Posted by: gdevi | May 14, 2015

Movies and Songs

Here is an article that talks about how the perfect song can make a memorable movie scene. It is written by the scriptwriter for a new movie, Man Up. It is apparently a romantic comedy. I find most romantic comedies very quickly boring. It is because I am an English teacher; I teach this stuff and I am a very unromantic person. English teachers are generally very unromantic people; it is hard to be romantic when you are trained to see the plot, the structure, and “the script” in things. When you write, analyze and teach these things, you have no time to be a character in a story, or to “identify” with characters etc. Which is to say, there are two types of people in this world–those who spend the entire energy of their lives turning it into some sort of text, and those whose lives are very different–they read the texts they see around them. I belong to the second group; I am a reader.  As Shakespeare observed

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

I know who you are acting.

So, as a reader who has read many many romantic comedies, I think I will pass on the movie, but the piece did get me thinking about how a well-placed song can really make a movie moment truly memorable. Here are some of my favorite movie-song moments, in no order of preference. I don’t mean soundtracks, but scenes that incorporate existing songs in an intertextual manner. There are many more, I am sure, but these come to my mind immediately:

Wayne’s World, Bohemian Rhapsody — totally awesome way to show the freakish energy of Wayne and his friends — I love Mike Myers and Dana Carvey and the kids in this scene

Reservoir Dogs, Stuck in the Middle With You slice your smile from ear to ear — menace at its absurd best, especially fitting because it is about crooks keeping crooked company; I love Quentin Tarantino and his sense of music

Pulp Fiction, You Never Can Tell drug dealers singing the ultimate love song, and the sheepish way John Travolta dances in this scene is just precious. It is the best exemplum of the incongruity theory of humor. I love to dance, and I remember thinking to myself when I first saw Pulp Fiction that I would dance with Chuck Berry if he ever asked me! Actually the two songs that I consider very romantic in American popular culture are You Never Can Tell and Mona. Totally awesome songs. I have long wanted to set both of these songs to music for the church organ so it can replace the Here Comes the Bride stuff.

Witness, Wonderful World this is a very beautiful scene; it is suffused with desire, and both Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis act absolutely wonderfully in this scene. Kelly McGillis, especially–it is a perfect song for the Amish community completely cut off from the history, biology, science and trigonometry of the western world. The Amish have no use for you and I and our little achievements. The Amish widow, Rachel Lapp, the character she plays, is a woman who decides to love an “outsider,” the Philly police officer, John Book, Ford’s character. Amish women don’t do that. This song is from Rachel’s perspective. Peter Weir is such a great director.

Children of Men, Court of the Crimson King – a very beautiful scene that captures the dystopian ethos of the film

Meanwhile

Here is a report on LA celebrities and “drought shaming.”

And, the new Quentin Tarantino movie, The Hateful Eight! Well, you have the magnificent seven; why not the hateful eight?I am longing to see this movie. It sounds very Borgesian. What a treat.

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