Quote of the Day

‘Come, come, there is not a moment to lose; I make my rounds at seven bells. One, two, three,’ he cried, tapping his foot, and the cabin was filled with the opening movement of Boccherini’s Corelli sonata, a glorious texture of sound, the violin sending up brilliant jets through the ‘cello’s involutions, and they soared up and away from the grind of pumps, the tireless barking, the problems of command, up, the one answering the other, joining, separating, twining, rising into their native air. 

Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian

Thank Your Teachers

Today one of my all-time favorite teachers passed away from a heart attack.  I hope my regular readers will excuse this brief interruption in my typical movie/tv related ramblings, but I have thoughts that I need to get out.  Boyd Johnston was my middle school band teacher, as well as my advisor.  He taught me in band class every day for three years, and was the assistant band teacher for four years of high school.  He had an unbridled enthusiasm for music, played a large variety of instruments extremely well, and genuinely cared about both his subject and his students.  He was all anyone could possibly want from a teacher and he’ll be sorely missed.

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John Williams Returning to Star Wars!

John Williams Autograph

From my autograph collection.

As I’m sure you have read by now, John Williams is returning to compose the score for Star Wars: Episode VII.  This is, of course, fantastic news.  When J.J. Abrams was announced as director, many people assumed that his longtime collaborator, Michael Giacchino would do the score.  This would have been a suitable second choice, as Giacchino is really an excellent composer, and seems to have been very heavily influenced by Williams, but nothing can compare to having Williams back.  He recorded this interview for the Star Wars convention at which his return was announced.  Check it out: Continue reading

Friday Favorites: Favorite Moment – Pitch Perfect

Welcome to “Friday Favorites” which highlight some of my favorite movie-related things.

I’m a big fan of movies that manage to capture the entire film in just one scene, especially when it is done in a way that doesn’t scream, “This is what the movie is about,” in an annoyingly obvious way.  Hook is by far the best example of this, but discussing that scene is an essay for another time, so instead I present you with a similar scene from Pitch Perfect.  Take a look:

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Why is it so hard to make a good soundtrack album?

The third CD that I ever bought was a film soundtrack (the first two were Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” and Garth Brooks’ “Greatest Hits”).  It was the soundtrack to Independence Day, and I actually bought it in the hopes of it having R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” which for some reason I really wanted on CD.  I was disappointed when the song was missing from the soundtrack album, but after listening to the CD I realized how much I enjoyed the score, composed by David Arnold.  Thus began my obsession with film scores, and my collection of albums showcasing them.

I’ve been listening to the Jurassic Park soundtrack for the past week or so on my commute to work, and I’ve realized that there are several very big problems with the film score album as a whole in the industry.  I don’t know why it’s so damn hard to put together a decent album from a film score, but I’ve come up with a list of several of the problems: Continue reading

Analysis: The Musical Climax

I love musicals, but I love musical climaxes even more.  No, not like that, get your mind out of the gutter!  I’ve always enjoyed movies that have either the climax of the story, or at least a major plot point, revolve around a musical number, particularly when it is unexpected.  I don’t mean in musicals, but in movies that otherwise have no musical numbers and are not about music.  In other words, not movies like Crazy Heart, Ray, or A Prairie Home Companion, all of which are in some way about music.

I also don’t mean scenes set to music, either as a montage or to set the mood for the scene, like in Rocky, The Breakfast Club or Cruel Intentions.  I’m not even talking about musical climaxes that are the obvious result of the plot, like in Dirty Dancing, Sister Act, or Little Miss Sunshine.  What I’m talking about are moments when characters in otherwise non-musical movies have some sort of musical performance/dance number/song that resolves their issues, expresses their feelings, or advances the plot in a way that’s unique compared to the rest of the film, and is often unexpected or completely surprising.  Here are some examples of what I mean: Continue reading

What he means to me…

There are many people out there who don’t understand what the big deal is about Michael Jackson. Some acknowledge his talent, his philanthropy, and his influence on entertainment over the years, but miss the point by labeling him (singer, dancer, entertainer, etc…). Some can’t comprehend his importance because he wasn’t part of their lives, and are merely frustrated with the seemingly “excessive” coverage of his death. And some, the disgusting, vulgar, and relentlessly stupid but highly vocal few, find it fun or even the right thing to do to degrade and spit on a good man with lies and hatred, and label all those who love him as messed up, gay, or psychotic. So in the face of all those who just don’t understand, I submit this, so that it might help you see how much a part of me he is. Continue reading

I had to post something, this is all I could come up with ::sniffs::

 The world feels a little darker, a little colder today. A genius, a humanitarian, a revolutionary, an inspiration and an entertainer has left us. I’m completely devastated by today’s news. It’s especially hard for me with my birthday being tomorrow. Michael Jackson was 50 years old when he died today. When I was born, he was the same age I was now, “Thriller” was the number one album that year. His music has always been a part of my life, and a source of comfort, inspiration and beauty. I hope and I pray that he is remembered for his amazing contributions to this world, and not for the eccentricities of his life. The media did their best to destroy the man, and the American public cheered them on, relishing in every oddity and humiliation, and some trying to take advantage of his fame by hurting him the worst ways possible. I endured countless ridicule for defending and supporting him, but I’ve done it my whole life and will never stop. He was a good man, and so much more. I’m sure people will roll their eyes and hold on to their prejudices and their entertaining presumptions of the man, because as much as people love a hero and a success, they get more entertainment from watching the destruction of that hero, and the media is happy to oblige. Continue reading