Ranking The Movies of Edgar Wright

Ranking The Movies of Edgar Wright

Auteur directors are rare and exciting in Hollywood.  These are the men and women who have and incredibly unique approach to their craft.  Often times, it is a good sign that they get fired after being enlisted to be part of the big Hollywood machine.  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were essentially fired by Disney because the suits didn’t appreciate their original take on Solo: A Star Wars Story.  Similarly, Edgar Wright left Ant-Man because Disney wanted it to be a bit more mainstream.  However, even though we depressingly don’t have an Edgar Wright Marvel movie, we have a great bunch of films that bare his unique stamp.  Wright started his career making British TV comedies, most notably Spaced.  It was here that he hooked up with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  That was a match made in Heaven and the trio set off to make the Cornetto Trilogy.  The rest is history. Here is a ranking of all of Edgar Wright’s movies thus far in his young career.

#6:  A Fistful of Fingers (1995)

Few people are aware that Shaun of the Dead was not Edgar Wright’s first feature-length film. It isn’t even the first time he has spoofed a famous film genre. In 1995, Edgar Wright and his friends made a micro-budget, hardly seen spaghetti western spoof called A Fistful of Fingers (great title!).  It sits at the bottom of the list because this film is amateur hour. The film offers few hints about the director that Edgar Wright would mature into. Also, the quality of the skewering is nowhere near the level of his Cornetto Trilogy. A Fistful of Fingers is more akin to Monty Python, The Zucker Brothers, and Mel Brooks style of comedy. However, Edgar Wright made this film when he was 20. Back then, he was no Monty Python, Zucker Brothers, or Mel Brooks.

#5:  Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver isn’t quite as high as the other films because it doesn’t have enough of the key element that makes Edgar Wright movies so good. Humor. This story about a tinnitus-suffering getaway driver is exciting and amazingly edited. However, while the action is rocketing away, there aren’t enough laughs. Comedy is what made the Cornetto Trilogy and Edgar Wright’s other films so enjoyable. Underneath Baby Driver’s technical mastery is a simple life of crime/meet-cute love story that is nothing too special. Ansel Elgort is also not very charismatic as the titular character. Furthermore, in retrospect, it doesn’t help that Kevin Spacey is the crime boss in the film. It is a bit distracting.   

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#4:  The World’s End (2013)

It is a shame that the third film in the Cornetto Trilogy did not live up to the previous two. After skewering zombie horror and high-octane action, Edgar Wright tackles the sci-fi thriller this time around. Simon Pegg portrays Gary King, a trainwreck of a man who vows return to his hometown after being released from prison. First, he wants to reassemble his friends and tackle the Golden Mile. The men attempted the epic pub crawl in their youth and failed. Gary wants to relive the wonderful days of yesteryear, but something is different in town. The laughs are plentiful, the editing is amazing, and the bathroom action sequence is among the best Edgar Wright has ever done. However, the actual basis of the science fiction, where the townspeople are being replaced, is never actually fleshed out. It is a real shame because Simon Pegg’s performance is certainly the best he has ever done. Gary’s breakdown during the final scenes is truly heartbreaking and sad.  

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#3:  Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is an incredibly odd, yet breathtaking piece of original filmmaking. Based on the original graphic novels of the same name, the film is a weird amalgam of anime, Nintendo games, and that fresh Edgar Wright flavor. Michael Cera has never been more suited to a character since George Michael in Arrested Development. In this film, he plays Scott, who falls for Ramona, and thusly has to fight off the Seven Evil Exes. The combination of music, editing, and animation make these fight sequences incredibly interesting and funny. Sometimes, the film slips into a bit of childish silliness, but each and every fight scene is glorious. Brandon Routh’s vegan ex is hysterical, especially when the vegan police show up to strip him of his powers.

#2:  Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Edgar Wright’s best two movies are both worthy to be considered #1. On this list, the film that made everyone in Hollywood perk up and take notice of Wright will fall in the #2 slot. Shaun of the Dead  is such a brilliant take on the zombie genre, it is astonishing that no one ever did it before. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are buds who are only ever concerned with slacking off and going to the pub. They are so naive and out-of-it that they hardly notice it when the zombie apocalypse arrives.  Edgar Wright’s brilliance is that for half of the movie, Shaun of the Dead is basically spoofing the genre.  He makes fun of all the tropes and how stupid  and corny the concept of the shambling zombie is. However, in the second half, the film slips right into the genre and becomes one of the best zombie movies of the past 20 years. There is gore, action, and even some poignant emotion. The good thing is, Wright never forgets to keep us laughing, and it makes for a glorious experience.

#1:  Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz is simply one of the greatest action-comedies ever. Once again, Edgar wright goes through the similar formula as he did with Shaun of the Dead. This time around, Simon Pegg is the uber-cop, Nicholas Angel. He is such a good officer, in fact, that he makes the entire police force look bad in comparison. So he is transferred out to the country to Sandford. It is a posh little town that is one of the safest in the country. There, he teams up with Nick Frost’s Danny, who longs for the action his favorite movies like Bad Boys 2 glorifies. The familiar formula spends time showing how boring and unlike Danny’s favorite films Sandford is. Then it slips into one of the most obnoxiously over-the-top action comedies that has ever been made. Hot Fuzz is a movie that has to be seen to be believed. It is very hard to have characters talk about how stupid action cliches are only to slip into them moments later without having it feel forced.  Edgar Wright pulls it off brilliantly.

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Weekend: Aug. 29, 2019, Sep. 1, 2019

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