- 1) Cameo by
Gideon theCat In the original Scott Pilgrim comic books, Ramona Flowers has a cat named Gideon. She also has an evil ex-boyfriend named Gideon. What are the odds? We never see a real live version of her cat in the movie, but it does make an appearance by way of artwork. In the very first scene of the movie, when Scott sits at the breakfast table with his friends, Scott is holding a white mug with a green design on the side. If you get a quick enough look, you can see that the design features a cartoon rendering of Gideon the Cat, drawn by original comic creator Bryan Lee O'Malley. UPDATE: This is not a rendering of Gideon the Cat. It's just a generic cat. It is still an illustration by Bryan Lee O'Malley, though. See O'Malley's Flickr for a high quality version of the image used. Also, they're not Gideon cats, but you can see some porcelain cats on the bookshelf in Ramona's bedroom later in the movie. This is probably another subtle nod.
- 2) Sonic Boom Easter Eggs There are a few fun things going on in Toronto music store Sonic Boom throughout the movie. The most visible, of course, would be all the ads, standees, and CDs featuring The Clash at Demonhead, advertising such hit singles as "You Suck" and "Stop Calling Me" (post-breakup messages, much?). If you look in the background, you can see similar cardboard cut-outs on the store walls featuring the Katayanagi Twins (a.k.a.: Evil Exes #5 and #6) as well. Harder to spot, however, are some fun labels that fly by in a few places. In one shot, Scott says "you definitely don't want to listen to them" and discards a Clash at Demonhead CD onto a rack of other CDs. It just so happens that the CD lands right behind the Beck section on the rack - Beck, of course, being the mind and music behind Sex Bob-omb in the movie. Later, when Scott returns to the store with Knives in his "distracted by Ramona" mode, we see him standing near a couple of very O'Malley-like genre sections: "Gloom Rock" and "Sadcore." A little later in that same visit, he is sitting on a couch listening to Knives, and next to him is a sign saying "Do Not Sit", perfectly replicating a panel from the same scene in volume 2 of the comic.
- 3) Ad Space Edgar Wright and company made a lot of custom advertisements and graphics for the film, which is a shame, because you can barely see a lot of them. The Lucas Lee movie posters get a fair shake, at least. Ads for Action Doctor and The Game Is Over 2 are shown on the sides of Toronto Transit Commission buses, and there are more posters on the backs of magazines read by gay roommate extraordinaire, Wallace Wells. You can get a better look at the whole poster set for yourself here. Also, there's a good look at a newspaper ad featuring Neko Case the first time we see Wallace. Neko Case was a former member of The New Pornographers, a band referenced a few times in the comic. There were also a few transit ads made to look like ones featured in the original comic. Sadly, just about all of them hit the cutting room floor along with some amusing textbooks. All were most likely to be featured in a flashback showing Scott meeting Knives on the bus with her mom, which was filmed but not included in the theatrical cut of the movie. You can still see about half of one ad in the final film, though. In the "Teenage Dream" sequence, the last "panel" featuring Scott shows the lower left-hand side of this amazing ad. Also, it's onscreen for barely a second, but there's a NOW magazine cover done up with some of the same funny text as a magazine seen in the comic. It also mimics artwork from the back cover for volume 2 of the comic, right down to the background. You can see it in better detail in one of the production blogs on the movie's official website, and here's a screengrab if you don't want to go hunting:
- 4) Second Cup Signs There are a pair of amusing signs inside the Second Cup where Scott's sister Stacey and his friend (?) Julie Powers work. One behind the counter says "If you are using a cell phone, you will not be served." This sign is always at least partially visible when Stacey is yapping away on her cell phone with Scott. Of course. The other is onscreen for about a second, but the text is a fun little reward for detail-seekers. When Scott runs into Julie at the Second Cup counter, the camera quickly whooshes over to Stacey out the window yelling, "Sorry, I had to go!" On the window is a generic poster with some donuts and other coffee-shop-related items, and the overlaid text reads: "Experience what attention to detail tastes like." I originally spotted this in a viewing where I was specifically looking for easter eggs, so while this may or may not be an intentional joke (in fact, it probably isn't), I still just about killed myself laughing when seeing it in that state of mind.
- 5) Creator Cameos This one's pretty simple. Bryan Lee O'Malley and his wife, fellow comics creator Hope Larson, can be seen at the bar in Lee's Palace after Sex Bob-omb perform there. They're not hard to spot; just look for a woman with very short, bright blonde hair. The woman is Larson, and the dark-haired guy standing with her is O'Malley. On a side note, if you haven't read the short comic Bear Creek Apartments, written by Larson and drawn by O'Malley, I highly suggest you do so.)
