Have You Heard a Good Movie Lately?

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?

30 thoughts on “Have You Heard a Good Movie Lately?”

  1. I’ll tell you, soundtracks are a funny thing. The Rushmore soundtrack is fucking great and I ahev included a number of songs from that little gem on countless mix disks. The music was a big part of the mood of the film with tracks from the Kinks, the Who, John Lennon, the Faces…It’s really a primo collection. Same goes for the Almost Famous soundtrack, which, naturally, was also integral to the film (Gary, Cameron Crowe did include the Beach Boys’ “Feel Flows” on this one). The soundtrack made sense for these films.Then there’s the soundtrack with music “inspired” by the film. Songs that aren’t actually IN the movie. What?!? You mean to tell me “You’ve Got Mail” INSPIRED someone to go out and write a song? I find that hard to believe.Any favorite soundtracks out there??

  2. Soundtrack albums are usually good for a song or two to include on a mix. But nowadays, with file sharing, I can’t even think of the last soundtrack album I bought. When I heard that Wilco covered Steely Dan on the “Me Myself and Irene” soundtrack, I was inspired to go out and download that song.Do any soundtrack albums ever hold up? The only ones I’ve heard are ones that Phil has bought (he seems to be the only person I know actually buying these things), and they seem pretty cool, but I went out and bought Elliott Smiths’s “Either/Or” after I heard the “Good Will Hunting” soundtrack and downloaded “Miss Misery” from the internet. And I’m still looking for the Beach Boys’ “Surf’s Up” (from “Almost Famous”) on vinyl because “Feel Flows” is so amazing…I can’t imagine ever buying another soundtrack. They’re just never as good as the mixes my friends make for me. Maybe that’s a pity since I used to sometimes discover new bands on soundtracks. The last one I think I bought was “Pump Up the Volume” and I sold that one back years ago.

  3. I must agree with Phil about the Rushmore soundtrack and a few others:The Graduate Soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel(this includes one of my fav S&G songs: April Come She Will) as well as many sassy stripper-like songs, grab yer boa’s gals!Crooklyn Soundtrack – Pusher Man, Ooh Child, and Time has come TodayAnd maybe it’s just my love of roller skates and porn, but Boogie Nights soundtrack (Brand New Key by Melanie, Got to give it up by Marvin Gaye, and yes more Beach Boys- God only knows) Nothing is better for rolling back the carpet, lacing up my skates and rolling round my house:)

  4. Yes, Crooklyn is a great little soul collection (never seen the movie). And the Graduate soundtrack is awesome. I love the way S&G’s music punctuated that movie. I actually bought that record for my parents a couple years ago to replace the one my Mom melted at the beach in 1970!I have never heard Rushmore, Boogie Nights or Almost Famous, but they are great too eh? Jake, Derek, what is the deal with “Feel Flows” and for that matter “Surf’s Up”? I’ve heard these songs mentioned a million times by raving critics, but I’d trust y’all’s opinion.For a soundtrack that really holds up, my money is on the Repo Man soundtrack. It will always rock laser hard. Blows out 2002 speakers just as easily as 1984 speakers. A much loved soundtrack tune: Time Bomb Town off Back to the Future. That song is fucking goofy. Lindsey Buckingham and Richard Dashut. Wizards, man, wizards.

  5. “Feel Flows” is a mind-blowing song that was used in “Almost Famous” and is from the 1971 album “Surf’s Up.” This was the period after “Pet Sounds” and “Smile” when Brian Wilson was very crazy, and until recently, everybody dismissed these albums as not being as fun as the early surf tunes and not being as brilliant as “Pet Sounds.” Lately, there has been a critical embrace of the “weird-period” Beach Boys stuff. I’m guessing it’s mostly just revisionism because I have 1977’s “The Beach Boys Love You” album and it’s pretty terrible even with the goofy songs about Johnny Carson and the solar system. That description sounds cooler than the music actually sounds, since they use weird, synthsized bass throughout. It’s bad. Funny bad, but still bad. “Surf’s Up” is supposed to be a good album though. I want it on vinyl, but I might just pick up the recently reissued CD that combines it with the 1970 album, “Sunflowers.”

  6. Stepping out of character here, but I don’t think you want Surf’s Up on vinyl. It’s a pretty sonically deep record and you’d be hard-pressed to find a good copy on wax. If you’re hell bent on getting it though try Vintage Vinyl up in Evanston. They will most likely have it but for a hefty price. If there’s something you simply MUST have on vinyl, then that’s the place. Their stock is usually scratchless and with all original packaging, but they’re expensive. They wanted $125 for Jeff Beck’s “Truth,” which I later found in GR at Vertigo Records for $5.99. Granted, it was a less-than-perfect copy, but $125? Nah.

  7. Okay, one more…hope I’m not blasted outta the water for this one but… Valley Girl soundtrack, and not just because I fell so very much in love with Nick Cage when he takes off his shirt at the beach scene .Top tracks-Sparks: Eaten by the moster of loveJosie Cotton : Johnny are you Queer?Plimsouls : Oldest Story in the World & Million Miles AwayFlirts : Don’t put another dime in jukeboxWho out there doesn’t think that this is THE movie scene which launched a thousand teen sexual encounters with romantic montage of Lady & the Tramp like wooing, all set to Modern English’s- Melt with You. I claim that song (perhaps also the song/movie combo of ‘In your Eyes’/Say Anything) was in the hearts and minds of many a teen girlie when all you boys out there were making your first clumsy attempts at 3rd & 4th base. Thank the fantasy/soundtrack/movie my boys.

