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11.01.10 My Top Ten RIGHT NOW

On the art of the movie sountrack…

A recent conversation held well before the sun had risen turned my mind on to how odd it is that I listen to movie soundtracks daily, and rarely as background noise. To be clear, this is highly different than my natural disposition to listen to music every single moment of every single day, or as I like to think of it, soundtracking my life. So why on earth do I like to wake up in the morning and put on the angsty genius score to Requiem for a Dream?

Well, first let’s just establish that the Requiem soundtrack is awesome, even if it makes you feel like you’re going on the worst trip of your life (drug trip, not necessarily travel related), with its electro addled beats and sweeping use of the Kronos Quartet. But how can you not be transported out of your day by the heroic swells of Braveheart or The Last of the Mohicans. Neither of these movies ranks anywhere high on my list of great films (sorry dad), but there’s an undeniable power to these scores and thus, I suppose, not totally illogical that you might be inclined to play them during your day to give you that heroic sense of purpose.

Moving right along, we come to whimsy courtesy of Danny Elfman and his lyrical score for Edward Scissorhands. As winter approaches, this soundtrack sits on my iPod waiting for the first snow. There’s nothing like listening to those sweeping choral moments as you watch the first white flakes fall from the sky. You can also find excellent whimsy in the playful joy of the music of Amelie, admittedly best listened to while walking the clichéd streets of Paris.

Then there’s the darker side of the soundtrack, which would be my favorite side. The Passion of the Christ is unbelievably powerful as is the soaring vocals on the Perfume soundtrack (and if you haven’t seen either movie, for shame… both deeply flawed, but fantastic). For something a little more worldly, take in the deep joys of the music from Black Hawk Down or Babel, both of which seep into the soul as they lushly flow from the speakers making you feel either like the world is ending or finally making sense (or is that the same thing?)

So I guess, long story short, this is in fact a way of more obviously soundtracking my life, as these are already soundtracks. But, I think it takes a special breed, and by special I mean odd, to really delve deeply into the emotional psyche to the point of actually attempting to bring tears to the eyes. Basically, I just really like to wallow in my feelings, good, bad or indifferent. Just call me crazy…

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MOVIE Waiting for Superman – a decent documentary that is being showered with way too much praise. Guggenheim is a master at finding stories, if only he knew how to tell them on film just a bit better… B

BOOK Yellow Raft in Blue Water – three gorgeous narratives about three generations of Native American women told with such a subtle and strong voice… A-

MOVIE Mildred Pierce – I finally watched this Joan Crawford classic and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t all that campy. I hope Todd Haynes and Kate Winslet can do it justice in the upcoming miniseries… B+

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