Some people get down around the holidays. The influx of annoying relatives is an inconvenience; an intrusion into their ordered lives. Some are simply jaded and can’t see why others get so excited; presents are nice and all, but do we need all the hoopla? This movie dares to declare: “Hey! If you don’t like Christmas, you and your family should be brutally murdered!”
We’re wrapping up Peggapalooza with Simon Pegg’s [IMDB] latest. Of course, he reprised his role as Scotty from 2009’s Star Trek [IMDB] and 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness [My Review], but he also co-wrote this installment. The reboot of the first film left fans cautiously optimistic. The second left them worried. How will this fare?
Peggapalooza! continues with a question that everybody has asked at one time or another: what is happiness? Hector (Simon Pegg [IMDB]) is a stable, dependable psychiatrist. He’s in a stable, dependable relationship with Clara (Rosamund Pike [IMDB]), a stable, dependable marketing consultant. His life is stable and dependable. Warm. Comfortable. Pleasant.
Peggapalooza! continues with a true story about medicine and murder in 1828. Edinburgh, Scotland, is the premier center for anatomical study in the world and has a voracious appetite for fresh cadavers. The head of the university (Tim Curry [IMDB]) has leveraged his political clout to have all legal cadavers be sent to him rather than his chief rival, Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson [IMDB]).
It’s impossible to discuss Simon Pegg without mentioning The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (it’s already been mentioned several times during Peggapalooza). The films are directed by Edgar Wright [IMDB], written by Wright and Simon Pegg [IMDB] and star Pegg and Nick Frost [IMDB].
Cornetto’s, for those unaware, are a popular prepackaged ice-cream treat popular in the United Kingdom. Each of the films in the trilogy features a distinct, thematically appropriate, flavor.
We’ve known from the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy that Simon Pegg [IMDB] could play an everyday schlub, an uptight cop and a washed-up has been. So far, during Peggapalooza!, we’ve also seen him as an eccentric paranoid and right dirty bastard. The man has range! The question here is: can he play a romantic lead?
The celebration of Simon Pegg [IMDB] continues with this Australian import. Pegg exercises his range here, taking on the role of Charlie Wolfe, a professional doer of dirty deeds and all-around bad guy. He’s been hired by a local club owner (Callan Mulvey [IMDB]) to eliminate his cheating wife (Alice Braga [IMDB]).
This celebration of things Simon Pegg [IMDB] (not Simon Pegg’s thing) starts with this 2012 dark comedy. Pegg plays Jack, an unstable author who’s spent the better part of a year researching Victorian serial killers for a new book. He began the project simply to lose the stigma of his unexpected success as a children’s author, but his obsession has led to intense paranoia. When his agent arranges a meeting with an American film producer, his already fragile grip on reality snaps.
Simon Pegg is all flavors of awesome. He’s known for smart, layered stories that reward multiple viewings and, from all available evidence, a hell of good guy.
Both me and Edgar [Wright] are firm believers in never underestimating or talking down to an audience, and giving an audience something to do, to give them something which is entirely up to them to enter into the film and find these hidden things and whatever.
Just because, “why not?” (and because I noticed that I had several of his films queued), I’m going to celebrate his work with a series of reviews. Being a fan, I’ve already reviewed a few of his movies:
Paul: An underrated, often forgotten ode to fandom, conspiracy and doing the right thing. Starring and written by Pegg and his hetero life partner, Nick Frost.
The Box Trolls: LAIKA’s sublime stop-motion wizardry made ever so slightly better for including Pegg’s voice.
We also end our annual Easter zombie festival, Boiled Eggs and Brain Eaters, with the utter perfection that is Shaun of the Dead. This may be the film that immortalized him, but an impressive collection of cameos and voice work along with performances in venerable properties like Doctor Who, Star Wars and, of course, Star Trek cemented him firmly as geek royalty.
Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.
I hope you’ll join me here over the next week or so for this impromptu Peggapalooza! (I was going to call it “Pegging Movies”, but Google convinced me not to do that.)
Similar to 2011’s excellent “The Lie” [My Review], this explores how the pressures of life can sometimes force good people to make poor choices and, ultimately, how they deal with the consequences. Here, snarky, unpopular high-schooler Norman (Dan Byrd [IMDB]), has recently dealt with the death of his mother and is now watching his father (Richard Jenkins [IMDB]) succumb painfully to stomach cancer. When berated by a schoolmate about his recent flakiness, he blurts out that he has cancer.