Maestro: Edger Wright
Known For: Extremely funny revisionist takes on pop genres.
Influences: Possibly everything.
Masterpieces: Hot Fuzz
Disasters: nothing, of course not.
Better than you remember: Not unless you didn't like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
Box Office: 23 mil for Hot Fuzz
Favorite Actor: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of course.
"The characters are so, kind of, like...their lives are so governed by pop culture and media and stuff that they can only think in those terms," says Edgar Wright of his films. And I'm glad he does. It saves me a lot of work this week. All directors should be required to make such concise statements about their work. It's true, in Edgar Wright's movies reality is bound by pop culture. But Wright is on to something, because in actual life, reality is also bound by pop culture reality. It doesn't matter whether you have a preference for the popular, cult, nerdy or esoteric, it's difficult to make it through the day without seeing a parallel to some song, book or (usually for people like us) movie. It's a symptom of our constant 24/7 media, internet, streaming video saturated lives (though it probably began with VHS). It's not necessarily a bad thing though it's accepted as a given, not much to talk about. Except Edgar Wright; he wants to talk about it.
You eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube -Howard Beale via Peter Finch via Paddy ChayefskyDiscussions of culture's grip on our realities are traditionally gloom and doom and eternal damnation. Not to Wright who clearly relishes how much his world reflects his favorite movies. In fact in his films it's almost impossible to tell which is reflecting which any more. In Shaun of the Dead Wright presents a reality where people start off zombified in life. In Hot Fuzz, Nick Frost's Danny after being admonished for thinking police life is really like Hollywood blockbusters, turns out to be right. What seems to be most important is that Edgar Wright is having fun. He's happy to be living a culture-fueled life and this joy is apparent in his films. The man gives hope that the satire (a term that almost seems too derisive to really apply to his work) is not dead, in a reality when that genre seems relegated to extended Saturday Night Live sketches or pop culture mockery.
Hotly anticipated this week is Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, in which the director steps out of his comfort zone (in that he's not doing a movie satire with Penn and Frost) and back into his comfort zone (in that he's still exploring the same themes but with video games as a stand in). Turns out it's really impossible to escape this idea that our lives are defined by the culture we consume. Have you ever thought about what locations would be the dungeons and what people the big bads in the video game of your life (or who'd be the regulars and guest stars if your life was a sitcom? or what actors would be cast if your life was a film?). It's how we view reality any more, and it's funny. And perhaps it really is the downfall of society. But that's okay, because we'll be watching it all through Edgar Wright's awesome tinted glasses.