Gamespotting: Somewhere

, | Games

-“Shouldn’t you be in school today?”
-“It’s Sunday.”

Welcome to Gamespotting. Here we not only spot games in other media, but we also consider the context. Videogames often appear as props, and gameplay is used as generic behavior. A couple of guys on a couch waving about controllers when they could just as easily be pointing a remote at a football game. But sometimes an artist includes a game and shows gameplay for a reason. Sometimes videogames matter. That’s what we’re looking for here.

After the jump, Sofia Coppola knows the orange button

The film here is Somewhere, a 2010 film directed by Sofia Coppola. The game, Guitar Hero 5. I’m pretty sure it’s 5, based on the fact that the song the main characters are playing is “So Lonely” by the greatest band of all time, The Police. That’s right. I said that. Suck it.

Perfect song for this film, and I’m only just realizing this now. Had the song just been lingering there on the soundtrack it would have been too on-the-nose. Using it here gives it a kind of embedded feel. It’s still an obvious choice, but it’s also clever and wholly appropriate.

What’s beautiful about this instance of game playing in a film is how it works for the characters. How it serves to break the ice in a relationship that should not need ice-breaking. How it facilitates bonding in a totally comfortable way.

What’s more, from a practical standpoint, I love how Stephen Dorff is concentrating on working his guitar part. Watch that scene and watch his face. Look at his eyes. Recall how your friends look when they’re playing. So often you get actors in insert shots with a controller in hand, fake concentrating. Here it’s clear that he is playing, as is Elle Fanning as his daughter. Love that.

“Are you using your whammy?”