[In this week’s Redigi Throwback, I talked about movie trailers and their music. ]
Director David Fincher knows how to pair music with movies. The haunting Scala & Kolnacy Brothers chorale cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” in the trailer for his film The Social Network perfectly evoked the ironic loneliness of modern means of connection. While Trent Reznor and Karen O‘s wonderfully writhing cover of Led Zeppelin‘s ”Immigrant Song” made The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trailer throb from the screen. One could write a whole piece on Fincher’s magnificent musical sensibilities alone, from the MTV-era to the cineplex (maybe next week?). Other iconic music video directors like Fincher have also turned to the big screen with success. Such as Spike Jonze, whose most consistent muse was the Beastie Boys, or Michel Gondry, famous for his work with The White Stripes and Bjork. The importance of soundtracks to movies can’t be underscored, yet the allure of a movie trailer has to be great enough to place bodies in seats, making its music a critical part of the film’s legacy too. Whether at the hands of a director forever entrenched in song or the product of brilliant marketing, here are five fantastic uses of song in movie trailers.
MIA- Paper Planes– The Pineapple Express trailer made MIA’s Grammy-nominated dancehall track inescapable almost five years ago– it was everyone’s ringtone that summer, sampled by Jay-Z and T.I., and actually featured in Slumdog Millionaire.
Smashing Pumpkins- The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning– Billy Corgan‘s dramatic five-minute epic provided a beautiful glimpse into Watchmen‘s doomed existence, its crescendos coming at some of the costumed heroes’ most devastating moments. Comic book movie throwback: “The End is The Beginning is The End” was written and earned a Grammy for 1997′s Batman & Robin. They are different versions of the same track.
The Smiths- There Is a Light That Never Goes Out– Okay, it only plays in Joseph Gordon Levitt’s headphones in the elevator, where Zooey Deschanel charms by singing along in her silly way, with no indication of what a chilly heartbreaker she’ll end up. Much like 500 Days of Summer itself, this eighties song has a nimble and deceptively upbeat feel that overshadows its grim obsessions. The placement of the song was really very clever.
ELO– Mr. Blue Sky- A joyful, shining standout in not just Electric Light Orchestra’s catalog, but in classic rock overall. Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind used Jeff Lynne’s graceful and gorgeous 1978 masterpiece to show the frantic pace of fiercely loving someone and the ache of trying to forget it. ”Mr. Blue Sky” was also used in commercials for Adaptation and has been sampled by Common and Girl Talk.
David Bowie & Freddie Mercury- Under Pressure– Oh, speaking of Adaptation, “Under Pressure” could not have been more ideal for director Spike Jonze’s foray into the anxious and awkward world of doubt-addled Charlie Kaufman.