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Entries in Soundtracking (5)

Wednesday
Jun212017

Soundtracking: "Big Little Lies"

It's Chris Feil's weekly series on music in the movies, this time on one of this year's television favorites...

Did you know that Emmy added a music supervision category this year? While this may seem a bit nebulous (Emmy sure does have a heck of a lot of categories!), at least we might get some great soundtracks and song choices recognized. Consider my soundtrack column this week an FYC (among others we've written) for what must be the inaugural front-runner Big Little Lies. Emmy: did you ever want it? Did you want it bad?

The musical landscape of Monterey is packed with soul tunes both new and old, weighted with a kind of timeless, cross-generational longing that ties together the various women of its ensemble. They way these songs ache deepen our understanding of each woman’s unique pain: the angry defiance of Jane running to “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”, Madeline’s romantic respite in “River”, and a lyrically literal reflection of Celeste’s sexual confusion with “Victim of Love”. For the audience, music helps us draw the connections between their shared pain, what ultimately unites them all. Big Little Lies’s musical identity is as distinct as the series itself.

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Wednesday
Jun142017

Soundtracking: "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"

It's Pride month, so this week's installment of Chris Feil's column on music in the movies celebrates a gay classic...

I’m guessing that there’s a good amount of crossover between your Pride playlist and the soundtrack for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. If not, get out. The song choices are veritable staples of the gay experience, a disco-inflected factory of delight.

Priscilla is one of the quintessential disco soundtracks. While younger generations may draw from more recent pop icons, disco has been an expression of queer pleasure that has lingered for decades as an integral part of gay pop culture...

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Wednesday
Jun072017

Soundtracking: "Best Worst Thing..."

Soundtracking is our newest wekly series, with Chris Feil talking music in the movies! The Tony Awards are this weekend, so here is a documentary on a Broadway flop...

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened charts the making and failing of Stephen Sondheim / Hal Prince collaboration Merrily We Roll Along. The musical charts the decades-spanning friendship of three showbiz types, but told in reverse and with teenagers playing the roles. It was high concept and it was a notorious bomb - but with one brilliant and emotionally involving score.

If you’re unfamiliar with the musical and its complicated backwards plotting, Best Worst Thing does a pretty snappy job of quickly explaining the show’s concept before focusing on the cast left out in the cold by Merrily’s failure. What sounds rather niche for a documentary subject is actually quite moving and emotionally accessible, and still touches on some hefty themes. The film, directed by original cast member Lonny Price, is personal but not cloying. It’s a documentary about the hard truths of growing up into a world that isn’t all you were promised, - and it consistently finds deeper context for the music.

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Wednesday
May312017

Soundtracking: "Sister Act"

It's the 25th anniversary of Sister Act! Here's Chris Feil with the second installment of Soundtracking, our newest series at The Film Experience, focusing on music in the movies...

Nuns having fun while singing runs! Alma, check your battery, because it’s time to take it to church!

Sister Act is about as much of an easy comfort as 90s movies get, from Whoopi Goldberg’s peak comic powers to that vibrant choral soundtrack. The film is kind of a prototype jukebox musical, recontextualizing 60s girl group soul to a vaguely christian context. “Guy” becomes “God”, traditional hymns transition into contemporary gospel, music and lyrics twisted twenty years before Pitch Perfect and Glee popularized the mash-up.

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Wednesday
May242017

Soundtracking: "American Honey"

NEW SERIES ALERT: Chris Feil will be talking soundtracks and music in movies every Wednesday! The first installment is on last year's Cannes winner American Honey:

Last year at Cannes, Andrea Arnold won her third Jury Prize for American Honey. The film follows Star (breakthrough star Sasha Lane), an Oklahoma teenager who leaves her rural life to sell magazines with a van full of forgotten youths. It’s a compassionate and condemning road movie, Arnold using music to provide a distorted reflection of the limits of the American Dream. You wouldn’t immediately think of Honey as defined by its soundtrack, but it is in so many rich ways.

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