"Orange Whip? Orange Whip?" -- 80's classic "The Blues Brothers" narrowly beat "Pulp Fiction" for Best Movie Soundtrack in a BBC poll. I could go on and on about this in "High Fidelity" fashion...in fact, I shall, and "High Fidelity" would be on my list of favorites. Leaving aside movie musicals for obvious reasons (and query whether "Blues Brothers" is disqualified thereby), my Top Five includes:

1. "The Commitments" -- my favorite music movie. For real deal versions of the songs and the story of struggling musicians, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" ties for first, an excellent documentary and fantastic cover album.
2. "Until the End of the World" -- classic late 80's alterna-mood rock, from a movie I didn't even see until years later. For the indie high school student, a gold mine. See also the made-for-TV version, "Pump Up the Volume."
3. "Tous Les Matins du Monde" -- Gerard Depardieu plays a melancholy composer; breathtaking music for viola, cello to match.
4. The entire Cameron Crowe catalog -- the man was born to wed music to the moving image. Not only do his movies gain depth from the music, the soundtrack albums stand alone -- which cannot be said for Wes Anderson (sadly there's such a thing as too much quirk) or John Hughes (one or two great cuts can't make up for too many dull instrumentals).
5. "High Fidelity" -- a movie about music with a soundtrack like a mix tape. Perfect, nerdy blend of well-known artists' deep cuts and new bands, plus Jack Black's cover of "Let's Get It On" of which I seem to be the only fan.

Honorable Mention: I received my early education in mid-20th-century rock and pop from listening to soundtracks from "The Big Chill," "Woodstock," "Dirty Dancing," "Shag," "Mermaids," and "Forrest Gump," a movie I loathed.


Nathaniel said...

Skyyyyrockets in flight!I would define "movie musical" as a movie where the characters perform the music themselves- "The Blues Brothers" and "The Commitments" fit that definition.
My Top Five includes:
1> Las Peliculas De Crowe,
2> Le Oevure Du Tarantino,
3> Martin Scorsese, "Goodfellas",
4> Soderbergh's soundtracks to "Ocean's 11" and "Out Of Sight."

emily said...

Point counterpoint: When the characters perform the music themselves *when not playing musicians* then it's a musical. If they're musicians, it's still a movie. That is, in "The Commitments" the band's performances are part of the story, not "musical numbers" interspersed within the dialogue, like in a Rogers & Hammerstein classic. "The Blues Brothers" walks the line on this one -- they are musicians, but the musical interludes are definitely surreal and non-narrative (like the "Think" scene in Aretha's diner). Touche!