Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 Best Movie Soundtrack Moments

God, I love movies!  Most people do.

I actually got my BA in Radio/Television/Film and still try to write screenplays on the side.  I really love the concept of storytelling in all formats.  I learned from my dad and maternal grandfather, the best way to set up a story and then deliver the punchline.

And I really love music! My sister and I used to joke that our dream jobs would be music curators, putting together playlists for a variety of purposes.

Now every entertainment site has a top movie-music soundtrack and/or music score list.  I'm not enough of a music nerd to make separate lists but the usual suspects always show up.  Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman, The Magnificent Seven,  The Breakfast Club, Casablanca......

Movies I haven't re watched in years.

So I decided to present an alternative take and chose some newer films.  Yeah, Tarantino snuck in there, sorry.  And I don't get Cameron Crowe, so his films aren't on there, sorry. Here, in no particular order are 10 Best Movie Soundtrack Moments in my honest and most opinion.

1.  Half Nelson - Broken Social Scene "Shampoo Suicide"
The motel scene happens at the climax of the movies, when one of  the students (Shareeka Epps) finds her teacher (Ryan Gosling) in a crack den.  With very little dialogue, we witness a flood of emotions between the two talented actors and are utterly swept away by their raw power and the music in the scene.

2. Sunshine - John Murphy, Original Score
*Spoilers*  Sunshine as directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) was the rare sci-fi flick with a wealth of fresh ideas and a truly international cast of heavyweight actors, (Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada).  Early on, Captain Kaneda bravely sacrifices himself, as he stares down the sun, waiting to die the score turns an horrific event into something almost magical.

3. Smokin' Aces - Clint Mansell "Dead Reckoning", Original Score
Clint Mansell is a badass.  In addition to making some of the most recognizable movie music used in virtually every trailer today (Lux Eterna) he has also scored the likes of The Fountain, Moon, The Wrestler and Black Swan.  His music can also transform the ending of a mediocre film into something transcendent, as evidenced below.  *Spoiler*  This shows the end of a movie you probably weren't going to watch anyway unless you were jonesing for pre-Star Trek Chris Pine roles.

4. The Royal Tenenbaums - Nico "Needle in the Hay"
Wes Anderson movies usually show up as MVPs of any movie soundtrack lists.  The Royal Tenenbaums was my first exposure, hence this inclusion on my list.  Something as horrific and gut punching as a failed suicide attempt becomes tragically beautiful and delicately unsettling.  I wouldn't view if you are adverse to the sight of blood, though.

5. High Fidelity - Jack Black "Let's Get it On"
Better named, "The Adventures of a Privileged White Male Music Nerd", this movie name drops music and records all over the place like a gentleman making it rain in a strip club.  As one of his first big roles, we are introduced to the comedic stylings of an up and coming Jack Black, however, it isn't until the end of the movie that we get to hear how well he can actually play guitar and sing.

6. Magnolia - Aimee Man "Wise Up"
Paul Thomas Anderson's films are usually about various individuals suffering in vaguely unsettling environments.  They undergo love, life, and loss in intertwining tales.  When the characters of Magnolia, take time to sing to  Aimee Man's "Wise Up" we are moved by their reflection on life, in a curiously powerful "breaking the fourth wall" scene.

7. Donnie Darko - Gary Jules "Mad World"
This movie is weird, crazy, hilarious, dark and demented.  "Mad World" could not sum the ending up any better.

8.  Scott Pilgrim v. The World - Beck "Threshold"
Ok, full disclosure, I love Beck.  He also put together the soundtrack for one of my favorite films, Nacho Libre.  Beck provides all the songs for the fictional band, Sex Bob-Omb but I included this scene for it's video game characteristics that literally gives power to the music.

9. Napoleon Dynamite - Jamiroquai "Canned Heat"
Sitting through Napoleon Dynamite for the first time, most everyone has the same thought, "is this all there is to this movie?".  Yes, yes it is.  The crowning achievement to the weird, quirky existence that is Napoleon, is the moment he dances before the high school student body and dances like no one is watching.

10. Pulp Fiction - Basically the whole soundtrack 
Yep, for reasons other people have endlessly expounded on.

Got any favorites you'd like to add? (Besides "Let It Go").  Let me know.


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