Monday Movie Music Moment

2011 was a big year for Hollywood. A myriad of incredible films have lined the silver screen over the last 12 months. Last night, millions of people around the world sat down in front of their television to pay homage to all that is Hollywood, in watching the Oscars.  Unsurprisingly, names like Meryl Streep and Jean Dujardin swept up the awards for leading roles. Best picture held a tight race between The Artist (winner), Moneyball, and The Help. At the end of the night, everyone seemed to have smiles on their faces and trophies in their hands. . . except for one deserving man.

In a nutshell’s favourite Hollywood heart-throb, Ryan Gosling, was completely snubbed for his accomplishments in two films from 2011, Drive and The Ides of March. Drive was nominated for Sound Editing and nothing more. If you have seen either of these films, you are probably well aware that Gosling delivered outstanding performances in both films and deserved at least an ounce more of recognition.

Despite the fact that we have featured this film in a Monday Movie Music Moment before, I wish to highlight the most heart-warming scene from Nicholas Winding Refn’s, Drive. I watched this film for the second time about 3 weeks ago and it still had that same stomach-churning, cover-your-eyes, remember-to-breathe effect on me. It is gruesome throughout and that is, without a doubt, why the Oscars disregarded this gruesome masterpiece in selecting nominees. However, there is a heart-warming moment in the movie that just wouldn’t be complete if it wasn’t accompanied by a beautiful song.

This burst of happiness that sheds light upon the rest of the dark film, is truly a testament to how complex Gosling’s character really is, taking us from mobster shoot outs to sunny jaunts. “A Real Hero” by College summons images of a hero leading a mistreated woman and her son into a sunny field away from all external problems. This song is their bubble of happiness and a music moment to remember, if not by the Oscars at least by us. . . in a nutshell.

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Monday Movie Music Moment

500 Days of Summer

Now, I know I’m a girl…but that doesn’t mean I can’t understand the large role that Zooey Deschanel plays in shaping most men’s vision of the ideal woman. The girl is smart, funny, cool, sweet, can sing, can act – and much, much more. I get it. We get it. She’s a major cutie and a very cool chick.

So, I think most women also understood (and LOVED) the use of Hall and Oates’ addictive 80s hit “You Make My Dreams Come True” in explaining Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s elation after finally sleeping with her, the object of his affection, in the film 500 Days of Summer.

The concept of this scene itself is to die for. In the film, Tom (Gordon-Levitt) might be considered average in every way, but is wholeheartedly lovestruck when it comes to a desirable new employee at his office, Summer Finn (Deschanel) – the typically sought-after romantic pessimist who ends up giving a shot to the dorky leading man. Without giving too much away about the ups and downs of this offbeat romantic-comedy, I’ll say that Tom’s obsession and idolized vision of Summer is certainly strong enough to push him to the point of breaking into song and dance after finally spending a night with her. The perfect song choice, knee-slapping interjections (his glancing into a car window to find his reflection a handsome Harrison Ford) and a toe-tapping dance routine are just some of the flavourful ingredients for a memorable song and dance number in a contemporary film that will stand the test of time.

Enjoy! And hopefully you’re all crazy enough about your guy or gal to break into choreographed, big band dance numbers after date nights…

 

Monday TV Music Moment

One of the things that I love about modern technology: TV on DVD. While I love curling up with a good movie, there’s something great about having an entire season of television at your fingertips. I think the brilliance lies in the immediacy of it all – finally, the weeklong anticipation is eliminated and we get to see what happens RIGHT away. One of the series that I never get sick of is Grey’s Anatomy. (Hello, musical godsend!) Grey’s Anatomy is well known for launching the music careers of the bands that they feature into stardom, and in the case of today’s very special Television music moment, that’s exactly what happened.

Grey’s Anatomy revolves around the many trials and tribulations faced by a group of doctors and interns at Seattle Grace Hospital. After the first season’s finale episode left viewers in disbelief when it was revealed that the seemingly perfect boyfriend of lead character Meredith Grey had a wife, season two picked up even more drama-fueled than it left off. All season we see Dr. Derek Shepard (appropriately nicknamed McDreamy) torn between his head and his heart; Addison or Meredith. Meanwhile, Meredith tries to move on with veterinarian, Finn Hudson (McVet). Talk about an awkward love square.

