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April 21st, 2007


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11:44 am - Let me tell you a story about Simon, Edgar and Nick.
Simon, Edgar and Nick are the boys in the neighborhood who are lifelong chums and, when they're not riding around on their bikes popping wheelies and seeing who can skid in the sand the longest without wiping out, they're hanging out in a tree fort in Nick's backyard.

One summer, Simon's older brother rents these wicked zombie videos and even though their mum said the films are inappropriate for a boy Simon's age, he gets to watch them one weekend when his folks go away. Naturally he calls up his pals and invites them over, and they stay up all night watching these videos, mostly by some guy named Romero (whom Nick keeps calling Romeo for laughs.) Simon watches the heroes in each film. Nick watches the zombies. And Edgar is carefully watching how the movies are done, where the camera was put and how the shots were edited to make things the most exciting, and how in some of the movies, they make sure to keep things kinda funny after the scary bits so that everybody watching can relax a bit. He also notices how some of the scariest bits happen after you think the scary bits are done, and thinks it's awesome how they can trick you like that (all three boys are really scared at one part or another during the films, but nobody admits it to the others.)

A few days later in the tree fort, the boys are talking about all the films they saw and how cool it would be to actually be in a zombie movie. After a few minutes of quiet deliberation, Edgar says, "You know, I bet we could do that. I mean, Dad's got a video camera and I bet he'll let me use it if I promise not to break it. We could make our own zombie movie and star in it and everything. Simon, you can be the hero."

"Cool!" says Simon. "And Nick gets to play my best friend, ok, and we go around bashing zombie heads in with our cricket bats, how's that?"

"But I wanna be a zombie," Nick says sadly.

"We can work it into the script," says Edgar, and off they go. Edgar and Simon write the story, they recruit friends and family members to appear in the other parts (Simon makes sure to write a part where he gets kissed, and Edgar makes sure to cast the girl Simon fancies as the kisser) and in a few weeks' time they have made a movie called Shaun Of The Dead, and Edgar is very good with the video camera and does not break it. They let their family watch the movie for free, but they charge the neighborhood kids to see it at Simon's house, because he has the biggest television set. Everybody thinks Simon did great at playing the hero, and as it turns out, Nick is very good at being funny, and one of the grown-ups, a "dabbler in cinematography" himself, tells Edgar he did a top job at making the movie both funny and scary at the same time. Edgar is embarrassed at the attention, but inwardly very pleased that somebody noticed.

At the end of the summer and several Saturday showings of the movie, the boys count their money and realize they made quite an impressive haul. After spending some on a junk food binge that nobody's parents approve of, they are finally compelled to put the rest in the bank by Nick's financially-minded father.

The next summer they're a little bit older and, when Edgar's older brother is working at the little movie theater in town, he lets them in to watch these Chinese cop movies. Everybody speaks Chinese so you have to read the words on the screen, but Simon, Nick and Edgar watch them all like a hundred times each. From then on it's nothing but cops for them. They pretend their bikes are cop cars, they rent movies like Lethal Weapon even though Simon's mum says there's much too much cursing in them for a boy his age, and once again, in the tree fort, they come up with the idea to make a cop movie of their own.

"I already wrote a story," Edgar says. "Simon will star as the toughest, coolest, best cop in London."

"London?" Nick says. "We can't go to London to make a movie. What, are we going to we ride our bikes down the M1?"

"No," says Edgar, rolling his eyes. "See, Simon is such a good cop that he makes the other cops look bad, so they transfer him to a small town that looks just like our town. And everything in the town looks normal and everybody's nice, but then strange things start happening, and Simon realizes there's a murderer on the loose, and even though nobody else in the town believes it, he has to find the killer."

"Fried gold," Simon says in awe, imagining how he's going to get to do all the awesome things he's seen on screen, like jumping away from an explosion, or chasing a suspect and rolling over the front end of a car that suddenly comes out of an alley, or leaping in slow-motion with two pistols blazing away.

"But it's going to be funny, too, right?" Nick asks. "It's got to be funny."

"Of course it's going to be funny," Edgar says, "And you're gonna be one of the funniest parts of the movie."

"Textbook!" Nick says, and off they go and before you know it, they've made a cop movie that they call Hot Fuzz, even though Simon's mum thinks the name sounds rather suspect if you ask her. And again, Simon is really very good at playing the hero, and Nick is even funnier than he was in last summer's movie, and Edgar, as it turns out, has learned a great deal about filmmaking in between, so even more grown-ups recognize that the boy may very well have a future in this sort of business.

That's pretty much how I felt when I watched Hot Fuzz last night at the Kendall. I was watching the work of three boys who decided they wanted to make and star in a cop movie, just as they had earlier decided they wanted to make and star in a zombie movie of their own. The film is hilarious, it lampoons nearly every cliche in the cop genre, it's quite gory in parts, and the end shootout takes forever and is worth every second. Edgar, Simon and Nick are all grown-up (Simon and Nick really are best friends, by the way) and while they have to do all the grown-up things that come with making movies, like finding money and coordinating a shooting schedule and all, inside they're still three kids who came up with this wicked idea in Nick's tree fort.

And because of it, I think they're the three luckiest bastards alive.

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:modpixie
Date:April 21st, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
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this really put a smile on my face. i can't wait to see this tonight.
From:lno
Date:April 21st, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
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That's awesome.
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From:giantfightbot
Date:April 21st, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
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I've been wanting to see this ever since I first saw Simon kick an old lady in the head in the trailer.

