Archive for August, 2010

25
Aug
10

Best Score – Shout

Purpose of Best Score.

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

Starring: Peter Riegert, Tom Hulce, Verna Bloom, John Belushi, Bruce McGill, James Widdoes,  Kevin Bacon, Stephen Furst, John Vernon, Donald Sutherland

Screenplay by: Harold Ramis

Directed by: John Landis

Music: “Shout” by Otis Day and the Knights

In the most iconic frat film ever made as well as the one that began National Lampoon’s legend, the “Shout” scene from the toga party is probably the most memorable in the film. Performed by Otis Day and the Knights, the song and the film have become heavily associated with one another.  It’s a seamless incorporation of a popular song into a movie that feels neither hackneyed nor, like so many instances in which bands are crowbarred into films, bolted on.

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Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.

25
Aug
10

Best Score – Battle of the Crater

Purpose of Best Score.

Cold Mountain (2003)

Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Donald Sutherland, Brendan Gleeson, Ray Winstone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Baker, Natalie Portman, Jack White, Ethan Suplee, Charlie Hunnam, Giovanni Ribisi, Eileen Atkins, Melora Walters, James Gammon, Lucas Black, Cillian Murphy, James Rebhorn, Jena Malone

Screenplay by: Anthony Minghella and Charles Frazier (SW)

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

Music: “Idumea” written by Charles Wesley (1707) and Amzi Chapin (1812) based on a traditional melody, arranged by Tim Eriksen and performed by Sacred Harp Singers (as Sacred Harp Singers at Liberty Church);  “I Wish My Baby was Born” Traditional with additional lyrics by Anthony Minghella, arranged by Anthony Minghella and T-Bone Burnett (as Henry Burnett) and performed by Tim Eriksen, Riley Baugus, Ray Winstone

There are varying thoughts on this film, ranging from it being overlong and melodramatic to being a powerful love story mixed with a condemnation of war. It does display the horror and callousness of war as well as the untold excess of the every government against the liberty and persons of civilians (with the Conferderacy supposedly fighting against the tyranny of the yankees while being tyrants themselves).  Minghella was able to use not only folk music to set an unforgiving yet hopeful tone, but also used hymns to great effect even for the battle scene that commences the film.

Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.

25
Aug
10

Best Score – The Shower Scene

Purpose of Best Score.

Psycho (1960)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, John Anderson, Vera Miles, John McIntire, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam, Lurene Tuttle, Vaughn Taylor

Screenplay by: Joseph Stefano and Robert Bloch (Source Writer)

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Music: Original score by Bernard Hermann

In what is possibly the best horror film ever made and the gold standard for all slasher films, the shower scene set the standard for hack up murder. Alfred Hitchcock was always a genius about judicious use of music in his films, often preferring silence rather than a melodramatic score (a huge problem, especially in the 1950s and 60s, although it still persists today). However this scene’s shrill violin score (composed by the legendary Bernard Hermann) complements not only the pounding knife blows but Janet Leigh’s terrified screams and even the sickly squish of the blade sinking into Norman Bates’ victim. The scene is one of the most recognizable in film history and reputedly caused Leigh to be unable to shower for years afterward (i.e., she took baths instead). When asked if it was true that she doesn’t take showers: “It’s actually, honestly true. And not because of the shooting of it. It was the seeing of it. It never dawned on me how truly vulnerable we are. But that’s what [Alfred Hitchcock] did. A shower. A bird. All these things that are absolutely ordinary, he made extraordinary.”

Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.

25
Aug
10

Best Score – When the Man Comes Around

Purpose of Best Score.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, and Lindy Booth

Screenplay by: James Gunn and George Romero (Source Writer)

Directed by: Zach Synder

Music: “When the Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash; “Down with the Sickness” written by Disturbed, performed by Richard Cheese

Whenever a filmmaker attempts to remake a truly classic film, the remake will often have to distinguish itself with style, if not substance. Zack Synder’s brilliant use of popular music in the film began with the opening credits in which he uses Johnny Cash’s rapture ballad “When the Man Comes Around” as background, or almost lyrical narration, or the zombie cataclysm erupting onscreen.

Synder does manage to riff off of George Romero’s condemnation of materialism in the original by making the same play on how the inhabitants of the mall use the mall’s riches to delight themselves while ignoring the hordes of undead clamoring at the gates. Richard Cheese’s parody of Disturbed’s “Down with the Sickness” provides the perfect background as the survivors attempt to live alongside the bizarre disease of the undead.

Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.

25
Aug
10

Roundup – Hippity Hop

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Line O’ the Day:

Well first off, the use of offsite centers to handle your fast food calls is 100% true. According to the Boston Globe, Wendy’s, Burger King, Mickey D’s, and Panda Express all use offsite call centers to handle your drive thru order. I did not know this. That’s fucking crazy.  It’s not racism driving this. It’s purely a matter of economics and efficiency. Oddly enough, it’s easier for McDonald’s to have your order taken by someone 500 miles away than to have it taken by someone right in your local location. This is because the offsite operator doesn’t have to worry about shit like making fries and serving assholes at the register while taking your order. The call center person only needs to focus on YOU, and getting your order right. That means they get your order right more often, and they can make sure it gets to you in less time. Which is fucking SWEET, because waiting at any drive thru – a restaurant, a drug store, a bank, is the longest wait of your goddamn life. Especially if the person on the other end of the drive thru is some mouth-breathing shithead who you can’t understand and who can’t understand you. Nothing makes me angrier. I SAID I WANTED A FUCKING WHOPPER, ASSHOLE.” – Big Daddy Drew,Does McDonald’s Believe In Drive Thru Order Taker Racial Profiling? [Deadspin XY]

Best of the Best:

The Remains:

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Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.

19
Aug
10

Best Score – Fight Club

Purpose of Best Score.

Fight Club (1999)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meatloaf, Helena Bonham Carter, David Lee Smith, Jared Leto

Screenplay by: Jim Uhls and Chuck Palahniuk (source writer)

Directed by: David Fincher

Music: “Coffee Store Zak” by Rolfe Kent

David Fincher made his name with this crazed Chuck Palahniuk story, lending his dark but flashy style to the tale of psychosis mixed with anti-establishmentarianism. The opening scene in the film was endemic of the rest as we are sent from the molecular level of Ed Norton’s face to the barrel of the gun sticking in his mouth. The usage of extreme continuous shots made possible with CGI would involve itself heavily in the film, with this scene, set to adrenaline-fueled techno-punk score by the Dust Brothers starting it all.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.

Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.

19
Aug
10

Best Score – Afternoon Delight

Purpose of Best Score.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Seth Rogen, Danny Trejo, Ian Roberts, Laura Kightlinger, Judd Apatow, Bill Kurtis (voice), Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Jack Black (cameo), Tim Robbins, Jerry Stiller (cameo), Vince Vaughn

Screenplay by: Will Ferrell and Adam McKay

Directed by: Adam McKay

Music by: “Deep Burgundy” and “Baby Making Flute Solo” written and performed by Marc Ellis, “Aqualung” by Ian Anderson and Jennie Anderson, “Afternoon Delight” written by Bill Danoff and performed by Will Ferrell

Anchorman, like The Big Lebowski, is a film that grows funnier with repeated viewings. The jazz flute scene seemed to fall flat the first time around but even then it showed its brilliance with the reference to Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung”.

Then there was the nonsensical a capella performance of “Afternoon Delight”.  Genius.

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