Tuesday Movie Blog: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Plus: A great date movie and an adaptation of a graphic novel

See It: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (PG-13, 2010). For those of you unfamiliar with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Canadian graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim is a slacker 20-something who falls for Ramona. In order to keep dating her, he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends, er, exes. It’s like Freaks and Geeks set in an anime comic book, video game … it’s trippy and awesome.

The movie, directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), is respectful of the novels but succeeds as a separate work. It’s overstimulating (in a good way). It’s filled with 8-bit imagery and music — including the opening Universal theme. Its background is packed with familiar computer and tech sounds of our daily lives (the use of the Seinfeld theme is pretty inspired). It also has some of the best movie editing this year.

While Michael Cera isn’t always up to the task of playing the likable naïve hero, the supporting cast is stellar — specifically Kieran Culkin and Alison Pill. [A n(y)erdy aside: the one scene that made my geeky heart go aflutter was seeing Cera and Mae Whitman on screen together once more. I miss you George Michael and Egg … I mean Ann]. Additionally, as this one movie included the plots of the entire novel series, a lot of character development/focus is sacrificed for more fighting. Many characters simply disappear in the second half.

Regardless, this unpretentious film — which is like Zombieland and Garden State did it and had a pixilated baby — is going to be one of my year-end favorites. (In theaters.) My Grade: A-

Rent It: Date Night (PG-13, 2010). Forget Dinner for Schmucks and see Carell in this much funnier movie. While it isn’t always successful, there’s no denying the comedic talents of Carell and Tina Fey. It also has one of my favorite quotes of the year: “They stabbed a chicken nugget with a sharpie. These are bad people.” My Grade: B

Queue It: Persepolis (PG-13, 1986). A young Iranian girl discovers punk rock while living under a fundamentalist government. The moving black-and-white animation makes Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel memoir even more real and profound. My Grade: A+