10 years ago today, Edgar Wright’s film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was released in the US. The final volume of the comics, written by Canadian author and artist Bryan Lee O’Malley, had only just been released before the film came out. Although, when Wright was originally approached to make the film in 2004, which was just after the first book had been published. It took 6 years for the film to come together and, though didn’t do so well at the cinema, it has become a much-loved cult classic. As somebody who loves the source material and the film, I wanted to dedicate today’s TBT post to the film’s 10th anniversary. What I hadn’t remembered was that I’d already written a review of this film. So, now I don’t really know what to do. I haven’t got time to watch something else and I haven’t watched anything old recently. Or at least nothing memorable enough to review. Well, what’s the worst that can happen?
I rented this film from Amazon Prime when it was on offer but it never felt like the right time. This seemed like the kind of film that needed my full attention and I’ve just not been in the right frame of mind lately. I’ve been so exhausted, which has meant I could only face watching lighter/sillier films. I really wanted to watch this film though. Thankfully, my time was running out. After getting ahead of my things to do this weekend, I sat down to watch it and was able to give it my full attention. After a couple of fairly mediocre films, it was going to be good to get back to something decent. I was craving a film that had a real story to tell. One that would fully explore its characters and their lives.
The good news is that my first week back at work was better than I was expecting. It’s been busy but manageable. The bad news? I haven’t exactly done well with reading this week. I’ve been horribly by other things this week. I’ve not been turning off my computer until about midnight every night and that’s really not a good time to pick up a book. I got some done last night and I’ll try and get some serious reading on today. However, I have a bit of stuff to sort out. Namely applying to a few jobs. Before Covid-19, my boss basically told me that they might not be able to afford to keep me on, so I’m a little worried that, when all of the furloughed staff come back, they might suddenly decide that they can’t keep me on. It’s always good to get ahead with new jobs and, thankfully, people still need marketing people in a pandemic. Now I have real-life experience, it might even be easier than last time.
As I suggested in my review of How to Build a Girl, there was an obvious choice for a companion TBT film. Almost Famous is a clear bedfellow for Caitlin Moran’s coming-of-age tale. The only problem is, I never want to watch Almost Famous again. I know that I’m in a tiny minority of people but I really don’t get what the fuss was about. It just seemed a bit too overindulgent and facile. It was pure Hollywood and didn’t really speak much to me or my experiences. I don’t understand why people adore it so much. So I needed to find an alternative. I went for another Kate Hudson film. Not one I was any more excited to watch but one that I could at least sit through. Handily, she plays a journalist who tries to get ahead by being unnecessarily mean. Oh, and it has “how to” in the title. Not a bad companion film after all.
I have a copy of Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Girl somewhere on my bookshelves. Obviously, I haven’t read it yet but I haven’t read a lot of the books on my bookshelves. A friend gave me a copy of How To Be A Woman for Christmas one year but I haven’t read that either. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s just that there are so many other books in the world. Being a reader is like having the worst case of FOMO imaginable. There are so many books that have already been published and plenty still to be published. Of course, you’re always going to be wondering if the book you’re currently reading is the best one that you can get. It’s understandable that certain books and authors are going to miss out and, unfortunately, Caitlin Moran was one of them. I had thought about waiting until I’d read the book but if I did that I’d never have watched the film. It probably goes against the bookish code but it had to be done.
Today is the last day of my holiday, which means I’m back at work on Monday. Thanks to our local lockdown, I won’t be going back to the office as originally planned. Part of me is really happy but I was kind of looking forward to being able to get out a bit more. I would always go out for a walk at lunchtime but, since March, I’ve not really been able to leave the house. At least it means I can keep pretending that I’m finally going to make my way through my huge TBR.
Jumanji: The Next Level film might be the third film to include Jumanji in the title but it is actually the fourth film in the whole franchise. It’s easy to forget that Zathura: A Space Adventure is part of the same universe. Mostly because both the writer of the original books, Chris Van Allsburg, and director, Jon Favreau, wanted to distance it from the Robin Williams film. Favreau, in particular, didn’t like the film at all and wanted to make sure that people knew it. Yet, the studio was keen to show that both films were connected and Zathura is officially the second film in the Jumanji franchise. I’d never actually seen it, though, as I was 17 when it came out. It definitely wasn’t the kind of film the 17-year-old me would have been comfortable admitting to wanting to watch. So, I decided it was finally time. After all, it got a much better critical reaction than the first Jumanji film even if it didn’t do incredibly well at the box office. The opposite of Robin Williams’ film. Was the space adventure actually better or was this another time when the critics were way off in their assessment?
Nobody really expected Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to be any good. At least, nobody who remembered the original 1995 film fondly. Of course, it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable experience. Certainly more enjoyable than the first pictures suggested. Thanks to Karen Gillan’s unnecessarily revealing costume, it seemed as though it was suffering from the same sexist approach as other Hollywood films. It turned out there wasn’t quite so much to worry about and the film made just under $1 billion worldwide. With figures like that, it was inevitable that a sequel would be on its way and, two years later, Jumanji: The Next Level was released. I had mixed feelings about the film. Part of me was really excited to see if they could match or, perhaps, better the 2017 film. The other part was worried that it would go the way of most Hollywood sequels. Wanting something fun and carefree to watch on my holiday, I decided it was finally time to find out.
Yesterday was the first day of my holiday and I did absolutely nothing. I should probably have sat down to finish the book I’m reading but I was just so damn tired. I know I’ve been shut up inside since mid-March but it’s been exhausting. So, I just need to get some rest this week. After all, I’m pretty sure I have to go back to the office in August. I’m not entirely happy about it but I don’t think work will let me continue working home. Now that Boris Johnson has called time on shielding for high-risk people, I just can’t see them listening to my concerns. But, no matter what the PM says, the virus is still out there and I’m still at a huge risk if I get it. The virus can stay in the air for 3 hours and I work in a small office with only the windows as ventilation. This means if any of my colleagues are asymptomatic then I don’t stand a chance. Work can say they’ve taken precautions but they can’t guarantee that we won’t catch it. I’m sure that none of us wants to get it but having a suppressed immune system does make me extra wary. And it’s not as is I haven’t been doing my job at home for the past few months. But nevermind that now. Let’s talk about books.
Do you know what we don’t talk about enough? Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for an Oscar for using blackface. Now I don’t necessarily want to criticise Robert Downey Jr or the film itself. I also don’t necessarily want to give it a pass either. I just think the fact that the academy thought it was Oscar-worthy is a bit weird, right? I mean, how often do they nominate a comic performance for anything? Then they pick the one where a white dude is acting like a Black dude? I find it weird. In terms of the film, I get what RDJ and Ben Stiller were getting at. It’s the lengths that actors go to fully immerse themselves into a role. Officially, RDJ is in blackface but it’s more complicated than that. The character isn’t a Black man but a white actor playing a Black character. I guess you can argue that it raises questions and adds to the conversation. At least more than something like Little Britain did. But, at the same time, you have to ask if nominating the actor for an Oscar legitimises the practice more. Instead of just being a humorous footnote in history. Read more