Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. Me!

It was hot yesterday. I am such a wimp when it comes to the heat. I generally have three ways of coping with hot weather:

1. I crank up the AC and I don't leave my house.
2. I get in my car and drive until I'm at the beach, where it is always overcast and cold.
3. I go to the movies. I can always count on movie theaters to be properly air conditioned (well, with the exception of funky art-house theaters that were built in the 1930's, but that's irrelevant).

I had already spent too much time in my house yesterday and I live three hours from the beach, so it was time to go to the movies. I watched the trailer for "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" (posted below).

I decided to go see it based on the following:

1. It stars Michael Cera.
2. It has something to do with indie rock.
3. It features Michael Cera playing guitar in an indie rock band.
4. It's directed by the guy who did "Shaun of The Dead" and "Hot Fuzz."
5. The chick in the trailer had cool hair.
6. Parts of the trailer reminded me of "Kill Bill."
7. The love story part of it looked kind of cute.
8. Michael Cera is more than kind of cute.

So I conned Steve into going with me. We chowed down some Chinese food and made our way over to a pretty empty theater. Actually, we were the only people in the theater until the movie was about to start. Then a small clump of obnoxious teenagers came in. One sat right behind me and put his stinky feet up on the seat next to me. It was so repulsive that I made Steve move down several seats with me. There is nothing worse than watching a movie with stinky feet in your face.

Neither of us really knew what to expect from the film. I figured it would amuse and distract me for two hours but didn't have incredibly high expectations for it.

Five minutes into it, I leaned over to Steve and whispered "Oh my gosh, I love this film already." He gave me a silent yet enthusiastic thumbs-up sign. I looked over at him and noticed he was grinning. The opening credits overtook the screen and I saw the name JASON SCHWARTZMAN. I didn't realize that he was in the movie too and discovering this made me downright giddy.

Since it's based on a comic book, the film is pretty stylized and has a lot of references to video games and nerd culture in general (hence the reason Steve loved it so much). I'm usually unimpressed by comic book/superhero movies, but "Scott Pilgrim" was just fun. It had good music in it, hilarious dialogue, and enough clever cultural references to keep my inner hipster satisfied (though a true hipster probably wouldn't be caught dead in that theater).

Of course, the movie also deeply satisfied my inner nerd - a persona that I hide fairly well but has existed for years. *sigh* I guess it's time for an embarrassing history lesson.

When I was a junior in high school, I attended a charter school for kids who wanted to focus on Information Technology. I didn't really care about computers, but I needed a change of scenery from the chaos of public high school. The social ladder was completely flipped upside at that school. Nerds ruled the world and I usually ate lunch with the one misplaced jock and the one other female in the program. Fitting in at the nerd school proved to be just as difficult as fitting in at public high school. It didn't help that I was going through a pretty intense fashion phase that involved wearing vintage fur coats to the computer lab. I also had a thing for shoulder pads and often went to school looking like this (brace yourself, this is an actual picture of 17 year old Lauren):

Horrifying, right? Mary Tyler Moore called, she wants her jacket back.

Most of the nerd boys were a little bit in love with me. Though this helped me ace several computer programming classes, it was annoying because I just wanted some friends. At some point I decided that if I was ever going to be friends with anyone other than the jock and the girl (who really weren't that nice or interesting), I was going to have to be open-minded to nerd culture.

It was about that time that some stuttering nerd boy who had a thing for me offered to let me borrow his new copy of some stupid-looking graphic novel. I cringed but borrowed it just to be nice. I even read a few pages of it just to see what it was.

And then I stayed up all night reading it. It was much better than I had expected it to be. To his amazement, I returned the book to him the next day having read the whole thing. Without even hesitating, he supplied me with the next book in the series. And so began this strange season of reading graphic novels.

I think I borrowed an entire series from him over the course of a few weeks. I was embarrassed by the nerdtastic nature of the books and would keep them in the special zip-up pocket of my backpack during the school day. Once I made it home, I would go in my room and hide the book under my mattress. Yes, I know, I was acting like it was pornography or subversive political literature or something really offensive. There was nothing pornographic or subversive about it, but girls that wear vintage fur coats don't read comic books.

