Remember my enthusiastic endorsement of Once? Well, I forgot that there are people like my friend Josh who absolutely despise musicals, and they have grouped Once into that category and refuse to see it. The movie is a musical, but it completely re-frames the genre. Here's our late-night e-mail exchange:
PRINCE: I have seen Once twice. It is the best movie I have seen in about one year.
JOSH: But it's a musical, dude.
PRINCE: Jesus, I forgot that you hate musicals. But it is a re-invention of the musical. People don't really burst out into song. Songs are actually integral to the story. They're musicians, so they have reason to perform in different contexts. You have to trust me on this one.
JOSH: Okay, you give a powerful endorsement in my book, but correct me if I'm wrong: they sing dialogue that humans would normally speak.
PRINCE: No. No. You are wrong. They never do that. For example, at the beginning, the guy sings a song in the daytime on the street. He is a street musician. He then sings at night as a street musician. Later he composes a song using old video as inspiration, and then he sings it out loud. Another time, he is asked a series of uncomfortable questions that he doesn't want to answer. So he improvises something on his guitar that he always carries around to answer the questions. And many other instances that are more innovative that what I have described, but I don't want to give too much away. There is absolutely no sung dialogue. I have a feeling that the director hates musicals as much as you do. But he loves movies. And he loves music.
JOSH: Okay. You have me on the verge of seeing a musical. Really. But aren't you the dude who can't stand chick flicks?
PRINCE: This is not a chick flick. You will know when you see it.
JOSH: You like a chick flick. It's called Once.
PRINCE: Look, sometimes you feel like vagina.
JOSH: Just saw Knocked Up. Not a perfect movie, but very fucking funny. I will tap into my inner vagina and take Claire to Once.
PRINCE: I wanna see Knocked Up. Funny is good. I'm glad you're man enough to tap into your inner vagina.
—Reporting From Glendale, California