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Screening sounds

Great music moments at the movies -- from Portland and beyond
By HOOTIE GIANGRECO  |  February 23, 2006

PUBLIC ENEMY'S "FIGHT" bolstered Spike Lee's Do the Right ThingGreat moments in film have always relied upon great music — and often Hollywood’s most memorable scenes are birthed from that perfect juxtaposition of song and image. A few Portland-based bands have taken a crack at the silver screen:

12 Steps Outside (2002), directed by Bowdoin graduate Allen Baldwin features several local bands, including Phantom Buffalo (formerly the Ponies).

Sidney Peterson’s Lobsteroids features a number of songs produced locally, including “Claw Bite” (originally titled “Shark Bite”) by Bebe Buell, of the Gargoyles.

Rustic Overtones produced the soundtrack for Pennyweight (1999), which also features Portland-born comedian Bob Marley.

The Frotus Caper contributed to the soundtrack for The Ballad of the Faith Divine (2002) with their track “So That’s Your Life.” The film was written and directed by Portland native Jason Hall.

But let’s not forget the classics. Here are a few unforgettable soundtrack moments that will always remind us of the power of music:

“Fight the Power,”by Public Enemy inDo the Right Thing (1989) — Blasting out of a boom box for what seems like all 120 minutes of the film, this angry anthem fills the Bed-Stuy district of Brooklyn — becoming a classic song of the street.

“Man of Constant Sorrow,” by the Soggy Bottom Boys inO Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) — The guitarist sold his soul to the devil. The other three are escaped convicts in need of some fast cash. So the raggedy group stops into a blind man’s recording studio to earn a few extra dollars by “singing into a tin can.” Oddly enough, the fugitive band becomes an instant favorite.

“Belleville Rendezvous” by Ben Charest inThe Triplets of Belleville (2003) — Three elderly women perform this catchy rhythmic piece using a newspaper, a vacuum, and a refrigerator as instruments in this animated French feature.

“Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel inReservoir Dogs (1992) — In a scene that features classic Tarantino-esque gore, a young Mafioso dances casually to this 70’s radio hit as he tortures a man with a razor blade.

“Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel inThe Graduate (1967) -

- “Ben, what are you doing?”

- “Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.”

- “Why?”

- “Well, it’s very comfortable just to drift here.”

“Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen inPhiladelphia(1993) — A man who visibly suffers from AIDS struggles to find a lawyer who will represent him. After being repeatedly denied, he pauses on the street. The Boss fades in. (Soundtrack also features tracks from Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, and David Byrne).

“Old Time Rock n’ Roll” by Bob Seger inRisky Business (1983) — In his underwear and a button-down shirt, Tom Crazy celebrates being left alone while his parents are on vacation by lip-sinking this jukebox tune into an empty candlestick.

“New Slang” by the Shins fromGarden State(2004) — - “You gotta hear this one song, it’ll change your life I swear.”

Some other great tracks that inspired memorable moods and moments:

- “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson in Midnight Cowboy (1969)

- “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf in Easy Rider (1969)

- “The End” by the Doors in Apocalypse Now (1979)

- “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” by Hal David and Burt Bacharach (performed by B.J. Thomas) from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

- “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen from Shaun of the Dead (2004)

- “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish” by a chorus of dolphins from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

- “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Babe” by Barry White from High Fidelity (2000)

- “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes” by Beck from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)


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  Topics: Features , Burt Bacharach, Neil Young, Bob Marley,  More more >
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