed the story to fit your idyllic world view? Your review and subsequent comments seem to boil down to Hollywood is male centric and this film is male centric therefore this film is a bad film. Can’t say I agree with that assessment but to each their own. I also suspect that male centric film = bad film is what many people are objecting to. For many people whether they be female or male sexual politics doesn’t enter into the equation of whether a film is good or bad.

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

    That’s pretty much the case until his “rebirth” about five minutes before the movie ends when he boldly breaks up with Knives (who is oddly completely fine about it and has inexplicably matured for this scene only) and runs away with Ramona.

    As another poster said, the break-up with Knives clearly happens earlier in the film. In fact, it probably happens a third of the way into the film. You know, the scene where Scott tells her “I think we should break up. It’s not going to work out.”

    If you’re going to make arguments about the film you could at least pay a reasonable amount of attention to it.

    Scott’s problem isn’t self-respect, his problem is his lack of self-awareness and his inability to recognize that the people around him are human beings with wants and needs that he habitually treats like crap, especially the women.

    If you’re an asshole, you clearly don’t care what other people think of you, and if you don’t care what other people think of you, you don’t have self respect.

  • Lenina Crowne

    A movie can be male-centric. That’s fine. But if we have a relationship at the center of the movie, and the relationship is unbalanced but we’re not supposed to notice or care, then we have a problem.

  • Nate

    But I disagree that we’re not supposed to notice how unbalanced the relationship is, and both Ramona and Scott are to blame for it. Ramona’s complacency in relationships is what’s behind the whole “fight the evil exes” game, and Scott’s superficial view of women as prizes is to blame for him disregarding the feelings of both Knives and Ramona.

  • Nate

    Maybe complacency wasn’t the right word to use; I’ll just say Ramona has the same superficial view of men that Scott does of women

  • TZarek

    That’s like saying that a movie about a gang of bank robbers stops being about a gang of bank robbers because they fail in their attempt to rob a bank.

    Whatever happens in the end, this movie is still about a bunch of people who think — even if only metaphorically — that it’s perfectly normally for a woman to be a prize and a man to fight for her.

    No, it’s like saying that a movie about bank robbers where they fail horrifically at the last job and ultimately realize that bank robbing is a terrible profession is a movie that argues against bank-robbing, not for it, even if throughout much of the movie the characters were pro-bank-robbing… which is a very common template in the crime genre. It’s odd that this is the analogy you went for when I think it actually proves the opposite of your point.

  • Boingo

    Old Fartist point of view: I (tried) watching it last night, due to this remarkable slew of intense posting.
    I lasted 25 min.. I OD’d on teenish stuff, though still an avid fan of well written graphic novels.I’d
    stay if it was my profession to review the flick.
    Gaddam-”I’m getting too old for this,” as the saying goes.

    “Fighting for the chick” still goes on all the time
    (in my state,anyway).The older you get, you realize
    “Oh, great, now they’ve won the princess, now the bigger battle of getting along in the relationship has just begun.” See this never ending drama enough in real life,and you get sensitized to want to barf at the thought.

    I walked over to see “The Other Guys,” and felt comfort Michael Keaton was looking like an old foggy,
    but still working. That was another brand of comedy,
    and absurdity-I must be more of the target audience.

  • Georgia

    If you’re that angry about it why don’t you go back in time and stop the graphic novels from ever being written?

    Really, you’re looking way too deep into this movie, it IS supposed to be fun, It’s a movie to just be enjoyed, not deeply looked into.
    It doesn’t even sound like your reviewing the movie, just unleashing your feminist views around it, It reads like ‘Yaddayaddayadda There’s this new movie about video games and action sequences. In other news I hate how women are treated these days! Men are arseholes!’

  • MaryAnn

    I mean are you suggesting the film makers should have changed the story to fit your idyllic world view?

    Please do explain what my “idyllic world view” is. I’d love to know.

    I also suspect that male centric film = bad film is what many people are objecting to.

    Only someone who has not read a single other review I’ve written could possibly say such a thing. Actually, it would require not even reading this review to come to such a conclusion.

  • http://animated-discussions.blogspot.com Froborr

    Here’s the difference between the movie and the comic, as I see it:

    Movie: Nice Guy Syndrome meets Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Nice Guy Syndrome fights for Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Villain steals Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Nice Guy Syndrome learns he’s better than he thinks he is, defeats villain, wins back Magic Pixie Dream Girl.

    Comic: Nice Guy Syndrome meets Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Nice Guy Syndrome fights for Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Magic Pixie Dream Girl turns out to be an actual human being with wants and needs beyond serving as a vehicle for the character development of a main protagonist and leaves of her own free will, villain has nothing to do with it. Nice Guy Syndrome learns he’s WORSE than he thinks he is, resolves to become better, fights villain side-by-side with not-actually-an-MPDG, defeats villain by recognizing the Nice Guy Syndrome they share.

    In short, I think Ms. Johanson’s review is pretty spot-on: The movie fails utterly to criticize, and ultimately celebrates and rewards, the Nice Guy Syndrome of its main character. While it’s certainly possible to have a good movie with a main character who’s not supposed to be a role model (Iron Man and the better James Bond movies come to mind), Scott is being presented as an everyman. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of living in a world where Nice Guy Syndrome is considered normal and acceptable. (Sadly, we sort of do live in such a world, but this movie certainly isn’t going to help us change that.)

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

    Froborr, your analysis is flawed in that Scott is not a Nice Guy, and Ramona is not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, in either the movie or the books.

    A Nice Guy is someone who is just…nice. So nice, in fact, that they are also harmless, and boring. Scott is not a Nice Guy, or even a nice guy. He’s self-centered and insensitive.

    And personally, I would say to qualify as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, you can’t have any problems. MPDGs swoop in when a guy it as his mopiest and shake them out by showing them, through their wacky, quirky non-conformist ways, how great things actually are. Ramona brings all of her problems into Scott’s life and inadvertently dumps them on him, and then to top it off, vanishes while Scott is forced to confront them.

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

    And it sounds like your interpretation of “Scott Earned the Power of Self-Respect” doesn’t follow “Self Respect” the way it’s intended. He earns that by changing, from a guy who would fight “for” Ramona, to a guy that fights for his own reasons. Fighting “for” Ramona, i.e. “Women are to be won” causes Scott to lose a life.

  • MaryAnn

    A Nice Guy is someone who is just…nice. So nice, in fact, that they are also harmless, and boring. Scott is not a Nice Guy, or even a nice guy. He’s self-centered and insensitive.

    Nice Guys — sufferers from the syndrome, that is, not men who are actually decent people — frequently *are* self-centered and insensitive. In fact, that’s pretty much the definition of the Nice Guy: he *thinks* he’s nice, but he’s really a passive-aggressive jerk.

    Which describes Cera’s Scott Pilgrim to a T.

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

    Nice Guys — sufferers from the syndrome, that is, not men who are actually decent people — frequently *are* self-centered and insensitive. In fact, that’s pretty much the definition of the Nice Guy: he *thinks* he’s nice, but he’s really a passive-aggressive jerk.

    Which describes Cera’s Scott Pilgrim to a T.

    Oh, okay. I Googled “Nice Guy Syndrome” and what I saw indicated “doormat”.

  • Lenina Crowne

    Nice Guys are definitely not harmless..

    They’re not really doormats a lot of the time, either, just passive-aggressive and whiny.

  • Matthew Morse

    After watching the movie, it does not live up to the comic. Scott Pilgrim vs. itself gets where the movie goes wrong.

  • Nate

    Nice Guy Syndrome meets Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Nice Guy Syndrome fights for Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Villain steals Magic Pixie Dream Girl. Nice Guy Syndrome learns he’s better than he thinks he is, defeats villain, wins back Magic Pixie Dream Girl.

    Ignoring the debate of the definitions of NG and MPDG, is there anything wrong with learning that you’re better than you think you are? Wouldn’t acting like a “Nice Guy” count as disrespecting yourself?

  • Froborr

    @Nate: There’s nothing wrong with that lesson — if it’s true. For Scott in the film, it isn’t. He’s a whiny adolescent man-child without a drop of empathy or interest in the people around him, who wants nothing but to take the path of least resistance and maybe snag some makeouts. It’s pathetic, but it has nothing to do with Scott’s relationship with himself. It’s all about his relationship to the world and people around him.

  • Nate

    For Scott in the film, it isn’t. He’s a whiny adolescent man-child without a drop of empathy or interest in the people around him, who wants nothing but to take the path of least resistance and maybe snag some makeouts. It’s pathetic, but it has nothing to do with Scott’s relationship with himself.

    Doesn’t it? If he’s always taking the path of least resistance I would think that means he doesn’t have confidence in himself.

    And anyway, whatever your definition of self-respect is, Scott does learn empathy at the end of the film. It seems your biggest problem is with the wording.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com/ Laurie Mann

    OK, I’m a 53 year old woman who saw this movie with my 30 year old video game loving daughter.

    I thought Scott Pilgrim was fun but not great. I probably would have rated it a “wait for the DVD” if I’d been reviewing it. My daughter loved it. I never read any of the graphic novels, but am aware that the movie owes a lot to graphic novels and video games.

    The “it’s Twilight for boys” is really more about the fan reaction to reviews of the film than the film itself. But Scott Pilgrim didn’t take itself completely seriously the way the Twilight movies seem to.

    I agree that most of the female characters were window dressing (Kim depressingly so), but Nives had an actual character arc (maybe the only one in the whole movie).

    And Kieren Culkin so ripped off Robert Downey, Jr’s performance from Wonder Boys that it wasn’t funny.

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

    One final question for MaryAnn:

    Throughout all of this, you haven’t appeared to disagree with my understanding of what happens in the movie, just that it is resonant. So I’m just curious which is the worst of the issues here for you: that Scott’s change comes during the very end of the movie, that Ramona is too underdeveloped, or some other issue (maybe that the points the movie is trying to make are not clearly emphasized enough)?

    I mean, even if you didn’t like the movie, of all the romantic comedies that have come out this year, I can’t imagine that any of them make more attempts to change people’s perceptions as Scott Pilgrim tries to. I mean, even if you didn’t see it, I guess it seems really weird to me that I’m here telling you that this movie rams home the point that respect for women trumps blind devotion, and that women are not to be won, and that relationships should be equal, and you’re arguing against me. In a marketplace flooded with truly, boldly, misogynistic movies, if you agree (and maybe you don’t) that the film makes an attempt to send these kinds of positive messages, even if the points are ultimately a bit muddled, is that not commendable? I think that’s probably what I have the most trouble understanding. Yeah, sure, obviously you’re presenting what you saw and I’m presenting what I saw, but it seems so backwards that in doing so you would have to argue that the movie does not make all of these points that, as far as I know, are positive points to be made about women.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Box-Office-Bob-omb-5-Reasons-Scott-Pilgrim-Vs-The-World-Failed-To-Find-An-Audience-20168.html

    So… that happened.

    It’s like everyone who liked the movie commented in this thread. ;-)

  • MaryAnn

    In a marketplace flooded with truly, boldly, misogynistic movies, if you agree (and maybe you don’t) that the film makes an attempt to send these kinds of positive messages, even if the points are ultimately a bit muddled, is that not commendable?

    No. Because the film undercuts what is supposed to be its own message by how it tells the story. If there’s a way to tell a story about how women are not objects to be possessed by men, how women are interesting people in their own right while also shuffling aside those women to focus on a man, then this movie has not done that well.

    Here’s the thing: The perspective of the filmmaker and the perspective of the protagonist do not necessary have to be one and the same. This could have been a movie about a selfish, shallow, idiot Nice Guy that does not appear to reinforce his very narrow perspective. But instead of Wright appearing to be wiser than Scott — which should be the case — it appears as if Wright is learning whatever lessons Scott learns at the very same moment Scott learns them.

    It comes down to showing versus telling. The cardinal sin a story can commit is to not dramatize the story it wants to impart by telling us what it wants us to know instead of showing us. A couple of lines of dialogue at the very end of the movie *telling* us whatever lessons it is Scott has suddenly learned about women and relationships cannot possibly make up for what the film has *shown* us up to that point: that women are mere props in a man’s story.

  • Froborr

    @Doc Rocketscience: Eh, it’s not an attempt to start a franchise, so who cares whether it does well or not? There were never going to be (and shouldn’t be) sequels anyway.

    @Tyler: I think that the apparent attempts at feminism* you saw are holdovers from the graphic novel that Wright honestly didn’t recognize. Hell, in a Vanity Fair interview he compared Ramona to a mirage — he doesn’t see her as a real person, so how can Scott?

    *Since people were tossing this word around as an insult above, I feel compelled to point out that feminism is the absence of misogyny. That’s all it is.

  • Knightgee

    The more I sit on the film and read this thread, the more I think that this might be a good example of the problem with Hollywood trying to adapt other mediums. It’s not a limitation of technology or style or capturing the feel, but of missing the heart. Any humanization of the female characters, along with the other plotlines and story lines and character development, was condensed into a single 2 hour movie, which ends up defeating the purpose of the story itself. Even the final realization on Scott’s part is basically a trite, minor last minute inclusion of what was for the character in the comic a huge personal revelation that redefined his character for himself and the audience. Oh, not to mention all of Ramona’s storyline and characterization was cut, all to fit the story into the convenient “boy gets girl” mold. So much of what makes this comic work is tide into the fact that it develops over 6 issues. The desire to force that all into what Hollywood thinks audiences need destroys a lot of its charm. This is the same way I feel about the Harry Potter films. The “minor” details that the films cut for time are the things that make the actual world the characters are in seem fleshed out and real. What I see on-screen ends up being a kind of hollow caricature, and I feel the same way about this film.

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

    shuffling aside those women to focus on a man

    Well, then I guess this is the primary point of our disagreement. The movie shuffles aside all characters to focus on the main character, and Ramona and Knives are still the two most-developed characters other than main character in the film. Plus, I would suggest that the viewer learns more in the time the film spends with them about Julie Powers, Envy Adams, Kim Pine, Roxy Richter and Stacey Pilgrim than you learn about Stephen Stills, Young Neil, or the first six Exes, who, aside from Wallace, are the only major supporting male characters in the movie.

    I really think it’s a glass-half-full/glass-half-empty scenario. I feel like it comes down to Scott being a guy, but even without reading the books, you know that the book is by a guy, about a guy. It seems invalid to argue that Lord of the Rings should focus on, I don’t know, Arwen instead of Frodo, so it shouldn’t be valid to suggest that Scott Pilgrim should focus on someone other than Scott Pilgrim. Given that, what’s wrong with the film focusing on its main character? I’m guessing it’s because the film has a romance in it, but just because the story uses a hint of romance as the plot’s inciting incident doesn’t mean the film is a romance.

  • http://carlsagansghost.com Daniel Davis

    The fanboy derka-der, DERPA-DERP is strong in this thread.

    /and yes, that’s the joke

  • Not a fan of Scott

    Watched Scott Pilgrim last night. Cannot stand it, and walked out half way. The plot is stupid.

    I agree with MaryAnn that this movie is sexist. In my opinion it is also racist. It is sad to see people raving about such an awful movie, however I am glad to see that the movie is going doing great commercially.

  • Not a fan of Scott

    Correction:

    I am glad to see that the movie is going NOT doing great commercially.

  • MaryAnn

    It seems invalid to argue that Lord of the Rings should focus on, I don’t know, Arwen instead of Frodo,

    I agree. That would be invalid.

    But I’d be mad as hell if *Lord of the Ring* seemed to think the Ring wasn’t very important. Hell, the Ring, an inanimate object, is treated better, from a storytelling perspective, than Ramona is.

    Or are you suggesting that Ramona’s import to Scott’s story is akin to Arwen’s import to Frodo’s story?

  • http://benefitofthedoubt.miksimum.com/ Jesse M

    Full disclosure: Privileged white male, dating non-white female, who has read the first of the Pilgrim graphic novels and saw the film opening weekend. This is an attempt to answer your article by offering a feminist defense of the film (not merely responding to your points, but actually reconstructing a view of the film from a different feminist lens — a la creating a “neg” argument to your “aff” argument, in Lincoln-Douglas Debate terms).