  8. Okay, I’m with the pack on ‘Rushmore’ and ‘Repo Man’, mainly because they’re the only soundtracks I own. Both are excellent albums in their own right.Oh wait – The Fight Club soundtrack is excellent (even if they left out Tom Wait’s) and I own that, too. Here’s a brain teaser, tho: Is ‘Stop Making Sense’ technically a soundtrack?

  9. Teenage love, madness indeed. I am shudder at the madness of my girl imagining that I’m John Cusack, or worse, a Valley Girl-era Nick Cage, as I make my attempt on 3rd or 4th base. (I’d prefer she imagines I’m a Stop Making Sense era David Byrne doing the dirty deed)On “Feel Flows,” I guess it’s fair to mention that “Feel Flows” and the entire “Surf’s Up” album are championed by Matthew Sweet, the king of movie soundtracks. (e.g. “Theme from Flipper”?!)Actually, Jake, a good way to get “Surf’s Up” is to request it at a Brian Wilson show. He’s really good about incorporating audience requests. It just takes ’em a couple of minutes to program the lyrics into Brian’s teleprompter.

  10. I don’t really consider it a real soundtrack (in the way that we’re talking here) unless it’s various artists. Like Superfly or that Aimeee Mannn soundtrack. Those can’t really count in this discussion. Right?And “Melt with You” is totally the high school romance song. And being the Duckie fan that I am, I’ll also have to give it up for “If You Leave” by OMD on the “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack (which also was my first exposure to the Smiths by the way)…

  11. I stand corrected. Do you own that too? If so, then you certainly are the King of Soundtracks and get to add that title to your GLoNO business card…

  12. Phil: I was referencing the fact that there’s no Beach Boys in Vanilla Sky (at least not according to the listing I read on Amazon–my guys, Gabriel and Rundgren, yes–your guys, The Monkees, yes–but not Brian and the boys.Oddly enough, if you buy Vanilla Sky on Amazon, they throw in Ocean’s Eleven. My, my.

  13. Here’s a question for those of you who are auteur-inclined (sab?). . .How many writers/directors shamelessly use great songs to substantiate movies that are flaccid?Of the movies thus far listed up there, which would be worth viewing as often as you might listen to the soundtrack?

  14. “Wonder Boys” has a good soundtrack, doesn’t it? That’s a good movie.I would say that most 80’s teen movies (John Hughes, etc.) are propped up by their soundtracks. And now we’ve got Guy Richie who — while I do enjoy his movies — directs like he’s making music videos. Great music in those too.

  15. Wonder Boys is a good soundtrack–I have it–and so is Magnolia–I have that too. I guess I am the King of soundtracks.GSV: I’m sure there’s a Beach Boys song tucked away in there somewhere. Some “hidden” track perhaps. The role of music in films has certainly chnaged and I think it’s a direct result of music videos. Guy Ritchie isn’t the only one who directs movies like a music video (ever see Run Lola Run or Fight Club ?) Since the role of music in film has changed it makes sense that the role of the soundtrack, as a marketing/revenue source, would change too.

  16. PINK FLOYD, THE WALL! That’s a soundtrack. Personally I like the songs from “Hedwig And The Angry Inch.” It’s one of the only stage/screen efforts that deals with rock music and actually pulls it off. I’d suggest everyone check that film out on DVD. But then again, it’s really a musical, so the soundtrack IS the music from the film.

  17. Re: recent movies and indie music…apparently in one of the first few scenes of vanilla sky, tom cruise is in the car talking to jason lee and says “so, what do you want to listen to today barcelona or looper?” Haven’t seen it but thought it was kind a funny quote coming from Tom Cruise…

  18. I saw the film two days ago and I don’t remember his character saying that. Personally, I’m a little sick and tired of Crowe’s rock/pop as culture crap. He’s the Oliver Stone of made-up rock history……..oh wait, I’m a rock snob myself. Forget that last bit.

  19. Bono……………………ugggggghhhhh.Someone stop Bono. Kill him. Make him stop putting out crap music…………………………please. God, I’m gonna faint.

  20. A funny thing: examining the referral logs, there have been a ton of people who stumbled across Glorious Noise over the past couple of days while searching for the Kate and Leopold Soundtrack. Google has us ranked as the number four site. Somehow, I don’t think those people will be recurring visitors…

  21. Here’s a great soundtrack from a bad movie: Love and a .45. It’s got Flaming Lips, Mazzy Star, Butthole Surfers, Horton Heat, Kim Deal and Bob Pollard singing “Love Hurts”, Johnny Cash doing “Ring of Fire”, and Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”. And you can buy it for almost nothing as it’s now a cutout.To Gary’s question about writers/directors who use soundtracks to prop up weak movies: I can’t name really anyone who has succeeded in making a career out of this. Most of the good soundtrack-bad movie films that I can think of were done by hacks that were never allowed to do such a thing again.

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