My obsession with all things words certainly formed at a very young age, with my first bit of written work being three shabby pieces of crayon-filled paper stapled together, bearing the title “The Wyld Prty”. I was four, so certainly the party I wrote about wasn’t all that “wyld”. But, the bottom line is that from a toddler age there wasn’t much else I wanted to do with my free time.
So, I filled my time reading and scribbling away as a kid, even forming an unlikely obsession with a playwright light-years above my skill level and eras before my time – Mr. Billy Shakespeare. I can only imagine my parents confusion when their 7-year-old insisted on ordering Shakespeare plays from the elementary school’s monthly book order. I probably didn’t understand half of what I was reading, but deciphering some of the greatest written word of all time – the prose, romance, flowery language and medieval eloquence – was something I took an interest in.
Needless to say, when the live modernized version of Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo + Juliet was released in 1996 – featuring two of the most up-and-coming actors on the scene – I was adamant on seeing it right away. Of course, this led to a whole new level of obsession forming; not only with the two budding actors, but with the meaning behind the famous piece of literature I had struggled through before. After seeing it, I suddenly understood, had fully hopped on the Leo DiCaprio train, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on more Shakespeare….and more of the soundtrack.
I bought it right away. As the perfect companion to the trendy re-enactment, the soundtrack is packed with grungy late 1990s alternative hits – a compilation that perfectly accompanies the fashionably strange Baz Luhrman style of filmmaking. The obscure tunes and equally quirky cinematic twists on Will Shakespeare’s tragic love story go hand-in-hand throughout the film, with this moment in particular being impossibly perfect. Des’ree, a soul and R&B singer made popular in the mid-90s, lends her epic heartfelt ballad “Kissing You” to the famous “fish tank” scene, when the two star-crossed lovers first set eyes on each other and the chaos of their whirlwind love and misfortune begins. Enjoy! (The 8 year-old in me, who used to rewind this scene until the tape wore down, is swooning to this).