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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crowe's Musical Moments In Film

I can still remember being kicked off the set of Elizabethtown ( shot some 2 hours from my hometown in Kentucky ) by an over-zealous crew-member and a member of security as I was about to start my first job as a very low-level PA. Sure, it was all just getting coffee, running errands, and essentially doing grunt-work for the higher-ups, but it would have meant that I was part of the movie-making machine. Apparently the color of my badge threw them off - they thought I snuck on the set. Of course, I did to get the job, but that's another story for another day.

Regardless, Cameron Crowe is a film force to be honored. Not only that, the guy was writing for Rolling Stone magazine when it actually meant something and was touring with the likes of Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers doing interviews. The man knows his music. Just pick up the Vanilla Sky soundtrack and you'll be amazed at the artists on there. Of course, having Danny Bramson as your music supervisor on films certainly doesn't hurt your chances of having top-knotch tracks in your film.

Crowe has compiled a Top Ten List of musical-movie-moments that I am agreeing with 100%.

The first thing to remember about any top ten list is that it is not to be trusted. A top ten list is almost invariably subject to the whims of the day. You could be feeling sentimental or melancholy, and suddenly your top ten is a weepy diary of your feelings on the unfortunate day you made the list. Or you could be feeling militant about some obscure band or movie, only to later see your proclamation in print, and wonder - how could I have called (insert mediocre artist) a great visionary? It's a serious business, the top ten list, especially one about the great moments of music in film. A list like this should be marinated, worked over and slept on.


10 'Where Is My Mind' (The Pixies)
Fight Club (1999)
Some say the lyrics of a song should never comment on the scene. This is not one of those times. The world crumbles, and of course, David Fincher knows the precise song to turn out the lights to.


9 'Cucurrucucu Paloma' (Tomas Mendez)
Talk To Her (2002)
The song is actually a favorite of the director and his friends. It was not uncommon to hear them break out singing this song in public, at get-togethers and restaurants. Almodovar wrote "Cucurrucucu Palmona" into the movie, and it fits the great Talk To Her like a favorite scarf. Marco, the troubled journalist, is in emotional flux, in love with a famous woman bullfighter. He hears the song performed live in a nightclub. The version is immaculate, and the words and song plays largely on the listeners faces. Finally Marco is overcome, and must go for a walk. The bullfighter follows. Their only dialogue: "The song gave me goosebumps."


8 'Edge Of Reality' (Elvis Presley)
Live A Little, Love A Little (1968)
Many credit the Colonel for steering Elvis into his (arguably-cheesy) 60's movie period. Actually it was Norman Taurog who defined and perfected the so-called Elvis Movie that became the King's bread-and-butter after the more authentic Lovin' You-Jailhouse Rock-King Creole phase. Taurog ended all that with G.I. Blues and went on to shoot eight more Elvis kissing-dancing-loving classics. The rootsy early E was never to be seen again on the big screen, but in its place was a riveting run of films that showed Elvis literally walking through movies at a pace of three a year. Every once in a while, true genius would come shooting through. Elvis' weariness and unpreparedness sometimes created seismically funny and unintentionally profound sequences like this one. Turn it up and groove out to E's only true foray into psychedelia. It's no "She Said She Said" but it's appropriately trippy and you can't quite believe it exists.


7 'Everybody's Talking' (Harry Nilsson)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
"Everybody's Talking" was a recording that pre-dated the movie, but you'd never know it watching Midnight Cowboy. The song is the opening brush stroke on a masterpiece, the perfect touch for an opening sequence. Like "Don't Be Shy," it gently prepares you for everything that is to come. And years later, just hearing "Everybody's Talking" brings back the experience of the entire movie: now that's a marriage! "Moon River" accomplishes the same feat in a different way. With "Moon River," Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly actually sings the song.


Check out he rest of the list on Empire

1 comment:

Dr. Zaius said...

I actually met David Fincher, like 20 years ago. He's a total dick.

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