    The only way to dismiss the premise of the film (the fight with seven evil exes) as patriarchal is to avoid looking into its psychological significance for the characters. The “literal” content of the film — that Scott is confronted by seven characters and has to defeat them in combat in order to continue being Ramona’s boyfriend — could be construed as sexist for some of the reasons you mention, but the stylization of the film, and the counter-evidence to this literal reading, is enough to call for a more figurative reading of these events. As soon as their meaning is interrogated, it becomes apparent that very few interpretations are actually following Scott as a flawless protagonist through a series of physical championships. At the very least, there’s the final explicit dichotomy between “love” (which fails) and “self-respect,” which basically demands we read these conflicts as stepping stones in a personal journey: presumably Scott’s, since the film is named after him, but probably also Ramona’s, since her character is an accessory to the plot’s myriad developments.

    Your other very broad criticism, which is difficult to counter directly because it has more to do with expectations than with the text itself, is that the story is told from Scott’s point of view, and therefore that it falls in among the many commonplace demographic-directed films Hollywood defecates out. However, as other comments have pointed out, this criticism is so broad, and can be applied to so many movies, that it hardly carries any weight here. A movie from a female POV would get +10 feminist points, but that doesn’t mean all films from a male POV are required to fail. The point is only really useful as a way of contextualizing and reinforcing your other points, like the point addressed above, and the points mentioned below.

    The most troubling thing about this review (and by “troubling,” I mean it’s troubling that critical discourse has become so vulnerable to this syndrome) is that it’s full of confirmation bias, where you assert a number of things about the story that simply aren’t true, because of your initial reading of the male-female dynamic.

    For instance, your claim that the female characters are ignored, pushed aside, and aren’t given any agency or depth is simply incorrect. We get more flashbacks of Ramona’s life than any other character; Knives goes through the most definitive developmental arc of any of them. This film is about the females’ journeys just as much as it is about Scott’s journey (though Scott’s journey informs the central metaphor). It may be from a male POV (see above), but so was The Virgin Suicides (referring to the novel, not the movie), and in terms of the amount of attention given to the male and female characters, I’d say Scott Pilgrim is actually comparable to it.

    Further, you claim that the premise of the film is that females are “prizes to be won.” This is actually directly critiqued in the film. Scott’s initial understanding of his female relationships is that Knives is “simple,” but he doesn’t appreciate or respect her, because she doesn’t challenge him like Ramona does. This is a feminist idea (that submission is not a female’s primary merit) seen in a chauvanistic way (that the dominant female is something to be pursued and acquired). The major turning point of the film is when Scott, on life #2, reconsiders this and decides to alter his attitude toward his situation.

    And isn’t it telling that the film links “self-respect” with respect for others (Young Neil), humility (“you’re way better than I am”), and personal responsibility (“I cheated on you; it was my fault; I’m sorry”)? More subtly, this climax also represents Knives’ personal growth (she no longer sees Scott as a perfect man, and admits that she’s “too good for him”) and Ramona’s (on a metaphorical level: disengaging her unhealthy and unreasonable obsession with Gideon, whose magnetic attraction is attached to her in the form of a mind-control chip).

    In light of the development of these females, and of the lack of motivation ascribed to the exes themselves, it becomes much more sensible to read the exes as a backlog of Scott’s insecurities, his projections of Ramona’s (very intimidating) romantic past. The battles become a metaphor for getting over the fact that she’s dated other men, and that on the surface, they look like a pretty impressive bunch. This reading links the final power-up (“self-respect”) with the apparently absurdist presence of seven killer exes. Scott isn’t fighting a bunch of comic book villains so much as he is struggling to see himself as a worthy boyfriend… a journey on the right path, but toward the wrong goal. What finally fixes the problem is that he sees himself as a worthy human being, and he can stop treating people around him like objects, trophies, and reinforcement-dispensers. This is a humanist message with feminist undertones.

    These are all, at the very least, complexities of these three characters, all on par with (and perhaps surpassing) the personal growth that Scott undergoes in the course of the film. They are all named female characters with agency, merits and flaws, and an active stake in influencing the story’s development. In terms of the feminist scorecard, these merits dictate Scott Pilgrim beating out 80% of current film fare and 95% of Hollywood offerings.

    Feminism is a lens for judging a movie, but it’s also goal-oriented, providing a basis for prescriptive and ethical judgments. We can’t simply use it as a method for amassing criticisms against a film. To be meaningful, it has to measure both positive and negative points and consider how they balance out, like any grading-scale would do. It becomes a problem when your assessment starts recasting positive points as negative ones.

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

    Or are you suggesting that Ramona’s import to Scott’s story is akin to Arwen’s import to Frodo’s story?

    Not quite (Arwen has much less to do in Lord of the Rings than a better example, but something like that. If the film is not centrally about a romance (and I don’t think it is, it just uses romance — two of them — as a way to get the movie’s “growing up” plot going), then I don’t feel Ramona needs to be more present than she is. I still feel very strongly that she should’ve done more during the final fight, but within the context of everyone and everything else in the film, I don’t think the movie short-changes her, aside from that scene.

    The pyramid of how I would break down the significance of characters in the story being told goes something like this:

    Scott
    Ramona / Knives / Wallace / Gideon
    Kim Pine / Envy Adams / Most of the Evil Exes
    Stephen Stills / Young Neil / Stacey Pilgrim
    Other supporting characters

  • Ron

    Clearly you missed the whole point of the movie. Spoilers may lay within for anyone who hasn’t seen the film. Ramona IS FREE to lay her affections anywhere she wants. Hence why the evil exs come after her because she HAS chosen Scott. The biggest moment that shows this is the fight with Roxy. Scott is upset about having to fight off all these people and getting beat up and she asks him if he thinks she wants any of this either. She says she is sick of this. The evils exs decided to do this themselves, not with Ramona’s permission. Notice that in the same scene it is RAMONA WHO BEGINS TO FIGHT FOR SCOTT. She takes on Roxy and it isn’t until Roxy mentions it is a league fight and that Scott has to defeat her that Scott begins to actually fight for her. But wait, it isn’t Scott fighting, it is Ramona taking control of Scott. And in response to why would they all go along with this when Gideon is the one that would likely end up with her, it’s because for them this is revenge. They are bitter towards her. Look at Todd Ingram, he already has a girlfriend. He doesn’t need Ramona, but he probably still harbors ill-feelings towards her. As for why everyone takes the events in this movie so casually, it’s because everything that happens is very possible in the rules of the world they live in. Obviously this isn’t the world you or me live in, it’s very much a video game world where all of this is possible. Finally, the movie starts out with Ramona as Scott’s prize for beating all the evil exes, but the movie is more about him growing up than anything. When he comes back at the end for the second time, he says “I’m not fighting you for her, I’m fighting you for me” and he, literally, gains the power of self respect. He grows up because he realizes Ramona is not a prize anymore. At the end, they don’t stay together because he beat her evil exes, they end up together because he chose her just as much as she chose him. Your review shows that you clearly missed the entire point of this movie because you have a feminist bias whereas this movie actually has strong and empowering women. Sure, Ramona seems nonchalant most of the time, but as I said, she FIGHTS ROXY FOR SCOTT. And most of the time, she is being controlled by that chip that Gideon has put on her, but at the end after the chip stops working, she steps in and tries to help Scott fighting Gideon. Let’s not forget Knives, who while young and naive, is constantly fighting for Scott. It’s okay to dislike this movie, it’s clearly not for everyone. However to review a film with such bias is poor writing.

  • amanohyo

    We get more flashbacks of Ramona’s life than any other character; Knives goes through the most definitive developmental arc of any of them.

    Didn’t the flashbacks seem a bit… lazy and uninformative? It was such a pathetic attempt at character development, it actually drew attention to how poorly Ramona’s character was fleshed out, like someone who forgets your birthday but then buys you a cheap gift from the gas station across the street after it’s already too late. But, maybe the flashbacks were full of useful insights for some people… I don’t know. Here’s what I learned about Ramona from the flashbacks: She’s a serial loner Scottie… a rebel…wait, I already knew that before the flashbacks.

    Knives is the exact same character (a twelve year old with a crush) throughout the entire movie until the last scene (unless you count jealous twelve year old with a crush as a separate character…I don’t). That’s certainly definitive, but not very convincing. Two points on a graph do not make an arc. In this case, they barely even make a line.

    Scott isn’t fighting a bunch of comic book villains so much as he is struggling to see himself as a worthy boyfriend… a journey on the right path, but toward the wrong goal.

    Alright, so he is metaphorically comparing himself to her past boyfriends, and in each case, he is managing to find himself superior in some way (smarter, more honest, more authentic, better musician, better at possessing a penis, etc.) How is this the right path again? It seems like a pretty stupid path to tick off your girlfriend’s “relationships” and try to demonstrate to her that you’re better than them…what adult does that? “Tell me I’m the best you’ve ever had baby…I am, right? Tell me about every boy you’ve ever talked to and I’ll prove to you, via video game metaphor, that I’m the best.” Do you really think that’s the right path for anyone?

    What finally fixes the problem is that he sees himself as a worthy human being, and he can stop treating people around him like objects, trophies, and reinforcement-dispensers. This is a humanist message with feminist undertones.

    Again, the movie tells us that this change has taken place in Scott. Unfortunately, as with Knives, there aren’t any intermediate steps. He suddenly has self respect because… well it says it right there on the screen when his shiny sword comes out, and it beats the bad guy, so it must be stronger. And knives isn’t a twelve year old girl, she’s an equal, a teammate, because…hey, there she is, can’t you see how she’s suddenly a new person? Heck she’s even too good for self respecting Scott because… well because she just told us.

    Doesn’t that character development seem less than a little half-assed? If I’m reading a book, and the main character is a selfish doofus for three hundred pages, and then on page 301 (after many a thrilling battle), the local deity proclaims “the main character has just gained self respect! Now he has the power to defeat the Dragonlord and run off with the Princess!” I do not call that good writing…unless it’s meant to poke fun at poorly written scripts like this one…well, even then it’s awful.

    No, the only defense I can accept is that the character development is intentionally telegraphed in a lazy way and shoe-horned in at the last second because the movie is attempting to parody the poor character development found in run of the mill JRPGs…but even by those standards, this is pretty bad.

  • amanohyo

    Lyrics: The Most Epic Coming of Age Story of Our Generation

    “Who are you, mysterious hot chick?”
    “I’m a loner.”
    “You’re the best boyfriend ever!”

    CHORUS

    “I love you, mysterious hot chick.”
    “I’m a loner, have some baggage.”
    “You’re the best boyfriend ever!”

    CHORUS x 4

    “I’m better than your baggage, mysterious hot chick.”
    “I’m a loner, here’s some more baggage.”
    “I’m totally jealous of that mysterious hot chick!”

    “Baggage is annoying, but I still love you mysterious hot chick.”
    “Still a mysterious loner with baggage.”
    “Still totally jealous.”

    “This baggage is too powerful…wait I don’t love you, I love…me!”
    “I’m too good for you best boyfriend ever, go to her!”
    “I love you too, self-respecting slacker…maybe.”

    “Calgon, take us away!”

    THE END

  • Nate

    @amanohyo

    You seem to be still under the impression that Scott broke up with Knives at the end of the film. He didn’t. That came in the MIDDLE of the film, as did Scott’s first conflict with Ramona and his self-centeredness. The character development was not as shoehorned as you claim it to be.

    And why is it so hard to believe that someone has an epiphany after finding out their love interest wasn’t faithful to them? Do you know how the 17-year-old mind works?

    I don’t know what point you’re trying to make with your song. “That doesn’t even rhyme!” as Scott would say.

  • evilbubbs

    Ok…….So first thing is this “OBVIOUS TROLL, IS OBVIOUS”…..Well done on figuring out the most basic use of the internet.

    I read through the artical and for the most part I can say that this is a beautiful peice of writing that perfectly reflects the “author’s” (easy title to throw around these days) own seemingly tormented youth.

    One fact is clear, the movie owes more to geeks then anything else. If you are not part of that world sadly the big picture will be lost on you for the most part. So lets look at it from a slightly different perspective……

    The character/s was written by a guy and will always be from his perspective, for better for worse.

    These characters are all young, early 20 somethings that are finding their way in life, regardless of it being the right choice or not ultimatly.

    Fact is that it can be argued that all or none of these chracters reflect real life. Unfortunatly, its down to the reviewers own life experience, but to dismiss the characters as nothing more haphazard stick figures instead of full drawn people that would be a mistake.

    The most basic and arguably, the most retarded thing said in the entire artical (which lets be fair is the whole spin of your artical, is that Scoot Pilgrim (and by extension any man) only wishes to own a woman as a prize. WOW….just WOW….you have obviously never been in a relationship where the other person male/female did anything nice for you. The guy is a slacker that has decided that finally something has to change and ther eis something in life worth fighting for. Ramona is a catalyst, a chance at a different life. Not once does he do anything in then comic book that overtly makes him sexist, naive(spelling?) yes, sexist, definatly not.

    Please read the source material and more importantly look at the big picture of that world and the metaphores of music and video games, then going for the obvious. If you feel that the female actors have little to work with, keep this in mind, this is 6 books into next to 1 movie….a hugh feat to even attempt.

    My final thought is this, the fact you compared this movie and by extension the comic to Twilight will never cease to amaze me……..Twilight is a thinly veiled of being chaste and premarital sex is wrong. Also, ever man in it is not a guy, they are devoid of decision making and live only to stalk (in the most creepiest way possible) a young girl. Lets not even cover the necrophilia and beastiality angles. The fact is if guys are to have a “Twilight” moive….Then it is better to equate it to CRANK, then Scott Pilgrim. Take a second look at the movie and bring a geek friend (doesnt matter of gender) and see it with the eyes of a 30 something geek.

  • MaryAnn

    evilbubbs, I am a geek.

    Ramona IS FREE to lay her affections anywhere she wants. Hence why the evil exs come after her because she HAS chosen Scott.

    Ah, so Ramona may do as she pleases, but she needs to know that men who have absolutely no say over her life may challenge her on this. Got it. How silly of me not to have understood this.

    Here’s a question for everyone who thinks Ramona is free to do as she pleases: What if Scott had *failed* in his fights with the exes? What happens to Ramona — and her supposed affection for Scott — in that case?

    Feminism is a lens for judging a movie, but it’s also goal-oriented, providing a basis for prescriptive and ethical judgments. We can’t simply use it as a method for amassing criticisms against a film.

    I will repeat myself once again: The white-male-hetero perspective is not neutral, no matter how our culture insists that it is.

    I admit I’m biased. I have never hidden it. I shout my biases from the rooftop.

    I wish others would do the same. There’s nothing wrong with being biased… unless you insist that you aren’t.

  • Samantha L.

    Well, being a female who loves the idea of, and this movie, I can’t help but disagree. I hate twilight. But I love the idea of this movie. Maybe it’s because I’m a “nerd” or a “geek”, but I love things that are different. This movie is different from the others, thats for sure.
    Though its the whole, “the guy has to fight for the girl” type movie, it changes things up with the video-game-esque graphics. I adore Michael Cera’s quirky awkward personality, and to me, it makes the movie all the more lovable.
    Instead of the brave, strong, well-built man trying to win over the supermodel Megan Fox type girl. We have Michael Cera- lanky and awkward- trying to win over a girl with pink (green… blue… purple…) hair.
    I hope you understand why I think this movie is a two (or maybe just one and a half) thumbs up movie.

  • amanohyo

    @Nate, I’m sorry, you’re right -he did break up with Knives before the end. And I suppose by the standards of this movie, that does constitute an intermediate point in their respective arcs. The point of my song was mainly to demonstrate that to me, at least, each repetition of the chorus is interchangeable and almost identical in structure.

    If I was to take the first five fights and shuffle them around in a different order, would it make any difference at all to Scott’s development? Is this Mega Man? Are there any lessons/skills learned along the way that come in handy for future ex battles? I’m trying to give the movie the benefit of the doubt here. There has to be some kind of incremental development that I just don’t remember. Edgar Wright is an intelligent person.

    @evilbubbs, you’re a homestar fan, so you can’t be all that bad. I wasn’t trolling so much as trawling…okay maybe I was trolling a little bit. But my trolling had additional points, and they were: 1) we learn almost nothing about Ramona throughout the course of the movie, and 2) the end of the movie is jarring and forced at best, and completely unjustified by everything that came before it at worst. But again, I think I must have missed out on some bits of development in the middle of the movie (it was the third in a triple feature). Can anyone help me out?

    A simple list of what skills/life lessons/self knowledge Scott (and/or Ramona and Knives) gains in each fight would be fine. Then, maybe I could piece together some kind of moderately stable arc for them.

