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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".

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