My introduction to the Edgar Wright Gang- Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, directed by Edgar Wright- was somewhat dubious. I saw Shaun of the Dead, shrugged my shoulders, and said “That was kinda funny. Not bad at all”. I was far from blown away by it but I certainly enjoyed it. Then Hot Fuzz came out and my friend who’d gone to The Second City insisted that we should check it out. After all, if you’ve done the Second City thing, you know comedy. And he was familiar with the Wright Gang’s work dating back to Spaced. He dragged me to the theater, and even with a monstrous hangover that very nearly sent me to the theater restroom to make nice nice with the porcelain, I laughed. I laughed until my sides hurt. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes when, thanks to the hangover, I had nary a drop of water to spare in my body. Then I re-watched Shaun of the Dead, liked it a lot more the second time, and got ahold of Spaced. By now, I have other friends who tell me that I’m “the biggest Wright/Pegg/Frost fan on the face of the earth”. And I can’t even pretend to deny it. Those guys slay me with their jump cuts and seriously not serious send-ups of major genres like zombie films and action movies. In interviews they come off as regular dudes who like to make people laugh. So without further adieu, here are my six favorite Wright Gang Moments in film, television, and (in one instance) a series of hotel rooms.
1. Tyres’ Mini-Rave from Spaced
I love that Tyres pops up in Shaun of the Dead wearing the same biker outfit, but as a zombie.
2. The pool cue beating in Shaun of the Dead
The combination of their former friend-turned-zombie charging after them and stuffed into a ridiculous choreography of people whomping him with pool cues, all set to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”… and the rotating camera shot… Stuff like that is precisely why those dudes crack me up so much.
3. Cake flushing with Nick Frost
This is easily the most juvenile thing that’s ever made me laugh. But I can’t help but laughing my tail off when I watch it. It rivals the Peter Gammons Theme Song for the most ridiculous things that I can watch again and again and again and they never lose their humor for me.
4. Vulva (Spaced)
Embedding is disabled but you can follow the link here. Please, please, please follow the link. You’ll thank me later. Vulva was a minor character in an episode (or two?) of Spaced. It was an extremely over the top jab at performance artists in general, and specifically Leigh Bowery (don’t ask me; I don’t know who exactly that is). And when I saw it, I laughed until I teared up. It’s not finished.
5. The Sandford Theater’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” in Hot Fuzz
In a few instances, Nicholas Angel (Pegg) had been hearing about the upcoming play- “Romeo and Juliet”- in the tiny burg of Sandford. He got coerced into going against his will, only to discover that: a) the production was hilariously awful, and b) it wasn’t a production of Shakespeare but rather a production of the crappy mid-90’s interpretation of the Shakespeare classic, titled Romeo + Juliet . The point was driven home when the cast of horrible actors burst out into a song and dance number of the Cardigans’ “Lovefool”.
6. The final 20 minutes of Hot Fuzz
It’s such a perfect send-up of every dumbass action movie cliché you’ve ever seen, but it’s also self-referential. Frost and Pegg have been referencing one dumbass action movie after another throughout the entire movie. And it all boils over in the end.
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