A Little Songbird Told Us
We here at Pigeonholed Press love musicals. Seriously, there isn’t much better then viewing song and dace, from The Easter Parade to Team America, we love them all. And yet sometimes, when the musical numbers are just too big and the colors are just too bright, we find the moments in which actors and actresses sing candid, simple ditties, often in intimate settings and in very honest ways, even more. Sometimes sad, other times delightful, these real life moments of music depicted in film came wafting into our heads this past week for some reason, perhaps with the fading winds of summer.
1. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn sings Moon River, much to Paul Varjak’s delight, and ours.
2. A Waltz from Before Sunset was written and performed by Julie Deply, who actually did numerous songs on Before Sunset’s soundtrack. A Waltz is by far her best piece, and it’s role in the storyline lends its hand to bringing back all those memories we felt during Before Sunrise.
3. When Paul Newman sings Plastic Jesus in Cool Hand Luke, he offers up a sweet and heartbreaking account of dealing with death. It is an amazing moment in the film, with his grieving experience seemingly starting with the beginning of the short song, and almost wrapping itself up by the end.
4. Blue Valentine does an original, and together Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams create perhaps the happiest and most wonderful moment of this heard-to-watch film, where a random and fairly odd song and dance number on a dark street can really launch a love story.
5. Sue Jorge sings a slew of Davie Bowie covers in Portuguese for the Wes Anderson film Life Aquatic, a really unique approach to the film’s overall effect, and here we have a short-lived moment where while in the midst of performing Space Oddity he is interrupted by pirates. It’s a perfect way to introduce what is soon to follow.
6. Will Ferrell sings Wreckless Eric’s Whole Wide World in this steamy, romantic moment from Stranger Than Fiction. Which is always a really ideal moment for actors and actresses to break into song. While Stranger Than Fiction may not have been the strongest film, we found Will Ferrell in this moment unlike we had really seen him before and we believed it.
7. Before Zooey got all glamed-out, sporting the covers of every glossy mag we pass in the grocery line, she did a lot of interesting work, from All the Real Girls to her part in The Good Girl and so on. And LONG before she was making albums with the likes of Jenny Lewis and M. Ward, she was doing delicate, real-life little numbers in interesting, indie films. Here she sings Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean in Winter Passing (Will Ferrell sings in this one too, actually. And let’s pretend Elf never happened).
8. Magnolia provided not only a fantastic film, but a soundtrack from Aimee Mann that has and will continue to withstand the test of time. At times eerie, at other times confident, and sometimes just exploding with sorrow, the soundtrack is the perfect guide to the film. So when Paul Thomas Anderson decided to provide the film’ sing-along aspect he really made a fantastic decision. It’s a strange twist in the film, with the likes of Julianne Moore, John C. Riley, and the rest of the cast singing along to Wise Up in their most broken, emotionally exhausted, detached states, and it works. It’s powerful, raw, and heartfelt. It works, just like raining frogs does.
9. The Jerk’s Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters duet of Tonight You Belong to Me is borderline silly and poignant. This little ditty is complete with some Matin weirdness and Peters trumpet playing, all along a beach side and bonfire.
10. And because it falls into the hazy category of half musical, half mocumusical, A Mighty Wind is included in the mix because while it is meant to depict musicians putting on a concert, it still portrays what are to be seen as real life musical moments. As singer/songwriters coming back to the music world after a long time, the cast offers some of the most awesome musical moments (but it does have some good competition, Spinal Tap and all). Mitch & Micky’s A Kiss At the End of a Rainbow, performed by Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, is their final performance after many years together and apart, rehearsing, working other gigs, and wandering the streets of New York before finding that perfect rose.