Movie Review: The World’s End

The World’s End
Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Martin Freeman
Focus Features
Release Date: August 23, 2012 (U.S.)

“We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that’s what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time… We are gonna have a party.”

That little speech – abbreviated slightly from its original version – plays a large role in defining the theme of The World’s End, the eagerly-anticipated closing chapter in the “Blood and Ice Cream” (or “Three Flavours Cornetto”) trilogy that director Edgar Wright and his frequent star and co-writer Simon Pegg created a decade ago with the romantic zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead and continued in 2007 with the blazing police action drama spoof Hot Fuzz. The speech was first heard in the 1966 biker movie classic The Wild Angels and was given by Peter Fonda’s character Heavenly Blues. I recognized those lines the moment they were played on the soundtrack.

The World’s End is, I believe, about the futility of trying to recapture your lost youth when you never lost it to begin with. But it is also about how when most of us enter adulthood we take it upon ourselves to abandon our youthful identities completely and replace them with domesticity and responsibility. The five main characters of The World’s End never learned to reconcile the buttoned-down, easy-going side of their personalities with the spirited sense of fun and friendship that defined them as people growing up. The lead character decided to remain a child forever but instead grew into a sad and bedraggled wretch of a human being while his four best friends became hollow shells of what they once were.

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Book Review: ‘Nerd Do Well’ By Simon Pegg

Nerd Do Well
A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle
By Simon Pegg
Gotham Books
Release date: June 09, 2011

Despite what you’ve been lead to believe, Nerd Do Well is not an autobiography. Except that it is, but it isn’t… It’s a crafty book disguise designed by Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek) as memoirs, within which he has been able to insert the true book: The Adventure of Suave Superhero Simon Pegg and his Amazing Robot Butler.

Yes, you read that accurately.

Stuffed very cleverly in between different chapters reviewing Pegg’s life is this crafty, and hysterical, tale of him as a secret agent superhero, with an automaton sidekick that he would have you believe bears absolutely no resemblance to any robot sidekick ever used. Get that vision of C-3PO out of your head right now, because Canterbury (the robot) is, at Pegg’s insistence, nothing like the Star Wars droid. (Pegg likewise insists that C-3PO is not gay, which I assure you that he is. My robot gaydar is of an excellent standard.)

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Ramona Flowers and 5 Other Manic Pixie Dream Girls Who Aren’t

When I first picked up Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s Scott Pilgrim series, I fell for it, hard. Here, finally, was a quirky, beautiful love interest who wasn’t just another Manic Pixie Dream Girl — a three-dimensional girl with motivations and an inner life of her own. (It doesn’t sound like that should be too much to ask, but the sad case is that it often is.) I found O’Malley’s take on the archetype to be just about perfect.

Then Edgar Wright‘s film adaptation came out, and it was hilarious, and inventive, and energetic, and sweet, and… and yet another story about a Hapless Hero and a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Although the film remained mostly faithful to the main plot of the source material, it had to cut copious amounts of backstory to fit into the running time. Perhaps no one suffered more than Ramona Flowers, who went from a fascinating, complex woman to a pretty trophy to be won.

What was most disappointing about it is that the downgrade felt unnecessary. Manic Pixie Dream Girls abound, but there’s always an opportunity for them to be more than that. Below, in honor of O’Malley’s original Ramona Flowers, are five other Manic Pixie Dream Girls who aren’t.

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The Greatest TV Shows Ever: ‘Spaced’

This new feature series, awesome reader, is a celebration of the greatest achievements our beloved small screen has to offer. This is not a list nor a countdown to the greatest TV show of all time. There will be no chronological elitism. The choices will not be based on viewing figures or awards or the amount of episodes produced. There will be no out-of-work comedians you have never heard of telling you what they remember of the show via talking heads.

Every show chosen will, in probably many ways, be completely brilliant — some obvious, some surprising, but all rather good in their own way. So join me as we delve into the curious little box — or enormous, wafer-thin, wall-mounted time-sucker; whatever your situation may be — and peek at the joys it beams into our hungry eyes and discover the The Greatest TV Shows Ever, starting with a little series called Spaced

Spaced is the geekiest show that has ever been on television. There are other shows about geeks or that have flashes of geekery (it’s a word? Well, it is now), maybe even a whole episode devoted to our beloved movies or comic books. But Spaced is the best example of a TV comedy series made for geeks by geeks. It feels like one big in-joke, one that you have with your geeky friends. Everything from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest to The A-Team, via Grease and Fight Club get the Spaced treatment.

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