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Entries in Original Song (90)

Thursday
Jun252015

Tim's Toons: The state of animation in 1948

Tim here. We're talking about 1948 this week at the Film Experience, and it's my turn to take you back to the world of American animation in the aftermath of World War II. It was a fertile period: of the three studios that had dominated the medium prior to the war, Fleischer had been absorbed into Paramount and disappeared, while Disney had been badly damaged by an animators strike in 1941 and the loss of overseas markets, and spent the second half of the decade in desperate survival mode. That left a vacuum, which was filled by a sprawling variety of competitors that thrived even after Disney managed to find its footing again.

Pictured: Disney in 1948. Literally: it's from their film Melody Time.

In tribute to this unusually diverse marketplace, arguably not matched again in theatrical animation until the early 2000s, may I present three of the most unique and important animated milestones of 1948 after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun232015

Links

Good luck finding an actress today that looks like thisFilm School Rejects a biopic of Ingrid Bergman during the Notorious era might be coming from James Mangold. I'm always hoping they'll cast unknowns rather than stars for these things, so that they'll look more like their subjects
Decider really funny ranking of all of Meryl Streep's Oscar nominated work, judged by accents, struggles, co-stars, and random intangibles
Movies Now the box office wealth gap between blockbusters and everything else - interesting piece and worrisome, too
ArtsBeat Smash's "Bombshell" musical MIGHT (sigh) actually become a Broadway musical. Yes, they're still dangling that carrot since the one night only cast reunion of Smash went so well
MCU Exchange the deal is done and Ava DuVernay (Selma) will direct Marvel's Black Panther film 
/bent is thrilled that Inside Out passes the Bechdel Test so easily on all counts

A Must Read
"The Decline of the American Actor" is a really engaging piece about today's leading men, the "Chris"es and beyond and the struggles they face without challenging roles or all that much in the way of training like their foreign counterparts. It's really fascinating and the writer Terrence Rafferty only threw me out of it once when he makes a very strange rather off topic dig at Masters of Sex's second season which had me questioning his sanity (I couldn't disagree more on all counts of what he's saying in that section). It also has a nice little detour into current 20 and 30something actressing by clever way of Clouds of Sils Maria... that movie sure did get a lot of people talking so it's a mystery why it didn't break through in a more major way since actual stars were involved. 

RIP - Exit Music
The film composer James Horner died in a plane crash at age 61 yesterday. He was a favorite of James Cameron and Ron Howard, and moviegoers of course. He composed so many well liked movies that it's tough to name a favorite though I remember always liking the scores to Aliens, Avatar, Apollo 13 and Willow. We will be treated to his three final scores this year with  Southpaw, Wolf Totem and the Chilean Miners movie The 33. The Oscar favorite won both of his Oscars from the phenomenon that was Titanic (for score & original song) and was twice nominated for movie songs. So here's a little Celine at the Oscars and a little something from An American Tail, too.

 

Friday
Jun052015

Random List-Mania: 40 Best Original Movie Songs of the 1990s

I can't let Dick Tracy go quite yet! All that discussion and no tremulous ode to Stephen Sondheim's brilliant song score? It won't stand! Every moment when Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) and 88 Keys (Mandy Patinkin) are in frame together is gold. 

(Eagle-eyed early 90s obsessiveness will know that Mandy Patinkin also pops up briefly in a celebrity-filled party scene in the Madonna documentary "Truth or Dare")

BEST ORIGINAL MOVIE SONGS OF THE 1990s
Beautiful Song Craft and/or Cheesy Epic Ballads For the Wins
* Oscar nominee ** Oscar winner 

  1. "Wise Up" -Magnolia (Aimee Mann)
    technically this song first showed up on the Jerry Maguire soundtrack which is why it wasn't eligible for the Oscars for Magnolia but let's make an exception
  2. "Sooner or Later"** - Dick Tracy (Stephen Sondheim)



  3. "Gangsta's Paradise" - Dangerous Minds (Coolio)
    deemed ineligible by Oscar due to sampling -- people were obsessed with the scary new "is this songwriting?" world of sampling back then. What to make of it? 
  4. "Stay" - Reality Bites (Lisa Loeb)
  5. "Be Our Guest" - Beauty & The Beast (Alan Menken & Howard Ashman)
  6. "More" - Dick Tracy (Stephen Sondheim)
  7. "You Must Love Me"** - Evita (Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice)
  8. "God Help the Outcasts" - Hunchback of Notre Dame (Alan Menken)

