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Mr. Brown Goes Off the Beaten Path (Kind Of)

A great movie has many, if not all, of the following elements: A great screenplay that engages the audience and makes us feel something about the characters on the page; actors who can bring their characters to life from said page; a fine attention to production design that makes us believe in the world that the characters inhabit (and many a time, the surroundings become a character in of itself), crisp, clear editing, gorgeous cinematography, a score that can stir a triumphant victory for our protagonist, or a string section piece that's meant to pull at our heartstrings in a mournful way; and most importantly: a director who's vision is unclouded, challenging, breathtaking, and uncompromising, or even all of the things mentioned.

Songs are an interesting lot for me. While I do enjoy listening to my favorite band or artist's track on the big screen, for me, it really doesn't add much to the movie except to fill the void when the actors are engaged in an action, or mostly it's just a backdrop to a montage, or it's just songs that really don't add anything to the movie, except to be in the film's motion picture soundtrack. There are exceptions to my opinions, and the inclusion of songs borrowed from artists or original songs made exclusively for the movie. Garden State, for example, contains songs from Coldplay, Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkel, The Shins, etc. where each song, I think, provides additional meaning and depth to the paint the mood of Andrew Largeman and his pilgrimage back to Jersey. The best example I can come up with when songs are put to maximum effect is probably Aimee Mann's "Wise Up" from Paul Thomas Anderson's multi-layered drama, Magnolia, which I feel is the second best movie to have come out of the 90's, but that's another story for another day. what you need to know is that in three minutes and forty-three seconds, Anderson is able to capture the connecting threads between his vast assortment of characters, even ones that don't meet one another, but still carry similar hopes, fears, regrets and demons each character has to confront in order to move foreword. Plus, everyone sings at different times, giving an added punch to each emotional turmoil the characters find themselves in.

What i'm trying to say is that songs rarely work on an emotional level in a movie because I feel that it doesn't really capture where the movie or the characters are in that particular moment in time, and believe me, it just doesn't get any more annoying when Oscar has to pick anywhere between three to five songs to go up for the Best Original Song category, for songs that simply just don't add much to the story. Enter the exception to the rule, with Adele who just dropped her song "Skyfall" the theme song to the newest James Bond flick, Skyfall.

Wow. Really, wow.

I've been a fan ever since I heard "Rolling In the Deep" on the radio last year, and this girl has a set of lungs and pipes on her! I keep comparing her Motown-inspired sound to that of the late Amy Winehouse, hopefully minus the drug-related problems that led to her demise. So naturally, we were all not that surprised that her big follow up to the critically acclaimed record, 21, was going to be performing for the new 007 movie, and she just flat-out knocks it out of the ballpark! Don't just take my word for it: listen to the song for yourself.

Late update: the full version of "Skyfall". For some reason, Blogger isn't letting me embed the song onto my entry post. Bugger.


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