And if that square weren’t enough, insert a love triangle into the mix. When Dr. Izzie Stevens falls in love with a transplant patient, she simultaneously ends her relationship with Dr. Alex Karev. Following one of the most intense and highly illegal medical endeavours displayed on the show, Izzie succeeds in saving her new man’s life, much to the chagrin of Dr. Karev.

All of these plot lines combust in the second season’s finale, when the characters are at the hospital for, what else, but a prom. Derek and Meredith get together again, unable to deny their chemistry and passion any longer. Izzie finds her new fiancé to be dead from a complication of his procedure. Snow Patrol’s ballad “Chasing Cars” plays perfectly into the background as we see Izzie mourning her loss and leaving her job as a surgeon. The song swells one last time as Derek and Finn both say, “Meredith?” signaling for her to join them. Its final melody plays out as the camera pans to Meredith’s face and then fades to black, which, at the time left millions of viewers in a frenzy over who she would choose, once and for all…

Monday Movie Music Moment

She’s All That (circa 1999) was the first movie I saw in theatres that didn’t involve talking animals, puppets, or animation. It was at a Birthday party in Grade 6 and the four girls and I who ran into the front row couldn’t be more excited to see a ‘cool grown-up’ movie. Fast forward 10 years later, and you would find me curled up with my 6 best friends at our weekend getaway watching that same movie and shamelessly quoting its corny lines. I don’t know about you guys, but there is something really comforting about putting on an old, cheesy movie.

And so, this past weekend, I turned to my distinguished movie collection and dusted it off for a trip down 90’s memory lane. I was brought to the land where Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) was the coolest guy around and Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook) wore glasses, making her a ‘geek’. When Zack boasts that he can turn ANY girl into prom queen, he didn’t know he’d end up turning Laney into the love of his life… awwww!

But before Zack could go ahead and fall for his ‘nerd’ he enlists his sister to give her a makeover. Luckily, all she apparently needed was a haircut and contacts. But, nevertheless, the big reveal is a movie music moment that will go down in history… or at least something that will take me back to the sixth grade for a brief moment (and make me take off my glasses)…in a nutshell.

Who wears glasses anyway? #nerd

Monday Movie Music Moment

As Catherine has previously mentioned, we find this movie – and everything about it – to die for. In this day and age, it’s hard not to be a huge fan of Kristen Wiig, the comedy “it” girl of the past few years, who like so many before her has climbed to fame thanks to her spot in the acclaimed Saturday Night Live cast. After watching her quirky, effortless comedy on the late-night comedy show, I immediately fell in love with her whacky antics and complete carelessness when performing; every bit of her seems to go into her characters, and her willingness to transform into completely nutty roles speaks to her devotion to comedy.

So, of course, when she landed the starring role in the highly anticipated 2011 comedy Bridesmaids – I pulled a Lion King (that movie we all went to see one hundred times as children), and saw it three times in the theatres. Excited for fountain pop and salty popcorn and equally eager to see the movie with three different groups of great friends whose reactions I wanted to witness, I never hesitated to hand over my bucks for another chance to laugh at Wiig, the outrageous cast of women and the female-focused slapstick comedy.

Why do I like her so much? Because my friends, the nuts and I are all weird – but in a great way. We find each other to be the funniest females any of us have ever met, we laugh until weeze – yet we don’t always consider what we do or say conventionally hilarious. Like Wiig and the Bridesmaids crew, with longstanding friendship and closeness often comes strange and wild humour – and anything goes, I guess you could say. So, as an example of how I expect the girls and I to dance/lip-synch at our own weddings, here’s the hilarious closing scene of Bridesmaids, when Wilson Phillips is invited to perform at the end of the most over-the-top wedding in history. I don’t know about you, but Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig (real life best buds) and their little sing-a-long? Sure looks a whole lot like some girls that I know…

Want to watch some of the funniest bloopers of the year? Check out the Bridesmaids reel.

Monday Movie Music Moment

It’s only natural that all humans beings have short (some longer than others) moments of feeling rather sorry for yourself. Whether it’s a series of short unfortunate events, a long day followed by stepping in dog business and losing your keys, missing your bus, or more substantial reasons to be infinitely down in the dumps – we all know what it’s like to have those “can’t catch a break” spells. If we’re smart, however, we’ll gather a little perspective, turn the situation around and latch on to that tiny silver lining. But before we get to that cup-half-full point, I know you can relate to those slumped on couch, stiff drink in hand, sappy-music-appropriate life moments – the ones that we want to let happen in an attempt to soak in our own funk.