  • Knightgee

    1) we learn almost nothing about Ramona throughout the course of the movie

    Again, this is where the movie fails to adapt the comic, which not only gives some backstory on each ex, but reveals a new detail about Ramona as a person and romantic partner. Aside from the first ex, and the female ex, all the other exes are more or less interchangeable. I would argue that this was all for time constraints because there would be no way to do justice to all of this in a single 2 hour movie, but it does make you wonder why the film-makers thought critical details about the exes (and thus Ramona) were negligible.

  • Loveless

    Did the reviewer even watch/read either of the series, or did they just read the reviews or watch the trailers? I think she just watched the trailers. Scott Pilgrim is not even close to being as popular to Twilight. (Which is really disappointing.) Scott Pilgrim was much more clever and hilarious than Twilight. Twilight is really quite boring compared to Scott Pilgrim. The romance isn’t as interesting and the characters aren’t as compelling. The acting in Scott Pilgrim is a lot better as well. SCOTT PILGRIM ISN’T JUST FOR GUYS! It’s really more aimed at teens of both genders in my opinion. Though, it has a lot of references that only video game geeks would get. Which was really nice to see on the big screen.

  • Ron

    Ah, so Ramona may do as she pleases, but she needs to know that men who have absolutely no say over her life may challenge her on this. Got it. How silly of me not to have understood this.

    Here’s a question for everyone who thinks Ramona is free to do as she pleases: What if Scott had *failed* in his fights with the exes? What happens to Ramona — and her supposed affection for Scott — in that case?

    It’s not that they have a say over her life, but it’s actual quite similar to real live. If your ex came up to your current boyfriend and killed him, you would have no say in that. However, your ex would be an evil, terrible person, like all of her exes.

    And in response to your second comment, Scott DID fail against Gideon until he remember he had gotten an extra life. It’s a quick moment but Ramona looks hurt and shocked that Scott is dead. It can be inferred that she would be quite upset over his passing, but as I said, she can’t do anything about this as it was Gideon who committed this. Anybody’s ex-boyfriends could start an evil group designed to stop anyone from dating someone in the real world. Granted, the real world is a tad bit different and you could probably call the cops, get a restraining order, or something to that extent. However, that is not the world Scott or Ramona live in as it is a fantastical video game-esque world. Thus Scott can either choose to give up on Ramona or fight her evil ex-boyfriends. Ramona has no say in this, which is somewhat sexist, but realistic. If someone evil decides to do something to anyone, of course the person evil is committed upon will object, but that will not stop the evil from occurring. This is not to say that Ramona is complicit or goes along with it.

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

    Lyrics: The Most Epic Coming of Age Story of Our Generation

    Reducing a movie to its barest elements in a way that you could easily do with literally every movie ever made is not particularly insightful. Dripping sarcasm and disdain for everyone is also not a great tone to take with discussion. I don’t want to say that you’re basically trolling, but if you aren’t, what are you doing?

  • Susan

    I will repeat myself once again: The white-male-hetero perspective is not neutral, no matter how our culture insists that it is.

    Thank you! Great review. Thanks, MaryAnn. When the privilege-blinded get you down, head over to Twisty’s Savage Death Island at IBlamethePatriarchy.com and commiserate with someone who’ll understand your frustration. That’s what I always do, and she never fails to inspire me.

  • Jenna

    I would be delighted to hear a rationally argued feminist defense of this film. I haven’t heard one yet.

    I would be delighted just to meet a rational feminist. Aren’t they just a myth? Like unicorns? Most of the ones I have seen look a lot like you, pathetic.

    Go on fighting the good fight that exists solely in your head; take pride in the fact that you are embarrassing your gender.

    Not to say there aren’t any genuine battles to fight; it’s just Scott Pilgrim isn’t one of them.

    I really hate you. I mean, I seriously hate you. Woman should be fighting the few legitimate battles left to fight, not this kind of bullshit. You make us all look crazy, you detract from our legitimacy. How could anyone ever take us seriously when people like you have the loudest voice?

    You are a two hundred pound anchor wrapped around my neck! You hurt the world…

  • Lisa

    Jenna, go get yourself educated before you talk at the grown-ups table.

    I say this out of concern, otherwise you’re just embarrassing yourself.

  • amanohyo

    Jenna, pop culture matters. Sadly, it seems to matter waaaay more than politics which is almost a form of pop culture these days. There are all kinds of feminists out there, a few of them are an embarrassment, but for the most part, they make thoughtful adults look and feel awesome.

    Anyone who teaches or raises children and observes them with an open mind can see that everyone is born a feminist (and an atheist too!… but not a socialist or a racist, those are learned later). I guess the question is, does training children out of these things make them better members of society? Might make life easier in the short run, might make social situations flow more smoothly, but does it make you happy that society has pounded into your head from the moment you were born the idea that men are (and naturally should be) more important than women in almost every significant sphere of influence? Why do you hate MA for pointing this obvious fact out? Because it’s “just a movie?” Because you wish you could be a feminist, but are ashamed of the label?

    Are you one of those, “I believe that women and men should be given equal economic, political, and cultural opportunities and be treated fairly, but I think all those feminists are crazy and I hate them” people? What do you think feminism is? Grow some ovaries woman and say you’re a feminist if you are one. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with every other feminist on everything (which would be impossible) or dislike Scott Pilgrim.

    And MA has the loudest voice? That must be why so many movies with female main characters who don’t obsess about the men in their lives get made, all the big name producers are listening to MA. And children’s movies with a girl as the main character? Why they’re at almost 50% of the market easily, again thanks to the powerful, influential voices of feminists like MA. Her voice is so loud she has advertisers and reporters knocking down the door of her Manhattan penthouse apartment pushing wheelbarrows full of money.

  • macbrooks

    Uff, I can’t keep up with the comments, but I can’t resist putting my two cents in. I’m a hardcore videogamer (started on the Atari system and currently have a PS3), as is my husband, and the trailers have given me zero appeal to see the movie. Cera has a videogame hero? Seriously? Dude looks like a chick in the trailers. When I heard the movie had a videogame style, my first thought concerning Scott Pilgrim was: HEALBOT. Stick him in the back row and have him cast cure. He might be able to do that. Maybe. Gonna take forever to level him up.

    As for the girls in the trailer, all I saw was a pink-mopped highschooler who kisses Cera and pink hearts from from their mouths.

    This is supposed to be a videogame?

    Fail.

    mac :]

    ps – MaryAnne, keep fighting the good fight. I almost never agree with your reviews but your perspective and posts are intelligent and provocative.

  • macbrooks

    Re: posted by macbrooks (Wed Aug 18 10, 10:22AM)

    Of course, preview is my friend. Why do I ignore you, Friend?

    pink hearts float from their mouths. (still Fail).

    MaryAnn – I apologize for mispelling your name.

    mac :]

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

    I believe that women and men should be given equal economic, political, and cultural opportunities and be treated fairly, but I think all those feminists are crazy and I hate them” people? What do you think feminism is?

    While the bolded part is absolutely an aspect of feminism, I don’t think that’s actually what feminism “is”. I think that’s just equality.

    @macbrooks,

    It’s perfectly valid to not to see the movie because you don’t buy Michael Cera as a hero, but you should also keep in mind that this has almost nothing to do with the actual movie. Your unhappiness lies with the actor, not the film, as you would probably feel the same way if he was in a different film, and/or most of your complaints would go away if he was not in this one.

  • MaryAnn

    I don’t think that’s actually what feminism “is”. I think that’s just equality.

    Oh, Tyler. “Just equality”? Just? It’s a huge, huge thing, and we’re nowhere near it. Feminism is the fight for it.

    If your ex came up to your current boyfriend and killed him, you would have no say in that.

    In the sense that I could not stop it happening, perhaps. But I wouldn’t have to shrug and go along with it. I wouldn’t think it’s *okay.* I could have a say in punishing the murderer: calling the police, testifying against him at trial, and so on. I’d be so fucking *outraged* that I could barely contain it.

    I certainly wouldn’t stand meekly aside. Why isn’t Ramona *furious* at what is being done in her name?

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

    Oh, Tyler. “Just equality”? Just? It’s a huge, huge thing, and we’re nowhere near it. Feminism is the fight for it.

    Well, I wasn’t trying to say that the world is full of equality, or that equality is simple. I just meant that feminism obviously has an element specific to women, and that the definition used above seemed incomplete.

    I certainly wouldn’t stand meekly aside. Why isn’t Ramona *furious* at what is being done in her name?

    Because underneath her relatively confident exterior, she’s sort of a meek person. She runs away from her problems. Also important is that in her decision to run, she does not necessarily expect Scott to solve them for her. She is just running to avoid dealing.

    Even if you would not run, there are people who would run. I don’t think it’s a sexist characterization.

  • JoshB

    Jenna, I’m not sure you understand the word rational.

    I would be delighted just to meet a rational feminist. Aren’t they just a myth? Like unicorns? Most of the ones I have seen look a lot like you, pathetic.

    I really hate you. I mean, I seriously hate you.

    It’s ironic that you’re lambasting MAJ for irrationality, but doing so in purely emotional terms. It doesn’t really work that way.

    Not to say there aren’t any genuine battles to fight; it’s just Scott Pilgrim isn’t one of them…Woman should be fighting the few legitimate battles left to fight, not this kind of bullshit. You make us all look crazy, you detract from our legitimacy.

    It would be rational to point out why Scott Pilgrim doesn’t qualify as a legitimate battle, rather than to make angry, sweeping, yet unsupported claims regarding the author’s sanity and effect on women’s place in society.

  • Ron
    In the sense that I could not stop it happening, perhaps. But I wouldn’t have to shrug and go along with it. I wouldn’t think it’s *okay.* I could have a say in punishing the murderer: calling the police, testifying against him at trial, and so on. I’d be so fucking *outraged* that I could barely contain it.

    I certainly wouldn’t stand meekly aside. Why isn’t Ramona *furious* at what is being done in her name?

    Because underneath her relatively confident exterior, she’s sort of a meek person. She runs away from her problems. Also important is that in her decision to run, she does not necessarily expect Scott to solve them for her. She is just running to avoid dealing.
    Even if you would not run, there are people who would run. I don’t think it’s a sexist characterization.

    As I said, there are different rules to the world in which these characters live in. For all we know, this kind of fighting could happen all the time.

    And Tyler here put it best that she is a meek person running away from her problems. Notice amidst the battle against Lucas Lee she just disappears on Scott. She ran away from New York to Toronto and after the end battle she plans on running again until Scott goes and talks to her. She’s the kind of person that runs away from her problems. And Tyler said it well saying it’s not a sexist characterization as many people run from their problems, including men.

  • Joe Borrelli

    I agreed with MaryAnn’s review.

    Sorry, but once you get past the movie’s video game trappings and indie-rock charm, no one is particularly likable or worth the hullaballoo the movie heaps on it. I don’t quite get the vitriol chucked at MaryAnn over the fact that she didn’t immediately fawn over the film. She’s right, the movie commodifies Ramona.

    Yeah, yeah, the damsel in distress story is a big part of video games and culture, but it’s inherently sexist and really needs to go.

    I did like the music, though.

  • macbrooks

    @macbrooks,

    It’s perfectly valid to not to see the movie because you don’t buy Michael Cera as a hero, but you should also keep in mind that this has almost nothing to do with the actual movie. Your unhappiness lies with the actor, not the film, as you would probably feel the same way if he was in a different film, and/or most of your complaints would go away if he was not in this one.

    @Tyler Foster,

    I’ll give you that I don’t like Cera; however, I do dispute the “if he was not in this one” assertion. If you’re going to show a believable videogame hero (especially in an RPG), you can’t have him rocking the feminine ‘do and basic slacker body. I burst out laughing at the clip of this doofy little girly character being all “Ninja BAAAAD” with a sword.

    Just my impressions of the trailer, from the perspective of a long-time gamer.

    mac :]

  • Dr. Whiggs

    The contents of your pants do not make you any more special or worthy than anyone else.

  • MarickLOA

    Well I have spent a long time and read a lot of comments. And there is much to say.
    For starters, I was astonished at how many people continually used the books as a point of argument. Not everyone has read the books.
    secondly, I agree that male stories take a higher standing then female, in fact Brian Lee O’malley (author of the scoot pilgrim books) wrote another book before Scott Pilgrim called lost as sea and that story revolved around a female character and had to do with figuring things out and not about getting a boy. This story was really, really good. However it is not as popular as Scott Pilgrim. The only reason I found it was cause it was listed at the back of the pilgrim books. And it took a while to find cause almost no one carried it….Ironically Amazon did.

    I cant agree that the movie clearly shows Ramona as a weak character, I have gone over the movie several times and I just do see it that clearly. Being picky it is in fact there, I wont argue with that, but it is definitely more subtle then your saying, must having something to do with that lens of yours. And I find it hard to argue against your opinion when shows like mew mew power exist (trust me you don’t want me to explain it any farther then it doesn’t portray women that well.)

    If you hadn’t guessed I am a fan. And if I hadn’t bothered to read comments and understand your position a little more I would probably have been just another raging fan-boy. So I do disagree with your view of the movie, and agree that there is some sexism present (I would like to emphasis *some*) what I would like to say is that, no one else will look at the movie this way and will take away what you thought of it. So its not as if any message is being sent out. (you could argue subliminal messages but I would have to call you a fool since subliminal messages don’t work that way.) I am not trying to change your opinion, and I am not going to lie that this whole comment is nothing more then me wanting to say my peace. It is to late to save your view of this movie but I hope you can keep something in mind for your next review. Not every movie is intentionally being sexist. I am not trying to make excuses for movies “oh well its not its fault it just came out that way” I am just saying sometimes a movie is just a movie and is simply there to make money, and if stories about males makes more money then that’s what people will go for and other then being greedy bastards you cant really call them sexist for that.

    On the hole, its your god damn opinion, I can ignore it if I like. My only issue with your opinion is people who might actually like it wont see it just because of what you say. And in my eyes missing out on something you would enjoy is a real shame….unless what you enjoy is murder or killing puppies or skinning live animals in which case I would advise you to find other things you enjoy like books or opera or, wow cant believe I will say this, twilight if it helps you stop the murder. Now then it is 2:00 am and I have spent more then enough time on this subject. Not sure if I made an difference in the long run but at least this is off my mind and Ill be able to sleep well tonight.

    Not sure what you like but maybe Lost at Sea might be a good read for you. And if you don’t like it that’s a shame but I don’t really give two shits so don’t let me know what you thought of it. You can even post a review of it if you like I am never coming here again so probably wont read it. But keep in mind, don’t spoil it for people that might like to read it so list some good things as well.

  • Grail-ums

    Hooo boy I am going to be losing a lot of sleep tonight. Haven’t done that in a while. Although this is for a good cause.

    I don’t expect the reviewer herself to read this, or even respond to it, even though I am going to do my damndest to not make any insults towards this review, despite the fact that I just read the “Eat Pray Love” and wanted to gargle with bleach after seeing that IT got positive reviews.

    Now, I suppose before I jump into SPvtW, I will touch base with the fact that after doing research on EPL (eat pray love), that movie and the book it was based off of is pure evil.

    Simply put, if the main character of that movie was a man, he’d be the most hated man in history, that’s it. Yet this Liz woman is celebrated for her ‘courage and power to not fit in with the normal expectations of women’. So I’ll cheat on my wife, leave her and go and have a 200k vacation all paid expenses so I can live outside the norm, right?

    I’ll take -MY- version of Twilight, as you put it, over that contrived, pretentious bullshit anyday. Oh and just before you say I’m some woman hater, I have no respect for any man, or woman, who ultimately gains fame and is put on some high horse due to her ‘liberating’ actions. You want to have sex with someone else, and you’re married? Wait for the divorce to be finalized. Christ.

    Anyhoo, onto SPvtW. Now with the above statement I just made, most people are going to say “Well if you loved this movie so much, you’re a hypocrite because Scott did the same thing!”

    And you’d be absolutely right, if there were not consequences for his actions that he had to pay for. But I’m going to start at the beginning.

    This movie can be taken at face value for what it is, a mindless look into the mind of a 20-something male who hasn’t given much thought, or care into his future. He’s got a roommate who’s gay (which, for as immature as this reviewer seems to peg the males for depicting women, Scott seems to be quite the best pals with his gay roommate) and pretty much allows him to mooch off of everything, he’s in a band, and he’s dating a high schooler.

