Monday, January 28, 2008

Usually by the time the Academy Award nominations are announced, I had seen most, if not all, of the movies up for Best Picture. This year I hadn’t seen any of ‘em. Of course, I don’t usually spend the winter -- when all the Oscar bait films are released -- planning a wedding.

All right, who we kidding, my fiancée’s been doing most of the work. So what’s my excuse? I’ve been busy playing with my new laptop and iPod, trying to catch up with music. But we realized we oughta catch up with movies, too, so we checked out a few flicks over the weekend.

First was Juno. It’s a cute little film. This year’s little indie that’s competing with the big boys -- the little engine that could, like Little Miss Sunshine, but a little better. I’d say a lot better, except for one thing. The fucking soundtrack.

Between every other enjoyable scene, they’d show a slow sweeping shot of a suburban street while prominently playing a cloying-annoying college-radio cutesy-wootesy lyrically laced shitty diddy. I’d squirm uncomfortably with a bad taste in my mouth, as if I’d bought Milk Duds instead of Sno-Caps and spat ‘em onto my seat cushion.

Speaking of candy, ever since I saw Hard Candy, I liked that Ellen Page. But just ‘cause her Juno character was adorable yet off-key, the music didn’t need to be. And since she professed to like punk music, why not play some Iggy Pop instead of that pretentious Moldy Peaches piffle?

In fact, y’know what would’ve been better on the soundtrack? Nothing!

Like in No Country for Old Men. Excellent film, and there’s no music ‘til the end credits. Who needs a score when you’ve got Javier Bardem menacing everyone with his cattle-prod gun and mushroom bowl haircut? Kinda like if Tootie from "The Facts of Life" went on a killing spree. Yeah, try singing along to that.

Or Cloverfield. Not an Oscar film, and unlikely to get any nominations next year. But for a low budget Blair-Witch-meets-Godzilla movie, it was awesome. And true to its pseudo-real-video-footage premise… there’s no music, aside from the ambient party songs, interrupted by smashed skyscrapers and screaming scary what-the-hell-is-that sightings.

Granted, these are all different kinds of movies, and I enjoyed ‘em. But which one stuck with me later, when I went back to my computer compulsion?

Well, after selling my old iMac, I decided to use some of the cash and treat myself to new music. I thought I’d buy a few used CDs cheap to upload to my iPod. And while perusing at Second Spin Records, I heard on their sound system Michael Cera & Ellen Page singing: "Here is the church and here is the steeple / We sure are cute for two ugly people…" And I wished I could climb into the speakers -- or into the movie itself -- and smash the acoustic guitar like John Belushi did to the “Gave My Love a Cherry” schmo in Animal House.

The guy working at the record store told me the Juno soundtrack has been selling like crazy, even more so than the Garden State one did a few years ago. And I hated that shit, too. So maybe I’m alone in my taste in tunes. But at least it explains a few things to me.

I know why I’ve been behind on my movie viewing the past few months, and now I realize why I didn’t keep up with music for the past few years. I love movies; I’ve just been too busy to see anything. But what most people listen to these days -- it sucks.


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