Thursday, February 22, 2007

Music in Movies: Setting the Mood

I'm feeling a little lazy here lately, so I thought I'd throw up an old post from the main blog that was about movies. My friends and I are list fanatics: in college one favorite way to pass the time was to grab some beers, turn up the stereo, and come up with lists about anything. 10 years later the trend continues (albeit long distance). One of our more recent lists was naming our favorites movie/music moments. The only rules were we couldn't duplicate each other, and we weren't allowed to count the film score in our choices. So the post below sums up that particular list (the original title of the post was "Sound+Vision" - hence the David Bowie comment in the beginning):

...Which besides being a David Bowie reference, encapsulates what this list is, again originating from the mind of guest blogger Jason. From his email:
" which I mean best songs from movies as they appear in the film, judged by a combination of song quality, visuals, and furtherance of the plot or theme of the film. And yes, musicals count."

I think this is a little more telling of a list than the previous ones, which has me excited. So, Jason's (partial) list first, and then mine.

  1. Wise Up by Aimee Mann, from Magnolia
  2. Stonehenge by Spinal Tap, from This is Spinal Tap
  3. Tomorrow Belongs to Me by the cast, from Cabaret
  4. The Next to Last Song by Bjork, from Dancer in the Dark
  5. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, from Rocky III
  6. The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel from The Graduate
  7. Fight the Power by Public Enemy, from Do the Right Thing
  8. Springtime for Hitler by the cast, from The Producers
  9. 2 Wicky by Hooverphonic, from Stealing Beauty
  10. Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Strauss from 2001: A Space Odyssey
  11. "Ode to Joy" from Symphony #9 by Beethoven from A Clockwork Orange
  12. When I'm Sixty-Four by the Beatles, from The World according to Garp
One of the worst things about these lists is if you're not the one who came up with the idea, you don't get to use some of your favorites. If I could use some from the above list, I would definitely have included the bits from Magnolia, Spinal Tap, Rocky, 2001...probably all of them! However, I made it my goal to not only not double any of the songs from the above, but not use any of the movies either. So, below is a rough list of 20 (I had more, but how long can this list be?) and a bonus 2 special mentions:

  1. As Time Goes By by Dooley Wilson, from Casablanca
  2. Dueling National Anthems by the cast, from Casablanca
  3. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle and cast, from Monty Python's the Life of Brian
  4. Tiny Dancer by Elton John and the cast, from Almost Famous
  5. Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, from Manhattan
  6. Canned Heat by Jamiroquai, from Napoleon Dynamite
  7. Killing Me Softly by Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult, from About a Boy
  8. A Quick One...While He's Away by the Who, from Rushmore
  9. War by Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, from Rush Hour
  10. Johnny B. Goode by Michael J. Fox, from Back to the Future
  11. Blue Velvet by Dean Stockwell, from Blue Velvet
  12. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head by Burt Baccarach, from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  13. Man of Constant Sorrow by the Soggy Bottom Boys, from O' Brother, Where Art Thou?
  14. My Favorite Things by Julie Andrews, from The Sound of Music
  15. My Pretty Irish Girl by Sean Connery, from Darby O'Gill and the Little People
  16. Take My Breath Away by Berlin, from Ocean's 11
  17. Layla (coda) by Derek and the Dominoes, from Goodfellas
  18. A Perfect Day by Lou Reed, from Trainspotting
  19. I Want Your Body by Nymphomania, from True Romance
  20. Make 'Em Laugh by Donald O'Connor, from Singin' in the Rain

There are two glaring omissions (in my opinion) from my list, which is why they get special mention below. One obvious, one not so obvious. Sometimes it's all the music as a whole that makes a movie, not just an individual song. So a special mention to the films PULP FICTION and GARDEN STATE - two films that would have been a lot different had it not been for the careful and excellent song selection. Huzzah!


If anyone else reading this has some great examples, please feel free to let me know!

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