    He’s an immature dick who’s riding on the bow of the Titanic and doesn’t realize that the iceberg known as life is right ahead of him.

    The real reason behind his dating of a high schooler is due to the fact that he’s still deeply hurt by his ex for over a year, baggage that he can’t let go of and doesn’t want to end up in a position where he can be hurt like that again, so with Knives, it’s a win win situation for him. He doesn’t get hurt but an emptiness and loneliness still plagues him.

    Then Ramona enters into his life, his dream girl, quite literally.

    So being the selfish dick that he is, he can’t decide between taking a risk on someone he knows nothing about, but feels a connection to, or keeping things simple and safe with Knives. So what does a guy in his mindset and maturity do? He tries to juggle both, albeit for a very short time.

    This entire time both MEN AND WOMEN (see, both sexes, its’ fun when we aren’t judging just one sex!) are telling him to do the right thing, and be with just one of them. They do lean towards Ramona due to the simple fact she isn’t, well, seventeen and that they all see that Scott is just trying to be ‘safe’ with Knives.

    This entire build-up here is showing us all how flawed of a person Scott is. He doesn’t mean to do any harm, but also is too dense to realize that he always ends up hurting someone he does care about in ways he could never imagine.

    Now with that explained, which, I can’t fathom why it’s so hard to see in this film, onto Ramona.

    Ramona is running away from her past. Simple as that. She’s trying to get away from being the immature ‘bitch’ that she has seen herself as and comes to Canada.

    As far as her meeting with Scott, perhaps it was an accident, perhaps it was destiny, who knows, all she knows is that he’s got a convenient sub-space super highway in his head that allows her to deliver packages for amazon a hell of a lot more quickly than conventional ways.

    At first she’s a little hesitant, put off at even getting to know Scott due to the fact that, if you put some thought into it after seeing the movie, she is afraid that he is just going to be another guy in her life that she’s going to get ‘bored’ with and ultimately dump. Though he is nice, persistant, and seems to be genuinely interested in her, thanks to her cruising through his head.

    There is the connection between the two characters. Both come from the same kind of past we all do and have the SAME kind of problems we all face (and to boot, they don’t get 200k to go leave their husband and go on vacation for a year to write a pretentious bullshit book.).

    Bam. There you go, a hell of a lot more ways to relate to characters on a human level, and not characters we all WISH we could be (*cough* eat pray love)

    As for the fighting of the seven evil exes. Now for one that has little, to no imagination, this would come off as confusing.

    At the same time, I know a lot of people complain that ‘chivalry is dead!’ Well…in one way he’s battling for her love by defeating the seven mistakes she has made in the past, that come back to haunt her. He is defending her honor and showing her, in his way, that he is willing to face challenge and over come them for her hand.

    At the same time, you could put some thought into this and come up with the ideal that this is a ‘metaphor’. A metaphor, for those of you that don’t know, is a device used to symbolize meanings through other forms of media. I’ll explain.

    Each of the exes symbolize Ramona’s emotional and psychological baggage that Scott has to deal with, (Oh and before someone cries that “WHY DON’T SHE DO SAME THING?” She does in this movie, and I’ll get to that in a second).

    We’ve all had that person in our life that ‘compares’ us to their exes in the past…Scott has to overcome them and prove he’s the better person. Everyone has done it that’s been in relationships and everyone has expectations, Scott is just overcoming those expectations.

    As for Ramona, she clearly has her own fights as well, but they are on a more subtle level. Scott’s first ex (presumably) is Kim, who’s still friends with Scott. The first time Ramona and Kim meet Kim pretty much tells Ramona that he isn’t worth anything and is an idiot, and Ramona actually seems fine with that, already accepting that Scott is a douche, but won’t take one woman’s word for it to heart yet.

    And of course we have Envy, Scott’s big one. While not much is done as far as this goes, we have to remember that in most ways, Scott has put some of his baggage away, and therefore she is not that big of a threat to Ramona due to the fact that Scott WAS the dumpee in that situation, so Envy has no real reason to fight ramona due to the fact she just wants to torment Scott.

    The standout fight that Ramona has to deal with is the girl who thinks she stole Scott from her. Knives. This is blatently shown in the film, so I don’t understand why the reviewer asked why Ramona doesn’t have to fight Scott’s exes…because she does in her own ways.

    Simply put I can only surmise that the reviewer of this movie hasn’t had to ‘fight’ for anything in her life. That there has nothing she has ever had that she felt was worth fighting for.

    The women in this film aren’t treated as property. I mean what the hell is wrong with you? One of the exes even HITS a woman and proclaims “What? I’m a rockstar, I don’t care if I hit women”. And our hero, who you claim to be is just a womanizing loser, finally loses his cool just a short moment after that happens.

    I don’t know if you were too self-absorbed sitting on your own high horse and missing out of the fact that the women in this movie were strong female figures, were confident but had their flaws, or if you are another one of those “oh woe is me, all women are treated like objects and you should all be ashamed!” types of people, but either way you really do need to wake up.

    Women are not ‘weak’ as you see them all the time, and you don’t need a damn movie that celebrates a female for cheating on her husband, and gets paid to go on a year long vacation to find empowerment.

    I know a hell of a lot stronger women that deserve a movie of their own.

  • MaryAnn

    Simply put I can only surmise that the reviewer of this movie hasn’t had to ‘fight’ for anything in her life. That there has nothing she has ever had that she felt was worth fighting for.

    You would be wrong about that.

    At the same time, I know a lot of people complain that ‘chivalry is dead!’ Well…in one way he’s battling for her love by defeating the seven mistakes she has made in the past, that come back to haunt her. He is defending her honor and showing her, in his way, that he is willing to face challenge and over come them for her hand.

    I hope to hell “chivalry” is dead. It’s an outmoded medieval notion that elevates women to an impossible pedestal. “Defending her honor”? This is another sexist notion that needs to die.

    No wonder so many people seem to miss the sexism in this movie: some people don’t even know what sexism is.

  • amanohyo

    Grail-ums, you summarized the plot really well (I almost felt like I was reading an Ebert review for a sec..zing!), but there was really no need – we’ve all seen the movie (although I did forget that Knives and Scott break up in the middle…) Most of your concerns are addressed above and in the comments to this post. I understand if you don’t have time to read through it all though.

    I’ll just point one of the flaws in your reasoning: a man getting angry after a woman is hit by someone is by no means evidence that the man does not objectify women. In fact, it could be very easily be interpreted as evidence for the opposite. You seem to be falling into the trap that many anime and video game fans fall into (I’m not assuming you’re a fan of anime/gaming, just saying that your reasoning is similar). The simple fact that a female character participates in physical combat in no way means that the character is not being objectified. It could go either way depending on how the character is developed…or not developed as the case may be.

    In many cases, when it comes to dialogue and personality, a female character is very well rounded, but this contrasts with the way the character is designed (costume, physique…often a little too-well rounded, etc.) and framed/filmed (this movie does have an upskirt fan service shot which pissed me off a teensy bit). However, for the most part, that kind of disconnect doesn’t occur in this movie (the character design is totally reasonable), and the actual story of Scott overcoming his insecurites and maturing is not sexist in and of itself.

    MA is making the case that the metaphor used to tell the story and way the female characters are employed (or ignored) in this metaphor is sexist. That whole chivalry thing that you seem to think is evidence that the women are being treated real nice, that’s what she finds sexist (and it is).

  • Dana

    “I certainly wouldn’t stand meekly aside. Why isn’t Ramona *furious* at what is being done in her name?”

    Because it isn’t being done in her name. The fights are not literal, they are not real, Scott does not really die and come back to life.

    This seems to be the key difference between those who hate the film and those who like the film. The former see the fights as literal fights, therefore worry about him ‘winning’ her like a prize, and think that the character development is shoehorned in at the end when we are told rather than shown. The latter don’t take such a literal approach to the fights, realise that they aren’t about beating the ex to ‘win’ her but beating the ex to improve himself and become someone worth her affection, and that the character development is occurring all through the film.

    Message to trolls: This reviewer has misunderstood the film – You however are a bunch of fucking dicks with the collective verbal ability of a herd of dead porcupines, you are so outraged by her incorrect opinion that you just have to say your piece, regardless of the fact that the ‘angry abuse from a two year old’ style of posting you’ve chosen fails to make a single one of the points you want to make and ends up damning you all as dribbling fanboys.

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

    Because it isn’t being done in her name. The fights are not literal, they are not real, Scott does not really die and come back to life.

    On this point, I have to side with MaryAnn. Within the context of the film, they are literal. You are not given any reason to believe that to Scott, they are a dream, and thus, you must take them at face value, or accept that to the characters, they are happening.

  • Kristian

    Thanks for the review. Will be giving this one a miss.
    “Twilight for boys”, that’s a classic. Here’s hoping nothing like the unofficial ‘sparkly dildo’ is release in the wake of this moving.

  • Dana

    “On this point, I have to side with MaryAnn. Within the context of the film, they are literal. You are not given any reason to believe that to Scott, they are a dream, and thus, you must take them at face value, or accept that to the characters, they are happening.”

    They are not a dream, they are not literal. It’s similar to magical realism, the magic/game references elucidate the development of the characters, the themes and ideas of the piece. They are not meant to be taken literally.

    p.s. (A dream in a film is meant to be taken literally – it is a dream a character is having, literally.)

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

    It’s still Scott’s reality. It’s happening to Scott.

  • Grail-ums

    No wonder so many people seem to miss the sexism in this movie: some people don’t even know what sexism is.

    It seems to me that you would be more favorable towards the hunky, muscle bound male ending up with the female in the end, if your critique of EPL shows anything.

    It’s alright though, women aren’t attracted to the ‘below average’ male, as you seem to put it.

    Sexism is a two way road, but most the time it’s people like you that bring it up so much. It’s just like people screaming racist at the mere sight of another race in any situation. A muslim man could be picking up some milk, and people like you would find some way to call it ‘racist’.

    I’ll just point one of the flaws in your reasoning: a man getting angry after a woman is hit by someone is by no means evidence that the man does not objectify women. In fact, it could be very easily be interpreted as evidence for the opposite. You seem to be falling into the trap that many anime and video game fans fall into (I’m not assuming you’re a fan of anime/gaming, just saying that your reasoning is similar). The simple fact that a female character participates in physical combat in no way means that the character is not being objectified. It could go either way depending on how the character is developed…or not developed as the case may be.

    I suppose I did word that wrong, but let’s take the scene at face value. Despite he and Knives break up, on some certain level I can ascertain that he still considers her a friend, although knows it’d be far too early to just dump that ‘let’s be friends’ saying on her.

    That being said, Scott saw his friend assaulted for no reason at all. Doesn’t matter if it’s male or female, he wants to put an end to it, and that is his reasoning to do it.

    I suppose I made the mistake when I posted by even recognizing her as a woman (as it seems sexist to do so?) but also, let’s take this into consideration:

    Why is no one considering the way envy treats Todd as sexist towards males?

    It’s quite apparent that Todd is a puppy dog to her. He’s cute, protective, and will obey pretty much anything she says. Hell Envy is the reason he punched Knives in the first place, she gives him the order to, and he carries it out.

    Why aren’t you guys harping on the fact that it’s sexist that if a guy is with a woman he has to play puppy dog to make her happy?

    Just a tad curious on that note.

    Oh and like I said above, sexism is a two way street, it’s just a hell of a lot easier for women to use it as a crutch (OMG SEXIST!). Look at the Lifetime channel for christs sake.

  • http://www.gamestooge.com Jonah Falcon

    “Batman & Robin is on a plane of awfulness that even Gigli, Manos, and Star Wars Holiday Special can’t comprehend!”

    Batman & Robin is better. For one, it’s watchable, even if you’re snarking about it. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is just unwatchable.

    Batman & Robin has a sense of camp. Scott Pilgrim has no sense of anything but itself.

    Batman & Robin is So Bad Its Good. Scott Pilgrim is the Power Glove. Everytime I hear someone trying to defend Scott Pilgrim, the mental picture of Lucas jumps in my brain. “I love Scott Pilgrim! It’s so bad!”

    I’m over the age of 30. I *get* Scott Pilgrim. I’ve seen it before, many times. It’s not a cultural touchstone – it’s just a soulless dull corporate impression of what they think teen/college age guys are.

    But hipster douchebags are hipster douchebags, and making Super Mario Bros. and Seinfeld references don’t make it better.

    Scott Pilgrim is Batman & Robin without the camp to give it SOME value.

    Oh, and George Clooney vs. Michael Sera? Is there even a contest?

  • Nate

    Batman & Robin is So Bad Its Good. Scott Pilgrim is the Power Glove. Everytime I hear someone trying to defend Scott Pilgrim, the mental picture of Lucas jumps in my brain. “I love Scott Pilgrim! It’s so bad!”

    I have no clue what this is supposed to mean.

    I’m over the age of 30. I *get* Scott Pilgrim. I’ve seen it before, many times. It’s not a cultural touchstone – it’s just a soulless dull corporate impression of what they think teen/college age guys are.

    Bullshit. At this point Edgar Wright’s made nothing but cult movies and it’s completely ridiculous to assume he only made this because Universal wanted him to.

  • JoshB

    Why is no one considering the way envy treats Todd as sexist towards males?

    Somewhere Tim1974 just got the sudden, unexplained urge to buy someone a beer.

  • http://www.gamestooge.com Jonah Falcon

    I have no clue what this is supposed to mean.

    I know.

  • http://www.gamestooge.com Jonah Falcon

    At this point Edgar Wright’s made nothing but cult movies and it’s completely ridiculous to assume he only made this because Universal wanted him to.

    Two. Movies.

    He’s made TWO friggin’ movies before this.

    This reminds me of people putting M. Night Shyamalan among the 20 Greatest Directors, over such directors as Rouben Mamoulian and Ernst Lubitsch, after HE’D released two films.

    Look at what Rob Reiner’s reduced to since 1994 and you’re going to make definitive statements about Edgar Wright, a TV director? Seriously? (laugh)

  • http://www.gamestooge.com Jonah Falcon

    Going to Maryann’s recent Twilight review, I saw this passage:

    This is what passes for romance in the early 21st century: a sexless, passionless tug-of-war among children.

    You can cut-and-paste it onto the Scott Pilgrim review.

    At least The Expendables is about the forbidden love between macho men, with violence as proxy for sex. Trusting knives, ejaculating machine guns, barechested and oily. That’s the reason so many gay men love 300.

  • Victor Plenty

    Jonah Falcon wrote:

    Batman & Robin is So Bad Its Good. Scott Pilgrim is the Power Glove. Everytime I hear someone trying to defend Scott Pilgrim, the mental picture of Lucas jumps in my brain. “I love Scott Pilgrim! It’s so bad!”

    to which Nate quite sensibly and enviably replied:

    I have no clue what this is supposed to mean.

    Anyone wishing to share in my misfortune (of knowing what Jonah was alluding to) can do so by viewing this, although conscience forbids me to recommend it.

  • JoshB

    OMFG! The Wizard! I haven’t thought of that movie in at least 15 years.

  • Dana

    “It’s still Scott’s reality. It’s happening to Scott.”

    Which is relevant how? That’s right, it’s not. The fights still aren’t literal.

    I’m over the age of 30. I *get* Scott Pilgrim. I’ve seen it before, many times. It’s not a cultural touchstone – it’s just a soulless dull corporate impression of what they think teen/college age guys are.

    Yeah, like nate said, Bullshit. It’s an indie-ish director adapting and indie comic for a niche crowd. It may not be your cultural touchstone, but that doesn’t mean that you get it and it’s soulless, it just means that it’s not for you.
    That doesn’t matter, that doesn’t mean that you are an idiot or that the film is rubbish. Not every film is for everyone.

  • tweeks

    MaryAnn apparently expected this movie to be about “two young people navigating the hurts of their past to come together for a fresh start,” and I agree with her that, if that really was the goal, the film fell short of it. Those were not my expectations, however. I’m not familiar with the source material, but the trailers suggested that I was going to get a highly-stylized Hero’s Journey told from a video-game-and-pop-culture-saturated young male’s perspective, and that’s exactly what I got. On those terms, I thought the movie succeeded spectacularly.

    However, I’m not going to fault MaryAnn for expecting more from this movie. I was just re-watching the first disc of His & Her Circumstances this week, which really does deal with “two young people navigating the hurts of their past to come together for a fresh start,” and it does so in a highly-stylized yet touchingly-realistic way that I still find absolutely brilliant and totally fresh, years after the first viewing. His & Her Circumstances is a comic-turned-TV-series, not a comic-turned-movie, but it still accomplishes much, much more character development in 2 hours’ worth of episodes than this film even attempts.

