27 November 2011

Fucking Cult

When you get obsessed with a famous person, the traditional thing to do is to follow them around for a bit, tell them you love them and then shoot them in the face. When you get obsessed with a movie, you dress up as the characters, tattoo their faces onto your body and then if you're truly dedicated, stalk and then kill the cast. It's just the done thing. However, if you're not from America, the mental capital of the West, then you'll probably just spend a shit load of money on merchandise and watch the films a lot.

Of course people can get obsessed over any film but for the most part, it seems that cult films are the ones that obtain the more dedicated following. If Crazy Bob's favourite film is The Rocky Horror Picture Show then chances are he's probably wearing a pair of knickers and thinking of putting some vagina-pink lipstick on. If he likes Star Wars then I'd suspect he dreams of changing his name to Obi Wan Kenob-head and spends his days wondering why his home-made lightsaber doesn't work and if he'll be lucky enough to get off with his sister. My favourite film is Trainspotting and so to show my appreciation, my hobbies include shagging underage girls, heroin addiction, child neglect and of course, sifting through my own shit to get that one last high.

I'm sure there are plenty of definitions of what a cult movie is, but I guess to me it would simply be a film loved by a small few and mostly forgotten or ignored by the dopey masses. Withnail and I is a cult movie as it's relatively unheard of and a favourite of those who've seen it. The same goes for others such as Rushmore, Brick, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and more or less anything by Lynch or Cronenberg.

Recently I believe there should be a new film to put in that cult film category and that is Scott Pilgrim Versus the World. On the surface, this seems like something that should have reached the mainstream. From the director of Shaun of the Dead and the star of Superbad, it is an action-comedy with great music and great jokes. Unfortunately though, when it was released into cinemas, it only made about £12.80 back. For some reason nobody went to see it, or at least not enough did.

In all honesty, I don't know why that was the case. The reviews were great, the trailers were exciting and who doesn't love Michael Cera? Therefore, I can only assume the lack of audience was due to human error. The kind of human error that allowed the planet to be populated by a bunch of tasteless retards who'd rather pay huge sums of money to see crap like Transformers 3 than anything else with even an ounce of originality and quality.

As a slight side note, I slag off Transformers 3 quite a lot. It's sort of become my shorthand for a shit film that makes a lot of money and because I was getting a little bored of referencing it, I thought I'd find myself a new example and so googled, “worlds highest grossing movies”. I checked out the list and to my horror discovered that Transformer 3 is in fact the forth most profitable film of all time. What the fuck! How is that piece of shit so high? I knew it had made a lot of money but I didn't realise our species was in that bad a state. So far it has made well over $1,000,000,000 which is so depressing that I just want to go and stick my head in the oven. It is literally one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and for so many reasons.

Seeing that figure really puts Scott Pilgrim's financial failure into perspective- if Scott Pilgrim was a singer, it would be the equivalent of watching David Bowie busking on the streets as people walk past and flick the occasional penny of pity at him. If Transformers 3 was a singer, it would be the equivalent of watching an arrogant and ugly tramp fart and shit his way through a recurring chorus of Barbie Girl to a sell out crowd at Wembley Stadium. Meanwhile, a series of trucks dump money onto the stage so he can pay for all the prostitutes and rentboys in the world to suck his warty, diseased cock. Our species is fucked, and this is the proof.

I was talking to a friend shortly after the release of Scott Pilgrim and he asked me if I'd seen it. I said I had and that I loved it. He then described it as, “one of the weirdest films of all time”. It hadn't even occurred to me that this film could be considered weird to a none-film fan. It's just a musical but with the songs replaced with fighting- what's odd about that? Beyond the funk-fu, it's a fairly straightforward story. I asked him why he thought it was so weird and he replied, “I dunno it was just weird”. With that as the greatest example of elaboration, I recommended that he watch Inland Empire, Videodrome and Ichi the Killer to see what an odd film actually was. I then promptly stopped talking to him and deleted him from my life. What a tit!

Scott Pilgrim Versus the World is a great example of a couple of things; for a start it's a romantic comedy that not only doesn't conform to any cliché, but is so original that you'd assume it was made in an alternate dimension where The Notebook didn't exist... what a wonderful world that would be. There's a line in Scott Pilgrim where Scott's new girlfriend states vulnerably that she's, “never kissed a boy before”. Scott looks at her for a second to which we assume he's going to kiss her. We think this because we've been conditioned by other (shitter) films to expect it; we've seen it all before. However that's not what he does. She say's that she's, “never kissed a boy before”, to which Scott simply replies, “me neither” and then walks off.

It's also the best videogame adaptation that I think I've ever seen. For some reason, any video game that gets turned into a film, gets turned into a shit film. Hitman, Tomb Raider and Resident Evil are all undeniable turds. However- Edgar Wright has managed to avoid this curse by sneakily adapting his videogame movie from a videogame that doesn't actually exist.

In fact, this videogame feel is possibly what turned off so much of what should have been its audience. I know I angrily compared the profits of Scott Pilgrim to that of Transformer 3, but in a way I'm glad it did shit. The best cult movies are those that feel like they were made just for you, and that's exactly how I feel about this film. I don't want other people thinking that too because it was made for me. I play too many videogames and despite a recent bumpy ride, my heart firmly belongs to Nintendo.

When I was nine years old I got my first console; the Nintendo 64. It became my childhood. When I watch Scott Pilgrim, I understand all the videogame references and languages because I've lived them. I recognise things like 'getting a life', 'K.O.' and '1UP'. I know that the band 'Sex Bob-Omb' is a Super Mario reference and to hear the Universal Studios logo theme music performed in glorious 8bit is a nostalgia trip more powerful than shoving me headfirst back into the womb.

...And that's not even mentioning Zelda. The way Mark Chapman felt about John Lennon is how I feel about that franchise. Zelda is my favourite game franchise of all time and when I say I love it more than most of my family, that's not just because I don't particularly like most of my family, which I don't. Scott Pilgrim is full of references to these games from the opening music, the soundtrack whilst he pisses, Gideon's logo looking like the Triforce and of course, the dark Scott Pilgrim at the end. It's hard for me not to like something that clearly loves and respects the very same things that I do. I spent more time in Hyrule growing up than I did in school and the only thing that I regret is allowing school to stand in the way of me spending even more time there.

It's funny as well, that on the surface, this shouldn't be a cult movie. Like I mentioned, it's two selling points are that it is from the director of Shaun of the Dead and the star of Superbad. However, look a little deeper and you'll see that those two men both have their roots in cult TV. Michael Cera starred in the little seen and prematurely cancelled Arrested Development and Edgar Wright directed the underground hit Spaced. It's obvious now as well, how this is the film to finally allow Wright to display the style that he showed in his TV show all those years ago. Many people would assume that Shaun is closest to Spaced because of it's cast and humour, however, here Wright was relatively restrained. It's only now, with Scott Pilgrim, that we see Spaced on crack- both feature plenty of split-screen, whip-pans, pop culture references and revolve around a jobless man in his early twenties with girl troubles. Scott Pilgrim is basically what happens when you give potentially one of our generations greatest directors the money to do what he wants.

I'm not saying that Scott Pilgrim Versus the World is the greatest film of all time, but it is one of my favourites, and if you play enough videogames it'll easily become one of yours too. Keep it to yourself though please, I don't want this film to get too popular. It likes what I like; it's funny, sweet, action packed and I love the characters. All that and I haven't even mentioned Ramona Flowers. All Scott has to do is fight seven people to be with her. Have you seen her? She's amazing! I'd slaughter several children and burn down a school just to kiss her on the lips... and I'd even let her choose which lips...

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