Nick is listing out the 15 mainstream movies that are most exciting for
2010, and he’s asked me to do a supplemental list for the smaller
movies that should be on your radar. The problem is that 15 is such a
small number! So I’ve decided to do 30, and to split it between 15
smaller and indie American films and 15 foreign films (and yes, I’m
including British movies as foreign).
hardest part of this kind of a list is that I have no idea what is
actually coming; the joy of smaller and indie films is that they often
surprise you – the best movie of 2010 might be something nobody has
heard of that will debut at Cannes or Toronto. With that
caveat, I’ve done a lot of research (some of which was greatly enabled
by Garth Franklin’s monstrous Notable Films of 2010) and I think this list will be filled with movies worth paying attention to in 2010.
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Lee
Written by Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright
Based on the comics by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Canadian twentysomething slacker Scott Pilgrim is dating a high school girl. But then he meets Ramona Flowers, the girl of his dreams (literally: he first meets her in his dreams) and falls in love. There’s one major roadblock, though: Scott has to fight each of her seven evil exes in order to keep dating her. Hardcore kung fu, musical numbers and endless video game references follow.
Participants to Watch
Edgar Wright defied the sophomore slump with Hot Fuzz, but will he be able to keep up the streak with Scott Pilgrim? O’Malley’s comics are silly and sweet at once, and they’re packed full of geeky references and nods. On the surface the combination of director and material seems perfect.
Michael Cera has a lot to prove. After his explosion into stardom he’s experienced a major backlash, and his name hasn’t proven to be a box office draw just yet. On top of that many fans were put off by his casting – Scott in the comics couldn’t be more different from Cera’s usual comedic persona. I was barely able to talk to Cera while on the film’s Toronto set – he’s very press shy – but it seemed like he’s interested in pushing himself. Scott Pilgrim could be a new phase for him.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead is pretty, but how is she as an actor? She’s never had a role that’s given her a chance to strut her stuff, and if the movie goes anywhere near the comic, Ramona will give her plenty of room to show what she’s made of. Winstead looks amazing as Ramona, but will she be the perfect heartbreaker?
Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright’s script is going to be interesting because it was written while Bryan Lee O’Malley was working on the (still unfinished) comic series. From talking to Wright and O’Malley it seems that there’s a place where the movie and the comic diverge; it’ll be interesting to get a look at Scott Pilgrim from Earth 2.
Suddenly pretty good. There’s been very little seen so far, but a great first image and some strong fan reviews out of a Las Vegas test screening has made it seem like Wright has not done wrong (sorry). I suspect that Edgar Wright has nailed this one, but only time will tell. Also getting buzzed: strong performances from the actors playing Ramona Flowers’ seven evil exes, something that is crucial to making the film work as a whole.
Guys love the video game references and the martial arts and their girlfriends love the romance and O’Malley’s group of strong female characters. It becomes a crossover hit in a way that Wright’s previous films never quite did.
Universal has a track record of making really good, interesting, brave films over the last few years. They don’t have quite the same record when it comes to opening them. The hardest part of making a movie that’s totally unlike anything else out there – convincing people to come see it. Even if Scott Pilgrim is great it’s possible that people won’t figure that out until it hits home video.
You gotta have faith. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have a dog in this fight – not only do I know both Edgar Wright and Bryan Lee O’Malley, I’m also a slobbering fanboy for their work. But I suspect that if the initial hump of this movie – selling it – can be overcome, Scott Pilgrim vs The World could be not only a tidy hit but one of those movies that captures a moment in pop cultural history.
Buy the books from Amazon!