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.
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.
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