You need to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This weekend. Seriously.
(Provided that it's been released in your area.)
The three movies that opened wide last weekend were The Expendables, Eat Pray Love, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The Expendables and Eat Pray Love were panned by critics (their Rotten Tomatoes scores are 41% and 39%, respectively). Scott Pilgrim was very well-received by critics (its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 81%). Unfortunately, most movie-goers apparently don't care a bit about quality and just go for the familiar: familiar movie stars, familiar love stories, familiar action scenes, familiar bad guy vs. good guy plots, etc. The Expendables won the weekend with $34.8 million, Eat Pray Love came in second with $23.1 million, and Scott Pilgrim came in fifth, behind the fifth weekend of Inception, with a measly $10.6 million.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a quirky movie. I can understand that the quirkiness might scare some viewers away, in particular old people. But those critics weren't kidding--it really is a delightful movie. It moves quickly, with a ton packed into every scene. It's a comedy, with the laughs frequent and hearty. But it has action, love, and personal growth. So really, if you think you're either an Expendables or Eat Pray Love person, you'll find that you're really a Scott Pilgrim vs. the World person, too!
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's fight scenes don't drip masculinity as I'm sure those in The Expendables do, but they are inventive, unexpected, and exciting. Turns out just about everybody in Scott Pilgrim's world is competent in hand-to-hand combat, sometimes with interesting weapons, and a lot of people have special powers. If you want action stars, combatants include Brandon Routh, recently Superman, and Chris Evans, previously the Human Torch in Fantastic 4 and soon to be Captain America (some of you may also have caught him in The Losers and Push). Evans even plays an action star in the movie--there's a hilarious clip of a movie his character starred in (which is probably as good as anything in The Expendables). So there's badass, there's dueling, and, when an opponent is defeated, he (or she) turns into coins!
But Scott Pilgrim is also about love. Why is there so much fighting in the movie? Because in order to be with Ramona, the girl of his dreams, Scott must defeat her seven evil exes. How romantic! For support along the way, he has his bandmates (the band is called Sex Bob-Omb) and his gay roommate (and, uh, bedmate...yes they share a bed) played by Kieran Culkin (I hadn't seen him since Igby Goes Down, and he was great). His relationship with Ramona is complicated not only because of all her exes, but also because Scott was already kind of dating high schooler Knives Chau. Drama! On this journey, Scott must gain not only Ramona's love, but also his own self-respect. It's about personal growth as well as love. And Ramona and Knives do some growing of their own. It may not have the world travel featured in Eat Pray Love, but there's plenty of love to find in snowy Toronto.
I was reading this article about the disappointing opening weekend for Scott Pilgrim, and it mentioned that only 36% of the ticket buyers were women. I was surprised and disappointed. Yes, this movie is based on comic books, but as I mentioned, it's about love and personal growth. It is not a "dick flick" (a term I read describing The Expendables). The main character is a guy, but some of the coolest supporting cast is butt-kicking females. And if you're looking for eye candy, there's Brandon Routh and Chris Evans. And isn't Michael Cera adorable? So go see it, girls.
Why am I writing about this? It all comes down to the stakes. The studios decide what projects they want to fund next based on what has been successful at the box office. When bad movies do well and good movies do poorly, the studios learn that people like to spend money on bad movies more than good movies, so they start just making bad movies. Now, I've seen bad movies in the theater before, even knowing that they'd be bad, because they looked like fun (Transformers 2 and such). But when there's a movie floundering at the box office that deserves to succeed? It needs our support. Cast a vote in favor of refreshingly original and good movies and head out to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World this weekend!