Scott Pilgrim and Generation Y Nostalgia.
So, maybe I’m late to talking about the film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, but I want to talk about it now dammit! And how it relates to some recent thoughts I’ve had about nostalgia.
I’m not really going to get into the backstory of the film much, you should just go see it, because it’s awesome.
Unfortunately, it didn’t do too well at the box office. I still rage over the fact that it only made half as much as the trite and terrible parody film Vampires Suck did when they both came out around the same time. This just further proves to me that I hate the majority of people who go see movies these days, and the fact that movies like this exist in the first place. I mean, I love a good parody film, even some of the more stupid ones like Scary Movie and Superhero movie. Yet, for some reason, the particular band of individuals (who, for the record, also made Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Date Movie) are just REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad and unfunny at what they do.
Ahem, okay, sorry for the tangent. Back on track!
Point is, it wasn’t a financial success, but a lot of people (myself included) still really enjoyed the film and called it the best of the year. However, I couldn’t help but notice a trend in the individuals that reviewed the film badly.
They were mostly if not all over 30, and seemed to scoff at it as some sort of fanboy wetdream film. One woman had the gall to call it “Twilight for boys”, and as being aimed at those one would consider a “man-child”. This was not only offensive because it simply wasn’t true, but the film is equally enjoyed and loved by girls and women, and features some pretty prominent and kickass female characters that are all at once awesome and identifiable.
And though I do not think you have to be under 30 to enjoy the film, I do think it’s a large part of why some critics didn’t like it. I know it’s cliche to say they didn’t “get it”, but that’s kind of how it seems?
To me, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a generation-defining film. It’s speaks for a certain time, a certain age group, and how they were thinking/feeling and what they were doing at that point in their life. Again, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does apply to a large majority. The humor is quick, sarcastic, and often quirky with a nerdy edge. It’s filled with references, it’s loud, it’s colorful, it jumps between feelings of passion and apathy, and it’s cemented by the music (as all good indicators of generations are).
It may not deal with heavy issues as with the case of films like Rebel Without a Cause, but it serves its purpose and does a great job at it.
That leads me to the second portion of my thoughts, with include the concept of nostalgia. First, I have to say what I believe generation Y to be. There is still no clear indicator of who exactly makes up generation Y, with sources claiming the birthdates to qualify as early as the late 1970s to as late as the early 2000’s. To me, this is inaccurate and FAR too broad. I have two older sisters born in the late 70’s and I do not consider us at all apart of the same generation. Likewise, I have a little sister born in 2003 and she is light years away from having the same upbringing as me. I speak for those who fall into my age-bracket, which would be those born in the mid to late 80s to the early 90’s. So, mostly those who grew up in the 90s as children (and part of the late 80s for some).
I believe we are a unique generation for one thing….the internet. We, quite literally, grew up with it. As the internet took over, expanded and matured…so did we, right along with it. The generation before us came into the internet later in life, and had a childhood without it for the most part. The generation after us will never know the world without the internet, and will have their first computers before they turn 2 years old.
But for us, we seem to have a foot in both doors. We lived in the days of VHS, basic cable, vinyl and cassette. Yet, we were young enough to immerse ourselves into the internet with relative ease and adapt to new technology quickly. From the time that the internet was readily available to the masses, it seemed the world took off at lightning speed since then. I don’t think any previous generations saw the changes happen as quickly as they do now, and I think this is the cause for our generations nostalgic yearnings.
Most individuals don’t seem to get that want for nostalgia until they’re at the very least, in their 30s. But those in their early 20’s are already longing for their childhoods even though they were just teenagers not too long ago. But if one thinks about the pace at which things changed for us, it’s no wonder we can become nostalgic so soon.
And nostalgic we are. Nickelodeon recently launched a line of programming featuring some of their most popular 90s shows played in re-runs late at night on TeenNick called “The 90s are All That”. Cartoons, movies, and toys from our youth are always making constant comebacks into the mainstream and loved by the same people who loved it before, more so than the young children it’s originally geared toward.
I feel this same sense of nostalgia is intertwined with Scott Pilgrim with its use of old school 32-bit video game references, AOL sound effects, bright aesthetics, and garage band music. And if you really want to get in-depth about it, I think it’s seen in Scott’s relationship with his girlfriend at the beginning of the film (and comics) Knives Chau. Scott is 22/23 at the time of the story, and Knives is only 17. Though only a 5 year age difference, his friends seem to react as if the years separating them were 10+. Maybe I’m reaching, but their attitude seems as if it could stem from the fact that, these days? So many things could happen in 5 years to shape and change the way people live, and make generation gaps seem that much wider. I’ve dealt with this personally as someone in her early 20s who has family members that are teenagers.
So this is my round-about way of saying that Scott Pilgrim is an amazing film. Not only because I think it was wonderfully shot (those creative and seamless scene transitions? The scenes from the comic used as backstory visual? Sound effect text? Come on!) hilarious, and just fun as hell to watch…but because I think it will become a film that is important to our generation in years to come. Someday, we’ll look back on it fondly, and our kids will be totally jealous they weren’t around to be apart of it.