27 September 2010


Twelve Things about Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

12. Before you ask, no, I haven't read the book . . . and no, I probably won't. =P

11. And I should say that I didn't see the sex scene, either. The cable movie channel cut out most of it, and I didn't even know that Nick and Norah did anything beyond kiss--until I stumbled upon a lively online discussion about how "sweet" that scene was.

Well, colour me skeptical. For I didn't miss it at all, think that the story stood up without it, and was kind of disappointed to learn what really happens in both the movie and the book.

10. One thing my expurgated version reminded me was that it's really romantic when the person you love likes the same music you do. Then "your song" isn't merely a lucky intersection of your likes, his likes, and some good timing; it's the most meaningful track in your entire shared playlist.

9. Now for the stars . . .

I couldn't stand Michael Cera when I first saw him in Arrested Development . . . but that might have been because I couldn't stand Arrested Development itself. Now that I've seen him as Nick . . . and Bleeker . . . and Scott Pilgrim . . . I'm ready to think of him as the new, indy-esque Anthony Michael Hall.

Yes, that's The Brain from The Breakfast Club.
Cera is more of a Weird Science-type dork, though . . .

Anyway, I'm not saying Cera could have pulled off Hall's roles--or even that Hughes would have cast Cera in anything--but I do think that every generation of young movie lovers needs its cute geek.

8. Kat Dennings is a little harder to figure out.

= + +

She has Megan Fox's smoulder without the steely glint, Kristin Stewart's urban look without the Emo edge, and something very Hilary Duff without the indelible Disney sheen. I'm not sure whether I like her or not . . . but maybe that's because I'm not sure whether I like Norah or not.

7. I do like what Norah said about Tikun Olam--the Jewish belief that the world has been broken into pieces and that everyone has to help put it back together again. It explains why she loves Nick's playlists so much: they are broken pieces that make more sense after he has found a new way to fit them together.

6. I also really love Nick's car.

Norah: "You don't see many of these Easter eggs on the road . . ."
Nick: "Once you buy one, you see them everywhere."

And really, a Yugo is better than a Nova, right? ;-)

5. But my "favourite" thing about this movie was the Trainspotting moment. (Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting is one of my favourite novels--and the movie is great, too.)


In both movies, a character drops something into a public toilet and must decide whether the object is worth diving in for.

Trainspotting director Danny Boyle made his toilet scene more surreal by sucking Renton into the bowl and then making him swim through a lovely clear lake to get to his lost opium suppository pills. Boyle later explained that drug users live in a world that is both incredibly sordid and indescribably beautiful; but most people only see the sordidness and so don't understand why the users keep going back to their drugs. Well, maybe the lake will help.

On the other hand, there isn't much of a defense for what happens in the corresponding scene from Nick and Norah, which seems to have no purpose other than "toilet humour." It's my "favourite" part because it helped me decide what I really think of this movie--for while I like some of the broken parts very much, I'm not crazy about what we have after they've all been put together.

4. For what we have here is an epic--although the movie was about two-thirds done before I figured it out.

And the fact that this story of teenagers chasing an elusive Indie band from venue to venue counts as an epic is just sad. Sarcasm without a sense of the mock-epic is empty.

3. I was going to say that this movie's potential means it should have been the new I Wanna Hold Your Hand. (Heck, there's a reference to that very Beatles' song in the script!) But then I watched a few scenes from the older movie again, realised it was another empty pseudo-quasi-epic, and had to conclude that not even I Wanna Hold Your Hand was I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

2. I've been down on teenagers a lot lately, and it's probably just a side-effect of seeing my fourth decade on earth looming on the horizon of my life. Nevertheless, I feel like indulging my inner old fogey in a short rant.

Have you ever heard of the stereotype of "the guy who peaks in high school"? Nobody wants to be that guy. People want to believe they will go on to do greater, more meaningful things after they graduate and grow up.

Well, movies like Nick and Norah, which don't have much crossover appeal, are the kinds of movies that "peak" when the generation it was made for is in high school. There are some universal themes here, of course, but we see them through such a distorted, self-absorbed lens that they don't really matter.

1. My final word? I wanted to like it. I wanted very, very much to like it. But then I didn't. =(

Image Sources: a) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist poster, b) Anthony Michael Hall and Michael Cera, c) Kat Dennings as Norah, d) Megan Fox, e) Kristen Stewart, f) Hilary Duff, g) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Yugo, h) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist screen cap, i) Trainspotting screen cap


Sullivan McPig said...

Doesn't sound like a movie for me.
As for 11:
your cable movie channel sounds like the teacher for the religions class I had in school. We watched lots of movies in his class which featured religion and he always cut out the more intimate scenes.

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

Don't worry dear, you didn't miss anything with the "sex scene" it was just the sound of them fooling around and her finally getting her "O face" Haha.

Paul Stilwell said...

Great Twelve Things. So many films today come under this:

"Well, movies like Nick and Norah, which don't have much crossover appeal, are the kinds of movies that "peak" when the generation it was made for is in high school."

Though one could replace "high school" with other things.

You know what's funny? When I first watched Trainspotting I actually thought that toilets in that part of the U.K. just had enormous reservoirs of water underneath them - and that Renton actually went in.

In fact (now I'm really going to sound naive), I didn't realize the scene was meant to be surreal until I read this post of yours.

Enbrethiliel said...


Sully: I can think of a few movies from which the removal of a sex scene would be disastrous to the flow of the plot and the character development . . . but this isn't one of them! To tell you the truth, I think that if they had left the "sex scene" (Just borrowing Nicki's quotation marks now!) and the foreshadowing of it on the cutting room floor, they would have had a better movie.

Nicki: The whole time, I was thinking, "They'd better not be unwittingly recording this!" LOL!

Stilwell: Thanks! I kind of second guessed this post because I usually feature only movies I'd happily recommend. But Nick and Norah is kind of a good movie to talk over, because it does have that quirky spark, and that is what "Twelve Things" is for!

And I'm not going to tease you about your Trainspotting mistake! I can be the most literal person in the world about many things. You'd be embarrassed to watch movies with me . . .

(It also helped that I had read the book before watching the movie.)

antiaphrodite said...

Pffft. No horrible deaths. And were any songs actually worked into the film?

antiaphrodite said...

And the girl does kind of look Hilary Duff! More, I think, than Megan Fox.

Enbrethiliel said...


Yes, she is a brunette Hilary . . . but I wanted to be kind. =P

And Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing was successful worked into the story. Well, I'm sure most of the songs were; this one is just the most memorable. And that's another sad thing in itself.

antiaphrodite said...

And that's another sad thing in itself.

It would seem so!