Today marks the release of a brand new art book every film fan must own, Scott C's "The Great Showdowns." The book is a collection of artist Scott C.'s weirdly adorable illustrations of showdowns from movies — sometime rather unlikely pairings, like Bruce Willis versus the glass in "Die Hard."
Each page features a new showdown, mostly in order of when Scott C. drew them, providing a real sense of his growth as an artist and development of his style. Since the book features no index, it can act as a game with each new person you show it to. Furthermore, part of the reason these showdowns are so enjoyable is that the characters (or in many cases, inanimate objects) are always smiling, mirroring the sense of joy one feels when watching these films and what Scott C. himself feels when creating them. No matter how deadly the showdown, one can't help but look at a piece and feel happiness.
As Scott C. describes, "The smiling brings all of these moments to the same level. They range in emotions in the actual films. Some are quite horrific moments. When they are all smiling, I feel like we can see them as a whole and remember them fondly, even if we were emotionally scarred by them at the time. Plus, I just like having a good time, and I feel like all these characters would be real happy to be together in this collection. Maybe after dark, they all climb down out of the book and just have a little beach party together or something."
How did this idea come about, and what was the first great showdown you ever drew?
There is an annual group exhibition in LA at Gallery 1988 called Crazy 4 Cult in which the artists create work inspired by cult films. It was at the inaugural of these shows that I made the first 10 showdowns. I just liked seeing all of my favorite characters hanging out with each other and enjoying themselves. I liked seeing tense moments presented in a smiley fashion.
I think the first showdown I ever conceived was the one at the end of "Fistful Of Dollars" with Clint Eastwood. The companion one was Indiana Jones versus the fellow with the sword in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Two showdowns with dudes standing in front of one another in that classic Wild West fashion with two very different ways of dealing with the situation.
How did you end up defining which showdown from the film was the one to depict? Like, why glass instead of Alan Rickman from "Die Hard"? Why the "Zoolander" models vs. the gasoline instead of the more obvious Stiller vs. Wilson? Wayne Knight in "Jurassic Park"? Do you ever have more than one showdown from the same movie?
Choosing a showdown is a very fun process because really I want to choose memorable moments, and sometimes those moments are less about the main protagonist versus antagonist and more about what sticks with you. In "Zoolander," the walk-off is the obvious choice, but the gasoline fight was the best part. And in "Die Hard," the walking over glass part was one that I always remembered. But I do like the slow motion Alan Rickman falling, so I might still do that one.
I do multiples from films quite often. "Jurassic Park" has about 5 "Great Showdowns" currently. "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" also has about 5. Spielberg movies always have a million good showdown moments. The sillier the better, to me. I like to put smiley faces on objects, so that is already a bit silly.
Do you have a master list somewhere and if so, how many showdowns are currently on it? Can we expect a second book or at least many more pieces in shows to come, or have you closed the door on this theme?
I have a huge master list. Like hundreds of films. There are still so many that I still need to see and so many that I must re-watch in order to recall the sweet moments. There are also some films that I have been struggling [with], trying to decide on the right moment to depict. People are always making suggestions, which I love because I need to be reminded of what movies exist. There are so many!
Do each of the films represented in the book mean something to you?
I try to do films that I dig or have affected my life in some way. Films that have stuck with me. Some are more obscure than others. I try to have a good balance of mainstream versus obscure so everyone can have a good time trying to figure them out. The movie buffs can identify those obscure ones and feel proud of themselves while the more obvious ones can satisfy all the people. But really it's always pretty satisfying to realize the film, I think.
There is no index in the book — what's the reason behind this? If we don't know one, is it up to us to simply broaden our film knowledge until we understand?
Yes, there was much discussion about this. In the end, we decided that mysteries can continue as people show other people the book and talk amongst themselves. I like to encourage working together! There will probably be a place online for people to get all of the answers as well.
I'm only asking because I assume you know this off the top of your head — what are your top ten films of all time?
"Star Wars: A New Hope," "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy, "City Of Lost Children," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Boogie Nights," "Planet of The Apes," "A Fistful Of Dollars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "The Exorcist" and "Dr. Strangelove."
You can find all of Scott C.'s work at Pyramidcar.com, and catch the rest of his illustrations at Greatshowdowns.com. Pick up a copy of the book yourself at all major bookstores, or on Amazon right here.