Skip to main content

focus on the positive

ok, so now that we've all had our say on pieces of music that we never want to hear used again in film, let's look at the other side of the proverbial coin. after all, there wouldn't be all these bad examples if there weren't also examples of music and movies being blended to a shimmering perfection.

i maintain that there is an artistry to finding the perfect song to bring a film moment to life for the audience. personally, i'd like to see some of these big awards ceremonies add a category for that. after all, while most elements of a film are crafted particularly for it, using other people's music is taking something independent and recontextualising it within the film. properly done, it's magic.

here, to get things started, are a few of my favourites:

eliot smith :: needle in the hay/ the royal tenenbaums

i personally think that i could make up a list of great uses of music in film just from wes anderson movies. he seems to have an uncanny sense of how to mesh the two (see david bowie's "life on mars" in "the life aquatic", the who's "a quick one" in "rushmore" or for that matter nico's "these days", also in "tenenbaums").

when the film first came out, no one was aware of the sad foreshadowing in having the song appear in a scene where one of the characters attempts suicide.

the rolling stones :: you can't always get what you want"/ the big chill

this is an example of taking a song i don't particularly like and putting it in absolutely perfect context. no, alex about to be lowered into your final resting place, indeed you can't always get what you want. one of those moments where you're not sure whether to laugh or cry.


stealers wheel :: stuck in the middle with you/ reservoir dogs


quentin tarantino is another one of those directors who seems to put as much effort into selecting his music as he does into setting up shots. virtually every one of his films has at least one iconic musical moment that gets embedded in the public consciousness. personally, it was a toss up for me between choosing this one and "across 110th street" from the criminally neglected "jackie brown", but i defer to this one since, going on twenty years later, i still know people who call this "the ear song".

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

presidenting is hard :: these people are not your friends

hello mr. president! a while back, i promised that i would periodically be giving you some advice on how to do your job, since you seem a little unclear on how everything works. i didn't mean to go so long between missives, but the fact is that i've been busy and you're administration has been in overdrive giving me things to write about. what i've realised is that many of those things are ones i can't help you with: if you or anyone in your immediate circle worked with russians to compromise the 2016 election, that shit is done. robert mueller is going to find that out, because he's the kind of person who looks like the theme from dragnet just automatically starts playing every time he enters a room. so that's your problem. i'm just here to talk to you about what you can do now that you are, by law, the president. because, while chief detective mueller is doing his thing, we all need to live with your decisions. i'm even less happy about that than…

write brain

i was talking to a friend of mine about coffee, specifically about our mutual need for coffee, yesterday and, literally as i was in the middle of a thought, an idea occurred to me that i felt like i had to note. so there i am, scribbling a note to myself that was really just a word salad of related terms, which i later transformed into a weird but more comprehensible note that i could refer to later. [i don't want another beatriz coca situation on my hands.] i feel like this idea isn't a story on its own, but something that i could incorporate into a larger project, which is good, because i have a few of those.

now, of course, i need to sit down and do research on this, because it's become terribly important to me that the details of this weird little idea that i'm planning on incorporating into a larger thing be totally plausible, even though no one but me is ever going to care. i'm increasingly convinced that the goal of every writer is to find someone who will t…

luck of the irish?

i like st. patrick's day. i like the fact that there is a holiday that celebrates celtic-ness and drunkeness at once (you could argue they were pretty close to begin with). in fact, it's probably second only to halloween as my favourite publicly recognised holiday.

so every year, i have to have my little ritual and that ritual involves visiting a pub and partaking of the cheer. i've made attempts at watching parades in various cities, but i've more recently given up that practice because a) eight out of ten times, it's freezing cold and/ or snowing in canada on march 17th and b) the parades seem to consist entirely of trucks carrying people who are as drunk as i would be, if i weren't freezing my tush off watching them. so i've backed off the parade in recent years.

however, a visit to the pub, the longer the better, is still an important thing for me.

next year, however, i'm going to have to plan things a little better.

first of all, i didn't …