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Monday, November 15, 2010

Rockin' Movies

Question - Have you ever been entirely consumed in a movie just for its soundtrack?  Have you ever left a movie theater or turned off the dvd player knowing you must find that irresistable song or cd?  My answer - Yes.  Welcome to my world.

I admit that I have a passion for music.  My taste in music varies greatly (no kidding).  My taste in music from movies is even more eclectic. . .

The Breakfast Club (1985).

Oh my God.  Simple Minds and "Don't You Forget About Me" is a personal anthem.  If I could return to the 1980s, this song would play every day.  Simple Minds defined an era in teenage years that will never be matched by today's generation.  While there is nothing technically different between the '80s and today - awkward social events, defined layers in the student body, and so forth - the feeling is distinct.  The Breakfast Club set the tone for the high school experience then and now.  Every layer of the student body was in detention that fateful weekend.  Simple Minds simply followed their story - each member of various cliques realizing by the end of the day that there is more to them than their immediate surfaces.  The Breakfast Club has influenced greatly pop culture since the 1980s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Breakfast_Club).  "Don't You Forget About Me" was ranked #1 worldwide, brought Simple Minds into U.S. view, and they have sold 40 million+ albums since 1979 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Minds). . .Although I would never wish to turn back the years to my days in high school, "Don't You Forget About Me" would be my only inspiration to at least go to a reunion.

Beverly Hills Cop I, II, III (1984, 1987, 1994).

What is it about the 1980s?  Beverly Hills Cop I & II are, in my opinion, the ultimate classic in Eddie Murphy films.  And I guess I'm not alone in this opinion.  Beverly Hills Cop was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen - Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr.), BAFTA Award (Best Score - Harold Faltermeyer), and 2 Golden Globes (Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy and Best Actor Musical/Comedy - Eddie Murphy).  Beverly Hills Cop II was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Music, Original Song - Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey, Bob Seger) and a Golden Globe (Best Music, Original Song - Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey, Bob Seger).  (Beverly Hills Cop III did not go far positively with critics.) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Hills_Cop_(film_series)  The mix of comedy, phenomenal cast and team, and recognition has gone a long way for the trio film - earning $753,534,503 since original release (Id.).  Music was a key factor to the success of Beverly Hills Cop - the "Axel F" theme as prime example.  The second film, however, features my favorite in 1980s movie songs - "Shakedown" on the album, A Tribute to Bob Seger.  This song is fast, fun, and a tongue-twister if you don't keep up.  I spent my very early years in Southern California.  If I were to return in the '80s, I imagine "Shakedown" setting the image and Eddie Murphy providing comic relief.

Ghostbusters II (1989).

OMG, I swear this is the last '80s film.  The cast and ghosts are back again with the addition of little Oscar.  And with any sequel comes climactic theme songs.  Although the movie received mixed reviews, Bobby Brown's "On Our Own" was hugely successful - #1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B Chart, #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart, and #4 on the UK Singles Chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Our_Own_(Bobby_Brown_song).  I adore both the movie and the song.  Indeed, the 1980s were good times.

A Beautiful Mind (2001).

Complete change of pace with this movie that, finally, came out nowhere near the 190s.  The story of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind is engrained in American stone.  Just look at the phenomenally awe-inspiring cast - Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany.  Look at the incredible team - Ron Howard (director), Akiva Goldsman (writer).  Look at the recognition - Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress; Academy Award nominations for Best Leading Actor, Best Editing, Best Makeup, and Best Score (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film).  Consider John Forbes Nash, Jr. - Nobel Laureate in Economics, schizophrenic auditory hallucinations (the film's visual hallucinations were false), his refusal to take drugs ("side effects would have made his gentle re-entry into the world of mathematics a near impossibility - Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautifil Mind).  The story is real.  Mental illnesses are real.  I am not schizophrenic, but I can very personally relate.  And the soundtrack is as haunting, sorrowful, yet inspiring and hopeful as the characters and real life figures themselves.  James Horner, the composer, concludes musically the story of John Nash.

Blue Streak (1999).

Let's lighten things up.  In my opinion, Martin Lawrence is at his best in this film.  As is the soundtrack, namely the song "Criminal Mind."  Far cry from the others I would say.  In all honesty, I don't like this hip-hop genre of music.  However, "Criminal Mind" has a groove that doesn't shove rap down one's throat.  It is simply a fun, catchy song that I enjoy.

In retrospect, my taste for movie soundtracks must sound insane as the genres bounce from wall to wall.  Ironically, my taste in movies is quite secure - comedy and drama.  So what can we conclude from these words?  I definitely have a passion for music in all ways - from songs heard on the radio to songs discovered on iTunes to songs heard in random clips on television commercials and in favorite movies.  ...  Hollywood says, "Take One.  Play it!" 

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