The Importance of a Good Soundtrack

Almost very film has a score. Psycho, Jaws, Star Wars are just a few that have scores that are instantly recognisable. Although here I will be talking about soundtracks in specific, especially in more recent movies.

I want to talk about Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2. How unpredictable of me! But seriously, it’s great. I love how the soundtrack has significance to the characters and the plot. In Vol. 2, the opening scene to Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr. Blue Sky is so much fun,  and the ending credits to Parliament’s Flashlight was such a great way to end the film. The soundtrack to both Vol 1 and 2 have also become a major selling point for these films. I don’t know about you, but the second I heard that a second film was in the making, I couldn’t wait to hear more about the soundtrack. I will also be purchasing both soundtracks on vinyl as soon as I can!

Now lets compare this to Suicide Squad. The soundtrack, to me, seemed to have no thought put into it whatsoever. I like a lot of the tracks on the soundtrack for sure, but its just a mess. Honestly, I could have done better myself. In the moment, my first thoughts were “I love Paranoid by Black Sabbath!” but I’d soon realise it has absolutely no significance to the film or any of the characters whatsoever, it just sounds good. Bohemian Rhapsody, Seven Nation Army, Black Skinhead. Did they even try? I know this seems like a stereotypical Suicide-Squad-sucked review, but it sucked. Especially the soundtrack.

Films about bands and musicians are always very soundtrack-reliant. John Carney’s Sing Street is a new favourite of mine. Its full of 80’s classics which clearly represent when the film is based. Also I love The Cure.

The TV show Freaks and Geeks is also similar, the great soundtrack relates to the years the show is set in. We get to see Jason Segal’s character drum his heart out to The Spirit Of Radio by Rush. His character is known as a very average drummer, so obviously wouldn’t be able to play a Rush song as Neil Peart is a drumming God, and is difficult to match. However we see the pure passion that Segal’s character has for music. We see his band half-heartedly,and very badly, play Sunshine Of Your Love while Segal is having the time of his life. Again, the soundtrack has a significance to the characters, and gives us more of an insight to the type of person we’re watching.

A few honourable mentions:

 

 

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Once

Trainspotting

Hot Fuzz

A Clockwork Orange

La La Land (whats a short essay about soundtracks without a mention of La La Land, am I right?)

I think I’ve made it very clear that I believe it’s important that a soundtrack is well thought out and relevant to the film itself. Obviously I have a lot more films to watch, and these were just a list of the first to pop into my head when someone says “soundtrack”, so I want to know what films you think have great, or awful, soundtracks! What do you think makes a good, or bad, soundtrack? Have I missed anything out? Let me know, lets converse!

25/6/2017

C

 

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Edgar Wright – Appreciation Post

I seriously love this man.

There’s not a lot of directors I’ve stayed loyal to for so long. Maybe David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick, but Edgar Wright has a special place in my heart.

Visual Comedy and wonderfully unique editing are so unique to him. Sure there are other directors who have used these techniques, but Wright uses them to the best of its ability.

One of the greatest thing about his films is that they are actually funny. I think think one of the best things any film can do is bring joy and laughter to it’s audience. There’s nothing better than walking out of a cinema feeling happier than you did while walking into the cinema. Here I am going to reference a video essay, by Every Frame A Painting on youtube, entitled “Edgar Wright – How To Do Visual Comedy” (watch it here)

“I think comedy movies today, especially American ones, have lost their way. I don’t hate the jokes, or the dialogue or the actors, though there’s plenty of issues there. My real qualm is the film making. The use of picture and sound to deliver jokes, is just boring.”

There is something about Wright’s film making that makes it stand out. They’re so exciting compared to so many passable American comedies that are being churned out by the minute.  He uses every single opportunity he can to make a standard, every day task seem 10 times funnier and much more intriguing. Ed is also a master of close ups. Fast paced transition scenes to make it more exciting. He said himself that he uses the technique of “getting into a scene late and leaving a scene early.” It’s such a unique technique that I don’t see very often.

He’s probably best known for The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The Worlds End. This is such a unique film trilogy, and I love every single one. Each film is complete with running gags and unique easter eggs. Each film feels like something familiar, and almost relatable. The relationship between Simon Pegg’s character and Nick Frost’s character in every film feels like the relationship between you and that one friend you’ve known since you were 9. I love how all his characters are just normal people living their normal, day to day, British lives. A key example of this is in Shaun Of The Dead. We get to see Shaun complaining about his job in a failing electrical appliances shop. We see him stumble down the road to the corner shop, and in an opening shot in a pub. If you, like me, grew up in an average British town or small city, this will all seem very similar to you. If not, you’re not really missing out on much, it’s not the fanciest!

Let me pour my heart out about Scott Pilgrim VS The World for a minute here. This film changed my life, and I’m not being over dramatic (much.) Scott Pilgrim is such an average guy, played by Michael Cera who looks like such an average guy. He’s a bassist in a band who are small and struggling to keep themselves going. He has a very unserious relationship with a 17 year old and it seems like his life is going nowhere, until Ramona Flowers comes along. I’ll let you actually watch the film before I say anymore. This film has had such an impact on me as a person and I’m sure there are many other people who feel the same way. The whole “failed musician” lifestyle is all very familiar. The way its shown in this film is almost too real to me. Now other than the intense personal connection I have to this film, as usual, the editing and transitions are like nothing else. They’re so simple, yet so important to the feel of the film as a whole.

I’m going to have another few posts up around the topic of opening scenes, transitions and the importance of soundtracks in the near future, so to avoid repeating myself, I’ll stop now. Hopefully I’ve provided just another insight to the wondrous work of Edgar Wright. I’d recommend watching the Cornetto Trilogy for the best examples of what he does best. I should also have a Baby Driver review out by the end of next week. Man, I’m excited for that.

Now i’d love to know what your thoughts are anything I’ve mentioned in this post. Do you think there is someone who does visual comedy better than Wright? Do you have any strong feelings about any of his films? Have I missed anything out? Let me know, lets converse!

24/06/2017