The Best Part of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

There were two things I picked up after work today: Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers: Alternative Takes on Congotronics, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I’m not going to write about the first one — not yet, anyway — because of something in Scott Pilgrim that thoroughly enchanted me when I saw the movie at the Alamo Drafthouse in August. It’s a cute movie, but this particular part was sublime(ly nerdy), and it’s as good a reason as any for a music fan to watch it.

For the uninitiated, the film is based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-volume comics series, and it tells the story of a young slacker from Toronto named Scott Pilgrim who finds love and grows up a little. There’s a broad cast of minor characters (who, to be frank, are way more delightful than Scott), and O’Malley references video games, local Toronto landmarks, and — most importantly for my purposes — musicians.


But that’s not even the best part. (The above scene didn’t even make it in the film, and it’s kind of embarrassing how disappointed I was by that.) The best part of the film, and a big reason why music fans should watch it, is because of things like this.

This is Scott Pilgrim’s band, Sex Bob-omb. You will note the names of the two on the right: Stephen Stills and Young Neil. The comic takes place in Toronto; of course O’Malley is going to give a nod to maybe Toronto’s most storied musical native.

The real delightful thing is what the film does with the casting, which is perfectly in line with the referential nature of the source comics. There’s only so much you can do in rendering a character on the page; this is why casting directors have jobs. And here is why I’d like to buy the casting directors of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World a drink:

Is it perfect? No. But it was good enough that there were frissons of glee every time Young Neil was on the screen. (The guy playing Stephen Stills isn’t too shabby, either.)

Regardless of whether you’re into video games (meh), slackers learning to get over themselves (double meh), cartoonish violence (way better), ladies with pointy and blunt objects (now we’re talking), popular music (why I’m here), and/or enough pop culture references to choke a horse, you’ll probably find something to like in this movie. Music fans, though, might have more fun than most playing spot-the-reference. There are plenty of references I can’t fully appreciate to groups that I don’t know well, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have way too much fun trying to track everything down.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch the movie again, and then I’m going to go back to trying to play Scott’s godawful burrito lament: