Saturday, August 25, 2012

SHAUN RILEY OF SHAUN OF THE DEAD: QUITE POSSIBLY THE LAMEST BOYFRIEND IN HORROR HISTORY

Edgar Wright's smash zombie comedy, Shaun of the Dead, has been prevailed as the quintessential film in the subgenre.  Many critics have praised the film as one of the best horror films of the last twenty years, and with good reason.  Don't get me wrong, this film is bloody phenomenal.  The sense of humor in the dialogue is universally accepted as brilliant and Edgar Wright has consistently put out incredibly solid films since stepping into the game.  However, it's the characterizations and relationships between said characters that fans and critics alike have been going gaga over.  With Ed, quite possibly the best sidekick to a horror straight man in film history and an incredibly strong ensemble, all of the characters are ones that audiences can easily identify with.  Everyone knows someone like Ed, Shaun, Phillip, Pete, Barbara, Yvonne, Liz, David, and Dianne. 

The film is centered solely around "Average-Joe," Shaun and his friends during the zombie apocalypse.  His perseverance to save the lives of his friends, family, and the love of his life are usually accepted as admirable as well as endearing.  His determination to ensure the safety of those close to him instill in us a sense that Shaun is a really stand-up guy.  The thing is, he's not. Shaun Riley is a really shitty human being and moreso, a terrible boyfriend to the "love of his life," Liz. 

Did Shaun save his girlfriend's life? Yes. Did he try his very hardest to ensure everyone's well being? Yes. Did he do this out of the kindness of his heart? No. Let's be honest here, people. It took the zombie apocalypse for Shaun to finally get his life together and make a change.  On the most basic level, Liz asked him to do ONE thing. ONE. After years of dating she simply asked him to make a reservation for their anniversary dinner and he couldn't even do that.  Not only that, but when she called him to confirm the reservation was made, he was too busy feeling insecure in regards to a seventeen year old to actually get it done.  He's a grown man and he felt threatened by a seventeen year old.  Get it together, man.  When confronted about his inability to take his girlfriend on a real date without bringing along his best friend to a location that isn't their local bar, Liz is fit to reveal just how much of a disappointment Shaun has been over the years.  These complaints are extremely justified and are only issues due to Shaun's inability to actually do something with his life. He's a smart chap, just a giant pile of wasted potential.  The fact Liz stayed with him for as long as she did is absolutely baffling, as she should have kicked his sorry ass to the curb years ago.

Shaun is nothing but a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, he's the kind of guy I'd ask to share a drink with or ask for advice on electro music, but sure as shit wouldn't be a guy I'd date.  David said it best, Shaun is "a man whose idea of a romantic nightspot and an impenetrable fortress are the same thing."  Even throughout the film, his actions are ridiculously selfish. He keeps saying "it's about survival" but it's not. It really was about fixing his relationship the entire time and no, those things are not the same.  He doesn't take the ideas of anyone else into consideration and only goes along with anyone else's opinion if it encourages his original idea. I don't understand the fangirling. I don't. Shaun...sort of sucks.

2 comment(s):

jay said...

that's part of what makes it funny and even more of a parody. He isn't a great guy. And you can tell his girlfriend is thinking she'll give it another week before having "the talk". The typical hero is supposed to be a morally awesome human who faces adversity regardless of his lack of skillful qualifications. And then gets the girl who is instantly wooed. But Shaun is dead-end and lacking in maturity and, rather then save the day, just wants to save his girlfriend and mother and wait until someone else steps up to save the day. Actually many of the characters are neither stand-up folks or absolute jerks.

Kev D. said...

It's like John Cusack in High Fidelity. He's a total douche. I love him, and love the movie, and love the character, much like Simon Pegg's Shaun... but overall, yeah... they are not "keepers".

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