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Mar 27, 2008

Fletch's Favored Five: Movies Worth Listening To (Scores)

Previously, I took a look at some of my favorite singles-based soundtracks. Today, we examine mostly instrumental ones.

I'm no expert in movie scores, and they sometimes fly right by my radar, but other times I'm pulled in immediately, and have been known to purchase the soundtrack immediately after seeing a film (I've never listened to a score prior to seeing the accompanying film).

The Last of the Mohicans - I'm ashamed to say I don't own this one by Randy Edelman and Trevor Jones, but I do have the two best tracks on my iPod, and would recommend them to anyone. Looking for that musical way to tell someone you'll love them forever? Play them "Top of the World." Looking for some inspirational music to play to a sports team or to gear yourself up for something? Play "Promentory," which was famously used a few months back in a Nike NFL commercial featuring Stephen Jackson, amongst others.
Favorite Track: "Promentory"

Ocean's Eleven - Much like Rushmore and The Royal Tenanbaums albums, this soundtrack is a mish-mosh of a score and singles. And though it indeed has some great singles, most notably "The Projects" by Handsome Boy Modeling School and "A Little Less Conversation" by the King himself (the quintessential Vegas song in my opinion), the score by David Holmes is what helped push the movie from pretty damn cool to phenomenally cool, though whoever put the soundtrack album together needs to be dragged out into the street and shot, as the (always welcome) dialogue snippets oh-so-unwisely eat into just about every song, where they should be played in between (for an example of how this should work, see the Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs albums).
Favorite Track: "69 Police"

Out of Sight - Yes, another Steven Soderberg film, and yes, another David Holmes score. In terms of execution, this is the twin brother to Ocean's, what with a few great tunes (the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" amongst them) thrown in, as well as that dialogue problem again, but the tone is a bit different - downbeat and chill where Ocean's is upbeat and snazzy. Still, it's great mood music, and it was even used in large part by EA Sports as the soundtrack for Tiger Woods '07.
Favorite Track: "Foley Part 2"

Get Shorty - If you're looking for more of that connectivity angle, I won't let you down. Though the artist is different, Shorty was based on an Elmore Leonard novel just like Out of Sight, so it's got that going for it. Here, it's the straight poppy jazz of John Lurie leading the way, with cameos from studs like Booker T & the MGs, US3, Morphine and Medeski, Martin & Wood. In fact, Lurie's music is so good, I even used one of the tracks for a short film I made in college (it worked perfectly, if you ask me). A rewarding listen all around.
Favorite Track: "Stink" (I'd put Booker T's "Green Onions" here, but it's not part of the score, so that wouldn't be right.)

Fight Club - This is where my bias for the film really overlaps with my love for the music, as the Fincher classic is in my top 5. The Dust Brothers stepped away from the producer's table and scored the entire film, and it was a big success. The only cheat in terms of the soundtrack is that the highly influential Pixies, whose (best track, in my opinion) "Where Is My Mind?," which closed the film, is excluded from the album. It's really the only non-Dust song that I can recall in the movie, but to leave off such a phenomenal song seems just criminal. Nonetheless, the score stands on its own.
Favorite Track: "Stealing Fat" (a portion of which plays during the opening credits)

Honorable Mentions: Run Lola Run, Amelie, 12 Monkeys

Some Random Singles
These aren't just songs that I love (though I do), but songs that I feel really enhanced their particular scenes. If I sat around for awhile, I could surely think of more, but here's a small sampling:

Oasis - "F*ckin' in the Bushes" - Snatch
Yes, I put The Stranglers' "Golden Brown" as my favorite track on the Snatch soundtrack, but the usage of this particular Oasis song (which by the way sounds unlike any other song of theirs I've ever heard) during the final boxing match is terrific. Watch the scene and tell me the song doesn't just make it.

The Pixies - "Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)" - Southland Tales
Hooray, more Pixies. True, no one saw Southland Tales except for me, Mrs. Fletch and about 7 other people (review is here), but if they had, they would have been turned on to a great song (found on their B-Sides album; the original, faster version is on Doolittle) that gives oodles of mood to one of the many bizarre stretches in the film.

Hans Zimmer - "You're So Cool" - True Romance
This song alone puts the soundtrack in the honorable mention category for me, but overall, there are too many weak songs ("Wounded Bird," "In Dreams") to outweigh the good ones (this one, Chris Isaak's "Two Hearts," Soundgarden's "Outshined"). Still, this Zimmer track (which I swear has been renamed and used in another film I can't quite recall) is worth the purchase price alone.