    Although I enjoyed the film as-is, judging from the comments, it sounds like the source material was significantly richer, so it’s too bad a more dramatically-ambitious adaptation was not attempted. As several commenters pointed out, at the end of the film, Scott and Ramona’s relationship is really only just beginning: There is still plenty of growing-up left for both of them to do as they gradually get to know one-another and, in the process, get to know themselves. Although Scott’s journey towards some measure of self-respect was entertaining enough, the really interesting part is what happens next! Will Ramona grow to respect Scott? Will she ever find anything about him to admire besides the fact that he’s “nice”? And what will happen once Scott really gets to know Ramona? Will he love her for who she really is? I think there’s at least two more movies’ worth of “Falling in Love” story to be told, and I’d like to see them take a cue from His & Her Circumstances and give equal time to both sides of the story.

  • Daniel

    Wow! I find the review and the subsequent comments very interesting. Here’s my two cents.

    It’s all in Scott’s scruffy hair.

    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (SPvtW) is a coming-of-age story set in a video game world. It’s a parody of video games, comic books and sitcoms. Let’s define parody: A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule. At its most basic, it is a journey from boyhood to adulthood in a world where Nintendo physics rule.

    This is Scott’s story. He is shown in just about every frame of the film. Let’s talk discuss it.

    Scott starts the movie as an immature man-child who is insensitive to others feelings. He dates a 17 year old high school girl named Knives Chau. They have never kissed or hugged but they nearly held hands once. He dates her out of comfort and safety. It’s not a real relationship because there is no emotional investment on his part. He enters the relationship so he can live in perpetual childhood, but the primary reason he dates her is her *lack of relationship history.*

    Scott hasn’t dated a girl since he was brutally dumped by Envy Adams. She’s the lead singer of rival band, The Clash of Demon Head. She dumped Scott to rekindle a relationship with an old boyfriend, (Todd Ingram, the bassist for Clash) and now Scott *lives in fear of girls’ past relationships.*

    The entire opening shows Scott’s flaws. The film is establishing his fear, his insensitiveness towards everyone in his life, and his inability to realize that his lifestyle and attitude are leading him down the wrong path.

    Enter Ramona.

    Ramona is meekness dressed up in confidence. She’s a person who runs away from her problems. She’s moved from New York to Toronto to escape Gideon. As pointed out by others, this is not a sexist characteristic. Not facing up to problems is universal.

    Scott and Ramona’s relationship is similar to just about every romantic relationship committed to celluloid. They meet, then date, then break up and finally get back together.

    Scott sees Ramona in the library. He’s instantly smitten. The audience believes it because love at first sight happens in real life (my parents) and it has happened in movies a million times before.

    He introduces himself to Ramona at a party. He mentions some little known fact about PacMan which Ramona finds boring. He mentioned the same fact to Knives earlier and she ate it up. Ramona doesn’t fall for his pick up attempt because she is not impressed by such inconsequential things as PacMan. In a nutshell, Knives is a girl and Ramona is a woman.

    Scott orchestrates another meeting with Ramona and convinces her to hang out with him. She agrees because he seems nice and is a persistent son of a bitch. This does not mean that she loves him instantly. (Just the other day I hung out with a girl I never met before. The catalyst? She dropped some money that I picked up. I asked her to sit with me. She did. People take chances all the time.) It’s the kind of thing you’d agree to if you had just moved to a new city and wanted to meet new people.

    It’s important to note that Ramona is free to lay her affections anywhere she wants. The exes don’t come after Scott until she has chosen him. Scott doesn’t fight the exes *before* he dates her. He battles the exes *as* he is dating her. She decides that her relationship with Scott is going to progress from hanging to dating.

    Scott: So what you’re saying is we are dating.
    Ramona: I guess.
    Scott: Does that mean we can make out?
    Ramona: Yes.

    **Her affections are hers to bestow.**

    Do you remember the scene where she invites him back to her place? They’re in bed, semi naked and she decides that they shouldn’t be intimate. Scott is fine with this. If the film was truly about the “indulgence of everything a not-quite-adult, no-longer-a-kid manchild could want from woman” Scott would have fucked her right then and there. He doesn’t. He is scared of intimacy.

    Flash forward to the scene where he and Ramona are kissing on the couch in his apartment. She runs her fingers through his hair and says something about how it’s long and shaggy. Scott immediately puts on a cap. He’s an insecure little boy. He’s worried about what she thinks of him. In his head, he’s not good enough for her.
    I’ll repeat. Her affections are hers to bestow… that is until Gideon puts a chip in her head…

    MaryAnn has some problems with this. Let’s get it out of the way quickly.

    MaryAnn: “Right. And there’s nothing offensive about that. Women are just so easy to control! They can’t help it — it’s just the way things are.
    The question is: *Why* is this a plot point in the story? What does it say that it is a plot point in the story?”
    1)You’re grasping at straws.
    2)It’s a plot point in the story because Gideon wants to control Ramona. Gideon is evil. The audience roots for his demise. They root for Ramona’s freedom.
    3)Simply put, if you try to control woman you’re a bad person.

    Let’s read more.

    MaryAnn: “This is part of my problem with the movie: How are the exes her “problem”? Even if she did dump them, how do they have any right to demand to fight her new boyfriend? And why do they agree to do such a bizarre thing? I could almost understand them wanting to fight her, because she’s the one who wronged them. How did Scott wrong them… unless it’s that he wants to possess something that once belonged to them. And why does Scott agree to fight them… unless he see this as his path to possessing her?
    Yes, yes, I know: It’s a metaphor. It’s a fantasy. But the assumptions behind the mindset that would structure something that is supposed to be “just” a “fun” story in this way are disturbing. Ramona may have an evil chip in her head, but how does the villain control everyone else? Or does he simply not need to control anyone else because they buy in this possession notion too?”
    1)They don’t have any right. Evil people do evil things.
    2)You haven’t really thought this through. Gideon is a rich and powerful dude that owns nightclubs and record labels. He buys their cooperation. Why do people do bizarre things in our world? Money. Power. Fame. The evil exes work for him. Sheesh! Three of them are musicians signed to his label. One is a movie star. How did he get that job? Do I need to continue? At one point he tries to buy Scott’s cooperation when he signs Sex-Bob-omb. Scott refuses. He can’t be bought. He doesn’t want to win Ramona from Gideon.
    3)He doesn’t agree. They come after him. No, you see it as his path to possessing her. He just wants to date her and not feel insecure.
    4)See above.
    5)See above.

    MaryAnn: “You’re really still not getting it, Tyler. I am not “asking to remove the Evil Exes.” I am pointing out how fucked up are the underlying assumptions and prejudices about men and women and relationships that go into creating a story about a guy who has to fight his new girlfriend’s seven Evil Exes before he can have a relationship with her.”

    You’re wrong. He’s *in* a relationship with her *as* he fights her seven Evil Exes. It’s kinda the whole point of the movie.

    Tyler: “And I’m saying, since it is a situation entirely manufactured by the villain of the story, that I don’t see where assumptions are being made about men and women.”
    MaryAnn: “You’re arguing from entirely within the context of the story. I’m talking from a much larger cultural context. The situation is entirely manufactured by the creators the film.”

    Let’s define cultural context: Cultural context refers to the milieu a work originated in. For example, what country/state/time a novel comes from, as well as what attitudes about race, sex, status, etc were prevalent at the time.

    Now that that’s done let’s delve deep into the big debate. Your *point* is invalid because you missed the *point* of the movie. See above – and note your use of the word ‘before.’

    MaryAnn: “Do you not see, Tyler, how it says something about our culture when a young man invents this particular story, and it resonates among many, many other young men? *Why* does it resonate? Because it says something that these young men agree with.
    I keep asking, Why isn’t Ramona the hero? Why doesn’t she have to fight his exes? And no one seems to understand why this isn’t the story: Because the young-male audience this is aimed at would not buy it. They would not find it plausible that a young woman would have to fight to win her new boyfriend’s affections, or that his affections wouldn’t be his to bestow as he pleases.”

    1) Yes, it says something young men do agree with. In order to have a meaningful relationship with a woman one must be a man and not a silly little man-child. Also, if you try to control or posses a woman you’re evil and should be stopped, preferably in the most spectacular fashion possible.
    2) It’s not her story. She has no insecurities regarding Scott’s past. It wouldn’t make sense. It wouldn’t contribute to the theme of growing up and getting of your partners past. She would be fighting just for the sake of fighting.
    3) I resent this. It drips with disdain and internet snark. It’s disgusting. How can you show such contempt for young men? I am a young man. I would love to see more films with woman as protagonists. I certainly wouldn’t give a shit if a woman had to fight to win her new boyfriend’s affections. Aliens and Beauty and the Beast are in my top 20 movies of all time. Your real beef is with Hollywood, not SPvtW and certainly not young men.

    Another post: “Ramona IS FREE to lay her affections anywhere she wants. Hence why the evil exs come after her because she HAS chosen Scott.”
    MaryAnn: “Ah, so Ramona may do as she pleases, but she needs to know that men who have absolutely no say over her life may challenge her on this. Got it. How silly of me not to have understood this.
    Here’s a question for everyone who thinks Ramona is free to do as she pleases: What if Scott had *failed* in his fights with the exes? What happens to Ramona — and her supposed affection for Scott — in that case?”

    It’s the same for Scott. Men who have absolutely no say over his life challenge his decision to date Ramona. There is no story if you don’t have conflict. They’re *equally* being infringed upon. (More on this later)
    1)If he failed he would have burst into coins. Remember, he lives in a video game world. The Evil Exes would own her (more on this later). It’s called *raising the stakes.* Good movies do this.
    2)Scott’s dead. She would be going through the 5 stages of grief. :)

    Let’s talk about the fights.

    When two people engage in a fight their *motivations are not always the same.* Obviously, MaryAnn has failed to see this. Her contention is that the film is sexist because it depicts woman as prizes for men. This is semi-true. The exes see Ramona as a prize. They want to posses her. They want ownership of her body and mind. But guess what? They’re *FREAKING EVIL.* I’ll repeat. They’re evil. How do you fail to see this? Scott, who *is* in a *relationship* with her, (after she decides) fights for different reasons altogether. For Scott, “defeating the exes” means defeating any insecurity that said ex might cause. He’s fighting his fear. And this is a fight Scott has to do own his own. It really should be titled Scott Pilgrim vs. Himself. I think they make fun of that at the end when Scott has to fight his evil self. Remembrance-lol.

    Each ex deals with a specific insecurity. Patel is a hipster. Lucas is a gorgeous movie star. Todd is a successful and talented bassist. The twins…self explanatory. Roxie…I …I … I don’t know. I’ve only seen the movie once…I beg you…please cut me some slack.

    Gideon is the big bad boss. He sees woman as prizes, as property, as programmable sex dolls. Gideon represents “everything Scott could ultimately become – a completely emotionless, passive-aggressive black hole.” He fights Scott because he wants ownership of Ramona. Scott fights Gideon to *prove his worthiness to **himself**.* Otherwise, he can never have a real, grown up, *intimate* relationship with Ramona. He does not win her. He does not defend her honour. She is not his possession.

    Scott is unable to beat Gideon and very quickly dies. In death he has an epiphany. He comes back from death (gotta love the beauty of video games) and admits his mistakes to Young Neil, Kim, Knives and Ramona. Scott understands that he’s been living his life wrong this whole time. He’s been unintentionally hurting the people he cares for.

    BOOM!! He learns self respect. A flaming sword emerges from his chest and he very quickly kills the-bad-guy-who-wants-to-control-woman.

    The audience goes crazy… good triumphs over evil… catharsis to all.

    At the very end, Ramona walks away (which is consistent with her character) from Scott. She doesn’t rush into his open embrace and plant a wet one on his thin lips. Can you imagine it? “Thankyou, for saving me. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I love you.” YUK!!

    As Ramona walks away, Knives appears. She says something about Scott’s shaggy hair. Scott covers it up with his cap. Remember, at the start of the film when Ramona mentioned his hair and he got all insecure. He has a choice. Knives or Ramona. Childhood or Adulthood. He chooses adulthood. They rekindle their relationship, but this time Scott is an *adult*. Their romance has a chance.

    I told you it was all about Scott’s scruffy hair.

    A few quick comments. MaryAnn says the heart of all the female characters has been ripped out. This is not true. The heart of *every* character, (male and female) not named Scott has been ripped out. You’re being selective and dishonest. Also, you haven’t read the books so how can I take your point seriously.

    I get the distinct feeling you’re projecting your own desires into the film. You wish Ramona was the lead. You wish Ramona had to fight her own exes. You think the movie, “truly wants to be about two young people navigating the hurts of their past to come together for a fresh start.” It doesn’t. Ramona couldn’t care less about Scott’s past. And it’s certainly not about her dealing with her own past. The film is called Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, not Ramona and Scott vs. the World. This is Scott’s journey. It’s about him growing up and dealing with the fear of his partners past, so he can have a meaningful relationship with her.

    You wish the other female characters had bigger parts. You wish…You wish…but you don’t see. If you want to discuss Hollywood’s lack of female movies you should do that in an article titled Hollywood and Woman, and not in a SPvtW movie review.

    I see no sexism in this film because there isn’t any. However, if you look at films with a bias then who knows what you might misinterpret.

    MaryAnn: “I admit I’m biased. I have never hidden it. I shout my biases from the rooftop.”

    Bias – A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.

    Again?

    Bias – mental tendency or inclination, esp an irrational preference or prejudice.

    It’s getting late. This took way to long. I’m gonna go drink a bottle until it’s hollow.

    Peace and Love.

  • MaryAnn

    It seems to me that you would be more favorable towards the hunky, muscle bound male ending up with the female in the end, if your critique of EPL shows anything.

    You’re comparing apples and oranges.

    But what the hell: I wish Julia Roberts had ended up with NO man at the end of EPL.

    I get the distinct feeling you’re projecting your own desires into the film. You wish Ramona was the lead. You wish Ramona had to fight her own exes.

    No, I want the movie to be what it appears it wants to be. That’s it.

  • Daniel

    MaryAnn: “I wish Julia Roberts had ended up with NO man at the end of EPL.”

    There you go again, projecting your own desires into a film.

    MaryAnn: “No, I want the movie to be what it appears it wants to be. That’s it.”

    That’s a cop-out. The movie is what it appears it is. I think I made that clear in my previous post. You think it’s something else. And you have no valid argument to back up your reasoning. That’s delusion. That’s it.

  • MaryAnn

    You’re saying, Daniel, that there is no place for criticism or desconstruction of pop culture, because it all just is what it appears to be.

    I don’t know why you’re wasting your time reading this site.

  • Daniel

    No, I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying in this specific review (not film criticism in general) you’ve misinterpreted the film. I understand that sometimes everything is not what it appears to be. But when that’s the case you have to provide reasoning and examples as to why. You have not done that with this film. I deconstructed some of your review and comments in my earlier post. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. You have not provided one valid reason as to why you think Scott sees Ramona as a trophy. Isn’t that your whole beef? Sometimes things are exactly as they appear to be.

    I’m wasting my time reading your site because I happen to enjoy it. I found your site through rottentomatoes a few days ago. I read your SPvtW review and your Eat, Pray, Love review and…I hated them both…but then I stumbled across your top 100 movies. I very much liked what I saw. I quickly devoured as many reviews as I could. I read a lot of them at Uni when I should have been doing work. You see things in movies that I don’t and that can only be a good thing. You’re a terrific writer and infinitely smarter than myself, but I’m still young (22). Maybe one day I’ll catch up to your writing talents.
    I’ve favourited this site and will continue to frequent it in the future. I frequently read Ebert, Berardinelli, A O Scott and Armond White (for the unintentional humour). Flickfilosopher will now be one of my weekly reads.

    Please understand that I’m not having a go at you. I just feel strongly about this film (and film in general). I think it’s unfair to call a film sexist when it is not.

    I respect your body of work, but on this one I think you got it wrong, and not by a small margin.

  • amanohyo

    @Daniel, again, summarizing the entire plot is not necessary. We have all seen the movie. We all understand what is going on at the surface.

