Jon Brion has done a lot of things in his career, but one of his crowning achievements is probably his sprightly, dazzlingly happy score for the 2002 Paul Thomas Anderson movie Punch-Drunk Love. And on Saturday night, at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, Brion and the Wordless Music Orchestra performed a live score for the movie during a screening. As Pitchfork points out, another past Anderson collaborator, Joanna Newsom, came through as a surprise. (Newsom acted in Anderson’s movie Inherent Vice, and he directed her videos for “Sapokanikan” and “Divers.”) She sang “He Needs Me,” a song that shows up in the movie a couple of times.
Harry Nilsson wrote “He Needs Me,” and Shelly Duvall sang in in Robert Altman’s Popeye movie. It memorably plays in Punch-Drunk Love when Adam Sandler shows up in Hawaii to surprise Emily Watson’s character. From the fan-made videos we’ve seen, it looks like Newsom sang the song during that Hawaii scene and then again over the end credits. Watch some of those videos below.
— michelle buchman (@michelledeidre) March 6, 2016
Crying @ Joanna Newsom making a surprise appearance at this orchestral performance of Punch Drunk Love 😭 pic.twitter.com/LYC9itSIrb
— Breanne Thomas (@BreanneThomas) March 6, 2016
(what i wish i'd been doing last night) Repost @noritakei ??? So much fun tonight seeing Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love for the first time in ages with its wonderful score by Jon Brion played/sung live by #jonbrion #wordlessorchestra #joannanewsom. I love this song, I sing it to my popeye all the time. #paulthomasanderson #harrynilsson #livescore
Jon Brion will do another live score for Punch-Drunk Love 3/19 at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music; fingers crossed that Newsom will show up again. And man, can you imagine if Newsom and Brion did some more stuff together?