I love Cameron Crowe films. The guy doesn’t direct a whole lot of movies, but when he does, I always enjoy them. He did Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire. Enough said. Even the horribly miscast Say Anything (that lead girl kills me every time) had great moments that really made me appreciate life a little more. And whether or not you liked or even remotely understood Vanilla Sky, you have to admit, the music is pretty brilliant all throughout. And the same is probably even more true with Elizabethtown (talk about miscasting! Seen Orlando Bloom in anything recently where he has to speak English and not some Elf language?). When you get frustrated with an actor sucking it up or a storyline that seems a bit ridiculous, the music cranks up and gets your feet tapping to send you off to somewhere else in only the way that great sound and picture together can. That’s what really drives a Cameron Crowe film. At times they’re like long, beautiful music videos. Sure the soundtracks are good, but they just can’t compare to having the film along with it.
After trucking through Elizabethtown the other day, I was reminded of a game I like to play sometimes around the house or on a nice long car ride. A few of my friends have been in on it. My wife is always in on it. Whether she wants to be or not. And now I’m thinking you need to try it out yourself. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. But I love the places it can take you.
Here’s what you do. Sit at your computer or car stereo and get some music going. You let a song play out for a minute or two, and then you go around taking turns on what would be happening in a movie with that song going on. Something sweet and romantic, something heartbreaking and hard to see, something new and invigorating? The game is more fun the more specific you can get with the situation. Really paint it out and create the moment. It’s great to see how a few people can bounce off each other and see the same scene. It can be even more fun to hear the same song but have completely different thoughts on it. When you’ve talked that song to death, move to another one. Pick a different artist. Find a new genre. Search down another mood. Rinse, repeat, and enjoy.
Here’s one to get you started. PLAY the song, think of your own story, and then read what I’ve written here below.
The Temper Trap / Sweet Disposition
No doubt about it, we’re dealing with star-crossed lovers here. It’s a Romeo & Juliet-meets-Great Expectations-type moment in the making. This couple is meeting up again after a long time apart…and of course, they’re not supposed to be together.
They are at a party with people all around. They’re both looking for each other, full of caution yet full of hope. Our couple makes eye contact across the room and slowly makes their way toward each other. They are constantly losing eye contact and then making it again, while trying to keep quiet and unnoticed by their surroundings, yet moving with utmost urgency. They’re constantly being pulled aside by different people trying to speak to them…but our couple is completely distracted.
Finally, around the minute mark, they’ve reached each other. They’re not even sure what to do. They cautiously grab hands and slowly make their way out of this place. By the time they reach the front door, they look back at all they’re leaving behind, look at each other, and then (at the 1:22 mark) head out running (probably in the rain…probably as fast they can…and with her holding her dress in one hand and his hand with the other).
What was yours like? Similar? Completely different? Now find your own song and do it again. It’s great every time.