A movie that flawlessly puts that notion into motion is Bridget Jones Diary. A classic novel turned film that details the life of Jones (Renée Zellweger), a mid-30s single girl who seems to have terrible luck in the dating department and therefore decides to kick her bad male, health and social habits by starting a detailed diary – beginning with the epitomical moment of feeling totally destitute in her lonely singledom. (I have to say, the funny thing about my most recent Bridget Jones viewing experience was watching it in the wee hours of the morning with my four fellow nuts, Baileys on ice in hand – and feeling absolutely anything but lonely. Quite the opposite, in fact.)

Anyway, back on point. So – the film starts with Bridget being rudely rejected by Colin Firth’s character after an awkward attempted set-up by their nosy parents at a Christmas gathering. The encounter with Firth is clearly set up as that defining moment or catalyst for change, in which Jones realizes her new direction as a singleton and decides to start her infamous diary. But, naturally, before she fully commits to her new single ways – which includes nixing bad men from her dating diet, limiting cigarettes and booze and seeking a social re-education – a scene like this happens, perfectly exemplifying that downhearted (mildly pathetic) state we can all sympathize with. Watch, love and learn – whether you’ll admit it or not, there’s been a moment in which this song hilariously chimed into your head as a soundtrack to your bad day.

Bridget – we love you.


(Apologies for the less-than-great video – you can watch a clearer version here)

Monday Movie Music Moment

It is now officially that special time of year when people begin to realize that denying the facts is no longer an option; Christmas is just around the corner. The streets are adorned with festive lights, the stores are stocked with their best gift options, students are studying for exams, workers are counting down to the holidays, and cheerful movies are playing on TV like they’re going out of style. The holiday classics like Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually and a Christmas Carol always make me feel warm and fuzzy, each sending its viewers the message that Christmas is all about those you love. Even though some Holiday movies are made purely for some laughs and entertainment, they also seem to illustrate some pretty powerful messages…like, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Ok. Maybe not. But Elf, no matter how ridiculous, is a movie that will remain on my holiday favourites list for years to come. Will Ferrel in tights, conversing with Mr. Norwall and Arctic Puffin, uttering ludicrous lines like “I’m a Cotton-Headed Ninnymuggins!”, make Elf one of the season’s greatest movies.

The movie tells the story of Buddy the Elf, a human raised by elves in the North Pole, who, as he grows older, begins to realize he may not belong to the elf community. Papa Elf, the elf who raised him, explains that Buddy’s real father is a business man in New York City, but his mother passed away and never told anyone about her child. Buddy decides to head to the big city to meet his dad, but not before Santa offers him some solid life lessons:
Santa: Well, there are some things you should know. First off, you see gum on the street, leave it there. It isn’t free candy.
Buddy: Oh.
Santa: Second, there are, like, thirty Ray’s Pizzas. They all claim to be the original. But the real one’s on 11th. And if you see a sign that says “Peep Show”, that doesn’t mean that they’re letting you look at the new toys before Christmas.

After Buddy passes through the “seven levels of Candy Cane forest”, he makes his way to NYC and we watch as he interrogates Santa impersonators, learns to cross the street, meets his dad, gets his first job, and falls in love. Zooey Deschanel, one of my favourite actor/singers plays Jovie, a New Yorker who works as an elf in a department store. In one of the sweetest scenes of the movie, Buddy finds Jovie singing in the shower, and his favourite holiday lesson; “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”, doesn’t exactly work in his favor…

 

Here’s to a jolly holiday filled with laughs like those that Elf so effortlessly induces. Remember not to take things too seriously and to spread a little joy wherever you can. Happy Monday!

