I know I’m kind of getting ahead of myself by talking about movie that don’t come out for another week and a half, but since I’m down to one comic a week now, I kind of have to make it count.
August 13 is looking pretty good in theaters. Between The Expendables, Eat Pray Love and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, there really is something for everyone.
Truthfully, it wasn’t until I noticed the contrast between the hyper-masculine Expendables and the hyper-feminine Eat Pray Love that I stopped to consider where Scott Pilgrim might fit on that scale.
Maybe it’s a little mean to suggest Scott Pilgrim fans don’t have balls, but it’s all in good fun. I’ll have more to say about Scott Pilgrim when it actually comes out next week. Anyone who might be upset by today’s comic will get their revenge at that time.
Incidentally, there is one movie I’d like to see this weekend and it’s The Other Guys. Chalk it up to my pathological weakness for all things Will Ferrell. Mark Wahlberg, however, is comedy kryptonite. A more humorless and self-important actor you are less likely to find. So I don’t know exactly how he’s going to keep up with Ferrell on this one.
I understand there’s a lot of comedy to be mined from characters who are diametrically opposed. But I kind of think Ferrell is better when he has other comedic actors to bounce off of. Another strike against the film is the WAY past its welcome conceit of two woefully mismatched cops.
But frequent Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay wrote and directed the script, so maybe there will be some curve balls in there. The Anchorman pedigree lives large in my mind, so I’m probably predisposed to ignore the film’s faults when it hits theaters this weekend.
What about the rest of you? Is anyone else anticipating The Other Guys this weekend or does the “mismatched cops” trope have you concerned? Did I go to far with my assessment of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World? Leave your comments below!
Sincere apologies for the comic being late this week. As I explained on the Theater Hopper Facebook page, last week was… not the best. I pretty much spent the entirty of last week preparing for a presentation in my Leadership and Human Capital Development course as part of my Masters in Communication Leadership. I was in class all of Friday night and most of Saturday.
Then, on Sunday, we were out of the house nearly all day showing it to prospective buyers. One couple was traveling from Dallas, Texas to look at our house and was supposed to be there at 5:00 PM. We got a call at 5:30 saying that they were still on the runway in Dallas.
But they loved the photos of our house online and really, really wanted to see our home that evening before they interviewed for some hospital positions the next day. We had been hanging out at my in-laws and said we would wait. So we waited. And waited. By the time 7:30 rolled around we said, “You know what? We have two small children. It’s way past their bedtime and we have work tomorrow. You’ll have to come look another time.”
By the time we got home and got both kids to bed it was past 9:00 PM and I was wiped out. There was no way I was going to get a comic done that evening. So I ended up working on Monday’s comic last night instead. I appreciate your patience and understanding.
So let’s talk about this comic, huh?
I’ve been giving Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World static since June when the first trailer came out. A bunch of my contemporaries were wetting their pants and I couldn’t understand what all the hub-bub was about. My opinion at the time (and to this day) is that the trailers don’t do a good job of communicating why the uninitiated should even care.
Then I read the books.
It was a long time coming. People have been telling me for (what seemed like years) that I should be reading the Scott Pilgrim books. But I’m generally very bad about taking advice from others when it comes to movies, TV, music or books.
That’s not to say I’m not receptive to suggestion. I just don’t assign a lot of priority to it.
For example, I had friends telling me for years that I should watch Arrested Development, that it’s humor was right up my alley. But I could never get into it when it was on TV. I felt like I couldn’t understand the long-form narrative and all of the inside jokes. It wasn’t until I bought all three seasons on DVD that I came to the light.
People told me for years to listen to Death Cab For Cutie, that I would really enjoy the songs and melodies and that it was right up my alley. It wasn’t until after I heard “Transatlantacism” in the series finale of Six Feet Under that I dove into the band’s catalog and really started to enjoy their music. Now I own all of their albums.
Anyway, the same was true with Scott Pilgrim. People told me for years to buy the books, that I would enjoy the video game references and irreverent, innocent and kinetic art style of Brian Lee O’Malley. I put it off and put it off until I noticed that Amazon was selling the first 5 books for $9.00 a piece and I decided to jump in with both feet.
While I found the first book to be a little laborious, I eventually fell in love with the Scott Pilgrim universe as I eagerly anticipated the release of the 6th book in advance of the movie. The wait was almost unbearable. I had to know how the story ended! I was completely hooked.
Rewatching the trailer, I now understand what everyone was so excited about. I think director Edgar Wright has done an expert job of capturing all of the little comic book flourishes that make the books feel so alive without delivering the film into caricature. I’m hoping that the fight sequences are significant enough to move Michael Cera out of his “adorable dork” phase and into something more substantial. If nothing else, the soundtrack should be pretty good, right?