Rod Dougan - "Clubbed to Death" (Kurayamino Remix) - The Matrix
Just a gorgeous blend of classical piano and electronica, all instrumental and 7+ minutes long. To be honest, I can barely recall its usage in the movie, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't used enough.

Fiona Apple - "Across the Universe" - Pleasantville
Though it's only played over the ending credits, this is probably my favorite Apple tune (and I'm a fan), and it might even be trump the Beatles own version.

Joe Esposito - "You're the Best" - The Karate Kid
Of course, I'm totally joking. No, I'm not. Well, maybe I am. Naw. Either way, it's an awesomely bad song in an awesomely bad movie, and if you don't like it, you're not human.

11 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: Movies Worth Listening To (Scores)"

Mrs. Thuro said...

Favorite score: The Fountain. If I weren't already married, I'd be all over Clint Mansell like a fat kid on a twinkie.

Anonymous said...

Another song that worked well in Southland Tales was "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers. Justin Timberlake lip-synching that song during the dream sequence was probably the best part of the film.

As for favorite movie scores, I really liked A Beautiful Mind, Jurassic Park, and Stargate.

WampaOne said...

Do I really need to say it Fletch? Nooooooooooooooo [/Darth Vader]

Kudos for You´re the Best...Around.

I always liked Love is Love (Culture Club) on the Electric Dreams soundtrack/movie, although the rest of the soundtrack is pretty good too. Man in Motion (St. Elmo´s Fire) kick ass too.

On yesterday, I know there´s some Bowie and other great artist on the Trainspotting soundtrack, but your list seemed so 90´s/2000´s, where the fuck were the 80´s...the 80´s rulez, man, New Order kicks ass.

The Fraze said...

You're the best... AARRRROOOUND! haha.

Nothing's ever gonna keep you down, fletch!

Daniel G. said...

Good choices here again. I tend toward the classicals (JP is a great call), but I've recently heard Ocean's Eleven a few times and it's fantastic. Very Vegas. I'd almost rather listen to the soundtrack than watch the movie...

soundtrackgeek said...

But where is Fletch by Harold Faltermeyer? :D

Some very good ones here. Glad you mentioned the excellent "Clubbed to Death" (Kurayamino Remix), it doesn't get enough cred.

Run Lola Run is brilliant, both movie and soundtrack. I listened to it today on the way to work. Great stuff.

The Last of The Mohicans is one of the best soundtracks ever made, movie or no movie. It could have been the soundtrack to Son of the Mask and I would love it :D. You should seriously buy it, get the 2CD version and play it. I recommend once before work and twice after dinner.

Will there be more Fletch? I loooove these soundtrack posts :)

nick plowman said...

Again, a great post!

There are so many I love, including Brokeback Mountain, American Beauty, Half Nelson just off the top of my head.

Run Lola Run was something special too.

Nothing tops that of The Last of The Mohicans. Nothing at all.

Foy Lyndstrom said...

"Mohicans" disappointed me big time. Track 5 was a monster - like a MIDI file out of a Super Nintendo game, and besides tracks 1,2,3,6 and one or two others, the rest are...well...not so pretty background music. Some BG music is great, but this...meh...

I adore the Lord of the Rings soundtracks, all three of them. Howard Shore did an absolutely amazing job on them - he weaves the unique themes of the Hobbits, the Fellowship, Rohan, Gondor, Isengard, and Orcs all together into a unique and amazing fabric. If you have to choose one of them, Return of the King tops the list - just one play through of Into the West will melt the heart of even the toughest guy.

And if you really want some sports "pump up" music, you have to go with the Pirates of the Caribbean scores. Especially the first and the third. Just...amazing. My favorites.

What about the two Zorro soundtracks? I have the Legend of Zorro, and that has some of the best upbeat Mexo-adrenaline music you'll hear North or South of the border.

And then the score (not the soundtrack) of Transformers - if only for the track "Arrival to Earth."

Tony Tanti said...

Good list. I'd add Braveheart too.

Tully Moxness said...

All this love for 'You're The Best' and nobody ever talks about 'Bop Bop on the Beach' or 'Feel The Night'. Shame on You!

For non-guilty pleasures, the greatest scores ever in my book are Once Upon A Time In The West, To Kill A Mockingbird, Cinema Paradiso and Peggy Sue Got Married. Citizen Kane kicks ass, too.

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