Sunday, March 8, 2009


I just caught The Hoax -- a decent little '06 movie starring Richard Gere as the guy who faked a Howard Hughes biography (and, obviously, didn't get away with it).

But this isn't so much about that movie as what it contained. As in, a really, really ordinary soundtrack. The film is set in the early 1970s, and it's like director Lasse Hallstrom (or whomever made the background music decisions) tuned his radio to some classic rock station and wrote down whatever songs he liked best, then checked to make sure they fit the time frame.

CCR's Up Around the Bend and Down on the Corner. George Harrison's Here Comes the Sun. And for the film's oh-so-emotional ending ... well why not the Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want?

I also scolded Watchmen for having this problem, too. But it could apply to most movies, really. Forrest Gump was on the other day, and I noticed the same old songs* there, too. Maybe it's because it's cheaper to grab the rights to these oft-used songs than it is to pull new ones. I don't know;

*None of which, ironically, happened to be The Four Tops' It's the Same Old Song -- although that one was heard quite often in the Coen Brothers' first effort, Blood Simple.

Now, those who know me know my music tastes are a little different than most*. This isn't about that. I actually like several of the songs that have found their way into movie after movie.

*FTR, my two favorite bands are this one and this one.

But -- just as it is on radio stations -- repetitiveness is a problem. If you want to get creative with your film ... why not get creative with your music, too?

OK, time to stop whining. Some films actually have placed unusual unoriginal songs in key spots.

Yeah, the Creedence (and the tape deck) were familiar, but this Dylan song isn't usually on his list of Greatest Hits. In the Greatest Movie of All Time, though, it hits big time.

Plus, let's not forget this one. Who's the singer? Kenny Rogers. Yes, the Kenny Rogers. The guy who sold chicken to Kramer.

This soundtrack was filled with gems from well-known bands -- like this great scene, backed by a little-known song from The Who.

What a way to end a movie whose very existence celebrates great music (beware the Spanish dubbing of the dialogue here ... at least they didn't make Bon Scott canta en Espanol).

I haven't seen the crazy Clive Owen/Paul Giamatti ... uh ... shoot 'em up flick from '07, but I did catch one amazing part: The following video actually figures prominently in the plot. Viva el skullet! \m/ \m/

That's just a sample -- I know I'm missing a ton here. So let's keep it up, filmmakers. I mean, we're all aware James Brown feels good. Tell us something we don't know (slash hear all the time).

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