On the fifth day of Christmas, The Cathode Ray Choob sent to you…
Aimee Mann’s lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.
Last year and the year before, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann made a couple of star-studded short comedy films that were screened during her Christmas gigs each year.
In 2008, she gave us her version of A Christmas Carol, with Mann playing the Scrooge role and her husband Michael Penn as Marley.
It also features some big-name actor friends including Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno, Arrested Development), John Krasinski (from the US version of The Office) and John C Reilly (Magnolia, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Step Brothers).
Particular highlights are part 3, with Cera, and part 4, with John C Reilly.
After the John Krasinski segment, he joined her on stage for a duet. Not sure if this was a one-off at the LA gig or if this happened throughout the tour, but here’s the video:
And here is the is the 2007 Christmas film, in which Aimee tries to convince various celebrities to appear at her gig.
Guest stars in this one include Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, John Krasinski (again) and Weird Al Yankovic:
I must confess, the first I ever heard of Aimee Mann was when her songs formed the (broken) heart of the the wonderful soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson‘s brilliant 1999 movie Magnolia, one of my all-time favourite films.
In fact, her music provided far more than simply the soundtrack– writer/director Anderson became so fond of her work after meeting her in 1996 that he used the lyrics from a number of her songs as inspiration for several of the characters and their storylines in the film.
After the script was finished, Anderson sent the script to Mann, who wrote two brand new songs for the film, inspired by the script that had in turn been inspired by her songs.
This one, Save Me, which plays over the closing credits, is my favourite song from the film. It was nominated for an Oscar but criminally lost out to You’ll Be In My Heart, a Phil Collins song from the animated Disney Tarzan film. Mann reportedly subsequently introduced Save Me as: “The song that lost an Oscar to Phil Collins and his cartoon monkey love song”.
This performance is from a gig at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York in 2004: