Tag Archives: Soundtrack

Happy Music Friday: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

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Let them eat cake. Lots and lots and lots of cake.

“It’s always more intriguing to imagine what’s happening, as opposed to seeing everything, because then you can use your imagination. I always wanted to be at a distance.” – Sofia Coppola

I love me some Sofia Coppola and anything she touches is gold in my book.

Production design and music pretty much cement a movie for me (along with a good script of course) but this time I have to say that the music stole the show. Don’t get me wrong, I could go on for days and days about the painstaking recreation of — well — pretty much everything in the entire movie, but the music drew me in and kind of obliterated everything else.

Pastel pastries be damned. Give me some music!

“Acting isn’t for me. I don’t like being told what to do. I’m more interested in set design, more visually driven.” – Sofia Coppola

The soundtracks to her movies are always great and they add a lot of emotion and depth (even if it is pop music). The treatment of the subject, which is usually sterile and very bookish, gives insight as to how a teenager might have felt in having the entire treasury of France at her feet yet not one soul to truly call a friend.She literally has everything she could have wanted yet she’s quite the lonely dauphine, er, queen.

It’s like Molly Ringwald in French class: pink dress, gossip, backstabbing and all.

So, in honor of the amazing 1980s — America’s poshest decade full of waste and frivolity and horribly bad fashion — I present to you some of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack to Marie Antoinette.

Enjoy mes chéris! Now go eat some cake or something.

And for the coups de gras – a cameo by Phoenix (a Sofia Coppola favorite, probably because she’s married to Thomas Mars, the lead singer, and also probably because they’re French).

 

 

Where The Wild Things Mourn: Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

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Maurice Sendak

. . .from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions. Fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives. They continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things. – Maurice Sendak

I heard about Maurice Sendak‘s passing today while listening to NPR’s Morning Edition.

I have to say that it broke a little piece of my heart.

A tiny piece that still believes I’m a seven year-old sitting in the floor of the library at Webster Elementary listening to Mrs. Gonce reading Where The Wild Things Are  for about the fortieth time.

I was a pretty voracious reader and could easily spend hours lying on my bed and devouring anything I could get my hands on.

Almost every weekend I would either check-out books from the school library, or if we were out on summer break, I would go to the public library and get books for the summer reading program.

Between playing with my sisters, tromping through the woods with neighborhood kids and the lure of a brand new Nintendo, I still found time to read.

Call me a dork. I don’t mind.

To me, reading was this sort of sacred time when I was able to be alone with my thoughts and absorb these magical words on a page that turned into movies in my head.

I became the characters and felt their emotions, embarking on their journeys of discovery and awakening, and learning more about myself in the process.

Besides Shell Silverstein, Madeline L’Engle, Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis, Sendak was one of the most-read authors from my childhood.

I appreciated these writers for not feeding me the simplified drivel that fills most children’s books. They gave me difficult words, uncomfortable concepts and disturbing mental images — and I loved it all.

Where The Wild Things Are

If there’s anything I’m proud of in my work–it’s not that I draw better; there’s so many better graphic artists than me–or that I write better, no. It’s–and I’m not saying I know the truth, because what the hell is that? But what I got from Ruth and Dave, a kind of fierce honesty, to not let the kid down, to not let the kid get punished, to not suffer the child to be dealt with in a boring, simpering, crushing-of-the-spirit kind of way. – Maurice Sendak

Sendak’s illustrations from Wild Things are something that will always stick with me.

I would stare at them for hours, taking note of the colors and lines and the playful-yet-terrifying personalities of the monsters.

I liked the idea that Max could get so close to these grotesque things but still remain strong enough in his own mind to avoid being eaten. He was able to assert his own will (unlike a in his real life) and still be loved.

When Spike Jonze began work on his movie adaptation of Wild Things it was almost more than I could stand. I would scour the internet for photos and interviews, patiently waiting for the day when I would get to see one of my favorite childhood memories come to life.

I was not disappointed.

Between the amazing puppetry, the production design and the music (Arcade Fire and Karen O. from The Yeah Yeah Yeahs) I have a new and more adult understanding of what the book was really about.