 

Monday Movie Music Moment

I cite this as one of the most clever and heartwarming movies of the past decade. It perfectly details the struggles and hardships a typical family can face, as well as their ability to band together despite these obvious differences and focus on what matters. Little Miss Sunshine, a runaway hit from 2006 with a stacked cast, follows a happy-go-lucky young girl named Olive who aspires to win a beauty pageant despite her unconventional and quirky pageant style. Disregarding outsider’s judgment and shelving their countless family problems, the entire brood packs up to take Olive across the country so that she can fulfill her dream and audition to win “Little Miss Sunshine”. Of course, this cross-country journey in a Volkswagen bus inevitably leads to the family members making sense of their numerous complexities and troubles – which touch on topics like depression and suicide, financial woes, social and professional inadequacy and parenting.

This final scene completely sums up the family’s ability to overcome their deep-rooted problems with each other and turn to love and support, when they decide to join Olive on stage during her final performance – a “superfreaky” dance she was taught by her hilarious late grandfather, which appalls the other pageant parents but ultimately brings the family together. Enjoy!


Also, Russian instrumentalist band Devotchka does the majority of the film’s gorgeous score. Check out one of the most beautiful songs from the film, here.

Monday Movie Music Moment

My obsession with all things words certainly formed at a very young age, with my first bit of written work being three shabby pieces of crayon-filled paper stapled together, bearing the title “The Wyld Prty”. I was four, so certainly the party I wrote about wasn’t all that “wyld”. But, the bottom line is that from a toddler age there wasn’t much else I wanted to do with my free time.

So, I filled my time reading and scribbling away as a kid, even forming an unlikely obsession with a playwright light-years above my skill level and eras before my time – Mr. Billy Shakespeare. I can only imagine my parents confusion when their 7-year-old insisted on ordering Shakespeare plays from the elementary school’s monthly book order. I probably didn’t understand half of what I was reading, but deciphering some of the greatest written word of all time – the prose, romance, flowery language and medieval eloquence – was something I took an interest in.

Needless to say, when the live modernized version of Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo + Juliet was released in 1996 – featuring two of the most up-and-coming actors on the scene – I was adamant on seeing it right away. Of course, this led to a whole new level of obsession forming; not only with the two budding actors, but with the meaning behind the famous piece of literature I had struggled through before. After seeing it, I suddenly understood, had fully hopped on the Leo DiCaprio train, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on more Shakespeare….and more of the soundtrack.

I bought it right away. As the perfect companion to the trendy re-enactment, the soundtrack is packed with grungy late 1990s alternative hits – a compilation that perfectly accompanies the fashionably strange Baz Luhrman style of filmmaking. The obscure tunes and equally quirky cinematic twists on Will Shakespeare’s tragic love story go hand-in-hand throughout the film, with this moment in particular being impossibly perfect. Des’ree, a soul and R&B singer made popular in the mid-90s, lends her epic heartfelt ballad “Kissing You” to the famous “fish tank” scene, when the two star-crossed lovers first set eyes on each other and the chaos of their whirlwind love and misfortune begins. Enjoy! (The 8 year-old in me, who used to rewind this scene until the tape wore down, is swooning to this).

 

Monday Movie Music Moment

I’d like to think that I have fairly decent taste in films; I generally try to seek out a worthwhile flick instead of constantly recycling old favourites or only patrolling the popular new comedy section at the video store. But that being said, I am in no way ashamed to say that one of my all-time favourite movies is Superbad. Seriously. Very few things in life are as funny as the 2007 script written for Michael Cera (token awkward dorky kid) and Jonah Hill (typical crude funny man) – which is why any opportunity I have to watch it again, quote it, or discuss its hilarity…I generally take it.

This scene stands out as hands down one of the most knee-slapping Michael Cera moments in the movie. The whole movie, which is based around a typically high school concept – two boys who want to do the dirty deed with girls that they like so they volunteer to buy alcohol for everybody to drink at an upcoming party – is one big flurry of chaos and discomfort. So, it’s perfect that in this scene, Evan, the bumbling and out-of-place quiet guy gets accidentally shuffled into a room with drug dealers and tough guys at a party he has been trying to leave. Separated from Hill, Evan is perfectly anxious enough until the dealers question who he is and assume he’s a friend’s brother who’s also a very good singer.

In order to keep his cool and avoid a rumble, they pressure him to sing for them and out of fear – he does. And the song he picks – These Eyes by The Guess Who – slays me every time. Take it away, Michael.

*Viewer discretion: Swearing and drug-use ahead – but who notices anyway? Michael Cera is chanelling Burton Cummings.