One thing that bugs me about the movie, though, is that Ramona Flowers doesn’t really look like someone who is worth fighting seven evil exes over. In fact, she looks kind of dirty. Maybe it’s because I’m not really attracted to girls with day-glo hairstyles, but do you have any idea what Mary Elizabeth Winstead – the actress who plays Flowers – looks like?
She looks like this:
Look at that picture and then look at this picture of Winstead as Ramona Flowers:
SHE LOOKS LIKE A DAMN MUPPET!
Seriously, folks. That stupid wig is like putting a Rollie Fingers mustache on the Mona Lisa. You took an attractive girl and screwed her up. YOU MANIACS! YOU SCREWED IT UP! DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!
…but I’m sure I’ll get over it.
Anyway, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World hits theaters this Friday. Be sure to check back later this week for some exciting news related to the movie. I don’t want to jinx it, but there may be a contest in the near future that you might want to participate in.
Since I’m only updating once a week now, it would benefit you to follow me on Twitter or Facebook. That’s probably where I’ll announce the big news just before driving everyone back here for the details. So stay tuned!
What about you guys? Excited at all for Scott Pilgrim. I’ve talked to the die-hards, I’ve talked to a few converts and I’ve talked to some hold-outs. If you’re still on the outs with Scott Pilgrim and his crew, what gives? No interest in reading the books? Think the movie looks too much like a cartoon? Leave your comments below!
This isn’t the first time I’ve aped another artist’s style in service of a joke/homage/parody/pleasedon’tdsueme. Although I think it’s kind of interesting that the artist’s I’m mirroring do their work primarily in black and white.
Don’t let anyone fool you. Doing art in straight up black and white is hard. You can’t fudge and cover things up with colors or shading. Everything has to be up front. That’s why I give my friends like Zach Miller and Mitch Clem major props. The detail they throw in their work is amazing. I don’t have that kind of patience.
Of course, it’s not like I threw in a bunch of detail on the black and white stuff for today’s comic. But I hope you enjoy it. I had a lot of fun making it. Big ups to Brian Lee O’Malley for letting me boost his style and driving it around the block a few times. It handles great.
In fact, if I can level with you for a minute, today’s comic was probably the most fun I had drawing in probably weeks. Maybe months. Ever since I made the decision to update Theater Hopper once a week, I’ve kind of been in mourning and producing the comic wasn’t as much fun as it used to be.
Don’t misunderstand me. It was absolutely the right decision to make. I’ve been under a lot of stress the past few months (years) and I kind of needed the break. But at the same time, Sunday night rolls around and I’m like “Oh, yeah. Comic.” Sometimes it’s hard to get the creative wheels turning when you don’t have the momentum of a thrice-weekly schedule propelling you.
Regardless, I had a blast coming up with the comic and illustrating today’s comic. Time seemed to fly by as I was putting it together and I was having a lot of fun while doing it. I actually feel like it kind of sparked something for me and hopefully it will keep me going in the future.
Lapses in self-confidence are nothing new to creative types. There have been several times over the last 8 years that I wasn’t “feelin’ it” in terms of producing the comic. Sometimes you wonder if you’re kidding yourself and if it isn’t best to hang it up entirely.
But then, every once in a while, you get that feeling that reminds you “Yeah. This is why I have to do this.” And it all feels new again.
I think that’s the trick to any long-term creative endeavor. Perseverance. If you don’t have the determination to see things through, you’re never going to know where that next high is coming from. I think that’s why, despite dropping the update schedule to once a week, it’s going to be hard for me to ever give up Theater Hopper completely. If I do, I’m always going to wonder “But what would have happened if I stuck it out just a little while longer?”
Artistic philosophy aside, let’s talk about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for a minute, shall we?
It didn’t do so hot at the box office. 5th place behind The Other Guys and Inception with $10.5 million in box office receipts. It actually did WORSE than the $11.3 million opening weekend of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
Let’s put it this way: Between the paltry opening of Scott Pilgrim and the $6.8 million opening weekend of Youth in Revolt, I’d be worried about finding work in the future if I were Michael Cera.
I’m not exactly pleased that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World showed so poorly this weekend. But I think it’s failure to connect with audiences reflects two things:
- I was right about the trailers doing a poor job of giving the people not already familiar with the books a reason to check out the movie (which is ironic because, if you haven’t read the books, today’s comic isn’t going to make sense to you, either).
- Similar to the failure that resulted in the $13.8 million opening of Snakes on a Plane, The Internet has very little clout when it comes to making underdog movies that they are excited about actually profitable.
