Friday, December 31, 2004

FRUSTRATED FILMGOERS 101


My sincere thanks to "Anonymous" for leaving the comment regarding my recent article about Flight of the Phoenix. As I said in the piece, my only real frustration with the movie came in its soundtrack music choices. After a very clever use of Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere" over the opening credits, which cleverly foreshadows the trouble Dennis Quaid and his passengers are about to encounter, every other soundtrack music choice the movie makes is either lazy, obvious, detrimental to the intended effect of the film or downright worn-out. My main complaint centered around the appearance of the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'," which the filmmakers (or the studio?) decided not only had to be slapped over the sequence where the plane takes off on its ill-fated journey, but then again over the end credits!

Anonymous (aaargh!--- please e-mail me or leave another post and let me know who you are... unless, of course, it was your intent all along to be anonymous, in which case, please feel free to remain so) added his/her discontent over the use of The Doors' "The End," which she/he feels is an easy go-to signifier for any filmmaker who wishes to convey druggie disorientation or some other aspect of the "hippie" experience. But other than Apocalypse Now or, I suppose, Oliver Stone's bombastic love letter to Jim Morrison and his group, I couldn't really think of another movie that used "The End." However, Anonymous' comment did make me think that this was a good question to initiate what I hope will be a recurring feature on this blog: Frustrated Filmgoers 101. And the question that this session will revolve around is this:

What one song do you think should be banned from further use in movies?

Please explain why: Is it just a lazy choice by a director who wants to convey information cheaply and with little effort? Is it a song that is just too obviously a comment on the scene it's being used with? Does it, when it's used, typically hobble a scene rather than enhance it? Or is it just that it's been heard a thousand times since Martin Scorsese first laid down "Jumping Jack Flash" over that introductory barroom scene in Mean Streets, thus virtually pioneering the use of rock and/or pop music as soundtrack ambience or commentary in the movies? (Yes, the Beatles could probably be said to have done it first, but I think the intent and effect of A Hard Day's Night was somewhat different than Scorsese's...)

I'll start things out myself and say that, in addition to my utter disregard for "Gimme Some Lovin'," I almost always immediately tune out of any movie that slaps together a montage sequence and decides the best musical accompaniment for it is the Rascals' "Good Lovin'." These songs should be banned from use in any more films, unless the context is something really perverse, like, say, putting them to use over one of Catherine Breillat's typically morose and grotesque meditations on sex, like the recent Anatomy of Hell. Now, that might not make me tune out... immediately, anyway...

Let our first class commence!

3 comments:

Thom McGregor said...

My choice: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," particularly when characters wield hairbrushes and small handled mirrors to mimic microphones when singing along with it.

Bruce Lundy said...

I don't have any sort of tally of how often it's been used, but the song I'd like to see banned from all movies and TV commercials is "Walkin' on Sunshine," by Katrina and the Waves. It seems to me that this thing keeps rearing its head in every fifth slick "feel-good" programmer released, or maybe I just have the bad fortune to keep bumping into it.

Anonymous said...

If I have to sit through that obnoxious "All Star" song by Smash Mouth one more time, I may go Hulk and smash something-- television set, film projector... This kind of laziness and cheapness in moviemaking shall NOT be tolerated! Feel-good, schmeel-good: This song makes me feel very, very bad.

But I feel a little better now. Thank you, Dennis! Looking forward to your future classes!
-Katie