The Daily Stream: Hot Fuzz Is The Best Of Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy. Change My Mind.

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Hot Fuzz" (2007)

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu

The Pitch: Sophomore efforts from promising young filmmakers often result in disappointment, but thankfully, that was not the case for Edgar Wright. "Hot Fuzz" was Wright's follow-up to "Shaun of the Dead," a movie that garnered an immediate dedicated fanbase for its director, even if it didn't set the box office on fire. The reaction to "Hot Fuzz" at the time was positive, with a slight rumbling of "I wanted another 'Shaun of the Dead' and this isn't that" from the rafters of fandom. Still, it garnered plenty of praise — and viewed with some time and distance, it's very possible that "Hot Fuzz" is actually better than its predecessor, and is in fact, the best movie of Wright's Cornetto Trilogy.

Why it's essential viewing

It's borderline blasphemous to suggest that "Shaun of the Dead" isn't the best of the Cornetto Trilogy, but I think I can make a case for it.

If we're going purely by box office receipts, then it's no contest. "Hot Fuzz" leaves both "The World's End" and "Shaun of the Dead" in the dust, pulling in over $80 million worldwide. "Shaun" barely made $30 million and "The World's End" topped out at $46 million.

Obviously box office is no indicator of quality (just look at any of the wildly successful "Transformers" movies), but it does show that there was an immediate audience for "Hot Fuzz" and it wasn't destined to be one of those great movies that were discovered late by the masses, like "Office Space" or "The Big Lebowski."

Where "Hot Fuzz" really succeeds is taking that dynamite chemistry between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in "Shaun of the Dead" and nurturing it into a full on bromance that just so happens to be at the center of most macho action movies. Wright and Pegg wrote an "Odd Couple" movie layered with Bayhem and '90s slasher tropes, Wright shot it with the energy of an exploding sun, and the result is a film that's both wildly funny and genuinely touching.

It's a big, heartfelt extension of Wright's previous film

If it has been a minute since you've seen the movie, here's a quick rundown. The story follows Sgt. Nicholas Angel, an uptight rule-obsessed officer who is so good at his job that he's transferred out of London because he's making the rest of the force look bad. Angel finds himself in the small, idyllic town of Sandford and just in time, too, because there's a spate of disappearances and deaths going on. Angel and his new partner, Danny Butterman, team up to figure out who is killing people and in doing so uncovers the festering rot beneath this seemingly peaceful town.

The relationship between Angel and Butterman is what makes the movie soar for me. Butterman is like a lot of us. He's a little lazy, but big hearted and really looks up to Angel.

"Hot Fuzz" expands on all the elements you love in "Shaun of the Dead." Wright's visual energy is amped even higher and fits snugly with the Michael Bay insanity that happens in the third act, for example. And also his ability to handle huge tonal swings so the movie can go from frankly absurd comedy ("yarp") to genuine emotion in the blink of an eye. Absurdly heartfelt is a good way to think of Wright's style and all that was established in "Shaun" and was amplified by a filmmaker with an even stronger grasp of his storytelling powers.

The addition of a whodunnit element

Anecdotally, I showed my young tween-age nephews "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" and they loved both, but it was clear right away that "Hot Fuzz" was their favorite. I was thinking the zombie angle on the first film would have made it their clear favorite, but there's something about "Hot Fuzz" that grabbed them in a way that "Shaun" didn't.

"Fuzz" has something "Shaun" doesn't, and that's a whodunnit at the center of the story. It might just be my nephew's taste on display, but damn do they love trying to figure out a mystery. They loved "Clue," and "The Thing" for the same reason, and I feel like their adoration of "Hot Fuzz" has a little of that working in there as well.

That does add another level to "Fuzz" and makes the whole thing a multi-course meal that keeps delivering flavor after flavor. If all you want out of it is a laugh, there are jokes flying fast and furious all the way through. If you want a good action movie, well, Wright's style melds perfectly with the action template so you get legitimately good gunfights with tension and stakes (and almost no actual deaths, which is another great touch). If you want a movie about human connection, that's a focal point of this story, too.

A better action movie than most straight up action movies

The whodunnit aspect is fun, but it's really about Angel and Butterman connecting as friends and partners. In a very weird way that makes "Hot Fuzz" a more successful action movie than most big-budget Hollywood tentpoles with triple the explosions and massive stars: by the time the bullets start flying, you know and care about Angel and Butterman. Beyond that, you're familiar with all the townspeople in the fight as well. Each one had time to establish themselves, from the guy in the suspiciously heavy coat to the preacher (played by the great Paul Freeman of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" fame, by the way).

The movie is built like a house of cards and is perfectly structured. Not only are all the jokes set up and paid off (the swan being an obvious one to use as an example), but so is the mystery and rising level of tension. With all the major big third act reveals, things are tied together perfectly — in a way that demands rewatching the movie over and over again.

"Hot Fuzz" is just an immaculately constructed movie, performed to perfection, that can ride the line between hilarious comedy, biting satire, and legit action movie, complete with enough explosions and bromance to earn a place on the shelf next to "Bad Boys 2."