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Author Topic: Scott Pilgrim Versus the World
AchillesHeel
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I just looked up the cast list, and to my surprise the gay lush roommate was played by Kieran Culkin. I like the movie even better now.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
I haven't read the comics either, but I think it was the director. Most of Wright's movies don't spend a lot of time "telling" character, they spend it "showing" character. Ie, there's very little exposition . . . you grow to care about the characters (or not) by their decisions, their witticisms, their mannerisms, and their quirks. A movie like Braveheart gives you the character background, but ultimately it's merely an archetype. The characters in Pilgrim had CHARACTER -- just like in Shaun of the Dead (and Hot Fuzz, to a lesser extent), the characters' actions were unique and gave us a window into who they are.
As a side note, I think the whole showing versus telling thing gets overplayed way too much at times. I think that exposition, like any strong spice, is best when used in moderation. Too much and you ruin the meal, but too little and it has little flavor and is thus difficult to enjoy.

In other words, sometimes a little exposition can go a long, long way, and showing doesn't always give enough or the right amount of information that just telling us can.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
I haven't read the comics either, but I think it was the director. Most of Wright's movies don't spend a lot of time "telling" character, they spend it "showing" character. Ie, there's very little exposition . . . you grow to care about the characters (or not) by their decisions, their witticisms, their mannerisms, and their quirks. A movie like Braveheart gives you the character background, but ultimately it's merely an archetype. The characters in Pilgrim had CHARACTER -- just like in Shaun of the Dead (and Hot Fuzz, to a lesser extent), the characters' actions were unique and gave us a window into who they are.
As a side note, I think the whole showing versus telling thing gets overplayed way too much at times. I think that exposition, like any strong spice, is best when used in moderation. Too much and you ruin the meal, but too little and it has little flavor and is thus difficult to enjoy.

In other words, sometimes a little exposition can go a long, long way, and showing doesn't always give enough or the right amount of information that just telling us can.

I find myself skeptical that any fan of OSC's writing could be completely opposed to a little bit of well-presented, effective "telling."
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PSI Teleport
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*Spoilers, and head's up: this post rambles a bit. This is the kind of conversation that's best to have right after the movie in the car ride home, where all the participants can shout out their opinions, and the thoughts don't have to logically follow one right after the other.*
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I suppose I was mostly confused by Scott's character. In the previews, the movie is "sold" to someone like me (someone who hasn't read the comic) as a story about a guy that's self-conscious, lovable, and kind of lame(as per Michael Cera) trying to defeat bad guys in order to save/have the woman he cares about, a woman that is otherwise unattainable. That kind of story appeals strongly to me.

However, Scott actually seems to be rather self-important, which didn't help me create any sympathy for him. I realize that he discovers his flaws in the end, but until that happens (five minutes before the flick is over) I could care less if he gets what he wants.

Also, the scene on the bus when Scott says "if we're dating, does that mean we can kiss?" was powerful in the trailer, because the new audience is given the impression that it's his first kiss with her, and he's just battled the first enemy, which you assume was difficult for him because it's his first and he would have been blindsided by it, and because he doesn't usually go around kicking people's butts. So he "deserves" it. You want to be happy for him.

In reality, though, when that bus scene happens they've already been making out, and have even gotten very close to having sex. So that kiss is passť, and the sense that he earned something important in that first battle is totally lost. Plus, he seemed ready for the battle, and had little trouble coming to terms with it before defeating his opponent fairly easily. Of all the bad guys, the first provided the least challenge, which, I'm sorry, fails as an analogy either to video games or to past boyfriends/baggage. The first enemy you meet in a video game generally catches you off guard, and at least requires figuring out the controls or the battle system before you can win. (Super Mario Brothers was my first video game, and I still remember getting killed by that Goomba about twelve times before I figured out how to jump over him.) Scott seems to have no trouble understanding the battle, which wore away on my sympathies even further. I'm given no reason to cheer for him. Why should I cheer? He's obviously already good at fighting, and there's never a moment where I worry that he might lose. And as far as a love story goes, Scott and Ramona might as well be two random strangers that met at a party and hooked up the next night. I'm forced to imagine something that makes this relationship special compared to all the others they've had, because it isn't shown in the movie.

