The Michael Cera / John Cusack Transference.

scott pilgrim and one crazy summer movie posters

Just saw Scott Pilgrim vs the World and it confirmed my suspicions that Michael Cera is quickly becoming the John Cusack of the upcoming generation. I like to play this game. All things have happened before and they will happen again so who were they then and who are the them from then now. They have to be loosened most of the time to fit the time like comparing Hendrix to Smashing Pumpkins or Floyd to Radiohead (an obvious one). In the Michael Cera / John Cusack hemisphere they are closely akin and becoming moreso with each passing flick.

Here is my argument. They have that youthful innocence mixed with insecurity. An easy ralation to by the highschooler to early twenty something, perfect for the wry coming of age tween comedy. They are a bit dorky with interesting witticisms insightful to life that make them interesting but because of their overpowering lack of self assuredness, women seem standoffish although they are giving themselves completely to the character. They know this works so they keep on doing it and directors keep on hiring them to play these same parts because it sells.

Let us take the recent Scott Pilgrim movie and bring it back to One Crazy Summer or Better Off Dead. In both of these classics animation was used to express the internal emotions of the main. This is an expression of their juvenile nature battling for a place in their adult life. The same is true for Scott Pilgrim with the constant barrage of video game graphics. Their are evil exes rather than fluffy bunnies. They are rock stars rather than downhill ski champions. Both have kick ass soundtracks of little known then bands. And in the end a basketball swoosh might save the boat temporarily, but it will take something internal to win the girl he has been fighting for. I am not saying they are the same movie. They are the same type of movie. For this they will need an actor that plays the part with genuine believability, an actor that has proven hisself over and over again in this part, an actor that people already love. Replace Cusack with Cera in any one of the early roles and you will see. It is a bit more difficult to go the other way because Cusack has aged, tried various break out roles, and follows the path of the misunderstood adult or the loveable hitman. So I age Cera in my head and nod. I cannot wait to see him in a war movie playing it straight.

Two movies not enough? Let’s go through the gambit of the early years. First we start with Cera. Juno. Nick and Nora. Youth in Revolt. Superbad. Now Cusack. Class. Say Anything. Sixteen Candles. The Sure Thing. They are transposable. They play the same type of character with the same mannerisms and they rake in the dough at the box office. Critics think he has little future because of his limited range, if it is actually limited we do not know. We have not seen him try something different. He plays the part too well and we love him for it. In a way it is like watching an endearing part of yourself grow up and age and become a puppeteer inside John Malkovich’s head.

Of course they have aberrations like Year One or Stand by Me. Cera is not the all american boy that Cusack was. But he is. He is just modified to fit the time.

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