    To some extent, we all project our desires onto movies we watch. It’s difficult to recognize this fact when those desires are satisfied, as they apparently were for you. To some extent, we are all biased. You are as well, whether you admit it or not. A review completely free of bias is called a plot summary.

    Aliens and Beauty and the Beast are in my top 20 movies of all time.

    You asked why MA’s point should be taken seriously when she hasn’t read the books (probably because she’s… seen the movie?). I’m kind of wondering why any of your points about the agency of female characters should be taken seriously when you lump these two movies together… The simple act of having a female main character does not instantly mean a movie is free of sexism.

    From the very first post, many fans’ comments assume that MA is not seeing the “deep” true meaning that the fights represent Scott battling his own insecurities. MA has stated many, many times that she sees both the metaphor and what it’s representing (it’s not subtle… at all). She is making the case that the metaphor itself and way the female characters are employed (or ignored) within it is sexist, that the perspective of the film as a whole is sexist and most importantly, that it remains sexist.

    We all can agree that the perspective of the movie in the beginning is immature, sexist, and self-centered. Unless you belive that the whole movie is being imagined by Scott, the perspective of the movie as a whole is different from the perspective of Scott, the character who also happens to be immature, sexist, and self-centered in the beginning.

    The movie pays some lip service to undermining this perspective in the final scenes. But does Ramona gain any sense of agency? Does the movie ever address how screwed up the ex battles were in the first place? One could argue that the friendship with his evil self does this to a certain extent, but one could also see that as evidence that he hasn’t really matured. Is fighting for her so much different than fighting for himself so he can continue to chase her? Wouldn’t he chase Ramona even if he hadn’t gained his self respect (assuming he was able to defeat the boss)?

  • CB

    So finally saw the movie. It was funny and stylish and I had a good time, but, uh, yeah… MAJ was completely correct.

    Ramona is a paper-thin MacGuffin, a prize to be fought over and won. One ex even literally says they — Scott and the exes — are fighting for control of her romantic future and it is never implied that this isn’t exactly correct. She doesn’t decide, they do, and she stands by like a doe watching two bucks battling for the right to mate the whole time.

    Oh, and don’t think I didn’t notice that the only time she takes issue with the concept of Scott having to fight the Evil Exes in order to keep her is when the ex in question is the girl. Why couldn’t she have smacked that vegan asshole in the back of the head with her hammer when he was tossing Scott around? Oh right because then it’s two men fighting over her, as it should be, and she just needs to stay out of it. But when it’s a woman who wants to knock Scott out of the picture? Then it’s all “*foot catch* Bitch, please!”

    You have not provided one valid reason as to why you think Scott sees Ramona as a trophy.

    The movie sees her as a trophy, and constantly treats her this way. If Scott sees her as more than this, we’re never shown or even told why, but we are told that he’s fighting for her on many occasions (oh yeah and then he ‘learns something’ and fights ‘for himself’… to win her). How can the MacGuffin be anything more than the prize to be won — that’s what it means to be one! Sure maybe in-movie Scott sees her as more, but for her to actually be more she needs to have more personality than her hair does. :P

    Under the “sometimes things are just what they appear to be” viewpoint, Ramona is a prize and nothing more, and (to be mild) this movie enforces some very backwards views on sex relations.

  • D

    As a woman I disagree with you, completely. And I also think you fail to see the actual relationships that happen in this movie. You obviously aren’t looking at the way the relationships between Scott and Knives and Ramona actually are because you’re too busy trying to find a female character to cling desperately to. Yes it’s a little guy centric, but the fact of the matter is you don’t recognize how much power YES POWER Ramona has over this boy. If you want to look at negative relations you need to look at Scott and Knives or Ramona and Gideon for that, but you don’t. And maybe if you paid some attention to the ending of the movie about oh hey not fighting to win her over but fighting for personal self respect.

  • CB

    Yes it’s a little guy centric, but the fact of the matter is you don’t recognize how much power YES POWER Ramona has over this boy.

    Zomg I missed THE POWER. No wait, I didn’t. I totally noticed that she has the power to make a guy do crazy things in pursuit of her; the classical power of women over men. But not the power to call bullshit on the whole battling for her romantic future thing and decide for herself. So basically the same power women were allowed to have in the 15th century or ancient Rome. But not an amount of power considered impressive since, at the latest, Women’s Suffrage.

    The same power Bella has over Edward. Yeah. I went there.

    And maybe if you paid some attention to the ending of the movie about oh hey not fighting to win her over but fighting for personal self respect.

    … which allows him to win the girl. So yeah, a guy has to have self-respect, not to win the girl’s affections because he already had that, but to win the right to be with her from her smarmy evil ex. Glad we straightened that out and got to the bottom of Scott Pilgrim’s progressive message.

  • http://bitromantic.com Patch

    So I skipped seeing the movie last weekend, partially because this comments thread left kind of a bitter aftertaste.

    But I just went to see it this evening with some friends.

    And breathed a sigh of relief.

    Despite appearances at the beginning, Ramona is no Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Knives has an awesome character arc (and is truly too cool for both of them). Ramona and Kim and Knives are all allowed to be physically awkward and imperfect, without being punished (by the plot) for it.

    The movie has a nice message at it’s core: the thing that really makes a “nice guy” an asshole is his lack of self respect. If you don’t respect yourself, you are implicitly disrespecting anyone who would be in love with you, both by assuming that they are on your “level”, and by assuming they have the poor taste to date someone unworthy of respect. Scott gets his Self Respect in the end, and that allows him to move forward, and gives his relationship with Ramona a chance to work.

    Counterexamples exist to the points above — the film is a story; stories are complex, and can be viewed in multiple lights. It is perfectly possible for a sensible person to read the film as MaryAnn did. But it is in no way _necessary_ to do so.

    At least, both my partner and I, who are fairly well informed when it comes to feminist theory, and who both identify strongly as feminists, did not read the film as misogynistic. YMMV.

    Now if only I had a PS3, so I could play the game …

    Peace out,
    ~ Patch

  • amanohyo

    @Patch, the thing that really makes some “nice guys” assholes is an over abundance of self-respect that leads them to… say, look their darker, flawed selves in the eye and think, “Hey, that guy’s not so bad, he and I should totally be buds.” Sometimes “nice guys” have so much self respect that they gain the amazing ability to pursue a girl solely on the basis of her physical appearance for days without learning anything significant about her personality, dreams, or interests.

    While I’m sure many “nice guys” really do suffer from a lack of self respect, is that really Scott’s problem? Just because he’s oversensitive about his haircut and somewhat indecisive? The downfall of most of the “nice guys” I know has not been a lack of self respect, it has been a sense of entitlement – the sense that “Hey, I’m a pretty cool, funny guy, how come I don’t get to sleep with women whom I find physically attractive like everyone else?” (Pedro…be careful) Being cured of the “nice guy” attitude entails looking at oneself honestly, and this typically leads to a somewhat lengthy period of lowered self respect which very gradually builds back up to a healthier, yet still sub-”nice guy” level.

    We have more evidence in the film for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder than for a lack of self-respect. In other words, however you choose to interpret the movie, Scott’s fundamental problem is a lack of other-respect. The great epiphany is that he should start doing things for himself instead of for Ramona? Give me a break – he’s been doing everything for himself all along. The line between self-respect and selfishness can be thin – this film crosses over it without even realizing it’s there.

  • Dragon_Chinchilla

    You know, I agree with you on how Ramona was portrayed in the film. I know you’re not reviewing the graphic novels, but she was a totally different and deeper character in the comics. However, I think you purposefully used strong words to get your point across and thus must expect this huge page of angry comments. I’m not saying you can’t use whatever language you want, and I’m sure you realize this and knew what would come of it, but yea, I’m just sayin’…

  • lux

    This is the first review by you I read, but I think I’m going to bookmark the site, if only for the professionalism that I see in your answers to the naysayers.
    I haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim yet, since it hasn’t open in my country, and it won’t until October, but I’ve read the six books, and I can’t being to say how glad I am that *someone* noticed that the plot of it is very sexist.
    Sure, it can be *fun*, it can be *enjoyable* even, but the main plot, the “spine” of the whole thing, is pretty demeaning to women.

  • Daniel

    @amanohyo, I did more than *just* provide a summary. I provided an argument as to why I think the film is not sexist.

    MaryAnn: “I am pointing out how fucked up are the underlying assumptions and prejudices about men and women and relationships that go into creating a story about a guy who has to fight his new girlfriend’s seven Evil Exes before he can have a relationship with her.”

    I’m saying, MaryAnn, misinterpreted the movie because of her biases. He’s *in* a relationship with her *as* he fights her seven Evil Exes. If you miss that… there’s a good chance you’ve missed the entire point of the movie. And she did:

    MaryAnn: “If Scott Pilgrim truly wanted to be about two young people navigating the hurts of their past to come together for a fresh start”

    It doesn’t want to be about that. It’s a coming of age story…boyhood to manhood.

    Amanohyo: “To some extent, we all project our desires onto movies we watch.”

    Fair enough, I guess. But, MaryAnn said she didn’t.

    Me: “I get the distinct feeling you’re projecting your own desires into the film. You wish Ramona was the lead. You wish Ramona had to fight her own exes.”
    MaryAnn: “No, I want the movie to be what it appears it wants to be. That’s it.”

    But she did. And she gave a pretty naive reason as to why.

    MaryAnn: “Why doesn’t she have to fight his exes? And no one seems to understand why this isn’t the story: Because the young-male audience this is aimed at would not buy it.”

    Should you fault a movie because it doesn’t satisfy your ***biased*** wishes? The movie *seems* so much about Ramona. But as we all know, sometimes things are not as they appear to be.

    Amanohyo: “It’s difficult to recognize this fact when those desires are satisfied, as they apparently were for you”

    My desire to be entertained by an intelligent story was satisfied. I’ve been dissatisfied with movies before. I know the difference.

    Amanohyo: “You asked why MA’s point should be taken seriously when she hasn’t read the books (probably because she’s… seen the movie?).”

    Um, you completely misinterpreted my point. MaryAnn said, the heart of all the female characters had been ripped out from the *books* when adapting them to film. That is not true. The heart of all (except Scott) of the characters (male and female) has been ripped out during the adaptation process. That’s being selective. And I’ll repeat… how can I take her point seriously when she hasn’t read the books.

    I’m taking all her other points seriously, but this one *specifically* mentions the books.

    Amanohyo: “I’m kind of wondering why any of your points about the agency of female characters should be taken seriously when you lump these two (Aliens and Beauty and the Beast) movies together… The simple act of having a female main character does not instantly mean a movie is free of sexism.”

    The act of not having a major female character does not mean a movie is instantly sexist.

    I *know* “having a female character does not instantly mean a movie is free of sexism.” Guess what? Those movies *ARE FREE OF SEXISM.* I mentioned those movies because they have 2 strong female characters. They’re two of my favourite movies of all time. I was addressing a very *specific* point. Read it:

    MaryAnn: “Why doesn’t she have to fight his exes? And no one seems to understand why this isn’t the story: Because the young-male audience this is aimed at would not buy it. They would not find it plausible that a young woman would have to fight to win her new boyfriend’s affections, or that his affections wouldn’t be his to bestow as he pleases.”

    Now, read my reply in my previous post.

    Amanohyo: “From the very first post, many fans’ comments assume that MA is not seeing the “deep” true meaning that the fights represent Scott battling his own insecurities. MA has stated many, many times that she sees both the metaphor and what it’s representing (it’s not subtle… at all).”

    MA does *not* see the **metaphor of Scott battling his own insecurities.** At least, she didn’t when she wrote her review.

    MaryAnn: “there is no sense of satire in the unmetaphoric winning of Ramona. All the style is nothing but a would-be “sweet” metaphor for men treating women as property… and woman acquiescing to being treated that way.”

    Perhaps she saw it and put no credence in it. I doubt it because she describes the winning of Ramona as *unmetaphoric.* Ramona doesn’t acquiesce to being treated as property. Sheesh! She moves her life from New York to Toronto to escape Gideon.

    Amanohyo: “She is making the case that the metaphor itself and way the female characters are employed (or ignored) within it is sexist, that the perspective of the film as a whole is sexist and most importantly, that it remains sexist.”

    I know what MaryAnn is saying…I read her review to…I’m saying it’s not sexist…it’s called a debate.

    The background characters (male and female) are all being ‘ignored’ *equally.* You could argue that it’s a fault in the storytelling. You can’t argue that it’s sexist.

    It’s Scott’s coming-of-age story. It’s all a metaphor for Scott overcoming his fears and growing up. The only sexism in the film comes from the cynical world view of the *Evil* Exes. The film never advocates (intentionally or unintentionally) sexism.

    The perspective of the film is that the control of woman is *FREAKING EVIL.* Good overcomes evil.

    CB: “One ex even literally says they — Scott and the exes — are fighting for control of her romantic future and it is never implied that this isn’t exactly correct.”

    Yes, one ex states that. To him, that’s what he’s fighting for. It’s never implied? She walks away from him after he defeats Gideon. She doesn’t run into his open arms. Good storytelling lets the audience add up two plus two.

    CB: “The movie sees her as a trophy, and constantly treats her this way. If Scott sees her as more than this, we’re never shown or even told why, but we are told that he’s fighting for her on many occasions (oh yeah and then he ‘learns something’ and fights ‘for himself’… to win her). How can the MacGuffin be anything more than the prize to be won — that’s what it means to be one!”

    No it doesn’t. MacGffin – : an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.

    MaryAnn can’t argue that using a woman as a MacGuffin is sexist. If she does she’s contradicting herself. The MacGuffin in Rear Window is Mrs. Thorwold and that’s one of her top 100 movies.

    CB: “and don’t think I didn’t notice that the only time she takes issue with the concept of Scott having to fight the Evil Exes in order to keep her is when the ex in question is the girl.”

    Don’t think I haven’t noticed that everyone glosses over the fact that one of the Evil Exes is a girl. There is one girl who wants to posses Ramona. How come this isn’t talked about?

    Amanohyo: “the thing that really makes some “nice guys” assholes is an over abundance of self-respect that leads them to… say, look their darker, flawed selves in the eye and think, “Hey, that guy’s not so bad, he and I should totally be buds.”

    There’s no such thing as an over abundance of self-respect. The word you’re searching for is arrogance.

    Amanohyo: “Sometimes “nice guys” have so much self respect that they gain the amazing ability to pursue a girl solely on the basis of her physical appearance for days without learning anything significant about her personality, dreams, or interests.”

    Sometimes “nice guys” have zero self-respect. They lack the ability to have a serious and intimate relationship with a girl. Sometimes they learn self-respect through actions and words. Scott doesn’t pursue Ramona because of an over abundance of self-respect. The first act set up his *lack of self -respect.* How did you miss it?

    Amanohyo: “While I’m sure many “nice guys” really do suffer from a lack of self respect, is that really Scott’s problem? Just because he’s oversensitive about his haircut and somewhat indecisive?”

    You’re understating it. He’s a douche at the start of the movie. He’s a man-child. He knows this, (why he doesn’t want to talk about Knive’s age) even if he doesn’t admit to it. How can a man-child have self-respect?

    Amanohyo: “The downfall of most of the “nice guys” I know has not been a lack of self respect, it has been a sense of entitlement – the sense that “Hey, I’m a pretty cool, funny guy, how come I don’t get to sleep with women whom I find physically attractive like everyone else?”

    Cool story. It sucks to be a nice guy you know. What does that have to do with SPvtW? Scott’s problem is not a sense of entitlement. Scott’s with knives at the start of the movie. She basically treats him like her lackey e.g. holding her super stack of library books. Scott doesn’t own her and he doesn’t seek her ownership. Let’s move on to Ramona. He falls for her at first sight. You might say he falls in ‘love at first sight.’ This happens in real life all the time. It’s a phenomena. It’s a damn cliché.

    He dates her. She decides they’re officially dating. They’re in a relationship. Enter *Evil* exes. *They’re* relationship is infringed upon. He doesn’t seek out the exes. The exes are fighting (on Gideon’s behalf) for her ownership. He doesn’t *seek* out her ownership. He doesn’t *claim* her ownership.

    “The great epiphany is that he should start doing things for himself instead of for Ramona?”

    What! Ramona is so pathetic, so helpless, and so inferior that she needs Scott to do things for her. Got it. He’s a jerk… he treats people he cares about like shit… in death he understands this…he apologizes to the people he has wronged…he changes…he learns self-respect. He has to change *himself* so he can be better to *others.*

    Amanohyo: “The line between self-respect and selfishness can be thin – this film crosses over it without even realizing it’s there.”

