Sad Genius, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 5 2011 @ 7:44pm

A reader writes:

I'm a huge Elliott Smith fan, ever since "Good Will Hunting."  One of my favorite memories is of the Oscars that year, with the contrast between the over-the-top spectacle of Celine Dion singing "My Heart Will Go On" and then just Elliott with his guitar singing "Miss Misery," both nominated for best song.  I saw Elliott not long after that at the 9:30 club in DC, and he refused to play the song, even though the crowd was screaming for it. He was clearly uncomfortable with the attention he was getting.   I remember him saying something like, "I have other songs besides Miss Misery…"

Anyway, on to the main point of my e-mail: One of my favorite movies of all time is "The Royal Tenenbaums." 

In the movie, the Luke Wilson character, a former tennis star who loves his adopted sister (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), attempts suicide.  I don't remember the order, but the songs before and after the suicide scene were by Nick Drake and Elliott Smith. (See where I'm going with this?)  Nick was a '70s British folk singer also known for sombre songs, the best ones accompanied just by acoustic guitar, who, yes, committed suicide in 1974.  (His music gained new life with the use of "Pink Moon" in a sweet VW convertible ad a while back.) 

Elliott was still alive when the movie came out, but we know how the story ends.