Exploring Edgar Wright Movie References

Every director claims to be a movie geek. But there’s movie geeks, and then there’s Edgar Wright. The director, who casually drops lists of his 1000 favorite films when he’s not working, seems to view movie references as a bit of a sport. If you’re not spotting at least a dozen influences or outright homages in his movies, you probably need to rewind – and if you’re watching his earlier films like Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, just give up trying to count.

While Wright has increasingly been moving away from overt name-checks in his movies, he still manages to bury familiar score snippets, costume choices, and plot threads in all of his work. Here are just a few.

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Edgar Wright Wes Craven tribute

Over a twenty-three year career spanning TV and film, Edgar Wright has honed his craft to become one of the most inventive, exciting filmmakers working today. With his genre-bending screwball comedies, Wright has developed an instantly recognizable style, culled from filmmakers before him, like Sam Raimi, Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers and more, and given his own unique twist. With rapid-fire montages and close-up cutaways, Wright fully embraces the visual aspect of the visual medium of film (something a shocking number of modern filmmakers seem to overlook). With Wright’s latest film Baby Driver speeding into theaters this week, it’s time to look a selection of the best scenes from his film career.

Spoilers for Wright’s films follow. 

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Baby Driver Music Featurette

In 2005, I watched a new horror comedy titled Shaun of the Dead. I had not heard of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, or anyone involved with this quirky little piece of entertainment. And something struck me big time about this movie: the incredible editing and music choices. And since Shaun‘s release, Wright has proven that he is a master at mixing cinema with the energy of a music video, all the while not losing his grip on the story.

In Wright’s latest movie, Baby Driver, music plays a key role within both the story and structure of the movie. And if you know Wright’s filmography, you know that he has been honing his music video talents for years to create a film like this. So in celebration of Baby Driver‘s release, let’s take a look at the greatest music-driven sequences in Wright’s movies.

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The 13-ish Best Edgar Wright Movie Characters

The 13-ish Best Edgar Wright Characters

Edgar Wright‘s latest feature film hits theaters this week, and by all accounts Baby Driver is another winner blending action, laughs, and Wright’s own unique sensibilities. (Don’t take my assumption for it though, check out Jacob Hall’s review out of SXSW.) Wright has yet to deliver anything less than a very good time at the movies, and while a lot of factors go into an acclaimed film, one of his many strengths as a filmmaker is in the variety of fun and fun-loving characters he packs into his work.

The scripts are obviously key to the films’ highly quotable nature, but pairing the words on the page with particular performers is what ultimately results in such memorable characters. That combination has resulted in a bounty of fun, funny, and fascinating characters in Wright’s films, and while some are leads, others only manage a few minutes of screen time. It’s an issue of quality trumping quantity, and it’s why someone with two scenes in a movie can be far more memorable than someone who’s in nearly the entire thing. What I’m saying is Shaun of the Dead‘s Ed is an obnoxious twat whose “funny” behavior upsets the film’s delicate tonal balance and ultimately keeps it removed from absolute greatness. Look, I don’t like saying it anymore than you like hearing it, but there it is.

It’s also why the list below is heavy on the male members and light on the ladies. Wright’s films feature plenty of women, but you have to look all the way back to his UK television series, Spaced, to find an example of one with meat on her character’s bones. But that’s a think-piece for a different time. For now let’s keep things moving with a look at the best characters in Edgar Wright’s feature films.

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Shaun of the Dead Print

With the release of Baby Driver just over a couple weeks away, Mondo wanted to pay tribute to Edgar Wright‘s breakthrough feature film Shaun of the Dead.

The horror comedy is a near-perfect film that is expertly shot, meticulously written, and absolutely hilarious. The film marks Edgar Wright’s first feature collaboration with Simon Pegg, who takes the spotlight in Mondo’s outstanding new print by artist Rich Kelly which has a sparing but stylish use of red.

Check out Rich Kelly’s Shaun of the Dead print from Mondo after the jump. Read More »

wall-e

(Welcome to /Response, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)

Earlier this week, the /Film team wrote about our favorite ends of the world in the movies. We then opened the floor to our readers: what is your favorite cinematic apocalypse or post-apocalypse? And you let us know!

We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week’s question, tying in with Cars 3what is your favorite movie vehicle? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com!

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Our All-Time Favorite Long Takes in Movies

GRAVITY

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. This week’s edition asks “What is your favorite long take in movie history?” As always, we have submissions from the /Film writing crew and podcast team, along with a special guest. This week, we are joined by Life director Daniel Espinosa.

If there’s a long, uninterrupted shot that really blows your mind, please send your thoughts to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com for a chance to be featured on the site. Find our favorite long shots below!

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Edgar Wright Music Reel

There are a myriad of ways that we could compliment Edgar Wright. From his economical, near flawless scripts to his fast and fierce shooting style, you can spot an Edgar Wright film from a mile away. But one of the things I look forward to the most is how the director Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs the World uses music to enhance his movies, making for some of the most memorable scenes from his career.

A new video features some of Edgar Wright’s greatest uses of music in film, television and music videos. Even if you’ve seen all of Edgar Wright’s movies, there’s probably some footage here you haven’t seen before, especially in the music video arena. Watch the Edgar Wright music reel after the jump. Read More »

Edgar Wright Wes Craven tribute

Horror director Wes Craven, the man responsible for A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, among many other films, passed away over the weekend, succumbing to a battle with brain cancer. It’s a loss felt by many horror fans and cinephiles, who are taking stock of Craven’s significant influence on the movie landscape.

In case you need any more evidence that Wes Craven was a filmmaker who inspired many directors working today, Edgar Wright has chimed in on his own personal blog with a fond remembrance of Craven and what his work meant to the director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Read some of the Edgar Wright Wes Craven tribute below! Read More »

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Shaun of the Dead live

We’re still waiting to hear what film director Edgar Wright is doing next, but we know the next step for his first feature. Wright’s Shaun of the Dead has been turned into a live stage production by Almost Legal Productions. It premiered in late October of this year but is coming back in the next few months. Both Wright and Simon Pegg, who starred in and co-wrote the film, gave the officially licensed show their seal of approval. The show will be performed all over the UK during 2015 and tickets are on sale now.

Below, see a trailer for Shaun of the Dead Live, including some of the musical numbers and examples of audience participation, and read more about the show. Read More »