Flannel-clad Nirvanabes who have never lived in Seattle may miss the native humor that provides some of the funniest gags in Singles. For full effect, try using your VCR’s slow-mo to catch these inside jokes:
*Cliff Poncier’s (Matt Dillon) Green River T-shirt makes subtle reference to the real-life seminal Seattle group that included two of his bandmates (Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, currently of Pearl Jam). In fact, much of Dillon’s wardrobe belonged to Ament, and his movie apartment was based on Ament’s own pad.
*Cliff’s band, Citizen Dick, performs ”Touch Me I’m Dick,” a parody of the Mudhoney single ”Touch Me I’m Sick” — one of the first songs to draw national attention to the Seattle sound.
*The scorn heaped by a mime (Eric Stoltz) upon a random scenester who boasts, , ”I build airplanes,” is only fitting since nearly every other person in Seattle seems to work for Boeing.
*Sprinkled among the film’s big-name cameos (Tom Skerritt as the mayor, Tim Burton as a rising video director) are several local heroes: Sportscaster Wayne Cody interviews former SuperSonic Xavier McDaniel; Chad Blake, a scenemaker known for stapling band fliers, puts up a Citizen Dick poster; bulky singer TAD accidentally picks up a phone call from Janet Livermore (Bridget Fonda); Sub Pop records cofounder Bruce Pavitt tries to land a date on video; filmmaker Gus Van Sant Jr. (My Own Private Idaho) and Mudhoney vocalist Mark Arm load furniture; Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell watches a car self-destruct; and legendary Seattle stage diver Larry Steiner moshes during a concert.
*Cliff’s boast to an interviewer (played by writer-director Cameron Crowe) that ”We’re really big in Europe” alludes to the fact that many Seattle grunge bands were hugely popular abroad before getting anywhere near Billboard’s charts.