Eels' This Is 40 Outtake

I haven’t seen Judd Apatow’s new film, This Is 40, so I can’t really comment on its flaws or virtues, but I will say that I’m impressed by the film’s deep connection to music. That’s essential to the plot, of course, as star Paul Rudd plays an independent label honcho, but Apatow doesn’t skimp on the real-life talent giving his fictional world some verisimilitude. The soundtrack includes utter gems from Ryan Adams and Fiona Apple, among others, and Rudd is joined onscreen by a handful of musicians playing themselves, including Graham Parker and Bille Joe Armstrong. We’ve got a couple deleted scenes here, one featuring Eels’ Mark Oliver Everett, who plays a lovely version of “What I Have To Offer” before dropping the bad news: Eels will be leaving Rudd’s indie label and signing with Warner Bros. Hard to believe either Eels or WB would agree to such a pact in 2012, but hey, that’s the movies for ya. Watch:

The other outtake features Armstrong telling Rudd about a new project he’s hoping to work on, which will blend “Norwegian death metal” with Belle & Sebastian. This stuff, frankly, drives me nuts. There’s almost no such thing as Norwegian death metal. Norway is, however, widely renowned as the birthplace of modern black metal, having spawned Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal, Emperor, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Thorns, Satyricon, 1349, and a million others. Bille Joe then makes empty mentions of burning down churches and white supremacists, which are pretty obviously references to church-burning white supremacist Varg Vikernes, aka Burzum. So I think it’s fair to say that whoever wrote that scene fucked up, calling for the line to read “death metal” when it should have read “black metal.” It’s not exactly a crime against cinema (or music), but man, that kinda stuff just takes me out of the moment. If you’re peppering your dialogue with arcane music references, you absolutely have to get those references right, because if they’re wrong, the joke isn’t funny and the dialogue is dishonest. “Norwegian death metal”? Gah. I swear that’s the kind of thing my mother says. SMH. Watch it anyway:

Comments (13)
  1. Poor Paul Rudd. That guy can’t catch a break!

  2. One of my favorite death metal albums this year was Norwegian: Diskord’s Dystopics.

    I remember when Jack Osbourne called Meshuggah “Norwegian death metal.” Sigh.

  3. Ugh. It’s the misplaced specificity that kills me. Just call it “Norwegian metal” for crissakes.

    Metalhead problems.

  4. Yeah, I mean there are bands from Norway who play death metal, but they’re still pretty anomalous, and plainly not what the film was attempting to reference. It’s just really lazy writing IMO, because you’re asking your audience to recognize and laugh along with your references — Norway, church-burnings, white supremacists, haha — while not putting in enough work to actually understand or properly contextualize those references yourself.

    • It’s not lazy writing – it’s improv from Billie Joe. Dollars to donuts this exchange was not in the script. You saying “whoever wrote this” is lazy writing. If you’re operating under the assumption that the scene was indeed written, then look to the credited writer – Judd Apatow. Surely that’s less of an obscure fact to accurately nail than the lineage of Black Metal. Especially in a movie that is clearly a mainstream comedy, not The Decline Of Western Civilization 4: The Nordic Years.

      • There’s also half a dozen credited editors plus anyone else involved in the process (including Bilie Joe) who could have written that line; if Apatow penned that one, he fucked up. If he didn’t, someone else fucked up. I don’t think it’s improv because it builds to a climax and ties up with a really well-timed joke. I’m not saying Judd Apatow is a bad writer — I’m a pretty big fan actually — but if you’re making jokes about obscure subgenres, with direct references to those subgenres’ well-documented histories, then get the names right.

  5. E kicks ass:)

  6. Eels does not like to get fucked. Apparently. Is that scientifically accurate?

  7. I’m sorry, but I also do not know the difference between black metal and death metal

  8. The second wave of black metal was norwegian, however the very first black metal band was Bathory so black metal can be said to be swedish.

    • Or British if you consider Venom the first black metal band (they did coin the term), or Swiss if you consider Hellhammer the first black metal band.

  9. “Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted guitars, tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, blast beat drumming, minor keys or atonality, and complex song structures with multiple tempo changes”

    “Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw (lo-fi) recording and unconventional song structures.”

    SO what’s the difference?

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