I assume that the source material fills in these details. And it's fine if the video game shtick is supposed to be analogous to love or personal betterment or whatever. But if they can't convey those details and that analogy in a way that its new audience can understand, then they've failed. Which is a real shame, because the whole time I was watching the movie, I was thinking how it could be one of the most epic movies of all time if they'd just given a little more thought to the story, and attempted to create sympathy for their main characters. The only person I cared about was Knives, and I agreed with her at the end when she said she was too cool for Scott. He never deserved her, and I personally think Knives' story was the one that deserved to be told in full.

[ETA: Man, can you imagine how awesome that story would be? The tale of a girl who chooses to help the man she loves win the woman he loves, and in the end discovers that he was never good enough for her anyway.]

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Shanna
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MOVIE SPOILERS...

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This will also be rambly but I'll try to respond to your comments without massive spoiling of the comic.

On a quick point, the line is actually "Does this mean we can makeout?" Its not a romantic moment. Its not supposed to be a romantic moment. Its just a funny line for a hormonal twenty-something guy.

The above matters because Scott Pilgrim is not a typical Hollywood movie. Alot of what you imagined happening sounds like a very stereotypical Friday night popcorn fest. The critics with negative reviews have been writing about the movie as if the video game special effects are the only thing that makes Scott Pilgrim different from everything else out there.

Scott being unlikable is not Edgar Wright's fault. Scott Pilgrim was written as a jerk. He's even worse in the graphic novel. The first time I read the series, I remember wondering why Scott's friends hung around with him. He's a slacker. He has no ambition. He's self-absorbed. He "borrows" Wallace's credit card, skips out on band practice, dates high schoolers, etc.

But honestly, he's just an extreme example of alot of twenty-somethings. Some people know at ten years old that they wanna be doctors and then they get married right out of college. Some people don't know what they're meant to do and have terrible romantic luck. There's a whole generation out there that relates to Scott's love of video games, his ADD, his naivety, his social awkwardness, and so on.

In Hollywood though, you'd want that character to be super-lovable so that those audience members who relate to the character will feel good about themselves. "Yes, I'm geeky but I'm super-sweet too, just like that Hollywood star who I know is going to get the girl in the end!" But honestly, alot of people are jerks. Most of them don't even realize how jerky they are. We see ourselves as better than what we are.

And that's the angle with Scott Pilgrim. The movie is told almost entirely from his perspective. You're seeing the fights and the world as he sees it. There's one scene with just Knives and her friend in her bedroom, but otherwise I think Scott is in every scene. There's no Ramona side-plot. Everything Scott knows about Ramona is based on what she tells him (and what he remembers. Scott is very forgetful and tends to not pay attention too well.) But whenever Ramona talks to Scott, its reluctantly. She's got her own baggage and she's just as self-absorbed as Scott. But this movie isn't called "Ramona Flowers versus The World."

They belong together not because they're the adorable, lovable but quirky Hollywood couple. They belong together because they've got the same baggage and the same stupid issues. They're broken, but they're broken in the same way.

I can certainly see why Wright was attracted to Scott Pilgrim. Scott reminds me of Shaun from "Shaun of the Dead." Another slacker floating through life, stuck in his own head. His friend is a loser, he's horrible to his step-dad, and he doesn't know how to treat his girlfriend.

quote:
And as far as a love story goes, Scott and Ramona might as well be two random strangers that met at a party and hooked up the next night. I'm forced to imagine something that makes this relationship special compared to all the others they've had, because it isn't shown in the movie.
There are a few bits from the comics that might helped this issues alittle. The problem is that the pacing of the movie is so different from the book. The graphic novel goes over the course of a year where as the movie has to keep the tension high. Not to give too much away, but at one point in the series Scott and Ramona become very conventional. He gets a steady (though crappy) job, they live together and play house. I think there's a moment when Scott remarks that Ramona's hair hasn't changed colors in awhile and that's the moment that breaks their complacent serenity. Ramona is the kind of girl who doesn't like to stick around.

