It’s 2 a.m. and you awake with a jerk, alone in your fully lit apartment and still on the couch. On TV, the credits of some movie you’ve already seen a billion times are scrolling by. It feels like rock bottom. And we know, because we’re just like you: single.
Need a movie to keep you company until you literally can’t keep your eyes open? Join us tonight when we pass out to Once [starting @ 11 p.m. on @Max]
Why we’ll try to stay up and watch it: As if we needed more proof that sometimes the best movies are the most simple, here’s Once. John Carney’s minimalist tale of unrequited love is so sparse and uncluttered (it barely hits 85 minutes with credits) that the mere thought of it working seems like a put-on—back in the summer of 2007 when Once was the indie belle-of-the-ball and you couldn’t walk three feet without someone saying how good it was, we bristled at the prospect of seeing a “musical” fronted by an Irish folk singer. Cut to December of that year when we finally got it from Netflix and … well, let’s just say we needed to find an extra box of Kleenex. Tears! Once doesn’t just wear out your heart muscles, it sticks with your soul like a hearty breakfast.
Clearly, the reason for the successes here lies within chemistry. Obviously when you’re dealing with films about relationships, the spark produced between the two leads is of utmost importance. (Part of the reason why (500) Days of Summer doesn’t congeal as it should is because you never get the idea that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel could be anything other than friends.) In Once, the Guy and the Girl—no names allowed, which helps add to the simplicity of the story—are played by lead singer of the Frames, Glen Hansard, and Czechoslovakian singer-songwriter Marketa Iglova, and the electricity flying between them is impossible to resist. Don’t think it doesn’t hurt us now to know that the real-life couple—they got together post-Once, natch—has broken up. We thought those kooky kids were going to make it!
When we’ll probably fall asleep: While we could easily stay awake until the tearful conclusion, we’re not sure we want to cry that much before we go to sleep. So! Instead, we’ll punch out a bit earlier, around midnight, 60 minutes in, when the Guy and Girl record the song “When Your Mind’s Made Up” at a studio to the delight of even the beleaguered engineer. It’s a clichéd moment, sure, but it’s also really a good song! And that’s the sneaky thing about Once: It shouldn’t be anything all that special, and yet it really is. Where are those tissues again?