Perhaps it’s because it’s Boyfriend Season and I’d like to think there are women out there hunting me. Maybe I’m just an incurable romantic. Could be it’s SAD and I need a warm body to cuddle. Whatever the reason, I was in exactly the right frame of mind to fall in love with Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. I think it’s the first time I’ve watched one of my LoveFilm rentals twice before sending it back. And it’s only the second time I’ve decided to order a copy of the film for myself.
I’m not a rom-com fan, I usually go out of my way to avoid them. In several years of a film a week on Orange Wednesdays I think the only one we’ve seen is Love Actually (correct me if I’m wrong), which was mostly sugary sweetness wrapped around emptiness. Whilst Playlist has a few of the usual cliches, it is also full of details and characters to love.
Nick is the heartbroken bassist of the Jerk Offs- the straight third of a band without a drummer. Nora is the straight edge-y daughter of a famous father- mostly annoyed by the attention it brings her but not above using it to jump queues when the need arises- who’s in love with the mix cds Nick puts together for his bitchy ex. They meet when she asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend to annoy Tris- her “friend” and, though she doesn’t know it yet, his ex. From here the pair court- alternately bonding and falling out- over a long night of alternating quests. They want to find mythical band Where’s Fluffy? and must relocate Nora’s drunk friend Caroline, misplaced by Nick’s bandmates when they stop for hotdogs. All the while they’re pursued by Tris- who either can’t let her claws out of Nick or can’t stand to think of him with someone who brings out her insecurities- and hampered by Nora’s relationship with friend-with-benefits Tal- though she’s beginning to realise what a prick he is. It’s like the start of many relationships, albeit condensed, so it’s more realistic than your average rom-com. (And I’m not spoiling it by giving away the ending. For one thing it’s obvious and for another, it’s the getting there that’s the joy of the film.)
There’s a cool, indie tinged soundtrack, the camp Twelve Gays of Christmas (it’s not Christmas) and a cute sex scene which cleverly tells us all we need to know without showing us what’s going on and satisfyingly pays off an earlier scene. This isn’t a polished piece like so many others, and it’s more satisfyingly realistic for it.
It’s all set in New York- mostly Manhattan with a detour into Brooklyn as far as I could tell- so there’s the game of looking for landmarks, and places I visited on my one trip there. There’s Times Square, of course, and I spotted a Max Brenner through a window in one of the later scenes. Of course, because of all the films and TV series set there, we’ve all visited NYC several times. Which is one of the things that makes the “New York You’ve Changed” series at Scouting New York so fascinating. The eponymous Scout is comparing the city in films to how it is now. So far they’ve done Ghostbusters (part 1, part 2) and Taxi Driver (part 1, part 2 should be tomorrow).
Inspired by the Infinite Playlist (and the finite, but ridiculously long, playlist on my own computer) I want to write something romantic and funny again. I may finally get around to finishing Post and Publish, as I think I’ve been threatening every year since 2006. I may use it as a way to publish some of my favourite Spinneyhead posts, sliding them in between the fiction. I’d also like to film something in that vein, but that’s going to take a little longer. So, in the meantime, here are a few of the songs I’d put on my dream soundtrack-
Obligatory Cure song, possibly Why Can’t I Be You?
They all date me a bit, don’t they? A definite early ’90s feel to it all. Anybody else got any suggestions for songs that should be in films but never seem to make it?