Why I Hate Scott Pilgrim (vs. The World).

3 Oct

N.B Meant to post this about a month ago, no idea why I didn’t. Probably something to do with the university term starting or something.

For the past few weeks, there has been a buzz. A buzz that started by rumours and whispers and escalated to full-scale facebook takeover. The buzz was that which surrounded the newly released Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Dir. Edgar Wright). Everyone loved the film, claiming it was “the best film they had seen in ages” and likewise statements. Literally, one day my entire facebook newsfeed was full of positive raving about the film.

The film is different and the ideas behind its style have not really been explored before. The film is one of the first to treat the late-80s and 90s with a sense of nostalgia, and I’m guessing that’s why my generation of filmgoers enjoyed it so much. Everyone tends to look back to the decade of their own childhood with a sense of “the good old days”. The retro-gaming aspect of the film, with it’s pixellated graphices and chiptune sound effects appealed to a generation of “next-gen” consoles and reminded them where their love of computer gaming originated. The casting of Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim also appealed to the wave geek-chic, indie culture which is currently taking place, where cool is out and nerd is in.

However, my beef with Scott Pilgrim starts here. Confusingly, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is trying so hard to be cool by being uncool before being uncool was cool that it has drastically failed and has just become uncool. It was trying SO hard. Every other word was a lame indie culture reference in such a way that it wasn’t even postmodern; it just reeked of try-hard, poser retro-gamers who hadn’t even tried hard enough to pull it off. Seriously, that whole “Puc-Man” bit: did anyone not already know that?

I also hate Michael Cera. Just for the record. I’m not entirely sure what he brings to the table when a film is being made, but it seems to me like filmmakers seem to think he’s cute and quirky. He isn’t. He’s annoying and unremarkable and looks more like someone who looks like someone than someone who actually is someone.

At the beginning of the film, Scott Pilgrim has a chinese girlfriend called Knives. They get on pretty fucking well. They’re taking things slowly. They’re have a lot in common and they’re perfectly in sync, as shown in the cut scenes of them playing some sort of ninja DDR that I’m not about to go and google. Knives pretty much worships Pilgrim, and he seems to really like her back, and he doesn’t ever exploit the fact that Knives would do anything for him. She’s also a lot younger than Scott, but he doesn’t think this is a problem, more proof that he respects her and actually likes her.

Enter Ramona Flowers. She’s the main love interest of the film. Considering Scott already has a girlfriend who loves him, you’d think another woman wouldn’t be a problem. Not only does Pilgrim immediately fall for Ramona, he actively chases her down. He tries as hard as he can to cheat on his amazing girlfriend. Ramona must be pretty special right? Wrong. She has hair that’s dyed bright colours. She wears kooky clothes. She rollerskates! Fucking hell she’s so cool. I imagine this is the same thought process that Pilgrim makes before deducing that she is better than Knives.

For the rest of the film, Ramona pouts, acts mean, and looks sideways. She has a really bad attitude. When Ramona and Pilgrim first properly meet, she almost sleeps with him. A bit different from Scott’s relationship with Knives. Where’s the respect? The only reason they don’t sleep together is because Ramona seems to want to play games with Scott’s mind. (Which actually, he’d deserve.) Ramona initially hates Scott, so why does he keep chasing her? This is just another film trying to promote women as status symbols. Everyone knows who she is and she’s seemingly unobtainable, so he has to have her.

When Pilgrim finally gets Ramona (without telling Knives, I might add) he finds out he has to defeat her seven evil exes. At what point do you think it would be reasonable to say “Actually no, I’m not going to put myself in mortal danger just so I can stay with this girl that doesn’t even like me and just wants to toy with my heart.”? Plus the idea of fighting over a woman is so dated, so obviously sexist that I can’t believe it would even be included in a film with such new styles and ideas of filmmaking.

(I’d also like to add that one of Ramona’s evil exes is a girl. Whom Ramona fights herself, god forbid a man has to fight a woman.)

The whole way through the film Ramona maintains her steely composure and never really acts like she wants Scott in the first place. However, in true misogynistic fashion, Scott manages to explain her behaviour with the oft-cited “You just act cold and uncaring because you don’t want to get hurt but deep down you want to let me in and love me because I’m a man” or something along those lines. Why is it that girls can’t possibly just not give a shit, and it always has to be something about sex or love or boys, or maybe they’re just a lesbian?

Finally, the end of the film could have possibly redeemed this entire rollercoaster of rage that was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. At the end, Ramona chooses a different man. She chooses her last ex, who is a little dominating and controlling, but doesn’t seem too bad. He even apologises to Scott, explaining that Ramona made her choice and he shouldn’t become another of her controlling evil exes. My perfect ending concludes here, with Scott coming to the realisation that no matter how much effort you put in, you can’t force someone to love you.
This is not how the film ends.
Actual ending: Scott does become a jealous evil ex. He fights Ramona’s new boyfriend, wins, and then Ramona magically changes her mind and gets with Scott.
Why couldn’t Ramona keep her choice? Women don’t always want the strongest, or the most protective man. Some might, but others won’t. We aren’t merely animals and there are other aspects of people’s personalities or appearances that we can find ten times more appealing than physical strength and perseverance.

Also, heads up to Knives. She eventually just accepts that Ramona is better than her and continues with her life. If I were her, I’d burn down Scott Pilgrim’s house.

P. S. I have a lot more to say about this, but I’ve already breached the 1000 word mark, and I try to keep my posts readable.


10 Responses to “Why I Hate Scott Pilgrim (vs. The World).”

  1. DarrenIndeed October 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Ahhhh but you forgot, she hadn’t changed her mind to Gideon at the end, he had implanted a chip on her spine to control her. I’m sure you can make something more of that =P

    I do see where you are coming from, but I do have a couple of things I would say.

    First, the 7 evil exes thing. They weren’t trying to be sexist and misogynistic with this, it is a game reference. Whether gaming in the 90’s (or even now) was sexist is another matter. However this kind of set-up of boss battles and saving the princess is the film’s true intention.

    Then, there’s the casting of Michael Cera. I don’t think he was chosen because he is quirky and cute. I think it’s because, as you say he is unremarkable and looks like someone else. He represents the every-geek. Someone most male gamers can project onto. I think that is why he was chosen. I don’t really like or dislike him, his acting wasn’t great but I think he did well enough to pull off this film.

    Oh, and the Ninja DDR game is a fake, combining aspects of several arcade games to make a plot device of a non-descript game. I would have preferred they played 2 or 3 actual games that they took elemetns from myself, but there you go.

    • Topher Blair April 7, 2011 at 7:12 am #

      Woah woah now, Michael Cera does NOT represent the every geek. He is the furthest thing from us male retro gamers. Not only that but the fucker needs to take an acting class badly. He’s not an actor, he’s just a personality and that personality is wearing thin (loved Arrested Development though). I loved this blog BTW, yeah I know this is late but I really hate this film and what it did. This film is to retro gamers what Queer Eye was to Homosexuals. This sold out our culture. We used to be beat up in high school for this kind of shit and now everyone wears the NES belt buckles like it’s cool. Please. Clash at Demon Head is the name of the band in the books but really how many fans of this have actually PLAYED Clash at Demon Head. Watching youtube let’s play’s of it don’t count. This is for the same audience that like Star Wars just because it’s cool to like Star Wars.

  2. Peoplelikeyou Arewhytheworldisshit February 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    read the fucking comic dickhead.
    Also read a book. Also stop being a massive cunt?

    • PinkiLis February 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

      My beef is with the film. The film is a separate entity to the comic and whilst the two are interlinked, they are not inextricably so.

  3. Lucid April 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    I wish I could share this during facebook.

  4. Jenna April 27, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Thank you for this. I really disliked this film but everyone else seems to love it!

  5. Tegan Drew July 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    OMG YES! Someone who FINALLY agrees with me. The film in my eyes is terrible. GO YOU!

  6. Jakob Tesla December 29, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    OP: I LOVED this and couldn’t agree more!!!! In the beginning things seemed happy and good. And yes, I LOATH the way Michael Cera (?) talks and acts. “Oh, mono tone mono tone, geeky mumbling, stupid laugh lol to self!” FUCK YOU MICHAEL! Also, Scott and Knives seemed good together (not by his lame ass part, but because she genuinely loved him, and was obviously out of his league anyway, and if she’s too dumb to realize that… happy ending).

    And WTF kind of name is Knives? Fucking uncreative isn’t it?
    Also. There is absolutely nothing even remotely interesting about Ramona Flowers (?) I’m surprised she’d even have 2 evil exes. If you like a girl, go for her because your HEART says so, not because it is a “status/power” trip, and “boning her will make me super popular even though I’m a lifeless/no personality geek!” FFS.

    Am I the only one who couldn’t stand Scott’s geeky mumbling throughout the entire fucking movie? I was about driven to fucking insanity!!!!!! (look at my exclamation marks if you don’t believe me! I have dark spots under my eyes)

    Disclaimer: I have no idea what anyone is talking about by the “comic?” I’ve never heard of such a thing. (Hate me for it..)

    Lastly, the only funny thing about the movie, which made it bare-able is Scott’s gay friend (who’s name I ironically can’t remember). He was fucking HILARIOUS! I sat through the movie thinking “okay, he’s going to have more lines.” BIG SURPRISE, he doesn’t. He’s only around “once in a while,” not nearly enough to keep my humor sense going.

    And no, I don’t hate geeks or nerds. I’m saying that Michael Cera is an insult to geeks and nerds, and makes them look bad, selfish, ignorant, heartless, corny, skillless, and ultimately trite. (trite? When did I start using that word?)

  7. Jakob Tesla December 29, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    I forgot to check the “email me follow-upcomments” box. Sorry everyone, but I can’t leave thinking “what if someone replies and I NEVER EVER get it because I didn’t check that box.
    These things keep me up at night.. all those other times. I’ll never find those sites again :0

  8. PinkiLis August 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Reblogged this on TAMPON and commented:

    Just re-blogging this from my old blog. It was one of my favourite posts from there.

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