By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 17, 2010 at 9:09AM
'Scott Pilgrim' Director Gives Us His Top 10 Underrated Films Of 2010 & Much More
Continuing our run of favorites from filmmakers and musicians, we're pleased as punch to present a truly awesome list of underrated films, standout scenes, favorite performances and more from "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" director Edgar Wright.
We're not sure how on Earth the man managed to find time to see as much as he did this year given that he spent most of it either finishing or promoting 'Scott Pilgrim.' But you can't keep a cinema fan away from the movies for too long as they'll still find a way to catch up even if it's on airplanes, in hotel rooms or tracking down the multiplex in whichever city they happen to be in (it's nearly like a sixth sense; a divining rod intuition that can find where there is a room, a screen and a projectionist). But needless to say, Edgar Wright pretty much saw it all and like any passionate film lover, has a lot to say about it to.
So, many thanks to Edgar for taking time out of his busy schedule to put his thoughts down and shoot them our way. In case you missed it, Louis Leterrier and Tegan & Sara have also contributed and we have some more on the way as well. But right now, sit back and enjoy Edgar Wright's thoughts on the year that was.
Your most memorable moment on set this year.
My most memorable moment on the set of 'Scott Pilgrim' was probably shooting the final day of an epic five month shoot. Not only did we end on a perfectly round-numbered 2000 slates, but also Michael Cera never took his costume off and eventually walked into the night after wrap drinks still wearing his character's parka. It was a very sweet image.
Your most proud moment of the year in 2010 on a film, during the promotion of a film, or otherwise.
I think showing the 'Scott Pilgrim' movie to the cast for the first time was something I’ll never forget. Many of them saw it for the first time at Comic Con and it couldn’t have been a better crowd reception. The fact that most of them watched it three nights in a row consecutively was very sweet too. Then also, the screenings we did for the BluRay promotion were all highly memorable in different ways; three midnight showings at the New Beverly with the whole cast answering questions long past 3am, the Guillermo Del Toro Q&A at the Egyptian was a total blast, as was doing two with Bill Pope in NYC back to back at NYU and Village East (with Bill Hader impersonating me for some of the latter) and then finally the Bloor Cinema screening in Toronto in November was just insane; the crowd chanting along with Kim Pine, applauding every K.O.
Any mass audience participation like that is very heartwarming. It was an epic year and I'm very pleased and proud to have had the opportunity to show the film so many times with my amazing cast. That was a long answer.
Your favorite action sequence of 2010 and why..
My knowledge of Eastern cinema was very dim this year, so I feel there’s something amazing I’ve missed and need to catch up on. But in Hollywood, there were some great set pieces this year; the revolving gravity defying corridor sequence in “Inception” stands out, as does the Monaco sequence in “Iron Man 2” and the Spring Break bloodbath in “Piranha 3D.” Also the hairy helicopter stuntwork in “Unstoppable” and the opening plane-bound fisticuffs in “Knight & Day” were nicely done.
I'd also have to give credit to the 'Tron: Legacy" setpiece with the lightcycle. You can tell that this beautifully rendered sequence was most likely the whole reason for doing a reboot. So whatever you think of the movie as a whole, you can't deny that this scene was superior eyecandy.
But a standout sequence for me would be the Big Daddy warehouse scene in “Kick-Ass,” which was skillfully designed by my ‘Scott Pilgrim’ stunt co-ordinator Brad Allan. He’s an action wizard and he did incredible work in that movie.
Your favorite sex scene in 2010 and why.
One 2010 film had the two best sex scenes of the year. And that film is “MacGruber.” One with Will Forte and Kristen Wiig. The second with a ghost. You had to be there. So be there.
Your five favorite performances in 2010.
In no particular order: John C. Reilly in "Cyrus"; Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"; Keira Knightley in "Never Let Me Go"; Shirley Henderson in "Life During Wartime" and Armie Hammer times two in "The Social Network."
Your five favorite moments on screen in 2010.
Of the top of my head, the final seconds of "Black Swan," the hypnotically long ascending aerial shot over Tokyo towards the end of "Enter The Void," the open house scene with Aaron Eckhart in "Rabbit Hole," Jeremy Renner’s final sip of a Coke in "The Town" and Will Forte’s begging scene in "MacGruber."
Your favorite musical moments onscreen in 2010.
The most memorable sound has to be Hans Zimmer’s "BRRRRRRRRRRRRRM" noise in the "Inception" score, which echoed like God’s own phone vibrating. Ending "The Social Network" on "Baby, You’re A Rich Man" was pretty sweet. Loved Clint Mansell’s super melodramatic "Black Swan" score. Loved Richard Hawley’s "Tonight The Streets Are Ours" at the start of "Exit Through The Gift Shop." The opening credits of "Enter The Void" were incredible. And who can forget the two uses of Toploader’s "Dancing In The Moonlight" in "Four Lions."
