Dan Zanes: Movie Star and Cultural Icon

greenbergposter.jpgOK, I'm overstating it, but there's no question that Dan Zanes is reaching some level of cultural saturation that might even go beyond Laurie Berkner and the Wiggles.

No, it has nothing to do with Wonderful World, a new movie starring Matthew Broderick. Zanes announced last month that he'd written some songs for, and had a small on-screen role in, the movie, which is about an ex-children's music singer who's looking for a new direction in his life and that he'd written some songs for the movie. (More details on Zanes' role in the movie can be found here -- interestingly enough, director/writer Josh Goldin said he "loosely based [the lead character's] back story on the children's music heavyweight Raffi -- specifically his unsuccessful attempt to make records for adults.")

No, what I want to mention is this Dan Zanes shout-out -- of sorts -- in Greenberg, an upcoming movie from Noah Baumbach, which stars Ben Stiller as... some other guy who's looking for a new direction in his life. (Hat tip: Mr. Richard.) It comes at the very end of the trailer (the money shot, as it were) and the quote from Stiller's character makes no sense -- he's suggesting to a bunch of apparently college-age kids that they grew up on Dan Zanes, which, considering that Zanes' only been releasing kids music for literally 10 years, seems, well, wrong.

But I'm more interested in the fact that Baumbach threw Zanes' name into the script and that the trailer creators thought Zanes' name was enough of a marker that it'd signal a particular attitude to a particular audience -- an audience, for example, who would recognize LCD Soundsystem's so incredible "All My Friends" (James Murphy does this soundtrack) as the background music.

If only Hollywood Squares were still on the air, I think Zanes would be set...