Back to the movie though, sometimes a hook-up is a hook-up. And sometimes it can lead to something more. Scott, who has zero ambition and likes to take the easy road, suddenly agrees to fight all of her evil exes. Ramona, a girl who is never the dumpee, sticks around with Scott and genuinely seems to care about him.

quote:
Man, can you imagine how awesome that story would be? The tale of a girl who chooses to help the man she loves win the woman he loves, and in the end discovers that he was never good enough for her anyway.
The ending with Knives doesn't actually happen in the comic. Its pulls from earlier parts of the series (the graphic novel features an awesome Knives/Ramona fight in a library) but she's pretty much over Scott before his big fight Gideon. I actually wish the final battle had just been Ramona, Scott, and Gideon. Ramona had a much larger role in the battle and its one of my favorite character moments with her. Edgar Wright must really love Knives to have given her a much bigger role, but I would have done the same with Kim had I been in his shoes.
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PSI Teleport
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Forgive me if I offended you; your response seems a little defensive. My responses are also going to sound defensive, because I feel like you misunderstood a few of my points.

quote:
On a quick point, the line is actually "Does this mean we can makeout?" Its not a romantic moment. Its not supposed to be a romantic moment. Its just a funny line for a hormonal twenty-something guy.
I got that. My point is that it wasn't sold that way in the preview, and I was disappointed. The story I got was nothing like the story that was suggested.

quote:
The above matters because Scott Pilgrim is not a typical Hollywood movie. Alot of what you imagined happening sounds like a very stereotypical Friday night popcorn fest.
Scott Pilgrim is a popcorn fest. And the elements I mentioned, such as relating with the main character enough to want to see him win, are not only elements of a typical Hollywood date-night flick. They're elements of a decent, character-driven story. To not incorporate them under the guise of being experimental or whatever is lazy. Scott doesn't have to be nice, but there should be something important at stake that we care about. Ramona is not that something.

quote:
Scott being unlikable is not Edgar Wright's fault.
I didn't say it was. I don't even know who Edgar Wright is, except insofar as he relates to SPvsTW, and that might be the problem. But I'm aware that making the characters completely unlovable is probably the fault of the guy who wrote the source material.

quote:
In Hollywood though, you'd want that character to be super-lovable so that those audience members who relate to the character will feel good about themselves. "Yes, I'm geeky but I'm super-sweet too, just like that Hollywood star who I know is going to get the girl in the end!" But honestly, alot of people are jerks.
I understand that. I don't like jerks. I have zero interest hearing the story of a jerk. I also have no reason to root for a jerk. I want to see the jerk lose. I wanted Scott Pilgrim to get his face punched in, multiple times. I think the story would have been better served if he'd gotten seriously hurt at least once, and learned a bit of humility early on.

quote:
They belong together because they've got the same baggage and the same stupid issues. They're broken, but they're broken in the same way.
That's a terrible reason for two people to be in a relationship together. That's a good reason for two people to stay out of a relationship until they get their lives straight. The fact that they're both so "broken" and, apparently, incapable of being anything more than selfish in their choices, made me want to never, ever see them together. Even by the end, they've done nothing to convince me that they've grown as people, so I'm left with no hope that their relationship will survive.

Look, I've watched a thousand movies that did a better job of getting me involved and pulling me along for the ride. Some were fun, some were silly, some were avant garde, some were experimental. Scott Pilgrim may be such a story in comic book format, but I think something was lost in translation for the new audience. And I think that the fans of the comic books are mentally filling in the blanks and assuming the rest of us are missing the point, then getting defensive when we say "WTF?"

What's missing here isn't a "nice" character. What's missing is motivation. What's so special about Ramona that Scott feels he needs to defeat seven people to have her? it's not explained. What is it about Scott that entices Ramona to finally start settling down around him? Who knows? These are things that desperately need to be explained in order for me to be invested. To be very clear, I thought the movie was a rollicking good time in terms of humor, color, pacing, and special effects. But the story was non-existent, and that killed it for me.

