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“singles.”

October 27, 2013

I’m writing about this movie because I referenced it in a recent post.

“Singles” is a romantic comedy set in Seattle when grunge music was just starting to get attention. The movie was released in 1992, and features brief live performances from Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, and cameo appearances by three members of Pearl Jam, and the singer from Soundgarden.

This movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe who has made other hits such as “Say Anything,” “Jerry Maguire,” and “Almost Famous.” Crowe also directed the amazing Pearl Jam documentary, called PJ20, which celebrated Pearl Jam’s first 20 years.

The movie is one of the better romantic comedies I’ve seen. I try not to watch many of these, as most of them put out each year look awful. “Singles” is not all that funny though. It’s a romantic drama with some very heavy moments, and a bit of humor mixed in.

There is a sex scene in it that surprised me, because this film is rated PG-13. I feel the sex scene should have earned this movie an R rating.

The poster for the movie features the character Janet, played by Bridget Fonda, and Cliff, portrayed by Matt Dillon. They are one of two couples the movie focuses on. Janet is a very sweet young woman who is quite charming, but not exactly sexy, and that is something she deals with in the film. She is, like many of us, both confident and rather insecure, depending on circumstance, and who she is with.

Dillon is perfect as a dopey, self-centered frontman of a band. He’s got lots of attitude, and has delusional thoughts about being talented. The other members of Cliff’s band, Citizen Dick (a fictional band), are played by three guys from Pearl Jam – Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament.

The other couple the movie focuses on are Linda, played by Kyra Sedgwick (most well-known for her role in the TV series “The Closer,”) and Steve, played by Campbell Scott, who isn’t well-known, although he has appeared in many films. Linda works for an environmentalist agency, and drives a huge old gas guzzling car. She is quite sweet  and smart, but very cautious about relationships. Steve is a driven, clean cut, intelligent guy who works for the Department of Transportation.

Both couples have rather rocky, on again off again relationships during the film.

I like both women the main women in the movie. Their characters are very different from each other. Fonda plays an alternative, artsy woman with short hair and funky clothing.  Sedgwick is dressed in a conservative, classy way, and has amazing, long and flowing blonde hair. Nice to have two attractive women in this film, and have them be so different from each other.

There is one other woman in the movie who gets some screen time, and she is in the film mostly for laughs. Her name is Debbie, and she is played by Sheila Kelley, who, like Campbell Scott, never became famous. Debbie is stylish, a bit vain, and neurotic. She is trying to find a man by using a video dating service. Keep in mind this film came out back in ’92, before the internet was in common use. These are the days before internet dating sites.

There are other supporting characters in the film, including Bailey, played by Jim True-Frost. This actor’s last name just used to be True, but he married a woman with the maiden name of Frost. When they got married, they both decided to take the name True-Frost. True-Frost had a major role in the classic HBO crime series called “The Wire.”

Bill Pullman (who was a popular actor in the ’90’s, but not so anymore) shows up as a plastic surgeon specializing in breast implants. Actors Paul Giamatti (known for his roles in such films as “Sideways” and “Man on the Moon”) and Jeremy Piven (best known for being John Cusack’s best friend, and in practically movie Cusack has every been in) have cameo appearances, as does Eric Stoltz (he plays a mime.. you won’t recognize him), Cameron Crowe (the writer and director), and the rather eccentric but popular director Tim Burton. Burton has almost never appeared on film.

Wow.. an interesting cast, I’d say.

The film has an incredible soundtrack, which sold tons of copies. The soundtrack features such artists as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Jimi Hendrix, Mother Love Bone, Smashing Pumpkins, and more. Mother Love Bone’s best tune is on this soundtrack, and it’s my favorite song on the album. Hendrix’s song, “May This Be Love,” perhaps his most mellow tune, is also wonderful. Pearl Jam has two songs on the album, and neither of those songs in on any of their studio albums.

I was in Seattle once, back in 1989. The film really captures what the place looks like, and the feel of it. The movie is a sort of time capsule. It presents Seattle during a very exciting time when grunge is just starting to take off. For me, a big fan of several of the bands I just mentioned, this movie is really great, because it captures Seattle on film at this particular time.

Is the movie excellent? Well, no. I would say it is good. Worth watching overall, especially for people who fondly remember the music scene of the ’90’s, especially the “Seattle Sound.” I still listen to Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone (just the one song), and on rare occasions, Alice in Chains.

I had a copy of the DVD for years, but misplaced it, and ordered a new copy this past week, which arrived yesterday. Last night I watched the film for the 4th or 5th time. Yeah, I like it, Maybe you will too.

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