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“Want anything from the shop?” If your answer back is “Cornetto,” you’re probably familiar with the work of Edgar Wright. The comedy director has come out of relative obscurity and yet, commands astonishing amounts of respect. There have been videos on his specific visual comedy, interviews about his knowledge of film, and articles that detail out his extensive love of cinema. He’s even hosted screenings of his favorite movies with post-credit commentary. Edgar Wright loves films and it bleeds into every single thing he’s ever made. With Baby Driver, his homage to the car chase flicks that populated the B-movie scene in the seventies, we’re examining just what makes Edgar Wright a slice of fried gold.

Edgar Wright’s debut feature, A Fistful of Fingers, didn’t gain much traction. Made when the director was just twenty, it premiered and slowly faded from the public’s collective knowledge. However, the film showcases Wright’s love of genre flicks and he was even hired to direct the television show Mash and Peas. This lead to a rabbit hole of television gigs that ultimately concluded with him directing the show created by Jessica Hynes (of Mash and Peas) and Simon Pegg (of Aslyum) called Spaced. Spaced is the cult television that united the holy comedy trio that is Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. On the set of this show, Pegg and Wright sat down and created their first feature screenplay, Shaun of the Dead , which put them on the map, internationally. The internet embraced the director and by the conclusion of the “Three Cornettos Trilogy,” Wright became a golden boy of cinema. His comedic sensibility and directing style captured the heart of every twenty something watching his movies.

Edgar Wright’s (above with Shaun of the Dead cast) entire filmography is one giant homage to genre cinema with the hyper focus of the modern auteur. With the exception of Scott Pilgrim vs the World, all of his films pay homage to a very specific genre style. Hot Fuzz plays with the buddy cop movie formula while paying loving lip service to the same genre, while Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End are less direct rips, but still loving glances at the zombie and science fiction genres. His use of montage is infamous, creating a sense of action specifically for the most mundane of acts and eventually climaxing into an awesome montage as the characters prepare for their final battle. He is also very fond of repetition and foreshadowing, with almost all of his films featuring actions done once again. Hell, his entry in Grindhouse is literally just the hilarity of “don’t.” In Shaun of the Dead, it’s played for comedy, while in The World’s End it’s the entire structure of the film. Edgar Wright’s humor also plays a key role in moments that aren’t quick cut montages, such as the music video for Mint Royale and what was to be the opening of Baby Driver demonstrates. All of Wright’s films can be dissected for hours, as one can piece together jokes from previous works, foreshadowing in the script, even key details in the production design that elevate his films to another level.

What’s absolutely fascinating about Edgar Wright as a filmmaker is his modestly budgeted films make decent box office returns, but live on longer after the release. Infamously, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World failed to make back its budget, but has played more times after its initial release due to cult screenings across the world. One can quote “I’m in lesbians with you” or “Do you ever shoot your gun in the air and say ahhhh?” and be able to have someone spit back the film quickly.  His impact on pop culture is much more valuable than any dollar amount, something that Marvel recognized when they initially drafted him for Ant-Man. That project ultimately fell through and Wright ultimately confirmed what many suspected; he wanted to make a Marvel movie, but Marvel didn’t want to make an Edgar Wright film. They didn’t want to break their very meticulously crafted visual style too much for a standalone hero introduction. In theory, it would have been a match made in heaven, but in reality it would have resulted in too much of a culture clash for Marvel. However, this did free up Edgar Wright to make his passion project, Baby Driver, with an all-star cast and a decent budget. Hopefully, one day, we see Edgar Wright helm a superhero movie, but for the time being, we’ll stick with the fantastic genre fare Wright loves to provide.

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