Tag Archives: Simon Pegg

The World’s End: The Cornetto Trilogy’s End

Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of the great comedies of the new millennium and the loose “Cornetto trilogy” that comprises them has finally been completed with The World’s End, a tale of the disappointments of aging, pub-crawling, and extraterrestrial robots. The World’s End is directed by Edgar Wright, and stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, and seemingly half of the working actors in the United Kingdom in bit parts.

Gary “The King” King (Simon Pegg) was something of a hot commodity as a teenager in Newton Haven, the small town where he grew up. Over the years, King, so cool and popular in his youth, has degenerated into a pitiable husk of a man desperately trying to cling to the glory days of his youth that occurred almost two decades prior. He decides that the only way to salvage the pathetic state his life is currently in is to get back together with his childhood friends and finally accomplish something they failed at as teenagers: the Golden Mile, an epic pub-crawl comprising twelve pubs and twelve pints.

This is a very accurate poster.

This is a very accurate poster.

His four friends have all moved on with their lives. They have jobs, they wear ties, and they have not spent twenty years dreaming about passing out inside of The World’s End, the last pub of the Golden Mile, after spending a night drinking. Nick Frost plays Andy, Gary’s former best friend who he wronged years prior. Martin Freeman plays Oliver, whose unfortunate birthmark christened him O-Man for much of his youth. Paddy Considine plays Steven, who loved Oliver’s sister and resents Gary for drunkenly sleeping with her once when they were teenagers. Eddie Marsan plays Peter, a family man long removed from the days of being bullied at school. All of them have moved on, but all of them are drawn back by Gary’s promises of booze and belonging.

The quintet finds themselves back home and attempts the twelve pub crawl, but is sidetracked when they discover that Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), is back in town as well, and, oh yeah, just about everyone in newton Haven has been replaced by robots from space that are filled with blue, ink-like blood (probably should have gotten to that one first). Naturally, our five do the only thing that makes sense: complete the Golden Mile before the robots realize what they know. Note: they are all half in the bag by this point. So as their night goes from disappointing to terrifying, the five friends must fight for their lives and ask the age-old question: why did I listen to Gary f*cking King.

The boys are back and more skeptical than ever.

The boys are back and more skeptical than ever.

Simon Pegg, fresh off of Star Trek: Into Darkness, is back in another science-fiction effort, though one with fewer lens-flares and more drinking. Pegg is very much at the center of this film, and he is up to the challenge of being both charming and utterly pathetic. Gary King is one of those guys that never realized wanting to have fun forever means you probably will never have very much at all. He also calls his car “The Beast” and himself “The King” without a trace of irony, which is rather unacceptable for a grown man, even one who still wears the same coat he did as a seventeen year old.

Nick Frost, Pegg’s longtime comedic wing-man, plays someone who was tired of cleaning up his best friend’s messes and dealing with the inevitable betrayals and actually managed to leave him behind, only to be coerced back years later. He does well with material a little darker than he is typically associated with while still being very funny. Martin Freeman, Bilbo Baggins himself, is strong as well, if a bit underused in his role. Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan are also reliably funny and consistent throughout the film. Rosamund Pike seems underused as well, her character seems like a prize for one member of our group, an object of lust for another, and a sister for yet another and not much else, which is a shame, because I like the actress.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost seem to be carving out a niche for themselves in comedies with a science-fiction bent. Starting with Spaced, then Shaun of the Dead and Paul, and now The World’s End, the duo seems to know what they like. The aliens present here are actually legitimately interesting and rather unique in their motivations when compared to so many other cinematic aliens before them. They also seem like something out of a crappy video game, and I legitimately mean that in the best way possible. The fight scenes, while funny initially, seem to drag after a while, particularly as they become increasingly drawn out and complicated towards the end of the film.

No Gary, you're out of order!

No Gary, you’re out of order!

