So this week we watched Cosmopolis, a film from 2012 by David Cronenberg, which, shockingly, doesn’t really involve malevolent technology, monsters, heads exploding, people turning into giant insects, or anything like that.
Well okay, maybe it kind of does involve monsters (of the human variety) and malevolent technology, but not in the usual Cronenberg manner.
Wife: “What is this?”
Me: “This is Cosmopolis.”
Wife: “What’s it about?”
Me: “Robert Pattinson trying to get a haircut.”
Okay, maybe that plot analysis is just a bit reductive; but in my defense, the movie had been sitting way down towards the bottom of my queue for a long time at this point, and would probably still be way down there, if not for this:
Me: “I don’t remember where I heard about this movie or why I put it in the queue, but I just moved it up to the top because I recently found out that Metric did the songs for it.”
Now, wanting to hear the soundtrack may sound like a pretty thin reason to watch a movie, but there’s precedent for it. Many years ago, I bought* the soundtrack to a film called Brokedown Palace because I wanted one** of the songs on it, “Silence”, by Sarah McLachlan and Delerium:
I probably had this soundtrack in my collection for at least 15 years before I finally got around to watching the movie, mainly because I wanted to see how they used the music in the film, which, for those who don’t know, was a cheerful little travelogue about a couple of girls who go on vacation in Thailand and get in a little bit of trouble by failing to maintain control of their luggage.
Something similar happened with the soundtrack to the 1998 version of Great Expectations, which I bought*** at some point in order to get the song “Walk This Earth Alone”, by Lauren Christy:
I probably had that soundtrack for a good ten years before getting around to watching the movie, which just happened during the pandemic.**** Anyway I figured I would do the same thing with Cosmopolis, i.e., watching it to establish some context for the soundtrack, just without, you know, waiting so long. So anyway, I put in the disc and we started watching the movie, and we***** waited to hear the Metric songs. And waited. And waited.
Me: “Not only do I not hear any Metric, I don’t hear any music at all.”
Wife: “Are you sure these songs actually exist?”
Me: “Yes, I already bought the soundtrack.”
Wife: “Well maybe it was just ‘music inspired by the film’ and it’s not actually in the movie. I bet they won’t play any of it until the credits.”
We watched about 20-30 minutes of the movie before my wife got bored and fidgety. It was a little too early for her to fall asleep, but if it had been a little bit later, she definitely would have.
Wife: “This is The Breakfast Club in a limousine.”
Me: “Do you want to watch Mrs. Maisel for a while instead?”
So we put Cosmopolis on pause for an episode of Mrs. Maisel, after which my wife was ready to nod off, and I went back to the movie and waited some more to hear Metric on the soundtrack. And waited. And waited. And waited. And then the movie ended and the credits rolled, and then …
At this point it was time for bed, so I had to wake my wife up so that she could go in the other room and go back to sleep. But first, she had questions.
Wife: “Is the movie over?”
Wife: “Did they ever play one of your songs?”
Me (beat): “Over the end credits.”
Wife: “I knew it!!!”
As for the movie, I did like it despite its lack of Metric songs and its dearth****** of exploding heads, but then, I like just about everything (just about …), which is of course why the movie rating system around here is how long it takes them to put my wife to sleep.
* This soundtrack turned out to be a rather expensive purchase because it introduced me to various artists whose albums I also ended up buying, including Plumb, Nelly Furtado, Solar Twins, and Brother Sun, Sister Moon. But I digress.
** For any of you youngsters who may stumble across this post, we used to sometimes have to buy an entire album just to get one song. And we had to go to the music store to do it.
*** This soundtrack also turned out to be a rather expensive purchase because it introduced me to the bands Mono and, in particular, Fisher—the proper Fisher, not the DJ with the sunglasses—all of whose albums I proceeded to subsequently acquire. But I digress again.
**** We watched a lot of movies during the pandemic.
***** Meaning me.
****** But not total absence …