I went to a bachelor party on Saturday and fought the crowds at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday. So I didn’t get a chance to see Scott Pilgrim this weekend. With that in mind, I don’t want to talk too much about the movie because sooner or later I’m going to sound like I’m talking straight outta my ass, Ace Ventura-style.
Poor box office or not, I still want to see the movie. I’m still excited about the movie and, ultimately, I’m willing to bet that the film is more than going to make up for any shortcomings in its theatrical run with a strong performance on Blu-ray and DVD.
I had a little more that I wanted to talk about with you guys, but I kind of got sidetracked with my musings about the artistic process and whatnot. Conversations about The Expendables, Eat Pray Love and more might have to wait until later.
I have some big news regarding my personal life that you might already be aware of if you’re following me on Twitter or Facebook. But I’ll spare you the details until it affects things here at Theater Hopper. I have an announcement related to a new Theater Hopper storefront coming soon that I think you guys might find interesting. So stay tuned.
In the meantime, let’s talk a little bit about Scott Pilgrim in the comments, shall we? I know a few of you saw it before opening weekend, but what did the rest of you think? Why did it show so poorly at the box office? Will the movie fail to connect with anyone who didn’t own an NES? Leave your opinions below and thanks for reading Theater Hopper!
I’m a little bit amazed that The Expendables managed to hold on to its number one slot at the box office the weekend. I figured people would get their little nostalgic kick and it would fade into the background. But it held strong with another $16.5 million in ticket sales.
Although, admittedly, the newest offerings at the theater were pretty weak sauce. Vampires Suck? Seriously? Who is this movie for? Twilight fans are gonna reject it on principle alone. People who probably hate Twilight are probably smart enough to recognize a crappy parody movie when they see one.
What’s been REALLY surprising is watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World tumble from 5th to 10th place. It lost over 50% of it’s business in one week. That stings. Whatever happened to the strong word of mouth on this thing that was going to give it a bounce in its second week? I gotta admit I’m feeling a little sorry for Bryan Lee O’Malley at this point.
Then again, he had a major motion picture adapted from his work and that will never, EVER happen for me. So I’m sure he’s doing just fine.
Quick bit of site news and life news that I want to share with you guys…
Since I redesigned the site earlier this year, one area of the site that’s been lacking has been the store. To say that it’s impacted sales is an understatement. However, I was content to overlook it because I was busy packaging and trying to find time to complete sketches for people who had pre-ordered Theater Hopper: Year Three. I wasn’t really in the position to take on new orders.
But in the next month, I’ll be going through a major life change that has forced my hand in regard to getting rid of some merchandise.
At the end of September, Cami and I are packing up Truman and the kids and moving to a new house.
It’s not a drastic move. We’re still staying in central Iowa. We’re pretty much trading one suburb for the other. Actually, we’re moving back to our hometown to be closer to both my parents and Cami’s parents, who still live there.
One of the big reasons Cami and I never moved away from Iowa is because knew when we had kids, we wanted them to have a strong relationship with their grandparents. Now that Henry is 3 and Pearl is almost a year, it didn’t make sense to live a half hour away anymore. So we decided to move closer!
ANYWAY… as you know, moving can be a chore and I’m sitting on a bunch of merchandise I’m not really interested in moving to the new house if I don’t have to – ESPECIALLY the books.
Right now all books are $11.00 and all shirts are $7.00. There are also a few clearance items that I have priced to move. There’s limited inventory on those clearance items. So if you want them, you’ll need to move fast!
This sale will be taking place from now until Sunday, September 19. But if you want to be sure you get your pick of the litter, be sure to order early! Also, the likelihood of you receiving your orders in a timely manner will GREATLY improve in the weeks before moving to a new house slowly drives me insane.
Don’t miss a great opportunity to to buy Theater Hopper merchandise! Even if you own everything we’ve ever produced, this is a great opportunity to buy something for a loved one on their birthday or even for the holidays!
Please help spread the word and thanks again for your support!
This is the kind of comic and play with language is something that I know is pretty much only going to entertain me, but if you enjoyed it, thanks for coming along for the ride.
I did a comic similar to this a few years ago for Saw. Tom and Cami debated whether or not the would see Saw while sitting on a seesaw. It had several levels. I couldn’t find it buried in the archives, though. You’ll just have to trust me when I say how awesome it is.
I don’t really have anything to say about Takers except it looks like the kind of stylish urban crime drama that Tupac Shakur would have starred in back in the day. I guess it did alright at the box office this weekend – $21 million. But, of course, late August into early September is a dead zone when it comes to new movies. Everyone is going back to school, so the studios just kind of shovel out whatever.
In completely unrelated news, I finally got around to seeing Scott Pilgrim vs. The World this weekend. I’m glad I had a chance to see it in the theater because I don’t think it’s going to be hanging around in multiplexes for much longer.