Going today and I cannot wait.
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From:infinitehotel
Date:April 21st, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
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Now I'm really curious to see if we saw the same cut of the movie. The version I saw had some funny bits and the final shootout was glorious, but dragged pretty heavily through the middle and Simon didn't seem to be having much fun with it.
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From:saint_buddha
Date:April 21st, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
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I haven't seen Hot Fuzz but I felt that way about Shaun of the Dead. In the middle, I turned to my spouse and said, "Wow, this movie is getting a little bit boring." About three minutes after I said that, it picked up.
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
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And to be honest, they haven't been good with their second acts. Things do tend to drag down because they give their characters way too much to resolve. At least, though, when shit gets real, it gets real.
From:archangelsk
Date:April 23rd, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)
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Ah, hell, the sagging 2nd act in Hot Fuzz was just (in its way) more homage, this time of the tear-jerking, heartstring-tugging buddy action movie. I do agree that the movie was much more fun when things were, ah, poppin'.
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From:joenotcharles
Date:April 21st, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
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Hey, Spatch - I can't remember your username on SA, or I'd just send you a PM, but are you thinking of coming to Gooncon? 'Cause somebody just posted a thread about going to the amusement park here, and I thought it'd be right up your alley.
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
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I haven't followed any Gooncon planning ever. Don't even know where it's being held, and considering the shit they pulled in Las Vegas a few years back, I'm not sure if I'd want to be associated with such a crowd.

And besides, the last time I went to an SA-related party, I drank an entire pitcher of mojitos made with Bacardi 151, then tried to remain conscious while in the other room, a bunch of goons took viagra for no reason whatsoever (useless since they weren't going to score anyway.) Then I threw up in the bathroom and shared a "hey, take a number, lady" moment with a girl who ran right in dropping trou as I was finishing up my porcelain worship and trying to get to my feet. Then I took the Night Owl bus home but it was so late the bus only went as far as Harvard Square, so I stumbled all the way up Mass. Ave from Harvard Square to North Cambridge (roughly two miles or so), stopping at the White Hen in Porter Square where -- in the only smart move I'd made all night -- I purchased a giant bottle of water and some Excedrin. Amazingly enough, the next day went by smoothly.

That was about five years ago. I don't think I need to visit an amusement park with das goons.
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From:ilovehpl
Date:April 21st, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
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Aw, I just got back from seeing this. So wonderful!
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From:jasonlove
Date:April 22nd, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
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After reading a friend's review of Hot Fuzz, I drove three hours from Wichita to Kansas City, paid $5 to watch it, and then drove the three hours back home. This trip cost $75 and 8 hours of my life, and it's the best investment I've made all week. 600 out of 5, indeed.
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
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Wow. That is some incredible dedication just for a two-hour movie. And I'm very glad it paid off for you.
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From:giantfightbot
Date:April 22nd, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
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Went to it this afternoon and laughed my ass off. Repeatedly.

Shit just got real.
(Deleted comment)
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC)
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Yes, and Spaced is one of the best comedies it's ever been my pleasure to laugh at. In fact, "Shaun" came about due to the episode where Simon's character stays up all night playing Resident Evil and can't stop seeing zombies everywhere he goes. (Jessica Stevenson, who plays Tim's flatmate/fake wife Daisy, shows up in Shaun as the hyper-ex-machina Yvonne.)

The series is hard to find in the States. Either you've got to have or know someone with a region-free DVD player and import the DVDs, or find other methods of digital media distribution. Either way it's worth it, especially for the commentary, where (among other things) you learn the meanings behind the terms "textbook" and "fried gold" and also exactly whose relatives played what bit parts.
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)

"ello Brian..."

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Oh, and the pub owner who's FIFTY-THREE! played Marsha, the landlady in Spaced.
(Deleted comment)
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
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I believe usernamenumber was the one who gave me the glowing recommendation for Green Wing at the CBC after we'd been discussing Spaced. His recommendation was indeed worthwhile, and gave me newfound respect and admiration for Mark Heap, who was able to play two radically different characters in each series, dynamically opposed but twisted nonetheless.
(Deleted comment)
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
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I forgot to include my GREEN WING AVATAR IN THIS COMMENT THREAD!

Well! Now we've fixed that.

It amuses me, but does not surprise me, that fans of the show in its native country have taken up playing both Guyball and The Spoon of Destiny. It's pretty clear that Calvinball is the American variant on Guyball, but we have no Shpooon of Destiny counterpart.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:April 22nd, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
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I am guessing a Green Wing LARP would involve lots of goofy dancing and interesting hairstyle choices.
From:dcart
Date:April 23rd, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
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I have a similar "luckiest bastards alive" feeling about John Cusack, D.V. DeVincentis, and Steve Pink. Admittedly, Cusack's star power probably makes it easier to get financing for their stuff, but I like how they've previously described their process. They're all high school buddies. They've claimed that they basically sit around goofing off, playing basketball, and trying to come up with ideas. The three of them wrote (with another writer) and produced Grosse Pointe Blank and produced and wrote the adapted screenplay for High Fidelity. They try to bring in their friends for as many of the parts as they can and just have fun with it. Which would probably also explain why IMDB has Cusack sharing acting credits with Jeremy Piven in 11 movies and Tim Robbins in 8.

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