[ August 22, 2010, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: PSI Teleport ]

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Shanna
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Edgar Wright is the director. Sorry, I thought someone had mentioned that in this thread already. He also directed "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz." He's been working on the movie for years. Only about half the series had been written when he started the project and the movie's finale was filmed before the last book in the series had been finished. Its obvious that the creator of the series shared his notes and his vision but the second half of the movie was still written and directed with little reference to the final volumes of the book.

Sorry if I came off as defensive. I certainly don't think Scott Pilgrim is the best movie ever made though it wins for me as the best adaptation I've ever seen. M Night Shyamalan should be taking notes!

As for jerks, maybe its just a preference. I love with quirky jerks come around. I like seeing really flawed characters change. I'm the girl reading Harry Potter and rooting for Draco Malfoy. Scott's not evil, he's just a jerk. And he's fellow human being (though fictional) and why wouldn't I want him to find love and turn his life around.

With only the creator's likely brief notes, I like how the end was handled. The audience saw Scott learn from his mistakes and then he and Ramona, who no longer has to run from her past, join hands and head off to start a real grown up relationship. Since Knives isn't in the comic's final battle, the book doesn't have that awkward love triangle moment. So the first time I saw the movie, I was freaking out. I thought perhaps the director had drastically changed the end. Suddenly, I was on equal footing with a person who didn't know how the comic ended. I was absorbed and, partly delusional from lack of sleep, hoping that Scott would go after Ramona. When that happened, I felt genuinely happy for both of them. They'd been broken and we'd seen their relationship almost die because of their issues, but then they were starting over fresh, both alittle older and wiser.

Its not a groundbreaking romantic story. But it made me break out into a large grin.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
What's so special about Ramona that Scott feels he needs to defeat seven people to have her? it's not explained. What is it about Scott that Ramona finally starts to settle down around him?
I think the actual answer is: nothing. It's just that Scott and Ramona had both started to settle down and mature right around the time they met. Neither was really the motivation for the other, although one of the things Scott has to ultimately defeat is his belief that Ramona is just that sort of motivation for him, and that he's hers.
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lobo
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"But honestly, he's just an extreme example of alot of twenty-somethings... There's a whole generation out there that relates to Scott's love of video games, his ADD, his naivety, his social awkwardness, and so on."

Apparently the ADD generation lost interest in this movie quickly. It is fading fast at the box office...

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TomDavidson
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That's a shame; it's a very good film.
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Herblay
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It is earning almost twice as much as Hot Fuzz reeled in (about three times the business that Shaun did).

It'll explode on DVD.

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Raymond Arnold
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I was disappointed in the earnings last week, but bear in mind ALL the earnings were pretty low, and there were a lot of high profile movies competing with each other. (Inception made 7 mil, Scott Pilgrim made 5. The highest grossing, Expendables, I think made like 13. Vampires suck made (cringe) 12).
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lobo
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quote:
Originally posted by Herblay:
It is earning almost twice as much as Hot Fuzz reeled in (about three times the business that Shaun did).

It'll explode on DVD.

Some comparisons (thanks boxofficemojo.com)
Name #theaters gross (10 days) gross/theater
SPvTW 2820 20,730,000 7,351
SOTD 645 6,933,441 10,749
HF 1272 12,601,055 9,906

We also need to look at expectations. SPvTW had a budget of around 90 million, SOTD around 8 million and HF around 16 million.

Unless it makes a boatload on DVD, it looks like SPvTW will go down as a big failure.

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Nighthawk
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Scott Pilgrim vs. The Matrix
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Shanna
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As far as trailer mashups go, this one is really fun...

Scott Pilgrim vs. Avatar: The Last Airbender

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Launchywiggin
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Just watched it last night.

Brilliant. Loved it.


