Yesterday, Feb. 9, marked the 10th anniversary of the opening of Saving Silverman, the cult 2001 flick starring Jack Black, Steve Zahn, and Jason Biggs as a band of Neil Diamond obsessives whose friendship, and band, Diamonds in the Rough, is ripped apart by Biggs' new woman, Amanda Peet. It all goes down in Seattle. Sorta.
Somehow this gem has slipped through the cultural cracks. Yesterday's milestone went by without a whimper. It's tragic, because in the rock-flick pantheon, Saving Silverman ranks with Almost Famous, High Fidelity, and This Is Spinal Tap among the best ever made.
1. Jack Black. This is his follow-up to High Fidelity, and he's just as "Barry" here as an enthusiastic member of Diamonds in the Rough as he was as the green frontman of Sonic Death Monkey/Kathleen Turner Overdrive.
2. The amazing script. "Neil! I want to party with you! I want to party with you!" Poetry, courtesy of Mr. Black. Also:
J.D. McNugent (Black): "What does a mime look like when he's having sex anyway? He's probably like: Oooooh, I'm a mime! I'm a mime!"
Wayne LeFessier (Zahn): "Dude, mimes don't talk."
McNugent: "They do when they're off duty."
3. Neil Diamond turns on his heartlight. "I've spent my whole life writing songs about the healing power of love. But until right now they've only been words. This may be my chance to prove that those words really mean something." Yes, they kidnapped Neil Diamond in the movie, even though they'd been banned from seeing his show at the "forum" ("forum" in Seattle?) for sending him so many letters and naked pictures. But Diamond still helps J.D. and Wayne get Darren back.
4. Amanda Peet is at her best. Her performance here as an overly dominating, prudish fiance will give you anxiety. And by the end of the film you want to kick her teeth in. Zahn gets to do exactly that while Diamond serenades them with "I Believe in Happy Endings."
5. Because "Holly Holy" is among the most underappreciated tracks in rock history. And in Silverman, it opens and closes the flick. The ending is nothing short of epic.
Give Silverman a second chance. You'll never look at Diamond the same way ever again.