' ' Cinema Romantico: Escape (The Piña Colada Song) Celebrity Sing-Along by Character Actors

Friday, March 20, 2020

Escape (The Piña Colada Song) Celebrity Sing-Along by Character Actors

Yesterday the social media world was aflutter with the faces of famous people, from Natalie Portman to Will Ferrell, gathered in their respective places of self-isolation by Gal Gadot to record smartphone videos of themselves singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Whether it was a sweet moment in the middle of shitstorm or merely the obnoxious out of touch crooning of the rich, who’s to say? I certainly don’t have the energy to debate it and I’d rather direct all my outrage at our ignorant, uncaring Slumlord-in-Chief, King Big Brain I, anyway.

Speaking of which, even if this celebrity sing-along was nice and all, I don’t know. I’m just not feeling it. It’s not emblematic of the national mood, I don’t think. You know what I have been thinking about a lot lately (not counting my own mortality and where to find toilet paper)? “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. No, not because it’s G-8, but because it was featured in the March Badness, the 2020 version of a yearly March Madness-style bracket about pop music from a specific era or a specific genre. Each song is argued for in essay and Holmes’s 1979 track was dissected by Nicole Walker. She wrote: “There is a reason “The Piña Colada Song (Escape)” has two titles. The dream and the specifics of the dream are at odds. Piña Coladas are frou frou drinks, easy to come by. Escape is, at least from yourself or from the planet, not easy at all.” You’re telling me!

And I realized, what the world needs now is not John Lennon’s “Imagine” but “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. But you can’t have Gal Gadot singing Rupert Holmes. Have you seen Rupert Holmes? He’s Social Studies Chic. No, for our celebrity sing-along of his magnum opus we need character actors. So. Let’s imagine [unavoidable, sorry] “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” as sung in snippets via smartphones at their homes by character actors.

We need a name to reel in the masses and so the first couple lines will be sung by Christopher Walken.

“I was tired of my lady, we’d been together too long
Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song”

We will then cut to Donald Glover, a real singer, to make it seem as if this is a real thing, not just subpar karaoke for no cause.

“So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed
And in the personals column, there was this letter I read”

And as we transition to the chorus, we transition to Steve Buscemi, singing in the key of Donny in “The Big Lebowski” drinking Slice, incredibly well mannered.

“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain”

Matt Malloy gets the back half of the chorus because I really like thinking of him and his whole associate dean crossed with soda jerk aesthetic singing this, shall we say, carnal couplet.

“If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
I’m the love that you've looked for, write to me, and escape”

The second verse, of course, is where Holmes laments the dreary recurring patterns defining existence. And who better to espouse such profound self-pity than a jaded Michael Shannon?

“I didn’t think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean
But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine”

Paul Giamatti, then, will take the baton because he could give the follow-up a kind of self-impressed spin.

“So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad
And though I’m nobody’s poet, I thought it wasn’t half bad”

Who gets that immortal moment of music diction “I am into champagne”? William Fichtner, that’s who.

“Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne”

Walton Goggins could make neutralizing bureaucratic rules and procedures a little bit sexy.

“I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape
At a bar called O’Malley’s, where we’ll plan our escape”

With things primed for a tawdry turn, Luis Guzmán is our man, a bit too high on his own questionable supply.

“So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face”

Shea Whigham will not only make a nation watching on Twitter remark in unison “That guy!“, he will bring the melancholy in these lines up in the mix.

“It was my own lovely lady, and she said, Oh, it’s you
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, I never knew”

Kevin Dunn will lead us back into the chorus, lazing in a recliner, maybe even clearly reading the lyrics off a sheet of paper, disinterested, yes, but also baffled as to why he is even doing this.

“That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain 
And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne” 

Kevin Corrigan, obviously, gets the second go-around with this couplet because he and he alone can make it sound like a man in a tuxedo pitching you dinner by candlelight at a trash can for two in the alley.

“If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape”

But then, when it seems as if things have become too real, we pivot to Billy Zane, emitting the vibe of that fake movie in “Poetic Justice.”

“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
If you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain”

And we end with Bruce McGill, in front of (what I can only assume is) his seashell green bathroom tile, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, getting the song’s hammer because, hey, Bruce McGill should be in everything.

“If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape 
I'm the love that you’ve looked for, come with me, and escape”

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