- 6) Hidden X's The letter "X" becomes a recurring motif for Ramona's evil exes, as we're shown blatantly a few times. The letter shows up in a few more places you might not catch unless you're looking, though. The first I can recall is a snow-covered road that Scott and Knives walk down early on, in a shot that you can see for yourself in the film's first teaser trailer. Another instance that the director himself pointed out in the interactive trailer is the scene where Scott and Ramona are on the bus together. There are some tiny scrolling lights behind Ramona's head in the window; on Scott's side, the lights are shaped like hearts, and on Ramona's side, like X's. Some other little ones: there's an X fridge magnet Scott pulls down with him after Wallace points out the "seven deadly exes"; Lucas Lee's belt buckle has a design featuring two X's side-by-side; the crossbeams that fall on Sex Bob-omb after the Katayanagi Twins tear the roof off form a big X behind them; the little pink bows on Ramona's bra could be construed as X's if you squint. My favorite, though, is when Scott and Ramona start climbing up the stairs to Casa Loma. In the bottom left-hand corner of the shot is a pedestrian crossing sign, complete with a big black X, and as the pair climb the stairs, the traffic lights go from green to yellow to red. It's a great, subtle, visual way of saying, "WARNING. STOP. EVIL EX AHEAD." There are probably a good number more that I'm missing, but those are the ones that stood out to me. If you spotted any more, feel free to say so in the comments. UPDATE! Another X found! It's one that I spotted before, but dismissed as my reading too much into things. Edgar Wright confirmed it, though, so I'll include it here now. When the Katayanagi Twins crank the dials on their synthesizers up, you can see that the numbers on the dials are done in kanji all the way up to 11 (more on that in the next section). All the numbers are in black, save for 11 (十一, or a plus and minus sign together if you can't see the characters), which is done in red. In a close-up on one of the dials, the camera angle is tilted such that the cross in the 11 character looks like a red X. Neat! Sometimes it pays to over-analyze things! Yet another X I just remembered in that same scene: the twins cross arms to amplify the sound wave that knocks over the crossbeams mentioned earlier. One X creating another - weirdly significant!
- 7) Evil Ex Numbers Every evil ex is associated with their number in the string of heartbreaks that has been Ramona's love life. A few have their numbers featured prominently: Todd Ingram has a big number 3 on his shirt, courtesy of the original comic; the door leading to the nightclub where the Roxy fight happens has a big honking 4 overhead; Gideon's swanky Chaos Theater is labeled "Level 7" onscreen as Scott approaches it; and every ex has points that appear after their defeat, starting at 1000 for Matthew Patel, 2000 for Lucas Lee, and so on. If you look closely, though, all the exes get even more nods to their place in sequence, or at least to their place in Ramona's past. To start with, Matthew Patel's constant pointing up with his index finger strongly evokes a 1, and Wallace's off-hand shout of "Watch out! It's that one guy!" could also be read as "It's that one guy - the guy who is number one in the list." Update: He also has a single red chevron on the sleeve of his jacket, and most of his hair is on one side of his face. Lucas Lee gets a ton of 2's. He has a 2 tattooed on the side of his neck; his skate company logo has two L's to match his name; his trailer door also has two L's; there's a car on the movie set with a 2 emblazoned on the doors; his belt buckle (mentioned earlier) has two X's on it; even before he shows up, Scott mentions having a second date with Ramona lined up, which of course ends up being more of a second battle. There are more I could mention, but I'm not sure all of them were intentional, since it's easy to spot doubles of things in just about any context (speaking of which, a fun thing: Lucas has seven evil stunt doubles). Moving on to Todd Ingram: along with his shirt, you can also see some black posters with big, white 3's on them posted to the walls of the Lee's Palace back room. There are a lot of posters on those walls, but the 3's do stand out, trust me. As well, in the alley behind the building, there are a pair of trash cans with "33" and "333" spray-painted in red on them. Todd puts Scott through various walls three separate times, and on the third, he sends Scott crashing through three rooms with one blast from his bass. Said bass song finishes the battle with three distinct chords, too. Roxy doesn't get as much, sadly. Apart from her points and the 4 above the club door, the only one I could spot was that she zips past Scott in the alley four times before he punches her in the boob. The Katayanagi Twins similarly get the shaft, having only a set of points starting at 5000 and rolling up toward 6000. I think maybe the TIBB poster had six exclamation marks on one line? Nothing significant with a 5, though. I'm thinking the twins' motif is more likely the dragons, which you can see clearly in a few places, and their twin theme in general (their amp brand is Twinn). [See update below for more!] Gideon gets 7'd up like you wouldn't believe, though, mostly through onscreen video game stats and displays. Every hit against him is 700 points, and many hits against enemies in the Chaos Theater are either 700 or in sets of 350 (which add to 700). Gideon's fancy hand gestures go from x2 to x7 before he summons that blue pixel katana of his. After summoning the katana, a list of stat-ups appears behind him, with every point listed being x7. There's one more I could point out, but it's a big spoiler, so I won't.
(Photo from Bryan Lee O'Malley's Flickr)
UPDATE: Derp. I'm an idiot. The Katayanagi Twins' number motif is 11 (5+6). Edgar Wright pointed this out over Twitter, and I believe he has said as much in the past on his blog now that I think about it. This makes sense, definitely. The two 1's in 11 are twin digits, and the dials on the twins' synthesizers go up to 11 (nice little Spinal Tap reference in addition to being number-relevant). As well, according to Wright, Roxy and the twins each have costume-based number references that are hard to spot. One I've identified for sure by going over the trailer again. Kyle Katayanagi has two straps on each shoulder of his shirt (seen here), straps on his sleeves with parallel black borders, and two thin black lines running down the front of the shirt (both seen here), all of which resemble elongated 11's. Ken's costume, though, I'm not sure about. It could be that some of the black "sunbeams" side-by-side on his shirt resemble 11's. And Roxy's outfits,