Tuesday 21 June 2011

"You are literally like my musical soulmate."

        I have a list of films that I, without fail, watch once a month since the first time I saw them. These are Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Boat that Rocked and The Social Network. And well a Tarantino film, but they are on like a revolving basis. Apart from TSN and the QT flick, the others are not exactly great works of art. But they make me happy, and I think films that one rewatches a lot should do exactly that.

         Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist follows the adventures of one Nick and one Norah when they go to NYC one night to see the secret show of their favourite band Where's Fluffy. Nick has been heartbroken over his ex Tris for a month now, and his band The Jerk Offs/ Shit Sandwich/ Fistful of Assholes/ undecided, consisting of Dev and Thom, who are both redonkulously gay, want him to move on. His salvation comes in the form of Norah, a smart-mouthed girl whose dad is a big music producer, and who goes to the same school as Tris and is best friends with the very attractive, but generally very wasted Caroline. When Nick's band is performing at a club, Tris comes to show off her new conquest to the depressed Nick, while also taunting Norah about her messed-up lovelife. So Norah, who had previously noticed the cute Nick, goes up to him and asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes to ward off the evil little Tris, and kisses him. Thus begins their infinite playlist, and night. Nick's friends see that there is an obvious attraction between him and Norah, and decide to take the drunken mess, aka Caroline off their hands while they go find Fluffy, and perhaps true love. Amidst all this a lot of things happen- Nick gets over Tris, Nick's Yugo is used as a bedroom by Seth Meyers (!!) and some equally drunk woman, Caroline gets lost and finds Jesus, Norah comes to terms with her relationship between her and her somewhat boyfriend Tal, and they do find Fluffy.

       That was a gist of what the film is about. I have seen it so many times, that writing out its plot is oddly impossible. The story is based on the novel by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. I've read the book, and I was suprised to find that there are quite a lot of differences between it and the film. For example I would have never cast Michael Cera as Nick according to the character in the book. Sure he's sweet and chivalrous, but there's something very non-Cera about him. He is not exactly the Cera-brand cute... he's old school gentlemanly, and I dunno- Cera just doesn't come to mind.  And Norah is slightly painful; nothing like the super-gorgeous and quirky Kat Dennings. But I am glad that they did cast these two. They are one of my most favourite pairings ever- they are so sweet that they should make one's tooth ache, but the quarreling makes them all the more endearing.

       Cera is one of my top leading men in all honesty. I do love most of his films, even though he has made only a handful. He makes Nick so believeable- in his jealousy, in his desperation, in his honesty. He is funny, but not in a HA-HA kind of way, but much more subtle. Just a few lines here and there, and you know that he has a sense of humour, but not overly so. When he looks at Tris or Norah and whispers that he finds them beautiful, it's not a common compliment, but something quite sincere. Sure one may say that he does the same roles over and over again, but I think Nick stands out in all his quiet sincerity and earnestness. Dennings is just lovely as Norah. The screen brightens up whenever she smiles. Her make-up artist does a simple job on her- a bit of eyeliner and red lipstick, but it just looks so attractive. From her anger to her embarrassment to happiness, every feeling is so clear and well, charming. I can't help but smile at all her emotions, because we all feel like that at times, and if only some of us could look that good. God Tris and Caroline had nothing on her. 

       Speaking of, I also loved Caroline, who is played by Ari Graynor. She was hilarious in all her drunken-ness and did not shy away from barfing or belching or picking out a piece of chewing gum from inside the toilet (okay I skip that part everytime). Also Nick's friends- Thom played by Aaron Yoo, Dev played by Rafi Gavron and "beefy guy" Lethario played by Johnathan B. Wright, they were all very cute and funny in their own careless natures. I want friends like that- gay and funny and caring and at the same time, always after having a good time. The nemeses- Tris and Tal are played by Alexis Dziena and Jay Baruchel. Both are evil, conceited, and selfish. Again in the novel, the characters were different, in the sense that they were nicer and had more dimensions. But still I think that it is fun to have them as the bitchy bad guys, and then see them get served!

        One of my favourite things about the film is all the extras. There is obviously the afore-mentioned Seth Meyers. Along with him there is also Andy Sandberg, John Cho and Devendra Banhart and a whole lot of other people. They are just people from the streets screaming out random stuff, or pant-less alter boys, or creepy street-bums, or omniscient deli shoppers. I love them because that is how I imagine New York to be like- random, profane, mad and funny. 

        Nick and Norah has many of the things that I love to see in films. As already mentioned above- there are a lot of interesting characters. Another thing is the time-lapse. I love films that begin and end in a small period of time. This film gives me just that. Staying out all night, looking for a friend or an imaginary band or just the one, and that one night is all there is. In the book there is a very nice passage about this- 
"I shouldn’t want the song to end. I always think of each night as a song. Or each moment as a song. But now I’m seeing we don’t live in a single song. We move from song to song, from lyric to lyric, from chord to chord. There is no ending here. It’s an infinite playlist.
This is what the film is for me...and it's perfect.

         Lastly, and very importantly, the actual songs in the film are incredible. This film has one of my most favourite soundtracks ever. I literally got into so many bands after listening to the soundtrack, it's ridiculous! The songs add to the feel of the one night...of the magical and weird New York...of finding things and people.

          I think this is the perfect time-pass film. It's funny, romantic, light, musical, and the leads are a treat for sore eyes. For truly this film would have been nothing without the adorable and enviable chemistry between Cera and Dennings. It's a particularly good watch on rainy afternoons (Yaay! Monsoon's here!). Do watch.


  1. I've heard of Nick and Norah, but have never seen it - sounds like one to check out though!
    And I could watch The Boat That Rocked on a monthly basis as well, haha!

  2. Though I am not a Michael Cera fan (I am one of those that didn't like Scott Pilgrim), you have really made me want to see this film now, and I'm definitely going to give it a go!

    You kind of feel the same way about Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist as I do about My Own Private Idaho, though they are (probably) completely different films.

    Great write-up!

  3. I was quite enchanted with this film when I first saw it but the farther I've gotten away from that viewing the more than enchanting has worn off. I think a second viewing might be in order, but I can't say just yet what will come of it.

  4. @ Ruth- You should. It's very nice. Not your usual annoying romcom (and I'm a perennial champion for good romcoms so). Boat That Rocked is too much fun.. I really didn't get why people hated it so much.

    @Cherokee- Yeah I sometimes don't get why I'm a Cera fan, I just am :P
    Do give it a go. And yes I do think Nick and Norah are very different from My Own Private Idaho, but people do rewatch all sorts of films. I also watch the Pianist a lot...not on a monthly basis, but much more than whatever the norm for watching a 3 hour-long Nazi-oppression film is. And thanks so much!

    @Univan- It is enchanting...but I do understand not wanting to watch films after the first time if a long time has passed. Thanks for commenting anyways :)