Not long ago, I was digging through a cabinet full of VHS tapes, looking for this week’s movie, Chasing Amy (1997), which I honestly haven’t watched in years. I was inspired to find it and watch it after listening to Kevin Smith and Jason Lee both discuss it on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show recently. I’ve been meaning to get it on DVD, but I’m a total cheapskate, so I haven’t committed to spending the money to buy it.
As I watched the movie in all its ten-year-old, VHS-taped-from-cable glory, I started wondering if it had a soundtrack album, and if so, was it still in print? Turns out there never was an official soundtrack. How about that? So I decided to find what I could for a Soundtrack Saturday post. And here it is.
Chasing Amy is a love story as only Kevin Smith could tell it, the tale of the unlikely romance between two comic book artists: Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), a straight man, and Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), a lesbian woman. The two first meet at a comic con that Holden and his best friend, fellow artist Banky Edwards (Jason Lee), are attending to promote their comic, Bluntman and Chronic. Holden is instantly attracted to Alyssa upon being introduced to her by their mutual friend, gay, militant, black cartoonist Hooper X (Dwight Ewell).
But not long after their first meeting, Holden learns she’s gay, which freaks him out a little at first. Eventually, though, he warms up to Alyssa, and the two become fast friends. They start spending a lot of time together, which bugs the shit out of Banky — he just can’t understand why Holden would devote so much time to a woman who doesn’t want to fuck him.
After a while, Holden’s feelings for Alyssa deepen into something beyond friendship; one night he just can’t keep his feelings to himself anymore and tells her he loves her. At first, she’s angry with him for saying how he feels, and tells him she thinks he’s being unfair to her since he knows she’s a lesbian. But she quickly reconsiders, confessing that she loves him as well, and the two begin a romantic relationship.
Once Banky finds out that Holden and Alyssa are a couple, the tension between him and Holden escalates — he’s determined to prove that Alyssa’s no good, and begins digging up dirt about her past. He finds out that she had a threesome in high school with two douchebag classmates, which garnered her the oh-so-subtle nickname of “Finger Cuffs.” This bit of information really shakes Holden up, as he believed he was the only man Alyssa had ever been with.
Holden decides to confront her about “Finger Cuffs,” and during a heated argument in the parking lot at a hockey game, she recounts her sexual past to him. In doing so, she reveals that she’s not a lesbian in the strictest sense, and she apologizes for allowing Holden to believe he was the first — and only — man she’d ever had sex with. She refuses to apologize for her past, though, which leaves Holden confused — and feelings between them unresolved.
After a lunch with the Bluntman and Chronic muses, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), during which Silent Bob tells the tale of his lost love, Amy, Holden decides he knows exactly how to repair his relationships with both Alyssa and Banky. He asks them both to come over to his apartment and tells them that the only way things can be fixed is for them to have a threesome of their own. Banky is initially disgusted by the idea, but eventually agrees to participate. But Alyssa tells Holden that his plan won’t save their relationship, and even though she loves him, she won’t go down this path with him. She won’t be his whore. Happy that the threesome isn’t going to happen after all, Banky decides to move out of the apartment he and Holden share, ending their friendship.
The movie doesn’t end there, though. It has one of those fun “one year later” scenes that wraps everything up for you. Or does it? If you’ve never seen the movie, you’ll just have to watch for yourself to find out. That is, if I haven’t already ruined it enough for you.
Shortly after I first saw Chasing Amy, I watched Janeane Garofalo’s 1997 HBO stand-up special — the same one I mentioned in my post about The Matchmaker — and she talked about the film’s “I love you” scene. I found that bit to be extremely funny because I really identified with her observation that something like that would never happen to her, as well as her reasons why it wouldn’t. I still do. So I thought I’d share the clip with you. The first four minutes or so are about Chasing Amy (she does digress a little in the middle of her story), but I recommend you watch the whole clip since it’s funny as hell.
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So, about the soundtrack — I think it’s pretty fucking fantastic. It’s a great mix of genres and eras of music: rap, hip-hop, dance, ska, soul, and rock from the ’60s through the late ’90s. If you clicked on the link in the second paragraph of this post, you’ll already know why the soundtrack wasn’t released and that Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum composed the score and acted as music consultant. Job well done, Dave. Or should I say: “Snootchie Bootchies!”
Dave Pirner – Tube of Wonderful
Ernie Isley – Let’s Go
The Meters – Live Wire
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – The Impression That I Get
Gwen Guthrie – Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But the Rent
Run-D.M.C. – Run’s House
Luke (a.k.a. Luther Campbell) – It’s Your Birthday
Joey Lauren Adams – Alive
K5 – Red Alert
Faithless – Insomnia (Monster Mix)
K5 – Passion
Flipp – I Don’t Care
Choreboy – We’re in It for the Money
Liz Phair – California
The Hang Ups – Jump Start
Barbara Lewis – Puppy Love
Petra Haden – Prelude #2 in C Minor
Petra Haden – Red
Annette Peacock – My Mama Never Taught Me How to Cook
Soul Asylum – Lucky One
Public Enemy – Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya Man
Sponge – Have You Seen Mary?
Whodini – Be Yourself
Coal – Stay
Soul Asylum – We 3