Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Once (2006)

#44: Once (John Carney, 2006)

I was pleased to see last night that ongoing experiments rolling out advance word of my picks via the medium of powerful psychic vibrations have finally led to an instance of success. I salute Dave MacIntosh, who appears to be an authentic sensitive whether he knew it or not.

I have three movies on my list from the past 10 years, and am only entirely certain about one of them. This is not that one, but I sure like it a lot. It seems to get classified most often as a musical, but it's a musical in about the same way that the double-album Tommy is an opera. Set in Dublin, featuring a street busker with a recently broken heart who meets a Czech émigré barely getting by, it's steeped in a kind of rock culture that traces back to an era of nascent '60s exhaustion, as when Bob Dylan and the Band were down in a basement woodshedding. It's far more Richard Thompson than The Commitments, try it that way. But that's not right either because these songwriters and musicians are more plugged into all the lilting beauties of a romance, so keep that in mind too.

In many ways it works just like a musical. The main characters fall in love, they tend to break out in song (albeit in naturalistic settings such as recording studios), and the lyrical concerns of those songs advance the plot. But what a love story, and what songs. Nothing is exactly what you expect, and everything ends up a little better than you could dare hope. The video at the link below is not a clip from the movie, more like a pastiche of them, which is just as well in this case. You want to see the song it features, "Falling Slowly," from inside the full context of its movie moment. It's one of those not soon forgotten, the point when I first saw Once when I realized I was witnessing something very special.

"Take this sinking boat and point it home / We've still got time"

Phil #44: Heart Like a Wheel (Jonathan Kaplan, 1983) (scroll down)
Steven #44: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

This is all now mostly somewhat by way of an inside joke within the group, so may not make much sense without its context, which was that the night before I posted this one of the commenters in our Facebook group, Dave MacIntosh, showed up and asked, Hey, anyone seen that Once movie, kinda intrestin' picture, etc., etc., and I felt constrained to respond, what with all the synchronicity of having already written it up as my next pick and so forth, so maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, I wanted to get a few 21st-century titles onto my list so this is where I started with that, not least because it was something I had already written about here. This was the first but not the last time that I would cannibalize myself to write these (and furthermore, I have already since cannibalized some of these for here). I definitely still like the movie a lot, I must say. It has been exceedingly good every time I have looked at it so far. Who knows how I will feel in, say, 15 years' time? It's impossible to know right now.

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