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Important Reminder: Macy Gray is in the first Spider-Man film for some reason.

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It's May 2002, and the movie everyone's lining up to see is Spider-Man. This is going to be amazing. There's going to be superheroics and special effect-driven action scenes not seen since Zod threw Superman's ass through that Marlboro truck.



This shit was a big deal. I bought a Wizard magazine for the chance to view tiny shots of Spider-Man fighting Macho Man Randy Savage. My friend had an Entertainment Tonight preview recorded on VHS. We bullshitted each other with things we'd supposedly heard. "The whole movie is done by computers. It just looks REALLY realistic." Why not?

The big day comes and we had to stand in line outside the theater, listening to the loud mediocrity of Scorpion King until 7:00 rolled by and they opened the velvet rope. We piled in and were soon treated to what our pre-pubescant minds were dying for-- Spider-Man in full live-action glory. We finally had a big superhero who could actually do superhero stuff on screen.

Of course, the villain is Green Goblin, Spidey's best and most iconic villain. And Willem Dafoe's hamming it up and screaming and flying by for half a second of screentime in costume, hyping us all up for the moment when he fully reveals himself and has his showdown with Spider-Man.

The penultimate scene, Norman is in a boardroom meeting where he's screwed out of a contract.

Boardmember: You're out, Norman.
Norman: ...Am I?
[Music swells dramatically as Norman smiles in a sinister fashion]
CUT TO:
Back-Up Singers: NUTTY NUTMEG PHANTASY!
Goofy Announcer: Welcome to OSCORP Industries Unity Day Festival. Let's hear it for Macy Gray!

It's so amazingly jarring. It almost feels like "We'll get back to Spider-Man in just a moment. But first, here's tonight's musical guest." They take a good 10 seconds of film to focus on Macy Gray. They cut away before that, but her music still carries over the scene like an ordinary musical overlay, which it could have been. We could have gotten along just fine without seeing Macy Gray performing on a float, and we certainly didn't need a goddamn intro for her.

"Old people don't know who Macy Gray is, we have to explain who she is, or audiences will be confused."

They're already confused as to why they're staring at a pop star, with a band that appears to be composed of vagrants, right before Spider-Man is about to fight the bad guy from Speed 2 on a hoverboard. I'm assuming this was an executive decision. Sam Raimi was in a room somewhere, brainstorming with producers when one of them says, "What we need is a music scene, with a big name. Something that get people to think about buying our soundtrack." And Sam Raimi just nodded and smiled as Macy Gray was wheeled out on a handtruck from behind a velour curtain.

They even cut back to her later. The music stops and Peter's spidey sense starts going haywire. Oh my God this is it. Spider-Man is about to throw down with Gobby. Just when the audience manages to forget the stupid inclusion of a timely musician, they cut back to her, to get her reaction. It's this:

The panicked crowd, the confused hero were not enough. We had to know: "What does Macy Gray think about a flying man in a Halloween costume?"

Thankfully, we managed to forget the strange, perplexing inclusion of Macy Gray, and were able to enjoy the rest of the movie. But that damage is done. You are going to show Spider-Man to your kids some day. You're going to say, "This is the superhero movie I watched when I was your age." And the kid's going to say, "Who the fuck is Macy Gray?" And you'll say, "She was a singer at the time." And they'll say, "Why is she in this movie?" And you'll say "I don't know." And then you'll both sit in silence, as the foundation of your family crumbles beneath you.

This shit's been done before. Batman is loaded with Prince, although he doesn't make a personal appearance. The Joker does say his name, but it's nowhere near as out-of-fucking-nowhere as Macy Gray. At least Prince was largely promoted as being a part of the movie. From what I recall, Spider-Man was all about Nickelback. I guess Nickelback had too much integrity to break up the scene, so the producers frantically looked down the soundtrack list, calling up artists until they found Macy Gray singing about nutmeg.

I get why this... "thing" exists. I'm sure back in the day when you paid to see a movie, it was a delightful treat to get a free musical act right in the middle of the story. Fuck it, throw in a talent show or a circus or something. But in a modern, story-driven (Or Dafoe-driven) movie, it just seems.... stupid. It seemed to happen a lot in 90s/00s comedies. Rat Race had Smashmouth. Idle Hands had Offspring. Ace Ventura had Cannibal Corpse. All pretty harmless because they "fit" with those movies. The movies are stupid, so they have a stupid band appearance. But in a superhero or action movie?

Also... parade... nutmeg...

Alright, I've run out of steam. Ravings over.
 
I have a feeling it was mostly because of money, that she would be appealing to a wider demographic than the more narrow Spider-Man fanbase? I don't know. Shit. Why.
 

greycolumbus

The success of others absolutely infuriates me.
Also Not Another Teen Movie had Good Charlotte.

On topic: that scene felt dated and awkward the moment I saw it.
 

Strike

Member
I never liked her either. She couldn't sing worth a damn. Still pretty awkward watching that scene today.
Macy Gray was probably signed with Sony at the time. Dat cross market synergy.
Did Sony own Epic records at that point? Can't recall what year that was. I always assumed it was because of that
Yup. She was signed to Epic at the time which is owned by Sony Music Entertainment.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
I thought she was kind of a has-been in 2002... that scene was weird and outdated when it was new. The way they shamelessly cut to a musical guest felt very 90s to me, like Vanilla Ice in TMNT2.
 

overcast

Member
What a fucking excellent post Lionel. I always thought it was dumb, but I forgot about it. Now I'm going to bring this up the next time I see my friends.

Great stuff sir.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
The way you describe 2002 as if it is this vague far off childhood time makes me feel very old.
I'm having deja vu.

I was in my college last semester, and during one lab, a student doing a presentation says "my favorite movie used to be the first Spiderman.... all the way back in grade 2".

I looked at another mature student (thank god I wasn't the only one) and mouthed WHAT THE FUCK.
 

wenis

Registered for GAF on September 11, 2001.
also has that stupid ass bridge scene.

movie is a waste of celluloid. burn that shit to the ground so we can all forget that horrible tragedy.
 
This movie is great and macie gray in here >> Everybody in amazing spider man

Mandrake is cool but he's exaggerating this one, the cut to Macy gray was hilarious because she sounds like a gremlin. But it was aiight because it was just a Public event parade thing, didn't feel out of place at all to me. I wanted goblin to smack her into the sky though

That scene when he goes on a rampage against the cops when he hits the ground is beautiful. Reminds me of the 60s cartoon, so corny
 
As someone who was about 25 when Spider-Man originally came out, and knew who Macy Gray was previous to that film - the backlash against her was always sort of weird. She had the one hit, and her album was generally well-recieved. And suddenly everyone started acting like she was one of the most fraudulent musical artists ever produced.

No one could ever explain why whe sucked other than "She sounds funny and she's ugly." basically.
 

RatskyWatsky

Hunky Nostradamus
I remember seeing this movie in theaters and thinking "Holy shit that's Macy Gray! Awesome!"

Afterwards my parents were all "Who was that black singer with the afro?" and me and my sister were like "That's MACY GRAY. Duh."

I was also 11 in 2002.

Me three!

Not bad for a president and CEO of a "major" airline, huh?

You're the president of a major airline? At 22/23? what am i doing with my life
 
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