With Edgar Wright being my all-time favourite director, we all knew it was only a matter of time before just one of his titles popped up on this list of mine. We're gonna start with 'Scott Pilgrim', however, because despite its all-encompassing Americanness (with its British director) it's incredibly close to home. Taking place in the mysterious land of Toronto, Canada, I can say with some pride that I'm just a few cities away in Hamilton, and can confirm that this wasn't filmed in a city pretending to be Toronto.
I have now reviewed this movie twice, so some of my readers will be all too familiar with my reasoning for putting this one on my list. However, in case some are still a little bit in the dark, I should probably break it all down one last time. As usual, let's go back in time just a wee bit to the year 2010 when the film was about to be released. I can still admit to this day that when the first teaser trailer dropped, teasing the first fight of the film, I quite honestly thought it looked dumb. The only glimmer of hope in this trailer for me was Edgar Wright's name because even by then I considered him one of my favourite directors, based on 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz' alone.
One day I was wandering around the graphic novel section of my local Chapters (now Indigo) store. With not a whole hell of a lot jumping out at me, I texted a friend who knows his way around all of his comic book titles, asking for recommendations. Without hesitation, he texted back with "Scott Pilgrim!" I picked up the first book and was pretty entertained by it, despite an incredibly strange ending. Luckily for yours truly, I am able to say "there's more to this I haven't read yet", so bought the next book, then the next, and indeed collected all 6 of them. I read them all and actually really liked them. They are all very easy to get through, and it helped me develop an understanding of what this movie was gonna be all about.
Eventually, the movie was finally released alongside 'The Expendables' (where all the dudes were heading instead) and 'Eat, Pray, Love' (where all the ladies were heading instead). The niche audience for 'Scott Pilgrim' had seemingly already downloaded it, but a few of us were still turning up to the theater to check it out. I was so impressed by the overall execution of its adaptation that I saw it twice more and may have gone a fourth time if it didn't fade away so quickly. Needless to say, when it was released on blu-ray, it was a quick grab for me. This one has officially reached the list of movies I've seen the most times over in my life, up there with even 'Ghostbusters'!
It's perfectly understandable that this isn't entirely everyone's cup of tea. I would absolutely claim this to be a sort of acquired taste, and it's not something I can just recommend to anyone because not everyone is quite gonna get what makes it so good. In fact, I can say quite honestly that I know of quite a few people who hate this movie. I've even heard it referred to as the "start" of the present hipster movement (if that's even a thing anymore) and as a result, it was of course, "terrible". However, I personally never completely grasped not only what made a hipster a hipster, but why being a hipster was so incredibly bad. I feel like eventually, that term managed to get away from itself completely, and I'm willing to bet we all have some aspect of that persona in our own persona.
But what this movie kills in executing is its incredible cast matching the comic book characters so well that I never once questioned who someone was supposed to be. The soundtrack is a great blend of unique sounds, largely featuring Canada's own Beck (who actually shares a Birthday with me). The visual effects were something I thought deserved to get all of the awards because it actually succeeded in making this a perfect combination of comic book, anime and video game. But what really stood out was that instead of the story taking place over the year or so it does in the comics, it's pretty much during the later parts of winter (because it's always snowy in Toronto - at one point it's mentioned that it's April).
The film does a great job of telling everything it needs to tell in the short timeframe it has. The way this was presented was just about as good as it could get in my opinion. Once again, I understand a lot of people either not getting or not liking this, as it seems to be aimed at a particular audience. But speaking for myself, I find it truly original, Wright is absolutely spot on with everything here (with the original author, Bryan Lee O'Malley's guidance, which earns mad respect from me), and it's something I can throw on any damn time I feel like going on some sort of whacky escape from my own reality. Yeah, it's a bloody weird movie, but that's the kind of thing that goes right up my alley!