Singles (1992 film)

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Singles
Singles poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Cameron Crowe
Produced by Cameron Crowe
Richard Hashimoto
Written by Cameron Crowe
Starring Bridget Fonda
Campbell Scott
Kyra Sedgwick
Matt Dillon
Music by Paul Westerberg
Cinematography Tak Fujimoto
Ueli Steiger
Edited by Richard Chew
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • September 18, 1992 (1992-09-18)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million
Box office $18,471,850

Singles is a 1992 American romantic comedy film written, co-produced, and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film stars Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick, and Matt Dillon.

Plot[edit]

Singles centers on the lives of a group of young people, mostly in their 20s, living in an apartment block in Seattle, Washington, and is divided into chapters. It focuses on the course of two couples' rocky romances, as well as the love lives of their friends and associates. The film stars Bridget Fonda as Janet, a coffee-bar waitress fawning over Cliff, an aspiring, yet slightly aloof rock musician (Matt Dillon) of the fictional grunge/rock band Citizen Dick, Kyra Sedgwick and Campbell Scott as Linda Powell and Steve Dunne, respectively - a couple wavering on whether to commit to each other, and Sheila Kelley as Debbie Hunt, who is trying to find Mr. Right - a man who would make an ideal romantic partner - by making a video to express her desire. The events of the film are set against the backdrop of the early 1990s grunge movement in Seattle.

In the end, aside from some setbacks, Debbie meets her perfect significant other at an airport, Linda and Steve finally commit to each other (Steve leaves the apartment block to be with Linda), and Cliff accepts Janet after realizing that she loved him all along. As the camera pans away from the apartment building, voices of various people comment on how relationships would work and whether they like someone or if they like them.

Cast[edit]

Cameron Crowe wrote the part of Janet Livermore specifically for Bridget Fonda to play. Jennifer Jason Leigh was Crowe's first choice for the role of Linda Powell. When she turned it down, Jodie Foster, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Robin Wright Penn were all under consideration before Kyra Sedgwick won the part.

There are brief and early appearances from actors Victor Garber, Paul Giamatti, Jeremy Piven and Eric Stoltz (whom Crowe has said is in all of his films, and who in this film plays the loudmouthed mime), and a rare onscreen appearance from director Tim Burton. Cameron Crowe himself has a cameo as a rock journalist at a club.

The film includes cameos from key bands from the Seattle music scene of the time, such as Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and grunge favorite Tad Doyle (lead vocalist of the Seattle bands Tad and Hog Molly). Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, and Eddie Vedder, all members of Pearl Jam, have small parts as members of Matt Dillon's character Cliff Poncier's fictional band Citizen Dick. Their parts were filmed when Pearl Jam was known as Mookie Blaylock. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has a cameo as the guy who comes out to listen to a car radio. He also appears in a later scene with his band Soundgarden performing the song "Birth Ritual". The members of Alice in Chains also appear in the film as a bar band, playing the songs "It Ain't Like That" and "Would?". Longtime Seattle sportscaster Wayne Cody also makes a cameo.

Production[edit]

The film was shot at a number of locations around Seattle and includes scenes at Gas Works Park, Capitol Hill, Jimi Hendrix's grave at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton and Pike Place Market. The central coffee shop featured in the film is the now-closed OK Hotel. The apartment building is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of E Thomas St & 19th Ave E. Additional concert footage was shot in the now-defunct RKCNDY bar.

The apartment building that was used as the main set for Singles.

Most of Matt Dillon's wardrobe in the movie actually belonged to Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament.[1] During the making of the film Ament produced a list of song titles for the fictional band, Citizen Dick. Chris Cornell took it as a challenge to write songs for the film using those titles, and "Spoonman" was one of them. An early acoustic version of the song was created and can be heard in the background during a scene of the film. Citizen Dick's song name "Touch Me, I'm Dick" is a word play on the song "Touch Me, I'm Sick" by the Seattle band Mudhoney. Also, in the inside cover photo of the soundtrack, there is a Citizen Dick CD with the track listing on the CD itself. One of the songs is called "Louder Than Larry (Steiner)", a wordplay on the Soundgarden album, Louder Than Love. The band name Citizen Dick is a play on the Seattle band Citizen Sane, which itself is a play on the 1941 film, Citizen Kane.

Reception[edit]

Singles holds an 80% critical approval rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 49 reviews.[2]

As Singles rode on the heels of Seattle's grunge music boom, the success of and buzz around the film's soundtrack largely eclipsed the film itself, which was not as commercially successful as either Crowe's previous film, 1989's Say Anything..., or his next film, 1996's Jerry Maguire. Nevertheless, Singles has been credited with inspiring a wave of films marketed towards a Generation X audience, spawning numerous imitators, such as Reality Bites and Threesome. Tim Appelo wrote in Entertainment Weekly, "With ... an ambling, naturalistic style, Crowe captures the eccentric appeal of a town where espresso carts sprout on every corner and kids in ratty flannel shirts can cut records that make them millionaires."[3] Meanwhile Seattle's The Stranger was less kind to Crowe's use of the local background, reviewing "he's relying on the general hipness of our little burg and on the star power of a few local musicians/bit actors to make a bundle of dough, and he hasn't bothered to back them up with anything worth remembering. Pleasant is about the only word I can think of to describe the thing." [4]

While completed in early 1991, the film was not released until September 1992. The film's release went through repeated delays while studio executives debated how to market it. Warner Bros. did not know what to do with the film, but after the grunge scene exploded, the movie was finally released. Warner Bros. Television tried immediately to turn Singles into a television series. Crowe claims that Singles inspired the television series Friends,[5] which ran successfully on NBC from 1994-2004.[6]

Soundtrack[edit]

Main article: Singles (soundtrack)

The Singles soundtrack was released on June 30, 1992 through Epic Records and became a best seller three months before the release of the film. The soundtrack included music from key bands from the Seattle music scene of the time, such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. Pearl Jam performed two previously-unreleased songs on the soundtrack: "Breath" and "State of Love and Trust". The Soundgarden song "Birth Ritual" and Chris Cornell's solo song "Seasons" appear on the soundtrack. Paul Westerberg of The Replacements contributed two songs to the soundtrack and provided the score for the film. The Smashing Pumpkins also contributed to the soundtrack with the song "Drown".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hajari, Nisid. "Northwestern Exposure". Entertainment Weekly. March 5, 1993.
  2. ^ "Singles Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  3. ^ Appelo, Tim. "Seattle Night Fever". Entertainment Weekly. September 18, 1992, p. 46.
  4. ^ Cook, Matt (23 September 1992). "Down in Front: Before and After Matrimony". The Stranger. 
  5. ^ DeRogatis, Jim. "As Crowe flies". Chicago Sun-Times. September 3, 2000.
  6. ^ "Friends" (1994). Internet Movie Database.

External links[edit]