DVD Review: Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)

December 22, 2010 in Movie Reviews by pacejmiller

Man, then end of the year is almost upon us and I still haven’t had time to review all the movies I’ve watched over the last couple of months.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is another one of those movies that I’ve heard great things about, though the reactions have been somewhat mixed.  After all, it is based on a ‘graphic novel’ and it runs more like a video game than a conventional movie.

Being a fan of graphic novels and video games, I thought I would no doubt fall in the category of people that thought Scott Pilgrim was one of the best movies of the year.  But as it turned out…well…it is funny, fun, original and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before (and I really mean that), but as a piece of entertainment it doesn’t quite get there for me.

The premise is simple.  Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a young unemployed dude in a band, dating a high school girl and living with his gay best friend.  He meets the girl of his dreams (literally), Ramonda Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and seeks to win her heart — but to do so, he must defeat her seven evil exes.

And man, there are some good ones, from former Superman Brandon Routh to Chris Evans to Jason Schwartzman to my personal favourite, Mae Whitman (who coincidentally played Cera’s girlfriend/ex-girlfriend on Arrested Development as Anne/Egg/Her?).  Each opponent is set up like a round from a beat ’em up like a Dragon Ball video game or something, with points scored for blows, etc etc.

If that’s turning you off already, then Scott Pilgrim is probably not the movie for you.  But if you have an appreciation of video game culture, then Scott Pilgrim could potentially blow your mind.

For me, the action and fight scenes were clever and fun, entirely and outrageously over the top, as they are intended to be — but it’s the pop culture references and the witty jokes and one-liners that kept me interested.  Even if you peel back all the crazy stuff, Scott Pilgrim is still a very good comedy.

Michael Cera is essentially the same in every movie, but he’s actually pretty suited to the role.  Everyone else is fairly decent too, and I know Chris Evans is constantly ridiculed for his acting, but the truth is, he’s not that bad.  I found him adequately funny in this one.

My problem with Scott Pilgrim is that there’s not enough real substance for a 108 minute film.  You know he has to battle through the exes — he just has to — and even though they attempt to mix things up a little (instead of having the same fight every time), it does get a little tedious after a while.  Maybe I’m just getting too old.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed Scott Pilgrim for what it is — a quirky, action-packed romantic video game movie based on a comic.

3.5 stars out of 5

Done Deal: Pacquiao to take on Mosley on 7 May 2011

December 22, 2010 in Boxing by pacejmiller

[Update: for my prediction of this bout, click here.]

What a shame.  Manny Pacquiao has spoken and his next opponent will be the 39 year-old Shane Mosley on 7 May 2011 at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao had a choice of Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez (against whom Pacquiao is up 1-0-1 in two previous fights many thought Marquez had won) and Andre Berto (the undefeated albeit untested young challenger).

The decision was not a surprise, but boxing fans had hoped Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) would not be persuaded by his greedy promoter Bob Arum (of Top Rank) into picking the old and out of form Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), whose previous two fights were a one-sided decision loss to Mosley and a boring, pathetic draw to The Contender winner Sergio Mora.

Even though Arum presented three term sheets to Pacquiao and said it would ultimately be Pacquiao’s choice, Arum had openly pushed hard for Mosley (who is breaking up with his promoter Golden Boy to become a ‘free agent’) because Top Rank would be able to scoop up all the money from the fight for itself (as opposed to sharing it with Golden Boy, who promotes Marquez, or Lou DiBella, who promotes Berto).

I’m very disappointed in Pacquiao’s decision, as I had hoped that he would either put to bed those arguments that Marquez is better than him, or at least fight someone who isn’t 0-1-1 in his last two fights and pushing 40.  For whatever reason, Team Pacquiao apparently thinks Mosley is the toughest opponent out of the three.

When the announcement was made, Arum already began spinning why this would be a good fight.

“We came to a meeting of the minds.  [Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce Trample says it’s a very difficult fight.  I believe it will be an exciting fight.  Shane knows how to fight and how to deal with the speed.  Manny is in for a hellacious fight.  I really believe styles make fights.”

Bull.  Crap.

Arum has already dissed Mosley as an over the hill fighter in the past, and now all of a sudden Mosley is a worthy challenge for the pound-for-pound king?

Even Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, had difficulty masking his complete lack of interest in this fight.

“I think it’s a good fight,” he said [lied].  “I feel that Shane is one of the toughest guys left out there right now.  He didn’t get up for The Contender guy [Mora], but he will get up for Manny Pacquiao.  It’s a difficult fight because Shane has speed and power.  He’s getting a little older, which is in our favor, but I expect Shane to be at his best because he’s wanted this fight for a long time.  I will get Pacquiao well-prepared for this one.”

Yeah whatever.

Roach did say, however, that he believes Pacquiao will eventually take on Marquez again, provided both continue to win and Floyd Mayweather Jr can’t or won’t fight.

“I’m not too worried,” Roach said.  “After Mosley, the Marquez fight will still be there.  He’ll be there after this fight.  I don’t see Marquez going anywhere.  We just have to keep winning and I think that fight will happen.”

But why not fight him now, especially when both guys are on a high and the fight would be on a big Mexican holiday?  According to Roach and Arum, it’s because Marquez doesn’t really want the fight and is pricing himself out of it by asking for too much money.  They said Marquez is asking for $5 million.  Considering Marquez got $3.2 million guaranteed for the Mayweather fight and that Top Rank would have to buy out Golden Boy to be the sole promoter for this fight, how is $5 million too much?

When everything’s said and done, a Pacquiao fight will still be a Pacquiao fight — ie an action-packed, thrilling spectacle.  Unfortunately, it will be the least exciting fight out of the three possibilities (excluding Mayweather of course).