by Melissa Henderson
A couple of weeks ago, I was flipping through Netflix and I happened upon a movie called Short Term 12. To the best of my recollections, I could not remember hearing anything about it (it would seem the giant rock I live under keeps me in the dark at times from some pretty awesome movies), so I did a miniscule amount of research before clicking play. I have definitely lucked out a couple times just picking random movies (Spring Breakers, The Dirties and Jug Face immediately come to mind), and Short Term 12 turned out to be pretty freakin' great. There is a point during the movie in which a young man, Marcus (played by Keith Stanfield), is asked to show his recent work. What followed has stuck with me since then, inspiring the topic for this piece. While it was only a short couple of minutes, “So You Know What It's Like” is so well performed that I was completely caught off guard with the unexpectedness of the emotions that overwhelmed me. There's such a fierce passion that comes through that even with rewinding and re-watching the clip several times, my original reaction was not lessened at all.
First up, and I have to admit it still gets me every time, is Zooey Deschanel singing “Baby it's Cold Outside” in Elf. When I first watched the movie, I had no clue she could sing, and holy shit, am I a fan -- so much so that this past Christmas I bought her “She and Him” Christmas Album. It's definitely great, but there's just something about singing along with dumb ole Will Ferrell in that elf costume that can't be beat! HAHA!
Next up, and taking us in a whole new direction, is that music moment when Jack Black meets Kyle Gass for the first time in Tenacious D: Pick of Destiny. I have seen the film about a dozen times and am certain that it is no exaggeration when I say that I have re-watched this two minute clip at least a hundred times.
For me, it's Jack Black doing what he does best while “borrowing” from some of music's greats (Bach, Beethoven and Mozart). This song, “Classico,” literally has me laughing and cheering for more! (What the Hell? I sound like a freaken publicist writing one liners... Which is super lame!! But I'm promoting what I love, so that has to cancel some of the lameness out, right? ...Right?)
I had a couple other “maybe” options to add to the list, one being Anna Kendrick's “Cup Song” in Pitch Perfect, but the movie is a freakin' musical (of sorts) about acapella groups, so there has to be at least one great music moment in there... Therefore, NOT included due to my expectation of some random awesomeness.
This next one is not quite the same as the other examples, but the music moments in it so resonated with me that I had to mention it. This weekend I revisited Disney's Robin Hood (1973), for the first time in over 22 years, and sweet merciful crap was I the only one who didn't get how TERRIFIC the music was in the cartoon back then? Right off the bat, Roger Millar's, “Oo De Lally” had my attention.
My memory of the classic was always that of the story; not once did I ever think of the music being memorable. I must have grown a different set of ears over the past couple decades, as “Not In Nottingham” had me damn near in tears. My revisit of this movie was an eye-opening experience. Not only did I get to fall in love all over again with the cartoon fox Robin Hood of my childhood, but I discovered a new appreciation for an artist I had only ever known for singing “King of the Road.” I am so excited about my newfound old music that I have to YELL ABOUT IT on here!
Who am I kidding... I yell about everything, everywhere.
What are some of your surprise music moments in movies?
Haha, that clip actually makes me want to revisit Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. I don't remember loving it, but that little bit made me laugh. Sometimes I hate Jack Black and sometimes I love him. I also love the guy at the end there shouting "yeah!"ReplyDelete
I don't really have any of these off the top of my head, but I'll give it a good think and report back.
Also, a bit off topic, but Jack Black made me think of something, and I'm going to throw this out there for Patrick's consideration: given that this seems to be a great year for Linklater with the masterpiece (depending on who you talk to, which is most people) that is Boyhood, I propose doing a podcast on one of my favorite more conventional movies of Linklater's career: School of Rock. Consider this a request. Please and thank you! :)Delete
I'd be down with a School of Rock podcast too. (please?)Delete
School of Rock podcast thirded...BIG time.Delete
Thanks, guys! I'm glad I have some backing for this suggestion. :)Delete
I re-watched Robin Hood last year for my podcast and those Roger Miller songs are definitely a highlight. Robin Hood and Little John, running through the forest....ReplyDelete
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Short Term 12 is so great, that scene in particular.ReplyDelete
What I love, though, is when you get a surreal musical number. The one that comes to mind is *that* David Soul moment in Filth. It's weird and hilarious and, best of all, completely unexpected.
I was pleasantly surprised by the use of mmmbop in at the end of Detention. Especially as it was cleverly disguised (via a different arrangement) during the opening credits.ReplyDelete
Slightly off topic but not much. But the music score for American beauty by Thomas Newman just elevates the film so high for me. It draws me in completely everytime. Haunting and mesmerising. One of my favourite scores for a movieReplyDelete
Just now rethinking and as an afterthought the music in the film Donnie Darko which I will defend as superb is brilliant. Maybe liking these songs and growing up in the 80s helps but they work really well in the movie and the new version of Mad world by Gary jules slightly different giving the perfect twist as the movie unfolds or maybe doesn't unfold depending on your reaction. For me it worked really wellReplyDelete
"The Pink Room" in "Fire Walk With Me" - that's the song playing at the Bang Bang Bar that Laura and Donna go to. Lynch cranked the sound up so much that he subtitles most of the conversation going on. That scene grabs a hold of me every single time.ReplyDelete
"The Blower's Daughter" at the end of "Closer". I fucking hate these forced emotion music cues in films but I fucking teared up just as they intended to make me do. Not because of the film, but because the song is written in the key of "cry now". Put that song in Friday the 13th and you'll ball your eyes out while Jason chops off a head. Go F yourself Damian Rice.
