Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I have the only key to your heart, I can stop you from falling apart

"Dan in Real Life" was a much better movie than it had any right to be. There was the harebrained plot and the presence of the wildly untalented Dane Cook. It wasn't quite as smart or funny as it needed to be.

But it was alright, mostly because of the chemistry between the leads, Steve Carrell and Juliette Binoche. There were no big laughs, but there were enough chuckles scattered across to make the experience of watching the film generally pleasant. And even Cook was well-cast in a role that turned his spectacular lack of charisma into a plus.

Anyway, the showstopper scene was a wildly contrived musical number featuring the brothers Cook and Carrell singing a love to the same girl (Binoche), who was Cook's girlfriend. What makes it work is the earnestness that Carrell puts into the number, betraying his heart in the process (in spite of the jackass singing beside him):

The song is a later work of Pete Townshend of The Who. It's a good enough pop song, if a bit saccharine. However, while trolling around YouTube, I chanced upon an absolute gem of a video of Pearl Jam performing the song in 1995. The band, particularly Eddie Vedder, were known for being huge fans of Townshend's work, and they show their love for their idol in the performance. Mike McCready's guitarwork was incendiary, and the electricity just raises the song up into another level.

And what about Vedder?! He just throws all of his weight behind the song and dares you not to get into it. And you fail, because he's Eddie fucking Vedder! He starts out strong, then takes it another level before slowing down a little, before releasing a primal scream, "YOU'RE SO LUCKY I'M AROUND!!!" Just, awesome.

(You're probably going to want this too.)

While we're on the topic, I chanced upon this old Rolling Stone feature on Pearl Jam, just before their self-titled second album. The article's author? The one and only Cameron Crowe, whose touch remained long after he fell in love with Penny Lane. It also came shortly after the band's cameo in "Singles" so Crowe got crazy access. It's a great read fifteen years after the fact, if you've ever been a fan of the band.

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