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The Michael Cera Of It All

Posted on Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

Dave!As I've written many times, I'm really into film analysis. I'm often linking to videos of my favorite content creators (like Thomas Flight) adding depth and understanding to the movies I like.

Sometimes I run across a deep-dive into a film where moments are mirroring my reaction. Most people would write this off as a coincidence. I prefer to see it as validation.

Like this amazing look at the translation of Scott Pilgrim from comic book to screen. It's long, but it's really good. Especially if you're a fan of the comics...

In my review of the film from 2010 I said this...

Where the movie fails... and fails massively... is the casting of Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. It was an awful, awful choice that dogged the movie from start to finish. Michael Cera was NOT Scott Pilgrim. He was Michael Cera. He's Michael Cera in everything he's ever in. Don't get me wrong... I liked his nervous geeky schtick the first time I saw it in Arrested Development. I even liked his nervous geeky schtick in Superbad... and Juno... and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist... but I'm done with it now. I wanted to see Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim, and it never happened. You can surround Michael Cera with all the incredibly cool special effects and kick-ass fight scenes you want, and it doesn't change the fact that it's Michael Cera up on the screen... he never lets you forget it.

I was really looking forward to the movie and was primed to love it. But due to one major casting fault, it completely failed for me. And in the above video, James Woodall devotes his entire chapter five to this very subject.

Watching the video made me want to watch the movie again. Something I haven't done in probably a decade.

I was hoping that time will have softened my opinion on the whole Michael Cera thing.

But NOPE! If anything, now I'm doubling down when I say that this potential masterpiece of a movie was utterly and totally sabotaged by the casting of Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. Every other actor in the cast? Brilliant. And for many of them this was a stepping stone to even more brilliant things*. But... well... this movie has a major problem which it can never overcome. Except for the fantastic Universal Studios opening which has zero-percent Michael Cera...

Oh well.

I still have the Scott Pilgrim comics. Those aren't going away.

*Seriously... just look at who's in this movie...

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead (pre Ahsoka)
  • Aubrey Plaza (during Parks & Rec and pre EVERYTHING since she basically took over the world after this)
  • Kieran Culkin (pre Succession, where he was the only actor I thought killed it in that show... and he's brilliant in Scott Pilgrim)
  • Brie Larson (pre Captain Marvel)
  • Chris Evans (pre Captain America)
  • Jason Schwartzman (well, okay, he was already a muse for Wes Anderson... but he did go on to do even cooler stuff)
  • Ellen Wong (pre Glow)
  • Alison Pill (pre Picard)
  • Brandon Routh (pre Legends of Tomorrow)
  • Anna Kendrick (pre Pitch Perfect)
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Categories: Movies 2023Click To It: Permalink


  1. Andrew says:

    I don’t quite get this take. I don’t love Michael Cera. I saw him in the other things he has done and thought “Ok Fine”. I liked him here and I liked the movie. My only complaint is that on screen he had way more chemistry with Knives that he did Mary. Its a minor quibble. I watch it every chance I get. I knew nothing and still know nothing of the source material so if you are familiar with it maybe that affects you but I liked him here the most of anything he has done.

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