Thursday, September 13, 2018


Once, on a TV talk show interview, Janis Joplin scoffed at critics who pounce on rock music for hidden, deeper meanings, when (as she put it), "it's just some guy going 'shoobie-doobie.' "

Janis might have been describing the middle-aged music fan whose obsession with an obscure, has-been rocker fuels the plot in Juliet, Naked. It's a wry divertimento for three voices: the obsessed fan, his neglected, fed-up girlfriend, and the reclusive rocker himself, the fantasy figure whose unexpected appearance in the others' reality throws all their lives into comic turmoil.

The movie is based on a novel by Nick Hornby, that droll English scribe so adept at probing those tricky places where pop culture fantasy and messy reality collide, especially in his first novel, High Fidelity.
In an English seaside town, Annie (a chipper and charming Rose Byrne) runs the local history museum inherited from her father. Approaching 40 herself, she's spent years in a relationship with Duncan (Chris O'Dowd), a transplanted Irishman who teaches literature courses at the local college.

But Duncan spends most of his time in the basement, administering his website devoted to all things Tucker Crowe, an American singer-songwriter who was on his way to cult status among a chosen few fans before he disappeared from the music scene 25 years earlier.

Fan Meets Fantasy: Hawke, Byrne, O'Dowd

When Tucker Crowe himself shows up (a frisky Ethan Hawke, rebounding from the gloom of First Reformed), an uneasy triangle between the three of them is inevitable, or there'd be no story.
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