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The Soundtrack to Your Life?

So, last week some clown(s) broke into my house and stole, amongst other things, my DVD player and my digital cable box.


So, last week some clown(s) broke into my house and stole, amongst other things, my DVD player and my digital cable box. Don't ask me why someone would steal a cable box, but it happened. In any case, the end result being that I have not been able to watch any DVDs. But on the flipside, since I got a new cable box, I suddenly have access to virtually every movie channel on the planet. We'll see how long it takes the cable company to catch on. Or if they try to charge me for services I never ordered. Needless to say I've been watching and DVR-ing movies like crazy.

Tonight, I watched Lost In Translation for what must be, at least, the 12th time. One thing I always notice about the film is how perfect the soundtrack seems to be. Both the score by Kevin Shields and the songs that are included. Moods and ambiance are captured exquisitely. Could there be a more perfect song to end the movie than "Just Like Honey"? Gets me every time, and has me rushing to dig up my old battered copy of Psychocandy.

As it happens, last night I watched Garden State, for what was probably the 3rd or 4th time (hey, it was on).
Again, I noticed the soundtrack. I think the soundtrack to this particular film got more hype than the movie itself. If that is possible. But after watching Lost In Translation tonight, I got to thinking about the soundtracks for both movies and what they added to each film.

In my humble opinion, the Garden State soundtrack contained some great songs, but at times their use in the film seemed a bit forced or perhaps even inconsequential. It was like the "hip" factor might have made its way into the equation a little too often. Like maybe they were trying a little too hard. While the soundtrack for Lost in Translation seemed a bit more cohesive, and did a better job, in my opinion, of adding texture to the film. Hmmm?

I'm sure both filmmakers were going for the same sort of things when they choose the music for their films (and by all accounts, both Sophia Coppola and Zach Braff were very invested in the soundtracks), but for whatever reason I just identified more with Sophia's choices than Zach's. Perhaps its just a matter of my tastes lining up closer with hers. Who knows? Of course, as far as soundtracks go, these are two of the better ones in recent memory. There are plenty of gratuitous clunkers out there.

Anyway, I suppose now would be a great time to work in a plug about Merge music used in films. But I'm too tired to think of any. Besides Mac's scores for Looking For Leonard and Who Loves The Sun, of course. And though I have not seen the film, The Clientele get some prime placement in the opening credits of the latest Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock vehicle, The Lake House. Beyond that I'm at a loss at the moment.

Maybe tomorrow I'll come back and list a bunch of them. Maybe not.
Until then feel free to list some of your favorites in the comments.

Good night and good luck,

-martin

(If you have not heard it yet, you should check out Mac's podcast on the making of the Who Loves The Sun score, and some of his favorite film scores. There is a direct link to the podcast from the Merge homepage.)