Miranda July’s “Me And You And Everyone We Know” is a film that’s fraught with problems: meandering subplots that splinter off without resolution, tragically underdeveloped characters, dialogue that often resorts to vacuous platitudes and a resolute enamorment with its own sometimes-nauseatingly-twee quirkiness. Throughout the length of the film, we are subjected to several sequences that are meant to color our characters’ neuroses and bring us to an understanding of their worldview. And though they’re often charming in their own way, these vignettes feel more like self-contained short films stitched onto the larger fabric of the movie’s narrative, contributing little and instead diminishing the drama of their arcs.
And yet, despite all its flaws, it’s one of my favorite films. It holds together as a desultory mess of crippling doubt, false starts and dead ends; of beautiful character moments and imperfect human connections. It’s a film about connections. About wanting to touch, and wanting to be touched, and learning how to touch– not in a creepy way, but on an emotional and physical leve. It’s about the awkward, bumbling attempts at reaching out past the walls of our perception and finding each other, as fellow stumble-abouts, and finding comfort and solace. It’s about this absurd cast of characters, stuck in moments of doubt, finding their way out of them.
As someone fascinated by music and film and the dance they do together, there’s a lot to love in this movie. One of the most powerful scenes is accompanied by Spiritualized’s cover of The Trogg’s “Any Way That You Want Me”. Everything about it– the framing, the editing and the moments leading up to it– is absolutely perfect, but the ingenious song selection puts it in the realm of the sublime. “Any Way That You Want Me”, a rudimentary 1960s guitar pop relic, is a sweet, simple song originally performed by The Troggs (who basically cannibalized the main riff of their earlier mega-hit, and bane of every karaoke bar patron, “Wild Thing”). Spiritualized’s version plays up the wistful nature of the verses and drives the chorus towards a beautiful, cacophonous wash of guitars and what sounds like a Stroh violin warding off the waves of feedback and distortion.
To provide context as to what actually occurs in the scene is to rob the film of one of its great “a-ha!” moments, so I encourage you to seek it out. I first saw it in the 2006 edition of the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival, and just revisited it thanks to the magic of Netflix Instant, where it is currently streaming. You can also listen to the song by clicking the link below: