Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mistakes and Mixtapes

I never really know what to do on a Sunday. Unlike most of my friends, I'm not really into the whole Sunday football thing. Sure, I appreciate it, but it's hard to get into football, especially when you're from a city that doesn't even have a team. So how did I spend my Sunday? Naturally, I went to the movies and saw Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

I'm pretty sure that Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist was written and made for me. It just hit all the high marks that a movie of my taste should have and then some: relatable characters, coming-of-age comedy, unrequited romance, drinking at clubs and bars, and an awesome soundtrack.

Based on the novel of the same name, Nick and Norah chronicles the fateful encounter of Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) and their wild, magical night in New York looking for the secret show of their favorite band Where's Fluffy. The movie played out like a modern day John Hughes film as it followed the triumphs and tragedies of our musical obsessionists. I actually read the book about a year ago too and was happy to see that the film kept the integral subject of the book while making changes I felt made the story better. For one, it changed the musical tastes from queercore punk to indie music in order to give the movie a sweeter and more lighthearted feel. Second, it removed the angsty tone of the book for a more jaded outlook. Finally, it changed the intimate scenes from one of spontaneous act to a more tender and heartwarming moment.

It is true: music makes the world go 'round. I believe that music has the power to inspire, create, and connect. This movie, while yes I know is a movie, demonstrates that music can bring people together.

Haven't you ever had that moment? You know the one I'm talking about. You're passionate about a band, a band that is so dear and special to you for a plethora of reasons. Then, you meet someone. Naturally, the conversation turns to music, and you begin judging each other based on your likes and dislikes. You decide to take a chance and ask that million dollar make-or-break question: "So, what do you think of _______?" A million replies run through your mind: "They suck. Fuck 'em. They're ok, I guess." One answer could possibly determine the rest of your night. And like that, it happens. That person says, "They are my favorite band of all-time!" Suddenly, you have that connection, and the world continues to go 'round and 'round. Soon enough, you're making mistakes. Soon enough, your'e making mixtapes.

The indie music of this film perfectly complements our awkward protagonists. Cera and Dennings have undeniable chemistry that ignites the screen. They relate to each other on the level of equals as they both are still hurting from severely unhealthy relationships and do not want to make themselves vulnerable to heartbreak all over again. Hence, bands like Band of Horses, Devendra Banhart, Vampire Weekend, and Bishop Allen set the playful tone for the quirky night full of randomosity, eternal optimism, and potential heartmend and heartbreak. This movie speaks to the music of our generation and its avid listeners as they live with generational musical iconography like YouTube, MySpace, blogs, mixtapes, and iPods. It also doesn't forget to pay tribute to the forefathers of awesome rock music as it namedrops everyone from The Cure to David Bowie and gives special attention via a lovely monologue about The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

I have to make a quick sidenote about the supporting cast of the film. Incredible! Aaron Yoo and Rafi Gravron as Thom and Dev, the two gay members of Nick's band The Jerk-Offs were great catalysts and the logical thinkers of the film as they force Nick and Norah to explore this potential love. Even better, they don't cater to stereotypical gay characters in a film. It didn't define them, it was just one part of who they were. Alexis Dziena and Jay Baruchel as Nick and Norah's exes, respectively, acted admirably as the assholes of the film. We kinda loathed them, we were kinda attracted to them, and everyone's met someone like them. And of course, the Best Supporting Actress goes to Ari Graynor as Caroline, Norah's drunken best friend who provides the film's best comedic moments with her uninhibited shameless drunk antics during the wee hours of Manhattan. There's one scene where, well, let's just say I'm never going to chew gum the same way again.

The film didn't shove their romance in your face. Of course, you knew they were going to end up together as it was a familiar concept we've seen countless times in the romantic comedies of the 80s and 90s. But it was subtle. It was sweet. It unfolded and unraveled in front of your eyes so naturally and magically that by the end of the film, you too had fallen in love with the characters and didn't even realize it, until it was over. Once those credits started rolling, I wished it would just go on repeat and keep playing over and over, like an infinite playlist.

1 comment:

E.N.D. said...

oh how i have missed these posts. i give it two enthusiastic thumbs up