    32 more tunes after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr272015

April Foolish Predictions: Sound, Score, Make Up & FX

April is almost over and we MUST finish our April Foolish tradition - the first wave of Oscar nomination predictions before anyone knows anything. The film year is still only a toddler but they grow up so fast. The first third of the year always features the least amount of Oscar content but from movies already released we'll hope for miracles that Cinderella and Ex Machina could be remembered in the places they deserve to be. But the bulk of the heavy hitters are yet to come. Even in the more popcorn categories like Visual Effects.

NEW CHARTS --> ORIGINAL SCORE, ORIGINAL SONG, SOUND MIXING, SOUND EDITING
Which movies will have original songs? Will the composer Thomas Newman ever win an Oscar? Will Skyfall, atypically embraced by the Academy, have any sort of afterglow with AMPAS to help Spectre win nominations as well? And who will the composers be on a whole slew of Oscar Bait movies that haven't revealed their composer yet (since the score is one of the last things to happen)? These are the questions we're already asking so please do suggest answers in the comments once you've looked at the charts. 

NEW CHARTS ---> VISUAL EFFECTS, MAKEUP AND HAIR
Is Ex Machina too subtle for Oscar? Will Mad Max Fury Road be too outre for them? Will the visual effects category just be a quintet of franchise favorites they've honored before like Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron and so on? Will the makeup category be dominated by old age latex, fantastical character creations or a trans woman's journey? 

Care to make any predictions yourself? 

Sunday
Apr262015

Happy Birthday, Giorgio Moroder

Tim here. Today's the 75th birthday of Giorgio Moroder, pioneering electronic-dance-pop mastermind, and winner of four Grammys. But this being a film site, what we're interested in is his work in movie scoring, for which he won three Oscars. And what stellar work it is!

Moroder's soundtracks - and even more than that, his songs - are absolutely definitive. Any child of the '70s or '80s can't help but associate Moroder's compositions with a certain kind of glossy, high-concept spectacle. Moroder's sleek, borderline-campy music brought pop-art grandeur to everything from the political drama Midnight Express (his Best Score Oscar) to the smutty musical Flashdance and from the kitschy Superman III to the sparkling black fantasy The NeverEnding Story. His compositions for these films are the opposite of timeless; they are emphatically and proudly mired in a specific period of pop culture history.

But for the same reason, his scores and songs are the best imaginable fit for the giddy, playfully shallow cinema of that decade, bringing the energy and dazzle of the first years of the Blockbuster Era to life with style and flair whose period-specific artificiality is their greatest strength, not any kind of weakness. But let's allow the man's music to speak for itself. Here are my three personal favorite from his 80s soundscapes.

From Cat People (1982): "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", later used to magnificent effect in Inglourious Basterds

From Flashdance (1983): "Flashdance... What a Feeling" (his second Oscar, the first for Best Song)

From Top Gun (1986): "Danger Zone" (he won his third Oscar for "Take My Breath Away" from the same movie)

What are your favorite Moroder film scores and songs?

Wednesday
Apr222015

Nine to Five: "Best Shot" Visual Index

For this week's episode of Hit Me With Your Best Shot: the classic comedy Nine to Five (1980). We chose it to coincide with the forthcoming premiere of Grace & Frankie which will reunite Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at last. Pity that Dolly Parton doesn't figure in! 

Nine To Five was a smash hit when it premiered in December 1980, finishing that year as the top grossing movie without light sabers. Awards bodies weren't as kind as the public. Though the title song won two Grammys for Dolly Parton, she didn't win her Oscar category (the film's only nomination) and even more bizarrely, the movie wasn't nominated for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. The film has endured quite well in pop culture so it doesn't need resuscitation but we thought it would be interesting to think about the way it's shot. Comedies are rarely considered in that regard. The film was directed by Colin Higgins who only made three films (all of them comedy hits) due to an early death at only 47. It was shot by cinematographer Reynaldo Villabolos who is, more happily, still with us and still working in film and television.

Best Shots from Nine To Five (1980)
10 shots from 12 participating blogs

Click to read more ...