Tag Archives: soundtracks

Mediocre Movies, Good Song

This weekend I watched Meet Bill and Cashback on Netflix downloads. Meet Bill has a great cast, but they’re tied to a messy plot with an unfulfilling ending. It’s also a bit gayer than was strictly necessary. I would have been better off watching American Beauty for the seventh time. Cashback has some hot naked chicks, and while I can relate with the protagonist’s (and director’s, I’m sure) obsession with the beauty of the female form, there wasn’t a lot of there, there. Here, I should have rewatched Art School Confidential. Neither are terrible films, but you can find better. Even on Netflix downloads.1

But coincidentally, both films included Royksopp’s What Else Is There? in their soundtracks. This is a great mid-tempo electronic song with ethereal vocals, so I include it here for your enjoyment:

  1. Netflix’s download selection is notoriously subpar, especially if you discount the classics. Illustrating this, one commenter on IMDB, complaining about Meet Bill, wrote “now I know why it was available for download”. []

Darjeeling Limited Review

Natalie Portman naked. Normally those words are used to drive gullible people to fraudulent web sites. In this case, those words will drive you to see The Darjeeling Limited before it leaves theaters.

The film is preceded by Hotel Chevalier, a short film starring Natalie and Jason Schwartzman. It provides a little backstory and context for the main film. It also provides you with an excellent reason to shell out $10.

Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman in Hotel Chevalier

Amara Karan in The Darjeeling LimitedI could make this review entirely about Natalie’s glorious visage. Forget launching a thousand ships; she could make Farrakhan convert to Judaism1. But anyone who’d find that a worthwhile read is already at Fandango looking up show times.

And it would be unfair to the film, which is worth $10 on its own. For the first two acts, I felt this was Wes Anderson’s best work since Rushmore. Intriguing characters, great humor. Fantastic visual storytelling with beautiful sets. I can easily see this receiving Oscar nominations for art direction and cinematography. And speaking of beauty, Natalie isn’t the only babe in film. We’re introduced to Amara Karan, Sri Lanka’s answer to Rosario Dawson. And there’s even some gorgeous Louis Vuitton luggage (or is it baggage?) that gets its own prominent credit.2

Beyond the visuals there are some great songs on the soundtrack3. Instead of an original score, it comprises songs from other Indian films along with some British invasion classics. In particular, the theme song (Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt) has been stuck in my head since I left the theater. It tells the tale of a girl from modest means who enters high society in 1960’s Paris. Very Holly Golightly, causing me to draw further parallels between Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Portman. It’s first played during Natalie’s brief appearance, and I’ll probably forever associate it with her. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song, but don’t take my word for it. Have a listen (and pay attention to the lyrics):

My only complaint about the film is that pacing seemed to slow quite a bit during the third act4 . It made the film feel longer than it was, even though the run time is only 91 minutes. I began to expect closing credits at the end of each scene. However, I must give it props for a fitting and highly metaphorical final scene. It just takes a little while to get there.

  1. It’s lines like this that keep TCT anonymous []
  2. Unfortunately, I can’t find it for sale anywhere, and it’s not listed on LV’s web site. I know it was custom made, as it was painted by Wes Anderson’s brother. But I was hoping to find a limited run somewhere, even if there’s no chance of affording it before I strike it rich. []
  3. Available on Rhapsody.com []
  4. In the film’s defense I was in an uncomfortable seat. []

Music from the Motion Picture Almost Famous (A Rhapsody Playlist)

Almost Famous was the first and last movie I saw in the theater alone. I’m one of those people who believe movies are a social experience. You grab dinner, see the movie, and then talk about it over coffee1. I’m pretty sure I’m in the majority. When Almost Famous was released, of course I wanted to see it with friends. But either everyone had seen it, or nobody wanted to see it. Normally I’d just wait for it to be released on DVD, but something told me I had to see this movie in the theater. So after meeting friends for dinner at the Santa Monica Promenade2 and failing to convince them to join me, I bought a ticket and went in alone.

It was practically a religious experience.

Seeing Cameron Crowe’s journey into the world of rock and roll at the age of 16 seemed like a wakeup call. A big “what the hell am I doing with my life” kinda thing3. The film immediately became one of my all time favorites.

And the music. Just fantastic. Complementing each scene so that hearing them again allows us to invoke Crowe’s memories as our own.

Of course, I bought the soundtrack right away. But even at 17 songs it only covers about a third of the music in the film. At one time I had ambitious plans to collect all the albums the songs had appeared on, allowing me to experience it the same way Crowe did. Luckily, procrastination sometimes saves you work. Eventually I discovered Rhapsody, which saved me from tracking down all those albums on half.com. And the good volunteers at the IMDB painstakingly entered the music credits4. All I had to do was find the tracks on Rhapsody and play them.

Unfortunately, Rhapsody doesn’t have the best search capabilities. But eventually I was able to find all the songs or determine if they weren’t available. When faced with duplicate tracks, I chose the one that appeared on the original album if it was available. This saves you the trouble of having to track it down, if you’re a purist like me.

In addition, I have listed below all the songs that were missing from Rhapsody. The great tragedy for this soundtrack is that Rhapsody doesn’t really have any Zeppelin5 . Considering that the fictional band Stillwater is a composite representing Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, and The Eagles, it is a real loss. Or a great excuse to buy a bunch of Zeppelin albums.

I hope this inspires others to do the same, as there are many movies with great music, and only one of me. However, this won’t be my last – stay tuned!

Music from the Motion Picture Almost Famous (A Rhapsody Playlist)

Continue reading Music from the Motion Picture Almost Famous (A Rhapsody Playlist)

  1. No coffee after a movie makes me sad. []
  2. Back when it was cool, not just some clone of The Grove []
  3. Unfortunately, my powers of procrastination and laziness are still as strong as ever, but at least I know I’m capable of being motivated for short bursts. []
  4. As I count 48 songs, I’m not sure if it’s missing any since I heard there’s over 50 in the film. However, it does look to be very thorough. []
  5. They must’ve really took “get the Led out” to heart. []