Side note - does anyone remember in the 90's when every single movie trailer used "Dreams" by the Cranberries?! Great band but F that song thanks to Hollywood.
Lastly, and one of my favorites if it counts, Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello robbing a museum timed to "Swinging on a Star" in the underrated classic "Hudson Hawk".
Actually The Pink Room is in Canada and not at the Bang Bang Bar. I know it seems like it's in the back of the Roadhouse because of the way the film cuts, but Laura and the others have actually traveled out of the country. This is made more apparent by the deleted scenes on the blu-ray which shows them all driving to the border, and doing donut spins in the parking lot while a Cooper Tire sign looms overhead. Clever.Delete
Hey man, I did not imply in my post that the Bang Bang Bar and Roadhouse are the same. I didn't even mention the Roadhouse. Yes, the Bang Bang is in Cananda. Let the Twin Peaks fanboyness commence!Delete
I just got the new blu-ray set and started watching the series for the first time last night - really digging it so far - Holy Influential, Batman!Delete
Nice Sol! Hope you enjoy it!Delete
I have never seen Tenacious D: Pick of Destiny but that video really makes me want to!ReplyDelete
I'm not sure if I'm going to get shit for this (insomuch as anyone on this site gives anyone shit) but all everyone singing "Wise Up" in Magnolia worked like crazy for me. Maybe it's because of all the goodwill the movie has earned leading up to it, but for me it's something that doesn't seem like it should work but totally does.
I also like the musical number in Jaws: The Revenge - I mean, a singing shark is kinda weird, and Michael Caine tapdancing on a singing shark's back is even weirder, but somehow they totally pull it off!
You would never get shit for liking anything in Magnolia, ESPECIALLY "Wise Up."Delete
Get shit for it!? That scene is amazing!Delete
Heheh - for some reason I seem to have some hangups about my love for that movie - I think I've got some "friends" who trashed it in the past or something. Glad y'all agree!Delete
Damn. Fire walk with me keeps cropping up on my radar. The one that got away. I need to see that filmReplyDelete
Hi, Melissa, welcome to the "F This Movie" asylum. :-)ReplyDelete
Back in '99, when "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" premiered theatrically, me and work buddy went to see it right after work. To say that the musical numbers (which we didn't know lick about, we avoided all spoilers/news before seeing it) came as a shock to me and apparently everyone else in the theater is an understatement. As Patrick has often mentioned (to my nodding agreement) this is the best movie musical of the past 20 or so years, and to experience those Godly tunes unaware they were coming (each one funnier and catchier than the one before) was like Christmas morning cinephile crack cocaine binging. It's the only time in my 41 years alive that I've literally ran out of a movie theater toward the nearest record store (about 16 NYC blocks) to buy the soundtrack CD because I couldn't wait to hear those songs again. Ended up seeing the movie a few more times in theaters, inviting every friend and family member within reach to see (and hear) it.
As mentioned before, the "Wise Up" song in "Magnolia" is an unexpected showstopper that not only works but, in my particular case, redeems and lifts what up until that moment is an unbearable, oppressive and joyless exercise in P.T. Anderson anti-cinema, his warm-up for "There Will Be Blood" and "The Master."
It shouldn't surprise me given it was in the trailer and the movie's subject matter, but man, when the main cast of characters in Almost Famous start singing, then full-on belting out "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John (pretty much a set-up for Kate Hudson's muse to spell out the movie's subtext), it lifts you up like an extra sugary Frosted Flakes bowl.
On a similar vein, even if it's a musical proper, when Woody Allen starts to sing in Everyone Says I Love You it catches you off guard as much as the hardcore gangsta rap lyrics that literally crash the otherwise white bread vanilla flick for a few seconds. Both of these elicited more gasps than laughs at the theater where I saw it back in the mid-90's.
Clerks III has issues, but you can't tell me the "ABC" musical number not only (a) doesn't get you to smile (Rosario Dawson dancing, 'nuff said) but (b) fits surprisingly well within the otherwise foul-mouthed View Askew universe.
Hate to go deep cut here, but when "Moonlight Revenge" kicks in during the climactic next-to-final scene of the "Sailor Moon R" movie (subtitled "Secret of the Rose" in its English dubbed version) my favorite anime of all time literally becomes an out-of-body experience. I can't think of an unexpected song backing up a movie climax that so perfectly conveyed the mood of emergency, melancholy, joy and action of what you're watching.
When Anna Karina and Jean Paul Belmondo start singing/dancing "Ma Ligne de Chance" in Godard's "Pierrot le Fou," Jeanne Moreau sings "Le Tourbillon" in Truffaut's "Jules & Jim" and Faye Wong sneaks into the apartment and the Chinese version of "Dreams" starts in Wong Kar-Wai's "Chungking Express"... wow! Just magic, man, magic. ;-)
I had the same reaction to south park. I wish I had got to see it at the cinema. I was not a fan of the show. Not that I disliked it. Just never saw it. Theres only so many hours in the day and to many films to watch. So I really did watch it unknowing of anything. I think Pb could be right. I cant think of a musical where the songs are so addictive I must of seen it 20 times.ReplyDelete
The only others songs that have infected my brain so deeply are the songs from Evil Dead. The musical. What the F was that? Anyone who has heard this song will know what I mean I'm sure. Also the bit part demon song. Im not a killer. Good old reliable jake. Brilliant
How about Garth's drum solo in Wayne's World. I'm pretty sure that one had me falling out of my chair.ReplyDelete