Singles (1992) — The dating scene in the ’90s

“Somewhere around 25, ‘bizarre’ becomes ‘immature.'”

PoolMan’s rating: I’m happy. Confused, but happy.

PoolMan’s review: In what might be an ominous move by my SO, I was coerced into watching Singles this past weekend. Having already spent the better part of a half-hour walking around my local Blockbuster, I was almost ready to watch Very Bad Things again out of desperation, so I agreed. Thankfully, I got a movie that didn’t make me want to put my eyes out with a hot poker.

Sorry, that didn’t come out right (residual bitterness from Very Bad Things is terrible). I liked Singles, quite a lot. This is a very offbeat, fragmented take on single people, dating, quirks, desires, living alone, and all the other great stuff that keeps us 20-somethings up at night. What makes it neat for me is that so much of it hit home. Is it true love when your date pulls your car door lock up for you? (I wouldn’t know, I’ve got power locks) Can you love someone you met in a club? For the love of God, HOW many days to wait before you call her back? The meat of the movie comes from all the little tricks, games, and mysteries involved in being in your early adulthood and single.

There’s a lot of good humour here — if you can live with the fragmented, jumpy pace. We go from one character to the next like Tarzan hopping vines. This can be a fun thing, or it can frustrate you, depending on your overall cholesterol intake. Generally, a character is led to a major choice or significant event, and BAM, you’re suddenly following someone else’s life. Thankfully, it all gets tied up in the end (and by no means predictably), and the overall result is satisfaction. Unfortunately, the movie gets a little too heavy-handed when one couple gets pregnant, and then has a car accident. I’m not entirely sure what the makers were trying to tell me with this scene. Something about not running yellow lights, I guess. Just seemed a little dark for such a quirky movie.

Speaking of quirky, big points for Matt Dillon’s character, Cliff. This obvious parody of the typical Seattle-grunge struggling musician is a riot. From the Eddie Vedder hair to the rather phallic name of his songs (“Touch Me, I’m Dick”) and his band name (Citizen Dick), he is downright the funniest part of this flick.

I had to check to see which was made first, Clerks or Singles, because I was frequently reminded of the Kevin Smith-style dialogue in this flick, and I thought maybe a little scene stealing was going on. It’s not nearly as good as Clerks, but it rings the same bell for me.

So here’s the scoop. Boys, if you’re afraid of romantic comedies, ease into the water with Singles. You’ll be okay, trust me. But keep my number by the phone in case you panic when she touches your leg.

Didja notice?

  • Cameos, cameos, cameos! Tim Burton (video director), Chris Cornell (man listening to car radio), Stone Gossard (guitarist), Jeff Ament (bassist/van driver), and Eddie Vedder (drummer).
  • Citizen Dick’s album name “Touch Me, I’m Dick” is a direct reference to the Seattle band Mudhoney and their song “Touch Me, I’m Sick.”
  • Outtakes after the end credits
  • Cameron Crowe himself is interviewing Matt Dillion about the name of a song [thanks to reader Mark]

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