Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Run Time: 99 min
Director: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Campbell Scott, Bridget Fonda, Matt Dillon, Kyra Sedgwick, Bill Pullman, Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeremy Piven, Eric Stolz
For a large portion of my life, people have been telling me that I should really see this movie, and that I would absolutely love it. "Its sooo you" these (mostly former) friends of mine would say as they grabbed my arm with enthusiasm. Although I did not see it until a little over a week ago, it has been on my internal Netflix queue since high school.
Now that I've at last seen the movie, I'm retro-actively insulted. Fuck all those people who told me I would love Singles! Damn them to heck. I mean, if they thought Singles was "sooo me" then they were never my real friends at all.
Ok... so now I'm getting a bit defensive. Let's examine why...
While the judgement of these people who I used to know could very well be questionable, they had a point in recommending Singles to 15 year-old me. Singles is a mess of a film that caters to the mentality of a self-absorbed child who has no sense of the world outside of themselves. I mean, we were all fifteen once, but not all of us wore knee high Doc Martens.
...and there is so much to move on to. So many points of attack. Let's focus on the characters for now.
The four central characters in the movie are Janet (Fonda), Steve (Scott), Linda (Sedgwick), and Cliff (Dillon). There's also some red headed woman who makes a video for a dating service. Nobody cool plays her. Steve is likely the voice of Cameron Crowe in the movie. For all intents and purposes, he is a homeless woman's Lloyd Dobler. He is a whiny, lonely yuppy, who only hang out with this "totally awesome grunge crowd" because he wears band t-shirts. When he is not complaining about his ex-girlfriend, he is trying to design a train that will save the world and eliminate cars. He finds his soul mate in Linda, who is played by everyone's favorite chihuahua/cocker spaniel mix. She is a great match for emo wombat Steve. They are the ultimate whiny white couple who dabble in scenesterdom. Linda even has a nifty garage door opener.
Then there is Janet... oh Janet... How you remind us that Cameron Crowe has little respect and understanding for women, save Diane Court from Say Anything. Janet is a twenty-two year old barista who dresses all quirky-like (usually including some flannel), and hangs out with grunge rocker guys. Her boyfriend/obsession is Cliff. It is through this relationship that it becomes clear that Janet is a moron with no self-respect. Crowe's extreme misunderstanding of the "scenester girl who falls for emotionally distant musician types" is rather disappointing. Janet admits to starving herself for Cliff, and at one point goes to see about getting breast implants when he states an indifferent fondness for large boobs. I can tell you right now that this representation of the rocker/douche loving woman is ridiculous. A real-life Janet would justify and lamely excuse Cliff's mistreatment, instead of throwing down thousands of dollars for cosmetic surgery.
Or maybe I'm wrong. Matt Dillon is SUCH a babe in this movie.
And such an iconoclast.
To tell you the truth, Cliff is to a certain extent the only likable character. I mean, he's a jerk, but at least he's funny. While he certainly is every bit as pathetic as the other characters, he's pathetic and funny, as opposed to pathetic and insulting.
Its sad to think that Singles opened up the floodgates for all of those fun Gen X movies. Its even sadder that even Reality Bites is a better movie.
The truth is Cameron Crowe clearly had no perspective on this subculture.