Friday, October 14, 2005

Crowespective: Love Seattle style

Play it: Rssmbld Sndtrck - Say Anything
Play it: Rssmbld Sndtrck - Singles

Besides an introduction into the film industry, Cameron Crowe's first two movies also introduced him to Nancy Wilson, who played small roles in both films. He married Wilson in 1986 and moved to Seattle shortly after. It's this move that plays a big part in his next two movies, which cemented him into being a director, and not just a music journalist dabbling in film.

Crowe made his directoral debut with Say Anything, and, like all his successful movies, it nearly didn't get made. It was orginally going to be Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist) but dropped out (going on to do shoot the bomb I Love You to Death a few miles south in Tacoma,) and Crowe was thrust into the role. One of the first things he did was fight hard to have John Cusack cast (over Kirk Cameron,) and the movie ended up being his launchpad to semi-stardom (and one of more then 10 that he appeared in with his buddy Jeremy Piven [who also appears in Singles.) The film was an unmitigated success, Entertainment Weekly recently (2002) even ranked it as the greatest modern movie romance of all time.

The soundtrack had another Crowe-moment where a song is forever etched in your mind w/ a scene. Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" was used famously in the movie, but interestingly enough, Crowe had commisioned The Smithereens to write a song for it ("A Girl Like You,") but thought the lyrics gave away too much plot. In the scene shot, the stereo Cusack holds up actually played a Fishbone song, but was later overdubbed with "In Your Eyes," after Crowe convinced Gabriel to let him use it.

This movie and his next (Singles) capture Seattle in fascinating times. Say Anything exhibits some of the innocence and hope for things to come that Seattle had in yards at the time, while Singles was shot at grunge's ridiculous peak, and most cynical period. One example of this is the band Mother Love Bone, who has a song (and band members) in both in both movies. They were an up and coming band in 1988, when the Say Anything was being shot, and guitarist Stone Gossard even had a cameo as a cab driver. By the time the movie made it to VHS, lead singer Andrew Wood was dead of an overdose.

The remaining band members (including Gossard) went on to form Pearl Jam and were cast by Crowe in Singles (along with new lead singer, Eddie Vedder, a San Diego transplant like Crowe himself.) The same Mother Love Bone song appears in here as well, but while it ("Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns") sounded like hope in Say Anything, by the time it appeared in Singles it sounded like heartbreak. Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Alice in Chains (cameo appearance) and Soundgarden (who also cameoed and had two songs in Say Anything) represented much of the music, but it really was Mudhoney that steals the show. Their classic "Touch Me I'm Sick" was reworked as "Touch Me I'm Dick" for the fake band Citizen Dick (featuring Matt Dillon w/ Pearl Jam backing him,) and they also contributed the great "Overblown" which was a cynical look at the exploitation of Seattle (and grunge.) The film's (unreleased) soundtrack also featured local faves Tad (who had a cameo) and Truly, which scores major points here. Paul Westerberg scored the movie, which was appropriate since The Replacements (and many from Minneapolis) helped foster the music scene that ended up exploding in Seattle.

Eric Stoltz watch: Plays a character named Vahlere in Say Anything, and a mime in Singles.

IMDB's soundtrack listing for Say Anything
IMDB's soundtrack listing for Singles

Crowespective: Big splash, then big bomb (Fast Times at..., The Wild Life)
Crowe, Elizabethtown & MMJ

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drake leLane said...

Rssmbld Sndtrck: Say Anything

* "Cult Of Personality" - Living Colour
* "One Big Rush" - Joe Satriani
* "You Want It" - Cheap Trick
* "In Your Eyes" - Peter Gabriel
* "Stripped" - Depeche Mode
* "Skankin' To The Beat" - Fishbone
* "Within Your Reach" - The Replacements
* "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" - Steely Dan
* "Chloe Dancer / Crown Of Thorns" - Mother Love Bone
* "Back In The Saddle" - Aerosmith
* "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" - Looking Glass
* "Take Five" - The Dave Brubeck Quartet

drake leLane said...

Rssmbld Sndtrck: Singles

* "State Of Love And Trust" - Pearl Jam
* "Drown" - Smashing Pumpkins
* "Overblown" - Mudhoney
* "Battle Of Evermore" - Ann & Nancy Wilson
* "Chloe Dancer / Crown Of Thorns" - Mother Love Bone
* "May This Be Love" - Jimi Hendrix Experience
* "Nearly Lost You" - Screaming Trees
* "Touch Me I'm Sick" - Mudhoney
* "Three Days" - Jane's Addiction
* "Little Girl" - Muddy Waters
* "Dig For Fire" - The Pixies
* "Heart And Lungs" - Truly
* "Blue Train " - John Coltrane
* "Radio Song" - R.E.M.
* "It Ain't Like That" - Alice In Chains
* "Family Affair" - Sly & the Family Stone
* "She Sells Sanctuary" - The Cult
* "Jinx" - Tad
* "Hey Joe" - Jimi Hendrix Experience
* "Bastards Of Young" - The Replacements
* "Spoonman" - Soundgarden
* "Breath" - Pearl Jam
* "Would?" - Alice in Chains

Anonymous said...

Singles was filmed years before the grunge boom..The studio was disappointed in the film and shelved it. They only later released it in hopes of cashing in on The Seattle Hype.

drake leLane said...

No, sorry, Singles was not filmed years before grunge... granted the films' genesis was years before grunge (was supposed to follow The Wild Life,) but that version of it was shelved before there was any shooting involved.

Once the film was actually greenlighted for shooting, it was right at the peak of the signing frenzy of bands in Seattle.