During this, the holiday season, plenty of people go to the movies. Consequently, you’ll find that in the entertainment sections of newspapers there are display ads galore, as each of the film companies tries to separate us from our dollars to see one of their productions. But one thing that is becoming increasingly apparent: As these film companies become parts of vertically integrated mega-corporations, it is not enough for them merely to take your money for a set of ducats. Rather, they want you to spend even more. I am not talking about action figures or cups that glow from Burger King. I am talking about music.
While perusing the December 16, 2001, edition of the New York Times, I began to take note of the inclusion of references to the availability of music that were in the ads for movies. The following list takes into account all of the ads that I could actually read the small print in (and the ink used in newspapers tends to bleed into the paper, so there is difficulty when things get exceedingly small: in a 2 x 2-in. ad for Focus I was able to discern only “Soundtrack Available on” and the label’s logo was obscured) or that had more than a brief amount of text (and a surprising number of URLs and AOL logos).
First, the surprises. Moulin Rouge, which is in re-release with hopes of garnering awards (it says in the ad, “Attention Academy, HFPA & All Guild Members; You and a guest are cordially invited to attend any performance of Moulin Rouge! Just show your card for admittance”), a musical, does not have a reference to the soundtrack in its ad. Perhaps 20th Century Fox (and when will that name flip a calendar page?) doesn’t want to worry about the Grammy’s.
Behind Enemy Lines, which rocks you in commercials with fast-flying fighters and Owen Wilson singing a bit of the Doobie Brothers, is music-free in its ad, as is the Coen brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There, which is all the more surprising since their last outing spawned a whole new interest in pickin’ and grinnin’. The Royal Tenenbaums are audio object-free, as is Joe Somebody. In the Bedroom is evidently a quiet place to be.
But let the music play!
Many of the ads have a demur notation. As in Waking Life merely indicating that “Soundtrack available on TVT Soundtrack” and Monsters Inc. has an “Original soundtrack available on Walt Disney Records.” You can get soundtracks for Charlotte Gray, Shrek, The Majestic, The Shipping News, Amele, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and A Beautiful Mind.
The ads that are all the more interesting, however, are those that plug—big time. As in:
—Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: “Music from the Motion Picture Featuring Brand New Music by Aaron Carter, ‘nsync, Britney Spears, No Secrets and Other Superstars on Nick/Jive CDs and Tapes.” I particularly like that “Other Superstars.”
—The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: “Soundtrack Featuring 2 New Songs By Enya Including ‘May It Be’ Available on Reprise Records.” You can never get enough Enya nowadays.
—Vanilla Sky: “Soundtrack Available on Reprise Records Featuring Songs From Paul McCartney, R.E.M., Radiohead, Sigur Ros.” I am only disappointed that Cameron Crowe didn’t insist that a Beach Boys’ tune be included in the verbiage.
—Kate & Leopold: “Soundtrack Available on Miramax Records Featuring New Music By Sting.” Oh, yes, Hugh Jackson and the irrepressible Meg Ryan, swooning to Sting. . .
—Not Another Teen Movie: “Soundtrack Featuring ‘Tainted Love’ by Marilyn Manson and Music By Orgy, Saliva, Muse, and Mest.” This one is understandable. Teen movies, self-denial notwithstanding, tend to have better soundtracks than plots. But I like the way the copywriter indicates that “Tainted Love” is not music.
And this has to be my favorite of all:
—Ocean’s Eleven: “Soundtrack Features New David Holmes & More Musical Must-Haves! Check It Out!” The exclamation points and “Must-Haves” are classic. But I’m holding out for Sammy Davis, Jr.
Question: Before you listen to soundtracks, are you supposed to go to the snack bar first?