After a dismal 5th place opening in its first week to a drastic drop to 10th in its second week, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World lost more than 42% of it’s business this weekend, plummeting to 14th place.
Theaters have obviously lost confidence in it. My theater, for example, only had three showings on Saturday an 11:00, a 4:00 and the 10:00 that I went to. Please keep in mind that this theater also has 20 screens, so it’s not like it was really fighting for space among the end of summer duds.
The theater we were in seemed to have a lot of people in it, though. Or maybe it only looked that way because the theater was so small.
As for the movie itself. I liked it. In fact, I really liked it! I don’t know if the film justifies the nerd rage expressed online in regards to the film failing to find an audience. Truthfully, I find the incredulous tone of that sentiment off-putting. It’s not going to attract anyone who is on the fence to the film. Vanity Fair, however, made a very smart and impassioned argument for the movie that I thing proponents would be wise to adopt.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has a catchy and unforgettable energy that is makes it addicting to watch. Blissfully, however, it’s comic book sensibilities never bleed over the edge and ruin it.
I’ve seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World favorably compared to Speed Racer in this respect and I would say Pilgrim is a refinement of that approach. The film breaks the fourth wall constantly, but the script never winks at you. It doesn’t make you feel dumb for investing in it. Speed lines, pixelated graphics and ridiculous super-powered fights are par for the course in the Scott Pilgrim universe. It’s totally normal to all of the characters in the film, so it’s totally normal to us.
Writer/director Edgar Wright has compared Scott Pilgrim to a musical. But instead of glorious production numbers, scenes are punctuated with exaggerated fight sequences.
I think that’s the right way to approach the movie. You can certainly see the movie was paced with these interludes in mind. As Scott squares off against his opponents, the tension builds just enough before a comical, digital “VS.” flashes on the screen and you know the fight is on.
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about Scott Pilgrim without mentioning the music. Beck contributes a few song to Scott’s fictional band – Sex Bom-Omb – that gives them an authentic garage band imperfection that is fun to listen to. But it’s Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich’s score that anchors the film with emotional resonance.
As a matter of fact, I downloaded the Scott Pilgrim score last night (it’s only available as an MP3 download) and was listening to it on repeat as I worked on today’s comic. If you’re a fan of the movie at all, I suggest you pick it up. It’s a good listen.
The more I think about Scott Pilgrim, the more I want to see it again. Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s original graphic novels is just different enough to warrant further inspection. What’s pleasing about the film, however, is that these changes don’t negatively impact the final product. That’s a rare feat. Usually films that monkey with the time line and the details of the source material – especially one as well-loved as Scott Pilgrim – don’t go over well. But in this case, I love the books and the movie equally – just in different ways.
I don’t know if Scott Pilgrim will stay in theaters long enough for me to convince Cami to see it with me a second time. I’m very curious to see how someone who has ABSOLUTELY no investment in the material reacts to the movies. I think she would enjoy it, but we might have to wait until the movie comes out on DVD to find out.
Certainly this is a film that I would want to own. Scott Pilgrim’s world is just to visually unique and interesting not to want to revisit again and again.
With that lengthy review (unrelated to the comic with which it appears) out of the way, I wanted to remind you guys about the BIG SALE going on in the store now until September 19.
As you know, Cami and I are packing up the kids and moving to a new house at the end of September. As such, I’m trying to sell off as much merchandise as I can before the big day so I don’t have to pay the movers extra to haul out all my books and t-shirts. That means I’m passing unprecedented savings on to you!
I’ll tell you right now that people are really taking advantage of this sale. People are buying items in bulk – two or three shirts at a time. Or two books and one shirt at time. A myriad of combinations. The point is that they’re buying a lot of stuff at once and there might not be much stuff left over if you wait too long. The good news about my new Storenvy store is that it keeps track of inventory. So now you can watch the little inventory bar trickle down to zero.
Even if you already own a bunch of Theater Hopper merchandise (and by the way, thank you), this is a great opportunity to buy something you can give as a gift later. Wouldn’t it be great to have your holiday shopping done early? Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to scramble at the Nth hour to get a birthday present for a friend? Give the gift of Theater Hopper! You won’t be sorry!
That’s all of my schilling for now. But, hey, keep us in mind. This is a great opportunity. You help yourself by saving money and you help me by lightening my load for our move. It’s a win-win!
Just think about it. All I’m saying.
Back on track, did anyone see Takers this weekend? Have we left any stones unturned regarding Scott Pilgrim? If so, leave your comments below!
Or, y’know, we could always talk about Theater Hopper merch, too. I can give you guys some ideas to help promote the sale if that interests you?… 😉