Your #1 goal for 2011 professionally.
The same as 2010 and any other year I’ve worked as a director, I hope I get to do what I love and I hope my passion for film is obvious to all.
Your five most anticipated films of 2011.
Fascinated to see "The Green Hornet," "Captain America," "Thor," "Cowboys & Aliens," "Super 8," "Source Code," "Haywire," "Hugo Cabret," "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," "The War Horse," "The Tree Of Life," "Your Highness" and many more. I’ve seen "Paul" already and it’s a whole bundle of fun.
I decided against doing a Top 10 of 2010, as it’s always bemusing that not everyone understands the concept of personal opinion. When I did a Top 5 for GQ, all I received in response were cries of ‘Where’s 'Inception??'" The truth was that it would have easily been in my Top 10, but you can’t please everyone with your rankings. So instead in no particular order are..
My Top 10 Underrated or Underseen Movies of 2010
1. "Four Lions" – If this was a bigger hit, I’d worry for the safety of its makers. It’s a ballsy satire that never wimps out. Chris Morris made my favourite TV comedy show of all time, "Brass Eye" and his debut feature is no less ballsy and hilarious.
2. "Enter The Void" – The most stunning visuals of the year for me. A rewarding, if grueling experience where the viewer essentially takes the POV of a drug tripping ghost. This is an out of body experience in every way possible .
3. "Splice" – This film was awarded a Cinemascore of F on the basis of two audience losing sex scenes that caused audible ‘What the fuck’ cries when I saw it in the cinema. I applauded them. This is a great twisted little piece of science fiction that deserved to be lauded for its smarts and guts.
4. "Tiny Furniture" – This film announced a great young voice in Lena Dunham and its beautifully detailed look at New York’s directionless youth was fresh and funny. Unlike its mumblecore predecessors, the camerawork was nicely composed and thought out. Hugely impressive for its budget.
5. "Never Let Me Go" – This film did not get nearly enough credit for having the courage of its convictions. It’s rare to see a piece of science fiction this spare and intelligent in 2010. Mark Romanek made a haunting piece of cinema that was both emotional and brilliantly chilly.
6. "The Last Exorcism" – The TV spots did something of a bag switch with this one. The actual film is not what was advertised, it was better. It’s original title of ‘Cotton’ better sets you up for the mock documentary tale about huckster evangelist Patrick Fabian whose faith is tested by the deeply troubled Ashley Bell.
7. "MacGruber" – In 2007, Akiva Schaffer brought us "Hot Rod." In 2010, Jorma Taccone directed "MacGruber." Now Andy Samberg has to make another cult comedy in 2013 to complete the Lonely Island trilogy of underrated movies destined to become stoner classics. "MacGruber" is so fucking stupid, yet I cannot deny I watched it every night on the 'Scott Pilgrim' press tour in every hotel I slept in. The team up montage, the begging scene, Will Forte excruciating response to the accidental massacre of his team and the two aforementioned unforgettable sex scenes are comedy highlight of the year.
8. "Life During Wartime" – Todd Solonz’s sequel to "Happiness" barely got released and yet it was as sharp and as strong as any of his work. The theme is this is one of forgiveness and the film has a memorable haunted mood. It sometimes feels that you’re watching all the characters in some waking purgatory, so spooky are the performances of Shirley Henderson, Michael Kenneth Williams and Paul Reubens. While the complete cast swap of this sequel is probably down to not being able to bring back all the original actors, it actually seems meant. I'd like to see Solondz return to these characters in 2023. It can be like his very own [Michael Apted doc] "7 Up."
9. "Please Give" – Somewhat overshadowed by the equally great "The Kids Are All Right," Nicole Holofcener’s ensemble comedy is sprinkled with ace work from Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet and the brilliantly crabby Ann Guilbert.
10. "Frozen" – "127 Hours" and "Buried" made more festival noise, but Adam Green’s ski lift bound thriller was a just as worthy addition to the single location Lifeboat genre. Making the most of the tiny budget, the film gets maximum impact with its sickening twists. A great one to watch with friends and scream ‘Don’t do that!’ at the screen.
Also worthy of mention are a host of films that either did festivals in 2009 or were U.K. releases that opened in the US in 2010. All well worth checking out are…
– "Mother," "Fish Tank," "Youth In Revolt," "MicMacs", "Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee and "Best Worst Movie." Please also bear in mind there’s a whole lot I’ve yet to see, "Monsters" being the first on my list to see as soon as possible.
So there you have it. A look at pretty much everything Edgar Wright loved at the movies this year. We thank him again for his cooperation. Stay tuned for more in our Top 2010 of the year lists. Wanna participate in our top 10s of the year? You know where to find us.