In honor of Record Store Day, Cameron Crowe’s lo-fi 1992 touchstone Singles gets a Blu-ray upgrade with lots of extras.
Let’s not talk about Tinder. Or Hinge or Grindr or whatever new smartphone trick is supposed to obliterate loneliness now for right-swiping millennials. Instead, let’s revisit the dating rituals of 1992, so perfectly preserved in Cameron Crowe’s cult Gen-X classic Singles. Landline busy signals and unspooled answering-machine tapes are actual pivotal plot points. When someone has a pager, it’s because he’s a doctor (Bill Pullman, crinkly-eyed and cuter than a puppy). Video dating exists, but mostly as a VHS novelty; the true talisman of commitment is handing over your garage-door opener.
Romance, in other words, is still pretty analog for the new bohemians—including Matt Dillon, Kyra Sedgwick, Bridget Fonda, and Campbell Scott—who orbit around a Seattle apartment complex like denizens of a scrappier, less spandexed Melrose Place. Sometimes they sit at boxy desktop computers with blinking green cursors, but mostly they meet up at rock shows, hang out in coffee shops, and talk endlessly about love: finding it, keeping it, not blowing it with four-day callback rules. And yes, they’ve got a great soundtrack: Music is practically a main character, with club sets and cameos by grunge-era gods like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains. (Squint and you’ll catch cameos from Tim Burton, Paul Giamatti, Eric Stoltz, and Jeremy Piven, too.) There are more band performances in the EXTRAS, plus 25 deleted and extended scenes, including a whole relationship arc for Fonda and Pullman (who doesn’t even make it to first base in the final cut). Maybe it could have worked out, having her ditch her Doc Martens to become a doctor’s wife; most people’s days of rebellious orthopedic footwear are numbered anyway. But here they’re all still young and flannel-y and full of hope—and nobody needs an app for that. A–