Thursday, April 19, 2012

The 100 Best Uses of Songs in Movies pt. 6 (of 10)

Over half way there and going strong.  We're over the mountain, it's all downhill from there, or, you know, whatever adage you'd like to insert here: ___________.  This week, we ditch any sort of thematic thread and go back to randomly cobbling together a new batch of ten.  So, instead of checking out internet reruns of one TV show or another, you should probably play catch up and click here

51. “Singin’ in the Rain”  
 Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
"Singin' in the Rain" already showed up here in a more, um, expected capacity, but the thing about that particular song (and most of the musical) is that it existed long before Gene Kelly pranced through that downpour.  The film was essentially designed as a showcase for the songs by MGM producer Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown.

52. “Hip to be Square” / Huey Lewis and the News 
American Psycho (2000)
Nevermind the vid. This is one of those moments where YouTube and Lionsgate have to go and spoil everything.  You can check out the song in context here, but if you don't know it from memory, I'm going to have to really doubt your commitment to sparkle motion.    This is the brilliant scene in which our deranged Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) executes a co-worker he perceives as a serious rival while monologuing on the meaning behind this particular pop song.  It says so much, don't you agree?

53.  “These Days” / Nico 
Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Finally. There it is.  All those other Wes Anderson soundtrack entries, and here it is: the moment Margot steps off the Green Line Bus and into a slow motion wind tunnel.  Everything falls into sync, the world is perfect, and we remember that Gwyneth Paltrow really does have redeeming qualities.

54.  “Magic Man” / Heart 
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
The Air-composed score to the film doesn't count for this list, but Josh Hartnett's disruptive entry into the world of the Lisbon sisters (and the entire school) is chronicled via a dead-on montage that even manages to make that ridiculous hair look cool.

55. “Seems Like Old Times” / Guy Lombardo 
Annie Hall (1978)
Woody Allen drops old standards into his movies with atomic clock precision, and smack dab in the middle of Annie Hall is a melancholy performance from its leading lady.  It's slow, beautiful, and sad; prematurely mourning the loss of the relationship before its inevitable end.

56.  “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” / Edith Piaf 
Inception (2010)
The way this particular Edith Piaf song is incorporated into Inception is unconventional to say the least.  Where the actual track is used as "the kick", Hans Zimmer used its elements (slowed down, dramatized) as the basis for the film's entire score.  Nearly everything you hear is this song.  The goal, reportedly, was to mimic the nature of the film by having the sounds line up in our subconscious.  We hear as if - what else- we're picking up strains from within a dream.

57.  “Patricia” / Perez Prado 
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Yep, no film clip again.  Can't even link you to one.  So, you'll just have to go and actually watch the film, which, luckily, I highly recommend. If there's a climactic moment to be found in the meandering adventures of Marcello, this song scores it.  At a debauched party leading into the close of the film, we watch as Italy's bored upper crust tips wearily into a veritable Roman orgy of exhaustion, housewife stripteases, and nasty commentary. 

58.  “Yumeji’s Theme” / Shigeru Umebayashi 
In the Mood for Love (2000)
Wong Kar Wai knows when to throw down a track, and "Yumeji's Theme" actually sounds as though it is part of the original score of the film.  It blends effortlessly into the movie's atmosphere; a gorgeously lush touch to an already romantic story.

59. “Just Like Honey” / The Jesus and Mary Chain 
Lost in Translation (2003)
Two appearances by Sofia Coppola in one go! For my money: the soundtrack to Lost in Translation is one of the best around. It's possible, actually, that it's a huge part of what sells the oddly romantic touches to the May/December connection between these two lonely souls.  "Just Like Honey" closes the film, scoring the aftermath of [SPOILER] the farewell kiss between Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson).  Watch the actual scene here

60. “White Rabbit” / Jefferson Airplane 
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
As memorable a presence in Hunter S. Thompson's book as it is in the film, we see the drugged-out depravity of these two characters manifest itself in a sinister moment of cartoon wacky self-endangerment as Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) demands possible electrocution at the climax of the hallucinatory anthem "White Rabbit."

1 comment:

  1. It's all about number 53. Great, iconic moment in a great, iconic film.


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