Best Score – The Gang Gets Whacked

From the old website, here was the purpose of Best Score:

Back when I was a senior in college, I was taking this music appreciation bullshit class to fulfill an arts requirement and it turned out I had to write a paper on some sort of musical trend (or something). I had, since childhood, been adverse to all things musical other than listening to it after an unfortunate incident in my first years of grade school where I was forced to sing in front of the class by the music teacher-this wasn’t something everyone had to do, just me because my singing was subpar. Apparently, my vocalisms were so bad they made baby Jesus weep and moan. But I digress. Needless to say, I was trying to figure out what to write (after my Jimi Hendrix essay was rejected), I went with music in film. And I was off, ended up writing way more than I had to and even got some enjoyment out of it.

Music can be used to enhance a film with stunning effect but it can also heavily detract from scenes by over-dramatizing them or distracting the audience. The ability to weave a memorable song into a memorable scene is a rare talent for a filmmaker. These scenes display the ability to the utmost.

Goodfellas (1990)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino

Director: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay: Nicolas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese

Music: “Layla” by Cream

Martin Scorsese is a master at using existing music in films from Mean Streets to Casino, which almost appears to be one long montage, and it works extremely effectively at covering the extensive narration as well as giving the film a sense of style. This montage from Goodfellas is a perfect example and opens with the piano solo from the Cream song “Layla” and a moving shot of a Cadillac where a gangster and his wife have been shot dead. It continues with other criminals that were involved in a heist getting wacked on Jimmy’s (Robert de Niro) orders. The whole montage is excellent but that opening shot of the Cadillac, a symbol of fallen greed, is unforgettable.


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