It’s amazing how beautifully the original 10 sentences were interpreted into a full-length movie.

It was much darker than I anticipated but then again that’s really what is at the heart of the book.

At an early age, Sendak became acquainted with death and loss, as his extended family was killed during the Holocaust.

His brother Jack, however, understood Sendak’s creative imagination and helped him retain his own sense of self, even as his parents longed for him to be different.

As Sendak well knew, children feel the same emotions as adults.

They feel the same love and joy.

They hurt the same and feel betrayal, loss and despair, just like their parents.

“I said anything I wanted because I don’t believe in children. I don’t believe in childhood. I don’t believe that there’s a demarcation. ‘Oh you mustn’t tell them that. You mustn’t tell them that.’ You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it’s true. If it’s true you tell them.”

Mr. Sendak, you will be forever cherished by me and countless generations who demand truth, imagination and a certain darkness in their bedtime stories.

Thank you for believing that kids deserve more from their literature than a freshly-scrubbed hero who always does well in school, says “thank you” to his mother and father, and happily eats his broccoli before going to bed without a fight.

That’s an adult’s idea of what a “good” child should do.

That’s an adult giving a moral treatise to an eight year-old and it’s simply not true or real.

Children want to see themselves in their books.

They want honesty.

They want to know that life isn’t all ice cream and puppy dogs and rainbows but that we’re all in it together — and we’ll all survive — even with a few scars and bruises to serve as trophies of experience.

That is truth.

Great Moments in Soundtrack: The Kids Are All Right

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I watched Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right” for the third time last night. Besides being a humorous and simultaneously deep movie which deals with some difficult life themes (childhood coming-of-age, long-term committed relationship meltdown, and the longing for something that is unobtainable) it has a kick ass soundtrack.

Annette Benning (Nic) and Julianne Moore (Jules)

It is one of those soundtracks that hits me as soon as the film opens, and of course with Carter Burwell at the music helm, it is gold in my book. Pretty much anything Burwell touches is an instant favorite for me. I recognized some 70s rock-era David Bowie, CSS, MGMT, Joni Mitchell and Leon Russell. The rest I wasn’t sure of, but I did some Googling found the entire soundtrack listing.

01. The Youth – MGMT
02. Black Country Rock – David Bowie
03. Sundown Syndrome – Tame Impala
04. When I Grow Up – Fever Ray
05. Out In The Woods – Leon Russell
06. Milk Man – Deerhoof
07. The New World – X
08. Same High – Uh Huh Her
09. Win – David Bowie
10. Slippin’ – Quadron
11. All I Want – Joni Mitchell
12. Knife – CSS
13. Blues Alley – Geology ft. Yukimi Nagano
14. Galatea’s Guitar – Gabor Szabo
15. Good Lovin’ – Betty Wright
16. Blue Cash – Deerhoof
17. Fortune – Little Dragon

Mia Wasikowska (Joni) and Josh Hutcherson (Laser)

The film does a good job of balancing each of the characters in the soundtrack. Joni Mitchell, of course, is for the relationship between Julianne Moore’s and Annette Benning’s characters (Jules and Nic, respectively). There is a slew of newer music for the kids, played by Josh Hutcherson (Laser) and Mia Wasikowska (Joni). Perhaps my favorite, though, are those of the free-lovin’, motorcycle ridin’, über-bohemian character of Paul, played by the loverly bescruffled Mark Ruffalo.

Mark Ruffalo (Paul)

Seventeen links to YouTube is quite much, so I’ll just put in a few of my favorites from the film.

Please to enjoy!

Great Moments in Soundtrack: American Beauty

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American Beauty
1999
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Alan Ball

Synopsis: Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation for his daughter’s attractive friend.

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Lester sings in the car like I do, instrumentals and all.


“I won’t get to get what I’m after, ’till the day I die.”


“Well, all I know is I love shooting this gun!”

“…from now on, we’re  going to alternate our dinner music, because frankly…and I don’t think I’m alone here…I’m really tired of this Lawrence Welk shit.”