This is the darkest film yet in the Cornetto Trilogy, and probably the most mature Pegg and Frost have done together. Whereas Shaun of the Dead  was about a guy realizing he needs to start maturing before it is too late, The World’s End is about a guy who realizes after it is already way too late. Gary is a character, while good for making audiences laugh, is nothing short of depressing to think about. His friends, while successful, are also feeling the pressures of aging, albeit in ways that won’t send them towards the bottom of a beer stein. The symbolism of the town you grew up in looking the same but being totally different is a bit on the nose, though it works for The World’s End.

I’m a fan of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright, together and separately, so I was admittedly a bit pumped to see The World’s End. The film managed to meet my expectations, and while it did not exceed them, meeting high expectations is certainly nothing to scoff at. The story and acting are strong, the humor is biting, and the ending is surprising, so go see The World’s End, and watch some grown men get inebriated and brawl with robots.


Spaced S1E01: Beginnings

This weekend, The World’s End was released stateside and I was unable to swing my schedule to be able to go see it. I was able, however, to finally gain the proper motivation to push Spaced to the top of my Netflix queue and actually watch that program. One of the initial collaborations between Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost, Spaced lasted for two series of seven episodes a piece. Spaced  was created by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, who also starred as a pair of friends who decide to pose as a professional couple in order to move into a quality apartment with a reasonable price. Anyways, here are my thoughts on the first episode of the first series, titled “Beginnings.”

Tim (Simon Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) are both down on their luck. Tim, a prospective comic-book artist and the assistant manager of a comic-book store (his boss is named Bilbo; personally, I never trust a man named Bilbo: he may disappear on you), has been broken up with by his girlfriend, who has started to date one of his friends, and kicked him out of their flat. Daisy, a “writer”, is tired of living in squalor with a bunch of squatters and decides the time has come for a real place to call home, assuming it is reasonably priced. Tim and Daisy meet and talk daily in a coffee shop for several weeks while they apartment hunt separately before deciding that they should become roommates who must pretend to be deeply in love and in a committed adult relationship in order to fool their new landlady, Marsha (Julia Deakin).

None of them looked particularly spaced.

None of them looked particularly spaced.

Tim is the kind of guy that argues his ability to be emotional by referencing how he reacts to some of the more “touching” scenes in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and will stop dead in his tracks when someone speaks ill of The X-Files. Daisy is the kind of woman who blurts out insignificant factoids about her faux-life-partner in order to seem inconspicuous to an apathetic landlady. Fun fact: Saying “fun fact” before stating random facts and trivia makes it slightly more palatable to the unsuspecting victim. Sad fact: I do this quite a bit.

The supporting cast of this off-beat sitcom includes Nick Frost as Tim’s best friend Mike, a weapons “expert” and the recipient of very little screen-time thus far. Katy Carmichael plays Twist, Daisy’s best friend who works in “fashion”, and the recipient of even less screen-time than Nick Frost thus far. Mark Heap portrays Brian, the downstairs neighbor of our protagonists, and an off-beat artist motivated by pain, anger, fear, and all those other buzz words. He possesses a strange bit of sexual tension with Marsha: she gets sexual, and he gets tense.


Spaced is an intriguing animal thus far, it is possessive of a very standard setup (I’m nearly certain will they or won’t they tension will be rampant by the end of the second series.) but it also has a surrealistic style all its own and some decidedly quirky humor. Tim and Daisy are also different from your typical leads: Tim is as nerdy a nerd as you can get, but does not possess the redeeming sort of extreme intelligence usually found in nerdy characters in sitcoms (at least American ones from the 1990’s and CBS ones from the 2000’s) , and Daisy is apparently a slacker and lacks a supermodel figure.

Thus far Spaced has entertained me, and seems poised to entertain me even more considering the setup and expository dialogue appears to have been dealt with in the first episode. The show was funny, I got the geeky references, and I still like it when Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright work together, so Spaced remains atop my queue and I am even more excited to go see The World’s End sometime in the near future, assuming the world doesn’t end before then.