Tuesday, September 16, 2008

They Shoot, We Score

I didn't know it was coming out, but it was a pleasure to find that Yo La Tengo's compilation of film scores has finally been released.

Yo La Tengo was the first band I ever wrote. I remember Ira writing me back and giving me some stickers and sending me a really nice note, and this was back in the day when they were popular enough that they could've hired someone to write me back. Or throw in a sticker. I think I still have that Yo La Tengo sticker somewhere, in a drawer with all my other stickers that I never used.

Pleasantly surprised I was also to find that I've seen all four of the movies, a diverse and weird compilation in itself: Old Joy, Junebug, Game 6, and Shortbus. Every movie was initially a Netflix rental.

Old Joy was super-hyped and really wasn't that good. The score was the best part. And the commentary was one of the most ludicrous commentaries I've ever heard. It's worse than Burton's Edward Scissorhands commentary. I say that because both of them have almost 100% complete silence in common. If I wanted to watch the movie again without your pretty-much-not-there-at-all-anyway-so-why-do-a-goddamn-commentary-in-the-first-place voice, then I would've watched the movie again, the latter which has of course happened.

I'm a huge Junebug fan, and some of the best parts of the movie include the subtlety of the score. I think it also showed how great Amy Adams can be, if she's actually doing good movies. You don't have to be Vinnie-Chase-picky, but come on, Amy, do something challenging and ballsy already. Sunshine Cleaning, perhaps? Maybe it'll be awful. I'm not sure. Despite everyone hating the living shit out of it, I thought Sylvia was OK.

Game 6 was pretty much just plain bad. Horrible dialogue. Don DeLillo should just write novels. Film scripts aren't for everyone.

Shortbus was more bizarre and challenging than I thought it would be. I was better for it at the end, but I feel like many people I know couldn't make it past the first 10 minutes. And I'm not really sure what that says.

All the scores, however, are pure Yo La Tengo, whether subtlty and melody driven, or guitar squall and steady-yet-lighter drumming. And the record's something I'll be putting on every once in a while as good background tunes, though I'll really end up probably wanting to watch Junebug again.


I'm pretty sure my paucity-laced reviews are in honor of my imminent 100 Favorite Movies list, one I've been pondering since Craig Beaven (Thanks for distracting my even more, my friend) emailed me about it. When it's done I will be posting it here for everyone to see, with links and years so there's no confusion (such as this amazing and pretty much unknown The Dream Catcher for this pitiful excuse for a film). I'm really excited about this. I feel like your favorite films say a lot about you.

Not that I've seen many lists, but I know it takes time. And sometimes I wish I would've gone (or at least applied) to film school instead of writing poetry. But it's hard for me not to have a hypothetical camera in my hand when writing, even if I'd never even come close to heroes Robby Müller or Tim Orr.

List soon.

You should make one yourself.

And not one based on the AFI's top 100 movies or your fear that people will judge you. Yes, I'm talking to you, reader.

P.S. Citizen Kane ain't making my list. Suckers.