    The line between self-respect and selfishness can be large – you fail to understand the meaning of self-respect.

    Amanohyo: “an over abundance of self-respect”

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

    In other words, however you choose to interpret the movie, Scott’s fundamental problem is a lack of other-respect. The great epiphany is that he should start doing things for himself instead of for Ramona? Give me a break – he’s been doing everything for himself all along. The line between self-respect and selfishness can be thin – this film crosses over it without even realizing it’s there.

    Maybe the phrase “self-respect” wasn’t perfectly chosen, but again: If you don’t respect other people, you don’t care what those people think of you. Therefore, you don’t have self-respect. Earning self-respect means being a better person than Gideon, for the benefit of those around him. It is the lesson you think he should be learning, even if it “reads” a little backwards.

  • MBI

    Wow, Jesus.

    I’m not going to slog through all those comments, but if no one else has pointed this out, I want to say that I think the main flaw of this review is the same as her review of “Anchorman”: She thinks the film is about its story. It isn’t. It doesn’t matter if Scott ends up with Ramona because Scott doesn’t matter and Ramona doesn’t matter, any more than the identity of the real killer mattered in “Scary Movie” or Stryker’s drinking problem mattered in “Airplane!”

    And if anything, THAT’S the problem with “Scott Pilgrim”: It’s all jokes and no heart. I don’t care to analyze the assumptions the writers made in the Scott and Ramona story because they clearly didn’t care about that shit to begin with. This movie should have been about something else. What does it matter to the story that Scott “learns self-respect”? Not a goddamn thing. It’s a framework for a leveling-up gag. I don’t understand who could really give a crap if Scott ends up with Ramona.

  • MBI

    Actually, MaryAnn does address this in the review, so I guess I take back the criticism of her criticism. But talking about this movie in terms of its story seems so utterly besides the point that I’m amazed it’s garnered this much discussion.

  • http://bitromantic.com Patch

    [quote]While I’m sure many “nice guys” really do suffer from a lack of self respect, is that really Scott’s problem? Just because he’s oversensitive about his haircut and somewhat indecisive?[/quote]

    Scott is down on himself because he’s unemployed, and got dumped (and he probably had a lot of ego wrapped up in having a hot girlfriend before said hot girlfriend dumped him). There’s little evidence in the movie of him being narcissistic, and a lot of evidence for him being “nice” (he’s avoiding dumping Knives because he feels bad about it, and wants to avoid confrontation, not because he loves himself so much).

    One of the core narratives of patriarchy is that women are lovable because of their traits (e.g. beauty, intelligence), while men are lovable because of their actions (e.g. “proving themselves worthy”). Scott explicitly rejects this narrative at the end by deciding to respect himself, regardless of whether or not he has proved himself worthy — he fights Gideon at the end because Gideon is messing with people that he cares about, not because he’s still trying to “win” Ramona.

    Ramona subverts the patriarchal narrative at the end by embarking on a quest to find herself. She’s happy to have Scott along, but she’s not satisfied with just being the pretty quirky girl; she wants to build a life for herself.

    In a way, critiquing the movie because one doesn’t feel that Scott is “worthy” of Ramona in the end supports, rather than subverts the dominant cultural narrative; patriarchy is tricky, that way.

    Peace Out,

    Patch

  • CB

    @Danial

    CB: “One ex even literally says they — Scott and the exes — are fighting for control of her romantic future and it is never implied that this isn’t exactly correct.”
    Yes, one ex states that. To him, that’s what he’s fighting for. It’s never implied? She walks away from him after he defeats Gideon. She doesn’t run into his open arms. Good storytelling lets the audience add up two plus two.

    She walks away because she sees him chatting with Knives and thinks they’re getting back together, not because she’s actually made her own decision not to be with him. All he has to do is walk over and say otherwise, and she’s his. Yeah, that totally contradicts the premise that he won her in battle and is now claiming her. No, wait, it actually confirms it. The movie asks you to add up this simple two plus two, and you’re spelunking for other numbers to add to avoid the obvious summation.

    In The Legend of Zelda once you defeat Gannon Zelda doesn’t come rushing into your arms. You have to go to the next room and walk up to her. Proof that Zelda wasn’t a prize but her own person! Ha. Ha ha.

    CB: “The movie sees her as a trophy, and constantly treats her this way. If Scott sees her as more than this, we’re never shown or even told why, but we are told that he’s fighting for her on many occasions (oh yeah and then he ‘learns something’ and fights ‘for himself’… to win her). How can the MacGuffin be anything more than the prize to be won — that’s what it means to be one!”

    No it doesn’t. MacGffin – : an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.

    Yeah, that’s the key aspect of “what it means to be a MacGuffin”. There are many kinds of MacGuffin, including the “prize to be won” type, which Ramona clearly is. So, you know, way to rebut there. Any argument that Ramona is the MacGuffin is implicitly agreeing that she’s a plot device and not a real person. Which is completely true.

    MaryAnn can’t argue that using a woman as a MacGuffin is sexist. If she does she’s contradicting herself. The MacGuffin in Rear Window is Mrs. Thorwold and that’s one of her top 100 movies.

    It’s sexist when the woman in question is the female lead in a romance, and not necessarily every single time — such as when it’s the off-screen victim in a murder mystery, in a movie with more prominent female characters. This isn’t hypocrisy or self-contradiction, it’s being able to distinguish.

    CB: “and don’t think I didn’t notice that the only time she takes issue with the concept of Scott having to fight the Evil Exes in order to keep her is when the ex in question is the girl.”

    Don’t think I haven’t noticed that everyone glosses over the fact that one of the Evil Exes is a girl. There is one girl who wants to posses Ramona. How come this isn’t talked about?

    Except I just did, and pointed out how it only emphasizes the sexist premise. It’s not that all the Exes get to decide Ramona’s future without her input. Only the men do. So maybe most people are glossing over the girl-ex because the “Pilgrim is sexist” side knows she doesn’t change anything, and the “No it isn’t” side knows bringing her up doesn’t actually help their argument.

    Would that be why you didn’t have a point, and instead just used the already lame reuse-the-other-person’s-syntax form of argument, only without addressing the argument you aped, or even acknowledging that it was made at all? Or did you have a point about the girl-ex and just forgot to make it?

    @MBI

    But talking about this movie in terms of its story seems so utterly besides the point that I’m amazed it’s garnered this much discussion.

    I get what you’re saying, but doesn’t that just make the implications of that story all the worse? I certainly don’t think more of Scary Movie because it’s creators didn’t give a damn about the story. And I don’t think the implications of that story are suddenly meaningless just because it was the half-assed effort of hacks who didn’t care. Why this half-assed effort? Why that gender-role assumption, if it doesn’t matter?

  • MBI

    “I get what you’re saying, but doesn’t that just make the implications of that story all the worse? ”

    Yes.

  • CB

    Heh.

  • amanohyo

    Yes! We brought MBI out of lurker mode! I agree. The filmmakers were lazy in the areas that matter most – trying to fill in the enormous blanks left by Wright, Bacall, and O’Malley is an exercise in futility. Anytime the comments get this long we start talking in circles anyway.

    Still, this has a good chance of breaking The Dark Knight’s comment record (479) which demonstrates yet again that geeks (myself included) will argue about anything, no matter how inconsequential, as long as it involves comics and/or gaming. We’re a big bunch of Sheldon Coopers…I feel so dirty and predictable.

    The only movie that could garner more attention than this would have to be directed by Apatow and based on a popular game that is itself based on a comic book with highly religious themes and full of characters with very strong opinions about their favorite bands, political parties, and pizza toppings. One of them is also a bisexual illegal immigrant… but which one? Only those that watch the controversial Shyamalanianesque ending will know for sure…or will they?

  • JoshB

    Still, this has a good chance of breaking The Dark Knight’s comment record (479)

    Yeah, but the record will always have an asterisk, because the Dark Knight thread didn’t die of natural causes, MAJ murdered it.

  • MaryAnn

    Still, this has a good chance of breaking The Dark Knight’s comment record (479) which demonstrates yet again that geeks (myself included) will argue about anything, no matter how inconsequential, as long as it involves comics and/or gaming.

    I don’t think sexism and male privilege is inconsequential.

    I do think many men — and too many women — do. Which is sad.

  • amanohyo

    That was a poor choice of words – I don’t feel that sexism is inconsequential either. It’s just frustrating sometimes arguing about whether or not there is an evil hippopotamus standing in the room, which is what most discussions about sexism, racism, and religion (where we get to swap sides!) feel like these days, especially when the room itself isn’t even all that interesting or well designed.

    Scott Pilgrim is not a nice room; it’s so small in fact, I think the room itself might even be located inside the mouth of the hippopotamus. In other words, I think the movie itself is inconsequential (blasphemy!) not just in the broader context of life, or even in the context of pop culture, but as a film. No one’s life will be any less the richer for their not having seen it (double…and a half negative?).

    I realize that this is somewhat at odds with the “pop culture matters” mantra. I think it matters too, it’s just that sometimes I think, “really? This is what you’re choosing to be passionate about?” Oh frig, I think I’m becoming one of those “why are you upset, it’s just a stupid movie” people. Is it like becoming a zombie? Maybe Will Smith can use his scientology to drive away these demons… is that kind of service included with a subscription to the Church or is that only for Catholic subscribers?

  • amanohyo

    Just in case there is any confusion, there is a silent on my part after “That was a poor choice of words.” I called the hotline, the demons are gone. Pop culture matters… all of it, even the bad stuff, because so many people are exposed to it. Far better that we discuss racism in the context of a silly game like RE5 than never discuss it at all. If this is the context in which people wish to discuss sexism, so be it.

  • Daniel

    CB: “She walks away because she sees him chatting with Knives and thinks they’re getting back together, not because she’s actually made her own decision not to be with him. All he has to do is walk over and say otherwise, and she’s his.”

    Oh…you got me…no wait… you didn’t. Her *choice* is to walk away from Scott. I think she even says ‘good bye.’ She’s *chosen* to go her on way… this is consisted with the ‘running away’ aspect of her character. Does it matter if she thinks Knives and Scott are getting back together?

    She’s not an insta-prize because Scott has a *choice.* Knives or Ramona. Boyhood or Adulthood. He goes after Ramona…he goes after adulthood. After he tells her he’s changed…and that their relationship has a chance…because he now sees his faults and is not an insecure little bitch…Ramona makes the *choice* to be with him. And it makes complete sense that she would…

    *****Their relationship never truly ended. ****** It was ended for them… when Gideon put a chip in her head.***** Scott doesn’t win her affections…he *rekindles* a relationship….that was torn from both of them***** I’ve been very clear on this point.

    CB: “The movie asks you to add up this simple two plus two, and you’re spelunking for other numbers to add to avoid the obvious summation.”

    ‘Spelunking’…I like it… will use it in the future at dinner parties to look smart…just jokes…I wouldn’t do that…

    No, I’ve added up the obvious summation. You’re like the smart kid in class who decides to do long division when the teacher is teaching multiplication.

    CB: “In The Legend of Zelda once you defeat Gannon Zelda doesn’t come rushing into your arms. You have to go to the next room and walk up to her. Proof that Zelda wasn’t a prize but her own person! Ha. Ha ha.”

    I’ve never played Zelda so I’ll take your word for it. Let me ask you this…when you walk into the next room…does Zelda walk away from you and utter the words ‘good bye’…or does Zelda come rushing into your arms?

    You’re oversimplifying it. As I said I never played Zelda so I’ll use Mario as an example.
    Mario defeats Bowser/Donkey Kong and wins the gorgeous princess in the pink dress. Mario has never spoken to her. Mario has never dated her. Mario has never kissed her. Mario has never been semi-naked in bed with her. Mario is not in a *relationship* with her. She’s not a real person. She is a prize. Read my response to your first comment again…let it sink in.

    What’s with the ha, ha, ha? Do you always ridicule people who see things differently from you?

    CB: “There are many kinds of MacGuffin, including the “prize to be won”

    I *know* a MacGuffin can be a prize to be won. But you altered the definition of the word to fit your argument better. Let me refresh your memory.

    CB: “How can the MacGuffin be anything more than the prize to be won — that’s what it means to be one!”

    The MacGuffin *can* be *more* than a prize to be won. You knowingly limited its meaning to only that…thus altering its definition. So, you know, way to contradict yourself there. Here are a few examples of MacGuffins that aren’t prizes to be won:

    Rear window – Mrs. Thorwald
    Chinatown – The fake Mrs. Mulwray
    Citizen Kane – The meaning of rosebud

    “Any argument that Ramona is the MacGuffin is implicitly agreeing that she’s a plot device and not a real person. Which is completely true.”

    It is true. That’s why I *never* said she was a MacGuffin. She’s not. I was simply stating that MaryAnn can’t argue the ‘Ramona is a MacGuffin’ defence because she loves Rear Window.

    CB: “It’s sexist when the woman in question is the female lead in a romance, and not necessarily every single time — such as when it’s the off-screen victim in a murder mystery, in a movie with more prominent female characters.”

    So it’s okay to be sexist if the movie has more prominent female characters. It’s also okay to be sexist if the sexism is targeted toward a woman-murder-victim-off-screen. Got it.

    CB: “and don’t think I didn’t notice that the only time she takes issue with the concept of Scott having to fight the Evil Exes in order to keep her is when the ex in question is the girl.”
    Me: Don’t think I haven’t noticed that everyone glosses over the fact that one of the Evil Exes is a girl. There is one girl who wants to posses Ramona. How come this isn’t talked about?

    CB: “Except I just did, and pointed out how it only emphasizes the sexist premise.”

    I know you just did. I have the ability to read words and comprehend them. I was pointing out how no one before you mentioned that one of the Evil Exes is a girl…pretty significant…being in a review with over 400 comments. Yes, the premise is very sexist. A boy becomes a man so he can respect others and have a real…*intimate*…relationship with a woman. Damn those filmmakers!! How dare they!!!!

    CB: “It’s not that all the Exes get to decide Ramona’s future without her input. Only the men do.”

    Ultimately, Ramona decides her own romantic future. *****This is *consistent* with her character…she’s chosen every boyfriend she’s ever had…she’s dumped every boyfriend she’s chosen.***** Gideon…you know…the bad guy…wants to take that decision away from her…he fails.

    CB: “Would that be why you didn’t have a point, and instead just used the already lame reuse-the-other-person’s-syntax form of argument, only without addressing the argument you aped, or even acknowledging that it was made at all? Or did you have a point about the girl-ex and just forgot to make it?”

    No I didn’t forget. My point is there. I’ll restate it. There’s a female Evil Ex. Nobody has discussed it on this page before your comment. That’s it. I responded to your argument…therefore I acknowledge your argument. I didn’t address it because I don’t have to address every single point you make. I wrote that entire post in 10 mins. I didn’t have a counter argument then and a freely admit I don’t have one now. If I had a little more time to think about it maybe I would. But I prefer to spend my time interacting with other human beings…outside… in the sunshine…

    Amanohyo: “The only movie that could garner more attention than this would have to be directed by Apatow and based on a popular game that is itself based on a comic book with highly religious themes and full of characters with very strong opinions about their favorite bands, political parties, and pizza toppings. One of them is also a bisexual illegal immigrant… but which one? Only those that watch the controversial Shyamalanianesque ending will know for sure…or will they?”

    LOL!!!

    @CB
    –Thanks for imparting me with your wisdom. I shall now bow to your omnipotence. Something tells me you would like that.

  • tweeks

    And if anything, THAT’S the problem with “Scott Pilgrim”: It’s all jokes and no heart. I don’t care to analyze the assumptions the writers made in the Scott and Ramona story because they clearly didn’t care about that shit to begin with. This movie should have been about something else. What does it matter to the story that Scott “learns self-respect”? Not a goddamn thing. It’s a framework for a leveling-up gag. I don’t understand who could really give a crap if Scott ends up with Ramona.

    Hey, I liked Scott! I was totally cheering for him the whole way! But I agree we’re taking this movie too seriously–not because sexism isn’t a serious issue, but because leveling such a serious charge at such a silly movie is probably not the best way to be taken seriously.

    Besides, it’s unlikely that complaining about sexism in movies will lead people to stop making sexist movies. It certainly didn’t work for violence and obscenity. Part of the problem was that there was little consensus on what was too violent or obscene. I imagine sexism is the same way: some are more sensitive to it than others. That’s why people shouldn’t get so angry at sensitive folks like MaryAnn: what they see is really there, most of us are just desensitized to it.

