I was going to open this by warning of spoilers, but honestly, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World came out nearly four years ago and if you haven’t seen it by now, I don’t even know what you are or why you live your life the way you do. This movie is one of my all-time favorites. The story is badass. The cast is perfect. The soundtrack is all that matters in life.
In case you’ve been living under some weird, boring rock that doesn’t let you watch fun movies, here’s the gist of the story: Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera, meets Ramona Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and is instantly obsessed. From the beginning, he is ready to do anything it takes to spend time with her and get to know her, but Scott’s intentions and determination are tested when he finds out he’ll have to defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes in order to be with her. Hilarity ensues. Asses are kicked. Hearts are won.
I’ve learned many things from Mr. Pilgrim over the years, as I have watched this movie more times than I ever care to count. For example, I’ve learned you can never trust a Wallace, bread makes you fat, vegans have superpowers, and “lesbian” isn’t always the right L-word. Mostly, though, I’ve learned some of my favorite lessons in dating. When it comes to doing relationships, I think Scott got it right (mostly). Here are some of my favorite Pilgrim-y nuggets of relationship wisdom.
1. Don’t be afraid of getting your ass kicked.
Dating is weird and scary and you really never know how things are going to turn out, but don’t let that stop you from being open to it. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Scott has just defeated the first evil ex and Ramona is explaining to him the craziness that would lie ahead for him if they were actually going to date. After she had basically just laid out his death plan, he looks at her and says, “So, what you’re saying is…we’re dating?” I love that she spills her weird secrets and baggage to him and he basically just says “IDGAF” and continues on as if the obstacles he’ll face are non-existent. He wasn’t afraid of getting his ass kicked.
2. On having a fake high school girlfriend.
At the beginning of the movie, we meet Scott’s “fake high school girlfriend,” Knives Chau. Knives is sweet and precious, but is basically a temporary human band-aid for the wounds Scott sustained as a result of his semi-recent breakup. Ahh, the temporary human band-aid! We’ve probably all been guilty of having some version of this relationship. Maybe you like the attention he or she gives you, maybe you’re trying to make someone else jealous, or maybe you’re just lonely. Any way it goes, you’re keeping someone around or leading someone on for reasons that can only be described as selfish. Maybe just cut that cord. You’re keeping that person from being with someone who actually likes them, and you’re not leaving yourself open to someone who you might actually like. It’s pointless, exhausting, and never ends well. But let them down gently, lest they come back and try to kill your new girlfriend at the end of the movie.
3. On being a fake high school girlfriend.
In the same way that we’ve probably all had a fake high school girlfriend, we’ve probably all been someone else’s fake high school girlfriend. It feels great, right? If you find yourself in this situation, and I think you can always tell when you are (whether you want to believe it or not), just go. Trust your instincts. Don’t wait around for them to decide to let you off the hook. You’re wasting your time and you’re going to feel so exhausted trying to force or “convince” them to like you. And, spoiler alert, it’s way more fun to like someone who likes you back. Don’t settle for being their Knives Chau because you will be someone else’s Ramona Flowers.
4. Don’t be a dick about their past.
While most of us don’t have a league of evil exes waiting to sabotage our new relationships, we all have baggage and things in our past that we wish weren’t there. As long as neither of us used to be murderers/rapists, the past should just stay where it is and it absolutely shouldn’t be thrown in each other’s faces out of spite. There’s a moment in the movie when a frustrated Scott spits out, “Is there anyone at this party that you haven’t slept with?” which leads to a hurt Ramona walking out of the club and right back to her evil-est of exes, Gideon. See? Don’t be a dick.
5. Sometimes, you’ve gotta break out the L-word.
No, not “lesbian”. And not “lesbians”. This one’s easy…just say what you’re feeling, duh. If you find yourself having feelings for someone, tell them. It might lead to you guys making out. If not, it will lead to you moving on and finding someone else to make out with. Why not grow a pair (of balls or tits) and speak up?
OKAY THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE. Another one of my top moments of the movie is when Scott is performing with his band on stage and the first evil ex, Matthew Patel, comes crashing in through the roof prepared to annihilate him. Scott stands there confused while muttering, “What do I do?” over and over. Wallace screams out “FIGHT!” from the balcony and that’s exactly what he does. He kicks Patel’s ass and does the same to every evil ex that comes after. I love this because I love the idea of fighting for the person that you love. Not necessarily to rescue them, because people should rescue themselves, but to prove that you will do what it takes to be someone they can count on. Someone who will put the time and effort in to really know them and be with them. Someone who when faced with the difficulties of a relationship won’t run away scared, but will find it worthy enough to fight for. When faced with having to handle all the baggage and arguments and insecurities that come with a relationship, the answer should always be “FIGHT!”
I’m sure there are countless other lessons to be picked up from this story because, like I said, it’s PERFECT, but these are the ones that have always stayed with me. I hope to always be as fearless and noble as Mr. Pilgrim in my relationship. I hope that in our age of unsolicited dick pics, instant gratification, and dismissing people with a “swipe left” of our thumbs, I’ll never lose the willingness to really fight to know and love someone. To roll up my sleeves, look at someone else’s baggage and insecurities, and kick a little ass.