Feb 29, 2012
Photo still: Hotel Chevalier
Wes Anderson’s long withstanding obsession with mellow, baroque pop and british invasion bands is fascinating to me. I keep uncovering my new, old favorite song every time I see one of his movies. I even have a playlist dedicated to his films, filled with songs and artists I discovered thanks to him and a few more songs that I think would fit in his next hypothetical movie. I’ve no idea what his next movie will be about but I’ve been thinking that his mostly muted, awkward characters would develop grandly in a fast-paced environment. It could be an interesting contrast. How about a movie about a speed racer? Or better yet, a road movie? A film about the life of a motorcycle drifter and his dreams of finding someone and settling down. Keep that thought while listening to this playlist. Hope you enjoy.
- Silver Seas – Imaginary Girl
High Society (Cheap Lullaby / 2006)
- The Gants – I Wonder
Gants Again (1966)
- Sailcat – Motorcycle Mama
Motorcycle Mama (1972)
- Big Star – I’m in Love with a Girl
Radio City (1974)
- Françoise Hardy – Only Friends
Sings in English (1966)
- Margo Guryan – Someone I Know
Take a Picture (Sundazed, 1968)
- Can - Turtles Have Short Legs
Turtles Have Short Legs / Halleluwah (1971)
- The Feelies – High road
The Good Earth (Rough Trade, 1986)d
- The Equals – Police On My Back
Baby, Come Back (President, 1968)
- Donovan – Catch the Wind
Catch the Wind (Pye, 1972)
It seems film directors are returning to the truths all pop music devotees have long tattoed to their heart: the collision of medium and man matters not, if it don’t sound good. In a recurring series tracing the links between movies and the pop music scores to which they owe so much, we’ll look at Wes Anderson’s ultra-stylized The Royal Tenenbaums and its mastery of the perfect pop music score. Film and cinema. Consider it a two-fer and settle in nice and close.
Pop culture fans tend to be self-mythologizers, building an odd nest out of the twigs and scraps of the movies and albums around them and claiming a place beyond themselves from the miasma that evolves. We force the arts into defining elements of ourselves, and copy and paste the way we might live up to them. Wes Anderson’s film is a masterwork of just this self-mythologizing. The grandiose characters—part cartoon-script and part Shakesperean tragedy—, the exaggerated costumes—from Mr. Sherman’s almost neon-blue jacket to Chas’s funereal black Adidas jumpsuit—and even Anderson’s Hitchcockian auteurism and its use of the same actors in widely-divergent roles links each movie to a larger awareness than any single film can lay claim to. Hints are given and fingers are pointed, but the links are there for the audience to follow at their choosing. Anderson rubs things smooth with his hyperstylized sets and costumes, but ultimately the film depends on pop music to connect itself to a world beyond its own colorful walls, and thus to blend the myth with the movie until there’s no longer any differentiating between the two.
- A kiss after supper: The Royal Tenenbaums by Derek Miller.