We use Pandora to listen to music in my office, and there is a LOT of Dave Matthews action. Today “Crash Into Me” came on, and I was thinking about when it was used in the movie “Excess Baggage”, starring Alicia Silverstone and Benicio del Toro (coincidentally, rewritten by one of my favorite writers, Aaron Sorkin). Ah, to be transported back to the nineties, swoon! To the world of camouflage fashion, heavy eyeliner, untidy hair, and alternative music.
In the movie, Alicia Silverstone plays a privileged but unfulfilled young woman who seeks her father’s attention by staging her own kidnapping. This role seemed to come naturally to Silverstone, who played the ennui-ridden leading lady seeking love for the better part of the decade, in movies such as Clueless, The Crush, and Blast from the Past. Jaded by the entitlement and luxury but starved for genuine companionship, Emily becomes attached to Vincent, the simple but sweet car thief who boosts her BMW minutes before she’s to be “rescued” from the trunk. Vincent is taken by her beauty and her provocative personality, and Emily is startled but mesmerized by Vincent’s seemingly antiquated dreams of love and enterprise in modern Los Angeles. The unlikely pair contend with Emily’s shady “Uncle Ray”, played by Christopher Walken, and Vincent’s bosses in the car theft organization. Along the way, each finds his/her deep-seated yearning for a human connection fulfilled in the other.
I love nineties movies. It seems that everyone in the nineties was trying to figure out what traditional values still made sense and what values had become obsolete in an age of technological advance. Consequently, many movies in the nineties were quite self-reflective, and, more often than not, quite self-indulgent. Movies now are mostly plot, but in the nineties the dialogue took up the most space, along with epic soundtracks–i.e. full songs played.
Of a similar vein of nineties films is Reality Bites, Boyz, Before Sunrise, all movies about love, long conversations, what values matter–which ones are dealbreakers in love–and which ones can differ without breaking up a relationship. These movies are not necessarily “about” a whole lot-although I would say Excess Baggage is one of the more plot-driven films in the aforementioned category, and centers around a staged kidnapping. They are more of snapshot of life, the components–job, love, and culture–that it consists of in the postmodern age.
Nowadays movies are more about a specific incident, concept, industry,etc.. A car theft operation, the pharmaceutical industry, and less about the people and the values behind them. Or perhaps I just don’t like the values and the people that movies are about these days. I do, however, very much like Excess Baggage.

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