Get your drink on. It’s Cinco De Mayo.
Word: ideologue [ahy-dee-uh-lawg, -log, id-ee, ahy-dee] n. a person who zealously advocates an ideology
Birthday: Søren Kierkegaard (1813), Karl Marx (1818), Blind Willie McTell (1901), Michael Murphy (1938), Lance Henriksen (1940), Tammy Wynette (1942), Michael Palin (1943), John Rhys-Davies (1944), Kurt Loder (1945), Ian McCullough (1959), Brian Williams (1959), Tina Yothers (1973), Chris Brown (1989)
Standpoint: Over the weekend, I re-watched Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The movie was good but not great. The soundtrack, however, was superb. That got m thinking about how mediocre movies can be saved by an excellent soundtrack. I started to think about movies in which the music enhanced the overall film experience. That was the only criteria. There may be better soundtracks out there but this list of the 7 Movie-Enhancing Soundtracks is all about movies that would have been lessened (in however small a degree) without the proper use of song.
- Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – I had to include it. It did, after all, inspire the original conversation. Besides reminding me of hundreds of nights I’ve spent running around Philadelphia, Nick and Norah’s romp through NYC on a quest for a fictional band had very little effect on me. Save for the music. While I can’t imagine how a movie with the word “playlist” in it could even go to release without a kick-ass soundtrack, this one exceeded my expectations. Sometimes up, sometimes mellow, the music throughout managed to sum up with what was happening on the screen. Highlight: Bishop Allen begin to perform “Middle Management” as Nick and Co. leave the first bar.
- Forrest Gump – While Tom Hanks is my favorite actor, Forrest Gump has never appealed to me. That’s kind of a lie. My cat was named “Bubba” because my old roommate Megan and I named him that while we were watching the scene where Forrest pulled everyone out of the jungle in Vietnam, repeatedly shouting, “I gotta find Bubba!” In any case, as Gump moved from era to era, so did the music. Highlight: Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty” while Gump runs mindlessly back and forth across the country.
- Good Will Hunting – The late Elliott Smith was the predominant artist on this soundtrack. Despite myself, I liked this movie. I think even without the music. Is that bad? Highlight: Whenever it was in the film that they played Smith’s “Angeles.”
- Reservoir Dogs – Say what you want about Quentin Tarantino, but the dude’s got an ear for music. This is one of my favorite movies and also the only Tarantino-directed movie I really care for. The use of obscure 70s music is such a perfect companion for this very violent, very awesome movie. Highlight: Mr. Blonde torturing the cop set to “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel.
- Into The Wild – It’s a well-known fact that I despise this movie due to the fact that I feel like creating a life or misery for your family so that you can walk off into the woods and starve yourself isn’t something worth romanticizing. I know. I’m a loon. The soundtrack is nice, though. Highlight: Take your pick. They’re all by Eddie Vedder and partnered with some nice cinematography.
- Garden State – There’s some truth to the premise that Zach Braff has a knack for correct placement of his favorite songs from his CD library into his movies. Sorry, folks. Highlight: Natalie Portman puts the headphones on Braff and introduces him (and, at that time, me) to The Shins.
- Reality Bites – Was supposed to be the quintessential movie that summed up the Generation-X experience. It didn’t because that’s exactly what us Gen-Xers rally against. That is, if we ever get around to organizing a rally. Anyway, still a great movie and is the reason that Winona Ryder will forever be my #1 celebrity crush, which no one seems to understand but me. But I’m cool with it. Highlight: I forgot when they played “When You Come Back To Me” by World Party. I think it was at the end.
Before you flood my inbox with the mistakes and omissions I made, let me mention some movies that almost made it but I decided to use in some other way on some other list I’m planning for the near future. That’s how the likes of Star Wars, Rushmore and some of your other suggestions came to not be included.
Quotation: Home is not where you live but where they understand you. – Christian Morgenstern
Tune: “When They Really Get To Know You, They Will Run” by Pedro The Lion is not only an enjoyable song, but has a great title. I’m not sure what the video is all about but it was the only one with good sound clarity.
Gallimaufry: Robert Duvall vs. Walmart. Who will win the Battle of Locust Grove, Virginia? Only time will tell…The NBA shocked exacly nobody yesterday when it announced LeBron James was the 2009 Most Valuable Player…After what seems maybe a bit too long, Vampire Weekend is working on their second album. Here’s hoping those guys can avoid the jinx.
Incoming: Tomorrow – Still working on it. But it’ll be good. Thursday – Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday – 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead.