Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just get the soundtrack

Wherein Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band doesn't make the list because it's a sublimely clever and subtle movie and the music interpretations prove what untalented hacks the Beatles really where

Easy to fill make a movie that is Teh Suck and fill it with established, popular music. Harder to make the bad movie and still find a way to create good, original music.

Let's go back to the beginning, where XWL says:
Can't Stop This Feeling I Got, Prince from Graffiti Bridge
This album is the silver medalist in the competition for best album from worst movie (the gold medalist is also by Prince, but that would be the album Parade, inspired by the film Under A Cherry Moon). This isn't one of the better songs on the album (the two essential and amazing songs from that album are Joy In Repitition and Release It)

In response to my question, he offers Tank Girl for the bronze. Looks very interesting, but I think we might have a small difference of qualifying criteria. I'm thinking the music should be original for the movie and not just a track slapped over the film. On that basis I might reluctantly not include Tank Girl. So while that movie is in dispute, let's look at a few other contenders.

Saturday Night Fever. I cannot be convinced there is any good in this movie, but I've made my peace with the soundtrack. WHich means making peace with the Bee Gees. With or without the Bee Gees, disco was going to happen, so let's appreciate some truly good music. Stayin' Alive and Jive Talkin' are great songs and I'll also take Boogie Shoes (KC & the Sunshine Band) and If I Can't Have You (Yvonne Elliman). Then a whole batch of decent songs with only one affront to humanity; that being Walter Murphy and A Fifth of Beethoven (maybe two affronts--I have no memory of Night on Disco Mountain).

Elvis movies? According to the Elvis Presley Database, he made 33 movies. IMDB has him listed in 31 movies. Whatever the correct total is, he was making 2-3 movies a year for 12 years. I offer this one for discussion. I've never seen an Elvis movie I liked, but I would think some of these would have a decent soundtrack.

The Wiz. I was unsure about including The Wiz until I read the following: Directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico) and penned by Joel Schumacher (Batman and Robin), this lavish 1978 adaptation of the Broadway hit The Wiz was the biggest production filmed in New York City up to that point.

For the amount of talent behind the camera and in front (Lena Horne, Dianna Ross, Michael Jackson, Mabel King, etc...) what is actually on screen is not that good. This is one you're better off listening to than watching.

School Daze. Spike Lee's second movie after the brilliant She's Gotta Have It. A fascinating and ambitious movie in many ways, it suffers from trying to do too much. The portrayal of the girlfriend's victimization has always struck me as exploitive and a guy standing in the quad screaming does not a resolution make. Yes, it's a representative frustration, but it's also frustrating for the viewers.

Mo Better Blues. Great director and great cast, the movie isn't bad; I'd even say it's good. But the soundtrack so outpaces the movie it has to be on the list. Music is by the Branford Marsalis Quartet with Marsalis on sax. One of my favorite soundtracks, with Harlem Blues and Mo' Better Blues being the standouts.

Those are mine. Anyone else have a soundtrack that surpasses the movie?


Blogger reader_iam said...

Well, this is reaching way back and into another genre of music, but what jumped to mind was "Barry Lyndon" (though I think the movie actually was better than a lot of people judged it at the time).

3/02/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...


It's not the movie's fault, entirely; we saw the stage version recently and it was almost as bad; the story is just sociopathic. The movie adds some truly inappropriate choreography (Agnes deMille, with what must have been outtakes from "Rodeo"), some stinky camera work (what good is dancing if you're not showing their feet? Why do they all stand so still when they're singing?), and the accent coach should have been shot.

But the music is just fantastic: easy, singable, fun. Too bad it's a terrible match to the story.

3/02/2006 03:00:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home