Looking back, I think the boy lending me the comics totally misinterpreted the whole scenario and therefore I accidently led him on. Actually, things got fairly ugly when he realized I just wanted to be his friend that borrowed all of his dorky-yet-fascinating comic books. He abruptly stopped talking to me. At first I thought it was because I returned a book to him with the cover bent a little bit (life in Lauren's backpack is rough sometimes). But when he hacked into my computer at school and started passing around my assignments for everyone to copy, I knew I had somehow unintentionally stomped on his little nerd-heart.

My trusty comic book supplier had become my enemy, so I began turning to the Internet for my nerdy comic fix. I paid attention to the web comics that boys in the computer lab were reading when they were bored and read them when no one was looking. Then I would reference them in the presence of nerd boys in attempts to gain acceptance and earn their friendship.

This catapulted me to Queen of the Nerds status (which is a little bit like "Queen of the Damned" but with less outfits made of leather and definitely less sex). Every boy in that stupid computer lab had some sort of weird crush on me. It was flattering and I got a lot of free computer help that way. But I really just wanted to be part of the group, not the star of teenage geekboy fantasies. I specifically remember there being some big geeky get-together at somebody's house on a Friday night. It was just going to be a lot of people drinking Mountain Dew and playing Mario Brothers or watching anime or something along those lines. I didn't even really like any of those things, but everyone in the IT cohort was going. Naturally, I wanted to go.

But I wasn't invited. This is pathetic, but I can distinctly remember sitting in my room on Friday night, writing in my journal and keeping my gigantic cell phone close by in case somebody remembered to invite me. The phone never rang. I decided I didn't want to be a part of that scene anyway.

The next week, I put on my sweatshirt that I had ripped up and sewn back together with safety pins. I got in touch with some people from public school and started a rock band in my garage. We called ourselves "The Accoutrements" and never left my garage, but that's irrelevant. That turned out to be my high school niche and my days of trying to fit in with nerds was over.

Except that nerdy part of me has never really died. Movies like "Scott Pilgrim" remind me that it's still there.

(Yes, I did manage to bring it back to the original movie review this post was intended to be. I have a way of rambling sometimes. Please forgive me.)

On another note, I found myself a little jealous of Ramona Flowers in the scene at the end where Michael Cera and Jason Schwartzman were fighting over her (kung fu fighting, to be specific). If I was in her position, I would just be like, "Hey guys, I can't choose between you. So I'm going to have to choose both of you. Welcome to my harem of adorably awkward hipster boys."

Anyway, go see "Scott Pilgrim." It's absolutely ridiculous, but it will make you laugh. It made me laugh, anyway. Actually, I think it's one of the funniest, freshest films I've seen in awhile.

And instead of sleeping last night, I stayed up making a silly avatar for myself on the "Scott Pilgrim" website. Because that's what all the cool kids are doing these days.

Oh man, I really am geekier than I give myself credit for, huh? I think I'm going to end this post before I incriminate myself any further.

Peace out, amigos.


  1. I still haven't seen this - but I plan to eventually. Michael Cera & Jason Schwartzman - yes please! Also I've been told that since this film is set in Toronto, there are several Canadian places in it that only we would know - one such place is the coffee shop chain that I work for. Now I have to see it!

  2. Amazing poster! Great job on the avatar.

    Glad to hear you're a little bit nerdy ;)

  3. I am definitely going to see this film! I'm glad you liked it! It has been really hot around here as well, maybe I should go take advantage of that movie theater AC... oh, and your adventures in nerdland could be a movie in itself haha :)

  4. There was a time in which I'd try to cover up the geek inside. But I've since realised that would be futile.

    And by the way, you're such a user, comic book whore. Jokes - the boy needed to learn that exchanging graphic novels does not necessarily lead to exchanging anything else. You did him a favour.

  5. 17 year old Lauren looks exactly like my brother's girlfriend's sister, who is a hipster. I still want to see Scott Pilgrim, but haven't yet. I'll probably look it up on some questionably-legal internet movie viewing site. I love your poster, especially "An Epic of Epic Epicness."


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