    But even if all sexist movies were banned, from the worst offenders to the borderline cases, sexism itself would not disappear. In fact, even if the one-hundred least-sexist people we could find were sent off to start a new Utopian colony on a distant planet out of communications range of the Earth, the problem would soon re-appear! Why? Because it’s woven into the fabric of our fallen human nature. We just can’t perfect ourselves, no matter how hard we try.

    Is that surprising? Everybody knows that “nobody’s perfect,” so why do we expect otherwise? This is the best evidence for God you’ll ever find: we all know we ought to be better, but we don’t know how to do it. What’s missing is the love of God.

    Even in this silly movie, we can see that Ramona’s love made Scott become a better person. If the conditional love of a woman can improve a man, what more could the unconditional love of God do to men and women?

    This movie wasn’t mainly about how love changes people (that’s His & Her Circumstances), but it could have been. If you’ve ever been in love with someone who loved you back, you know those relationships have incredible power to change you for the better. Personally, I’d like to see more movies about that.

  • Daniel

    Just read my post again. I ment **Omniscience**. My bad. Just ruined the power of the last line…oh well.

  • Daniel

    Just read my last post. I meant **meant** LOL!

  • godvselmo

    Possessing a woman is a “male fantasy”. Getting the girl is the end game for most guys, it’s not the means to an end (ie house, kids, status). But to get the girl a guy can’t just look good. Insert the hero fantasy. The means (hero) to an end (girl).

    As long as a female is attractive, she can pretty much have relations with a decent looking guy (married or unmarried) anytime she wants if she is willing to throw her standards out the window. That being the case, why would a woman be satisfied with just sex? A woman never has to be a hero to get a guy. Probably explians why lesbianism is more exciting.

    Male libido = never ending depravity. Enough said.

  • tweeks

    Possessing a woman is a “male fantasy”. Getting the girl is the end game for most guys, it’s not the means to an end (ie house, kids, status). But to get the girl a guy can’t just look good. Insert the hero fantasy. The means (hero) to an end (girl).

    We men were designed to receive our ultimate value from our Creator. When that relationship with God is broken, we naturally seek to prove our worth in all sorts of unhealthy ways, possibly including selfish attempts to conquer women.

    As long as a female is attractive, she can pretty much have relations with a decent looking guy (married or unmarried) anytime she wants. . . . A woman never has to be a hero to get a guy.

    As far as I can tell, women were also designed to receive their ultimate value from our Creator. When that relationship with God is broken, women naturally seek love and appreciation in all sorts of unhealthy ways, possibly including selfish attempts to manipulate men.

    Summary: human relationships don’t work properly unless that meaningful relationship with God is there.

    Scott Pilgrim was right: self-respect is essential to make our relationships work. But we can’t manufacture it for ourselves: we either receive it as a free gift from God, or we try in vain to get it from other people, and thereby destroy those relationships. No interpersonal relationship can stand in for the relationship we were meant to have with God–if you try to put that much weight on another person, the relationship will collapse.

  • MaryAnn

    Summary: human relationships don’t work properly unless that meaningful relationship with God is there.

    You may be interested in a threesome, tweeks, but plenty folks do just fine without some omniscience old creep in the mix.

    Male libido = never ending depravity. Enough said.

    And I’m the one who’s sexist?

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

    urghhg

    1) The movie is not a romance. The plot is set in motion by a relationship, a relationship that both parties initially believe to be romantic but realize it isn’t before the movie is over. However, it’s more about Scott learning not to be an asshole loser than it is about the relationship.

    2) Scott does not win Ramona. She is free to do whatever she wants at the end of the movie, including not be with Scott. Feel free to criticize the fact that okay, she does choose to be with him — not a surprise, and perhaps an issue. But he lets her walk away. It’s not like the moment Gideon is defeated he sweeps her into a mind-blowing kiss. Who wrote it may be relevant and there can certainly be issues here, but to imply that one does not have to do anything to see the movie as sexist is wrong, because to do so requires you to flatly ignore the point the story is making, along with most of the events of the third act.

    Again, to be perfectly clear: not saying criticism isn’t valid. But you are ignoring what happens within it. Even if you think what happens in it isn’t enough or not valid, that is still the method with which you are choosing to ignore it.

  • tweeks

    You may be interested in a threesome, tweeks, but plenty folks do just fine without some omniscience old creep in the mix.

    God made you, MaryAnn Johanson: no one can know and love you like he can.

    If your creator were seeking a relationship with you, would you not be at least a little bit interested?

  • http://animated-discussions.blogspot.com Froborr

    If your creator were seeking a relationship with you, would you not be at least a little bit interested?

    Speaking only for myself: Nope. I’m not interested in any relationship of any sort with someone who needs to ask through a third party.

    Frankly, I ain’t interested in what you’re selling, tweeks, and it doesn’t make me any more interested that you’re trying to shoehorn it into an entirely unrelated conversation. That just makes you look desperate — and if you’re so desperate despite this relationship you supposedly have with your creator, why should I expect such a relationship to do anything for me?

  • ROFL

    I laughed when you said -

    “And why does Ramona go along with it? Is she not her own self to give or not as she pleases?”

    …Watch the movie. And I mean all of it. You’ll see why.

  • tweeks

    Frankly, I ain’t interested in what you’re selling, tweeks

    That’s cool.

    you’re trying to shoehorn it into an entirely unrelated conversation.

    It doesn’t seem unnatural to ask for MaryAnn’s opinion in a conversation about MaryAnn’s opinion (and on a website totally devoted to her opinions.)

  • Henry

    tweeks, what are you doing?

    Look: I’m a theist and a regular, and I know the general contempt for theism in this site’s community stings sometimes, but seriously. Jesusjacking a thread is profoundly unawesome. Besides, I don’t think much of that evangelical crap works much of the time anyway.

    Unless you’re a giant troll who has usurped the tweeks moniker to annoy everyone. In which case I hereby ignore you.

    Either way: knock it off. More about sexism and cinema, please.

  • tweeks

    knock it off. More about sexism and cinema, please.

    I’m not here to start some pointless debate about God–I’ve already been down that road on this site, and I know where it goes.

    I’ve been reading MaryAnn for years, so it’s hard for me not to feel like I know her a little bit, like you know your neighbor who likes to talk about movies with anyone who happens to be around.

    I suspect MaryAnn is convinced that God doesn’t care about sexism. I think she believes that abusive men will never have to answer for their crimes unless other human beings hold them accountable, and that’s why she writes the way she does. This movie review is a perfect example of how much this bothers her.

    MaryAnn likes sharing her perspective on things, so I don’t see why she’d object to writing about how her conception of God (assuming he exists) influences her views. If she’s already written about this elsewhere, I’d appreciate if someone could post a link.

  • Orangutan

    I’m not here to start some pointless debate about God

    Then why did you?

  • tweeks

    I just want to know what MaryAnn thinks (otherwise I wouldn’t keep coming back here).

  • Daniel

    tweeks: “human relationships don’t work properly unless that meaningful relationship with God is there.”

    MaryAnn: “You may be interested in a threesome, tweeks, but plenty folks do just fine without some omniscience old creep in the mix.”

    Oh man…big lols…I’m still constantly amazed by the stupidity of some people. That exchange should be in a dark comedy…hold on a sec…

    Mental Note: Steal the joke for my own script…I hope I didn’t say that out loud…

    @Tyler,

    Nice work. I’ve been making those points all along. Well, I’ve been trying to…hopefully I succeeded. I think it’s time to move on. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to budge from their position. At least everyone got the chance to get their point across.

    Peace.

  • Dokeo

    Tweeks already knows what MAJ thinks about god and religion – he participated in a VERY long thread in the spring about theism and religion (sorry, can’t remember the original post – regular commenter Bluejay could tell you). His comments here smack of disingenuousness – I’d recommend not feeding them after midnight (probably best to avoid bright lights and water, to be on the safe side).

  • MaryAnn

    I suspect MaryAnn is convinced that God doesn’t care about sexism. [snip] MaryAnn likes sharing her perspective on things, so I don’t see why she’d object to writing about how her conception of God (assuming he exists) influences her views

    I’ve already made it perfectly plain — and directly to you, tweeks) — that I am a hardcore atheist. I don’t believe in any deities and find the notion of the Christian god repulsive.

    And since religion has *no bearing whatsoever* on *Scott Pilgrim,* let’s get back on track.

  • tweeks

    I am a hardcore atheist. I don’t believe in any deities and find the notion of the Christian god repulsive.

    Ah yes, I remember now.

    And since religion has *no bearing whatsoever* on *Scott Pilgrim,* let’s get back on track.

    Right, sorry.

  • http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/lac Dr Leslie Carr

    I only kept up with the first hundred comments in this thread because SPvTW hadn’t been released in the UK and it was all a bit academic. Last night I took my 18-yr old son to see it, and I thought i’d re-engage.

    It was obvious that everyone in the cinema was HUGELY enjoying themselves; there was a lot of laughter and also many occasions where you could hear gasps of astonishment at what was happening on the screen. Edgar Wright is hugely talented and very innovative, but but but the story he chose to bring to the screen just didn’t make any sense for all the reasons that MAJ stated.

    I do disagree with MAJ’s original post in that I thought Ramona wasn’t the most short-changed individual in the film. If Ramona is a cipher, then Scott is a black hole – he sheds no light about his inner life for all the havoc that he causes around him. And at the end of the film I had no idea how he chose between Knives and Flowers. Did he learn anything? Did he change? Or did he just tidy up a few loose ends? To make it work in my head, I think of this as a comic book reimagined as a Nintendo game released as a film. It’s the opposite of 3D – it has made the characters much more flat and opaque. But I did enjoy the sparkle and the spectacle.

    So I liked it because there was much to admire, but I couldn’t love it because there wasn’t anyone to engage with. Sorry if this has all been covered over and over again, but the British contingent have only just had chance to see it all for ourselves.

    PS Not since Charlie and the Chocolate Factory have so many people shared a bed with so many clothes on!

  • Monkey

    Attacking a source material that praises comics and videogames. It surprises that this earned a novella lengthed argument on the interwebs. Really. It does.

  • amanohyo

    Monkey, that’s what I said too… but you know, a big chunk of this novella is about sexism and character development. There’s a surprising dearth of discussion explicitly about gaming and comics, although the intersection of those topics is clearly what brought everyone to the table in the first place. All in all, I’ve been really impressed with everyone’s civility and intelligence. Par for the course here, but still, awesome to see people (fans even) being rational and levelheaded in the face of contrary opinions.

  • Sean Riley

    Just saw it. Overall, I didn’t think it was a very good film either (I think its essential metaphor breaks down completely when it comes to the last Ex, and Michael Cera is really looking more and more like a one-note actor with a limited future), but I do have to ask:

    SPOILER WARNING!
    …………………………
    Mary-Ann, your opposition to the film is rooted in the idea of women as property. But if Ramona is presented as property, why is she free to walk away at the end of the film? The end of the film makes it pretty clear that Ramona could have, and she clearly intended to. In the end, Scott makes his case to her, and they walk away together.

    FWIW, my problem with it is this: I didn’t feel that the film successfully thought out the final act, and indeed, I’m kind of in agreement with you that the film does ultimately lean too much into its Ramona as Prize logic a bit too much, but to me it’s a side effect rather than a cause of the film’s essential problem. It doesn’t seem to realise an essential point: Come the fight between Gideon and Scott, Scott is the 7th Evil Ex. She’s broken up with him, after all, and he’s angry and vengeful.

    Part of me really wishes the film had cued into this, and played into it instead, with Ramona breaking up with Scott after he angrily grilled her over her exes following the Roxy Richter fight. Not even her angrily breaking up with her; after all, part of the film’s point is meant to be that Ramona is actually grown up and confident in herself (while Scott isn’t). By this line of logic, Gideon (while yes, an ex of her’s) is actually a good guy, they broke up for difficult reasons and hey, they’re willing to give it another shot. He seems a bit more mature after the perspective of Scott. Have it play out as is, otherwise: I love the live by the sword/die by the sword logic of that. And even let the extra life play out as is, but have Scott REFUSE to fight Gideon come the end. That would be the perfect logical follow-through: Scott refuses to become the 7th Evil Ex. And that would be awesome.
    ………………………………..
    SPOILER WARNING ENDED.

    As a total aside, I want to buy Sex Bob-Omb’s album. They did sound awesome.

  • MaryAnn

    But if Ramona is presented as property, why is she free to walk away at the end of the film?

    Why wasn’t she free to walk away at any time?

  • Sean Riley

    Why wasn’t she free to walk away at any time?

    Who says she wasn’t? The only time she’s explicitly noted as not being able to is with regards to the final evil ex (“He’s got a way into my head”) and even THAT is clearly still playing into the baggage metaphor (in this light, Gideon is the relationship you always kept hopes for). Maybe she can, maybe she can’t walk throughout the whole film. But we do explicitly see that she’s quite capable of walking away at the end. How does this fit into the idea of Ramona as property?

  • Linda Binda

    I finally saw this movie on last Saturday afternoon (8/28/2010).

    (…I admit the possibility that my opinion of this movie may have been affected by this review, but, oh well…)

    I find it childish, shallow, and silly as fuck. A little funny, but mostly silly. I felt the Asian characters got poor treatment, and I think to blame that on Scott’s character is a cop-out leaving the writers blameless for apparently “ironic” hipster humor. (I.E. What was the big deal about Knives Chau being of Chinese descent? I thought there was a large Asian community in Toronto — one might as well freak out about dating a Latino in L.A. I wasn’t amused.) Some of the jokes were funny, but otherwise, it’s likeable and all, but I don’t really think you can make a workable romance out of an 8-bit world. 16-bit, maybe, (Final Fantasy VI, anyone? Chrono Trigger? :)) but 8-bit? Way too simplistic. I understand that the movie’s 8-bit setting is meant to justify its wackiness and nonsensical nature, but the resulting shallowness just makes that justification come off as lazy and overly convenient to me. It has nice style and it’s certainly a little enjoyable, but there’s not enough there for me to recommend it to, say, my mother, for example (who likes Twilight, BTW… unfortunately…). It’s too niche and self-involved.

    I don’t know if I “like” it, but I don’t hate it. I just think this movie is a strictly love-it-or-hate-it deal. You either like how it works, or you don’t.

    And the women on this thread need to stop freaking out and accusing MaryAnn of making them look bad. This is what you sound like to me, a black 26-year-old feminist:

    “I’m a good black person! I’m not ghetto like she is.”

    I rest my case.

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely see NO comparison between Scott Pilgram and Twilight.

    Go back to your Twilight, please.

  • Moka

    Why would you open the review with the sentence ‘twilight for boys’ when I’ve seen you post a gazilliontimes your dissent about people who make sexist and demographical generalizations about twilight moviegoers?

  • chris

    Hold the f*cking phone- I’m irish and many of my ancestors were taken to this country as slaves. Not even white men are immune to racism and the fact that you demean another ethnic group as a defense mechanism is very hypocritical. You don’t like people doing it to you do you?

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    This is perhaps the most nonsensical non sequitur ever. Did you comprehend the comment you are responding to?

  • Caleb Milton Flores

    I love the fact that you call it sexist because she doesn’t have a choice in the league of 7 evil exes. I’m pretty sure, that was the fucking point. Also she had a mind control device that the 7th evil ex put on her, so she was submissive to him, because of mind control. You can’t call this sexism just because Scott is trying to win the girl of his dreams. Because like it or not this is the real world, and unfortunately adolescent teens such as myself do think like this. We’d do anything to be with the girl of our dreams, even if it means defeating evil exes. To be honest I just think you had no reason to even write this horse shit. Did you just want the attention? I’ll give you some real fucking sexism, you’re an attention seeking woman. How do you like that for sexism. And I like how you think Chris Evans is a highlight in the movie, I call sexism on your behalf, he’s only a highlight because he’s good looking who works out to be muscly. SEXISM. LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME, I’M SMART BECAUSE I’M CALLING SEXISM. Grow up please, and give reasonable reviews, other than that. Nice argument, unfortunately I’m an adolescent 16-year-old who doesn’t like it when people bag on his nostalgic memories without a reasonable argument. If what you said made sense I wouldn’t be writing this. Sorry if I offended you in anyway.

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