Side note:
Who cares how much money it makes? Napoleon Dynamite had mass appeal not because everyone could relate to Napoleon, but because everyone could relate to making fun of him. Scott Pilgrim doesn't have that--it's a niche movie in a niche style marketed to a niche crowd. I'm pleasantly surprised that it got as many positive reviews as it did (81% at Rottentomatoes)

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PSI Teleport
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quote:
I think the actual answer is: nothing. It's just that Scott and Ramona had both started to settle down and mature right around the time they met. Neither was really the motivation for the other, although one of the things Scott has to ultimately defeat is his belief that Ramona is just that sort of motivation for him, and that he's hers.
I'll be honest, I didn't quite understand the moment at the end when Scott announces "I want to fight you for me." (Not sure of the exact quote.) As far as I could tell, everything he'd done in the film so far was for himself. And I do understand the difference between selfishness and self-respect, I'm just not sure what lesson it was that Scott supposedly learned at the end. It just felt like heartwarming buzz words that had no connection to the film.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
As far as I could tell, everything he'd done in the film so far was for himself.
Yes. That moment was the moment he realized it, instead of gussying it up with false romantic narrative.
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PSI Teleport
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Well, I considered that as a possibility, but I think it's bunk because of the line Ramona gave while Scott was "dead." If I'm not mistaken, it was "Maybe I'm not the one you should have been fighting for." Which implies that he's been fighting for her this whole time, and that because of her advice he realized he should be fighting for himself.
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jebus202
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Mediocre movie at best. I like video games, got most references. Scott Pilgrim and Ramona whatever are both entirely uninteresting, unlikeable and self-obsessed. Nothing made me understand why the two liked each other, when they were both just annoying. I'll admit Cera pulls off some reasonably funny lines, but his voice (which is higher than usual) didn't give-off the confidence his lines were seemed to imply he should have.

I don't like movies that are just a series of fight scenes. It's entertaining at first, but quickly gets repetitive. This was just Kill Bill, only targeting the video game fans instead of martial art movie fans. Boring.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Well, I considered that as a possibility, but I think it's bunk because of the line Ramona gave...
It's entirely possible I'm dragging some graphic novel baggage with me.
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PSI Teleport
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I assume that the graphic novels make way more sense than the movie.
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jebus202
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It would want to.
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Ryoko
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Recently watched this movie:

Loved it!

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lobo
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quote:
Originally posted by Launchywiggin:

Who cares how much money it makes? Napoleon Dynamite had mass appeal not because everyone could relate to Napoleon, but because everyone could relate to making fun of him. Scott Pilgrim doesn't have that--it's a niche movie in a niche style marketed to a niche crowd. I'm pleasantly surprised that it got as many positive reviews as it did (81% at Rottentomatoes)

Ummmm I think the people who spent 90 million making and marketing this movie care.

I agree that it is a niche movie, but it was not marketed that way.

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Sterling
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Unfortunately I suspect the last movie that used this kind of spectacle was Speed Racer, which may be where a lot of people are putting it in their minds based on the previews.

It's a pity. I enjoyed it a lot. I think it might be a good candidate for "cult" status, though.

Laughed my head off during Scott's "second run".("We are Sex Bob-omb, and we're here to watch Scott kick your teeth in!") And it's true- as I was warned- that Scott is indeed a self-centered jerk for much of the movie. But he does, eventually, clue into that and try to do better. I've seen quite enough movies where the protaganist(s) were self-centered jerks and never recognized it, and worse, the writers and directors never did either...

[ September 02, 2010, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: Sterling ]

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Geraine
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If any of you have a PS3 or Xbox 360, I suggest you play the game based on the movie. If you ever played the game "River City Ransom" on the NES, you will absolutely love this game.
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0Megabyte
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Yes. Yes I have. And yes I do. [Big Grin]
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Marek
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I loved the movie, and thought it was great, though some how I wanted the exes to be defeated but not dead, like to some how know they just couldn't fight him again, but other then that I loved the movie.

However with out Wallace it would not have been nearly as good.

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Marek
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Although I will concede the self centered thing aspect, which I thought was best displayed when Scott said his baggage doesn't try to kill him every 5 minutes, I kept thinking shouldn't it be "my baggage doesn't try to kill you every five minutes" ? but as they point out he was being a complete jack ass at that point in the movie.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Launchywiggin:

Side note:
Who cares how much money it makes?

I do, and you do too. There are many, many reasons why you want a movie like Scott Pilgrim to do well, in terms of rewarding original, good directors directing inspired works that deviate from cookie-cutter norms and tentpoles.
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