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Fences, Blood, and Ice Cream. Patreon reward for nuclearcore! · 4:58am Jan 1st, 2018

Greetings readers! This instalment of Patreon supported blogging is brought to you by nuclearcore!

Nuclearcore asked me to go over the Cornetto trilogy. With two of the movies ones I’ve quite enjoyed and one I watched just for this blog. I’m going to try to blog this out without spoiling anything, but no promises. This is going to be more about the recurring themes in each movie, and less about the quality, but I can say I recommend watching all three.

Now, the three movies are one of those rare trilogies that are not connected via recurring characters or even an overarching story. They’re connected via a recurring theme instead. This trilogy type is so uncommon, in fact, the only other trilogy that comes to mind that is The Vengeance Trilogy.

It is not immediately apparent what the overarching theme is. There’s always a bit with a wooden fence and Cornetto ice cream (hence the trilogy name). Also, all the films are sort of action-comedies, but even that isn’t necessarily the connection. In fact, one is a romantic comedy… that happens to be about zombies!

I mean… It’s the tagline but a lot of people seem to forget that.

Since I brought it up, let’s talk about Shaun of the Dead and the aspect of the recurring theme in the films. Specifically, let’s talk about the characters and what it means to be a fully functional adult.

Shaun is presented to us as a sort of hopeless loser, though not as much as his video game playing, drug dealing roommate. There’s drama at Shaun’s home. His other, more responsible, roommate doesn’t like his slacker roommate. There’s drama in his love life. Shaun has a tendency to hang out with his girlfriend, his friend, and his girlfriend’s roommate at the same pup night after night. Pretty soon, Shaun’s life starts to fall apart… and then zombies show up.

The interesting thing here is how Shaun is presented. We’re told he’s a loser because he has trouble remembering Mother’s Day or his girlfriend’s birthday or even making a reservation at a fancy restaurant. The thing is, Shaun is responsible enough to have a job. Sure, he’s just a manager of an electronics store and he has a tendency to goof off, but clearly, he’s somewhat got it together given he’s a manager and has a girlfriend. The problem we’re presented is that society always wants more from him. Various figures in Shaun’s life are constantly badgering him to ‘do this or that’ or pointing out he has much more potential, yet despite being a guy who goes to this one pub a lot, he more or less does have his life together regardless of what he’s told.

Then we have the zombies who, like in many zombie flicks, also kinda serve as those figures who are trapped in their respective lives and maybe just going through the motions. There’s an interesting twist to this I can’t say too much about otherwise I’m spoiling a major point in the movie, but the zombies turn out to be more than just the ‘cogs’ of society telling Shaun to get his act together.

Ultimately, I’d say this movie is about discovering and defining what ‘being an adult’ is for yourself and figuring out how to make that work in society and being happy with it. It’s not quite so anarchistic as to suggest all solutions are good ones (more on this in the final movie), but there’s a somewhat refreshing message that a certain level of self-sufficientness is ‘good enough’ and maybe you don’t have to become a ‘Z’-word to find happiness while also being a grown-up in modern society.

Now let’s explore what happens when you don’t care about happiness at all when adulting.

Pretend this image doesn’t fill you with joy.

Nicholas Angel is the ultimate cop and, perhaps, the ultimate adult. Angel is a by the book, crook catching, constable supreme. He’s also seemingly completely hated by his co-workers and almost everyone he comes across. Not only does Angel play by all the rules, he enforces them and his reward is being transferred away from his job for basically being “too good” and making everyone else look bad.

This is an interesting take on the “adult theme”. We’re all more or less taught how a fully-realized uber-adult is supposed to be and Angel IS that adult, and yet he gets punished for it. The man has basically sacrificed all for his job, upholding the law, enforcing the law, and his ‘reward’ is being told to jog on.

It’s very subtle, but this movie does well to point out that everyone is expected to fall short of that ideal paragon of responsibility. Partially because that paragon is actually really boring and also maybe insufferable. It’s a similar theme as the Shaun of the Dead but looked at from the opposite angel (wink, wink). It also sort of ends in the same place, with our lead figuring out what will make him content and holding onto that rather than doing what society asks of him.

But what happens when you pre-embrace that ‘do whatever makes you happy’ idea from the get-go?

This movie!

So, Gary King hits that ‘this is what makes me happy’ epiphany pretty early… Like, not really an adult yet early. The move is about, amongst other things, him chasing that feeling as an adult. This movie also is the one that embodies the theme in the least subtle way. That’s not bad, per se, and it also makes for interesting mental unpacking.

King has essentially refused to become an adult and has instead organized his life so that he can never grow. Trouble is, society doesn’t really have a place for him and ultimately, his angsty teen rebelling is a lot less tolerated now that he’s older. Furthermore, there’s constant pressure from his friend’s that have grown up and “society” er… well… “a society” that’s clearly supposed to be a stand-in for cog-like adult existence are pressuring him to grow up.

Clearly, doing that isn’t going to make King grow up, but it’s also made apparent that he’s not so much “adult doing his own thing” and more ‘stunted man-child’ and the movie mostly doesn’t seem to celebrate that. The ending gets a bit confusing in that regard as it turns out ‘stunted man-child’ was also something quite needed to resolve the plot. Still, I think a good take away here is that maybe one should always rebel… even just a little bit. We’re kinda expected to rebel as teenagers than cool our jets when we get older and just accept the state of things (and maybe the latter is even truer for British audiences than it is for American ones), but I believe, especially when considered against the other films, that a balance of functionality but also flipping society the bird or the ‘V’ or what have you is also in order.

Er… Maybe not THAT V unless things are REALLY bad…

Being a ‘functional adult’ should be about figuring out what makes you content while maybe also still holding down a job and being self-sufficient. Still, one shouldn’t be so complacent in whatever they choose that they’re either an oblivious burden to society at large or perhaps worse, so boring they become the very things we were told to reject in our youth.

Unless the world really is ending or going to Hell. In which case, yeah… Fight tooth and nail with a cricket bat, go all action movie with some guns, rage against the machine with crazy pub fights, and maybe blow up parliament.

Stop taking over my blog!

Again! All three movies come highly recommended! And if like them or are just a fan of comedy, check out Spaced.

Thanks again to my patreon sponsor nuclearcore! If you want to see me blog about stuff you like that I also like or maybe detest, feel free to join my patreon which I keep on linking.

Comments ( 6 )

Saw and mostly enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, haven't really been intrigued enough to do more than will the other two, honestly.

Thank you for the post, happy New Years!

The World's End is my favourite of the three :twilightsmile:

That was a great analysis despite not being able to go into detail due to the dreaded spoilers for years to decade old movies.

That one just got a little too goofy for me. Fave has to be Hot Fuzz, but I will admit Shaun is more fun to just put on when you are doing something else.

4764187 For me there's just something about the site of a balding Simon Pegg in a Sisters of Mercy T-shirt, and I like how the journey through the pubs echoes the ups and downs of their night out two decades before. And they hit the nail on the head about all pubs becoming the same generic templates.

But Hot Fuzz does have the Swan :raritystarry:

I agree on that bit, it's the Ancient Aliens shit that does me in and I can't get over it. It breaks my suspension of disbelief so hard when internal logic is poor (see: my issues with TLJ).

4764350 Yeah I can see why you might object to that. I recall having similar thoughts myself with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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