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scott pilgrim vs the world

Michael Cera, indie rock, demon hipster chicks and 7 evil-ex’s. What more do you need to watch this film? That’s exactly how this film was marketed. After much coaxing, I finally sat down to watch this much-heralded teen flick. While I am not endorsing this film, nor attempting to review it I would like to point out some observations I had about it (here’s an actual review http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/scott_pilgrims_vs_the_world/). The movie itself seemed to be this generation’s Weird Science meets Ferris Bueller meets Comicon. I rather enjoyed the ridiculousness of this film but in the end, much like eating too much candy, I found myself wondering why I continued to see the bottom of the box.

However, Scott Pilgrim also seems to be somewhat of a generation-defining movie, carefully manufactured and packaged for young males, appealing to their love of music, video games, and pretty girls who are willing to go out with muscleless, shaggy-haired nerds because they can play guitar (a bass guitar no less). Scott Pilgrim is the new cool. He’s shy, easy-going, musically inclined, awkward, a lady-killer of sorts, and packs a powerful PlayStation punch.  He is the young everyman. This I think is what resonates with Millennials (Generation Y) and what made it an instant cult-classic.

The question I have about this film is “what kind of type and anti-type is being presented?” And what do young people actually admire? Being in the graphic-novel-made-into-a-movie genre, it speaks the language of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains. If Scott Pilgrim is the new Ferris Bueller, then what are the major differences between what the past generation upholds as ideal and this one? One of the major differences I see is in their relationships. The relationship Scott and Ramona have is largely one-sided and basically grows out of a boyish fantasy come true until he gets a dose of reality. This generation seems to place great value on relationships (although more emotionally-based than physical attraction-based) and yet is agnostic about them. The end of the story is still open. In almost all of the previous teenage-angst (although Scott Pilgrim is technically a twenty-something who is dating a high-schooler) movies of the 80’s and 90’s, the boy still gets the girl with a more traditional happy ending. This underlies the brooding skepticism of this generation about relationships.

One other major difference is the music. And for that I really enjoyed the film (revealing my disgust for 80’s music). The movie is almost like a really cool and funny Guitar Hero music video with a Kung-fu twist. I really liked the musical interludes and the epic bass battle between Scott and a pretentious Vegan. This generation’s music is much more artful than the previous “party music” of the ’80’s. It is still armed with the angst of the grunge era and yet has a soft underbelly of emotionally driven lyrics. Overall, I would not recommend this movie because of the constant sexual double entendres and lack of any real story. With that being said I found it to be rather amusing and quite telling of what younger folks are being bombarded with. I say bombarded because I still think that even though the message of care-free agnosticism (about everything) is what is being pushed, I believe millennials are still not there. I believe that they are more optimistic than previous generations give them credit for. But that’s just my take on it.

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