A while ago, I was at a bar in Fredonia having a conversation with a new acquaintance and he mentioned that he read my column. I asked if he had any criticism for me. He replied that he felt I tried to be too upbeat and that I wasn't being "real" enough. His suggestion was that I should be writing about the plight we Chautauqua County dwellers suffer, like the fact that the Bills haven't been to the Super Bowl since the early '90s. Don't we already know that and furthermore, who cares? We still watch the games. Try as we might, with each disappointing year, the optimism just can't be quashed.
I've written before about struggling to find a central thesis of my column, as I typically write the first paragraph last. The best I can come up with is "things that don't suck." I'm keeping it upbeat, as per usual and why not, I say? You can find the bad news on a different page.
Last week, my movie reviews had a theme: movies that sucked. This week's theme: movies that didn't suck.
In theaters: "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"
Adaptations always pose a challenge. Whether it's a play, a novel or a comic book, when bringing the work to film, it's lost in translation more often than not (like the epic failure that was "Eat, Pray, Love"). With "Scott Pilgrim," a more literal approach was taken with the translation from comic book to the silver screen, and it works. Like "Sin City," it's just a comic come to life, with some dazzling graphics and pretty killer action scenes. I haven't read the comics but did a little Internet research to see what they were all about, and it looks like they took just enough to put together a cohesive, entertaining story, without too many unnecessary details but still capturing the spirit of the original.
Unknowns and big names alike star in "Scott Pilgrim," and each actor excels in their role. This isn't much of a departure from Michael Cera's usual role as awkward-geek-with-no-game, but I'll let it slide just one more time because honestly, it's what he's best at. His comic timing is superb and his sly one-liners were always funny. He might want to start diversifying very soon, though.
What I liked most about "Scott Pilgrim" was its sarcastic take on young relationships melodramatic, over-the-top, "complicated" and all-consuming. Whether it's Scott's high school girlfriend's stalkerific antics or his quest to defeat the Seven Evil Exes of a girl he just met and yet, is hopelessly in love with, it's unreal and at the same time, not far from reality at all.
"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" is now playing at the Dunkirk Movieplex.
Rent: If you're perusing the shelves of your local video rental store (or adding movies to your Netflix queue), forget about all of the other less-good trash and watch "Fantastic Mr. Fox." George Clooney, Meryl Streep, a story from Roald Dahl, adorable foxes! Delightful! Fun for the whole family, even if children repulse you.
See: "Avatar" is being re-released with extra footage on Friday. If you missed your opportunity to see it in 3D before, now's your chance!
GET OUT OF TOWN
These shows will probably sell out so I'm letting you know early.
Two of Chicago's most important indie rock bands of the last 20 years will be in Buffalo next Thursday, Sept. 2. Shellac and Tortoise have been shaping the face of underground music since the early 1990s and continue to do so today. Shellac will be at the Ninth Ward at Babeville and Tortoise will be at Soundlab.
Shellac is the power trio of guitarist Steve Albini, bass player Bob Weston and drummer Todd Trainer. The band started in 1992 and are self described as a minimalist rock trio, taking cues from post-punk acts such as Wire, Mission Of Burma and Gang Of Four. Albini and Weston are also notable recording engineers with a long list of albums to their credit. Some of their many clients have included Archers Of Loaf, Slint, Polvo, The Jesus Lizard, The Wedding Present, Low, Mission Of Burma and Silkworm. Helen Money starts the show off. Tickets for Shellac are available at Tickets.com. The doors open at 7 p.m. The Ninth Ward at Babeville is located at 341 Delaware Ave.
Tortoise have been active since 1990 and are one of the key players in creating the post-rock genre. What came to be known as post-rock was built on the idea of using rock instruments to produce music that wasn't associated with typical rock music. This often references jazz, dub and Krautrock for mostly instrumental songs. Tortoise have released six albums over the previous two decades, including last year's Beacons of Ancestorship. Fourem warm the crowd up. Tickets for Tortoise are available at: mnmpresents.inticketing.com/events/116577. The doors open at 9 p.m. Soundlab is located at 110 Pearl St.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Give her the dish on what's happening at firstname.lastname@example.org.