USA 2008 Directed by: Peter Sollett Produced by: Kerry Kohansky, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz Written by: Lorene Scafaria Novel by: Rachel Cohn & David Leviathan Cinematography by: Tom Richmond Editing: Myron I. Kerstein Music: Mark Mothersbaugh Cast: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Aaron Yoo, Rafi gavron, Ari Graynor, Alexis Dziena
I like Michael Cera. He is one of the finest actors of his generation (although he really needs to stop being typecast as 17-something with relationship issues). Also, these soundtrack-driven films are usually my thing, so I gave NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST a try.
Nick and Norah are the odd teenage couple who are not really a couple, but through various circumstances end up driving through the nightly Lower East Side together searching for everyone’s favorite band Where’s Fluffy. Nick is playing in a band himself, Norah saw him perform on stage; they don’t now each other but get to know each other while cruising around in Nick’s Yugo in pursuit of the coolest gig in town.
Roger Ebert said of the movie that it’s not much of a movie. As far as conventional movie making is concerned he is right. Clearly, NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, just like the novel, doesn’t follow the usual narrative structure. Neither does 9 SONGS or most other films of this kind.
Now, NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST is not conceptual as Winterbottom’s movie, but it has one important thing in common with all other good “music movies”: it captures a feeling, the smell and sound of a night, its vibrant atmosphere, the unpredictability, the adventure, the excitement.
The whole point in making a movie like NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST is that you want to create that special atmosphere of that special night we all remember. So yeah, NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST it’s not much of a conventional movie. But it can be a wonderful memory.
There’s two ways you can watch the movie. Either you are Nick and Norah’s peer and watch it like an account of your own presence. Or you watch it for the good old times’ sake.
I’d say the peer thing works better with NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST. The movie isn’t sharp enough to be reminiscent of the night we first saw SONIC YOUTH playing, or HUSKER DU, or MY BLOODY VALENTINE. But then, NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST is made for kids that wear RAMONES T-Shirts without ever having seen them live on stage.
The movie is not very ambitious though. Enjoy it just like one of these mix tapes (sorry, mix CDs) and go with the flow.
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