Monday, November 24, 2008

FILM: Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist

Okay, enough about Prop 8 for a little while. I've got a backlog of films and books to catch up on. Though my blogging has been patchy, I'd like to make it through the year having blogged every film I saw and every book I read.

About a month ago, we saw Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. While nothing profound, it was a fresh and entertaining film, capturing the feel of an all-night music-driven bar-crawl across New York City. Anyone who's been clubbing all night knows that the energy of the night has its ebbs and flows, moments when the stimulation breaks and the tiredness catches up with you, but then moments when the right tune or word re-energizes you again. This film did a great job of capturing that feel of an all-nighter, with the lulls capturing that dull feeling reminiscent of Lost in Translation, but then the next moment bringing a crazy energy like Go. Michael Cera and Kat Dennings bring authenticity to the title characters, making me truly remember (for the first time in over a couple decades) what it felt like to be in high school, when you cared what eveyone else thought even when you pretended not to, and when you first discover how powerful it can be to share your vulnerable self with someone else. Sure, Michael Cera is making a career of playing more or less the same soft-spoken earnest character as in Superbad and Juno, but it's a good character, and subtly deeper here. (Besides, I can think of other great actors who made a career playing more or less the same character. Richard Dreyfuss, for example.) There's a larger network of characters who have various links, some obvious and some hidden, and who cross paths in some unexpected ways, and there are some amusing subplots involving a lost drunk friend and the amazing travels of a piece of gum. But this film isn't quite as plot-driven as Go in that regard, it's more about characters and texture and music. And director Peter Sollett mixes these elements masterfully. Like a great playlist.

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