In 1991, my best friend handed me a cassette for the album Nevermind by Nirvana saying, “You have to listen to this.” I still remember it as clear as day. We were walking from the bus drop off into school. That night my world was opened to the new music scene coming out of Seattle. From that moment on, I was an expert on Seattle grunge, and everyone who came after me was a poser. Or at least that’s how my closed-minded, teenage brain perceived it. So a year later, when Singles was released, the entire cast was chock full of posers and wannabes who were already too late to the party.
Since then I’ve watched this movie a number of times, and it gets better and better with every viewing. Maybe it’s just my nostalgia kicking in or maybe I wasn’t ready to watch this movie until I had been chewed up and spit out over and over again by the single, dating world. In truth, it’s probably a combination of the two.
Recently I re-watched Singles...again, and really forgot how great this cast was. Bridget Fonda, Matt Dillon, Bill Pullman, Kyra Sedgwick, Eric Stoltz, Jeremy Piven, Paul Giamatti, Debi Mazar. Most of these actors were just getting ready to launch their amazing careers, and Jeremy Piven skyrocketed just a few years later. Don’t forget about an amazing cameo from Xavier McDaniel too. Another fact that gets lost in the shuffle with this movie is that it was written and directed by Cameron Crowe. Yes, the same Cameron Crowe who wrote and directed Say Anything…, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous. As with any Cameron Crowe film, the music is incredible. He also manages to capture time periods with a sense of authenticity that usually isn’t realized until years or even decades later. Look at some of the other films that are set in the same time periods as Crowe’s. They’re usually over-the-top caricatures of some director’s or some writer’s memory. Crowe has a way of capturing the essence of something with an incredible realism.
Whether you grew up in the 90s or you’re a younger reader and want to get a real idea of the culture that gave birth to bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, I highly recommend watching Singles.