Archive for November, 2008

Movie Music Week Day 5

Well, day 4 perhaps since I did not post in honor of Thanksgiving. I will post yesterdays posting on Monday.

I wanted to get today’s post in since it is the reason why I did movie music week this week. Given that I am in Vermont with my family for Shabbat, this will be a shorter posting.

When thinking about songs in movies, one person comes right to mind, and today is his Birthday. This man has the dubious honor of having the most academy award nominations without a win with 15. Luckily, in 2001 this streak was broken with his first and only win for the song If I Didn’t Have You from Monster’s Inc. He has scored dozens of movies and is also known for the theme song from the TV show Monk.

Happy Birthday Randy Newman!

Enjoy!

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Turkey Day

I am one of four children and it is a very rare occasion when we are all together. This year it will be twice since my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah was last month. Somehow my mother was able to arrange that we will all be together this year on Thanksgiving. It’s been quite a few years since we celebrated any holiday at my parents’ house. I work as a Cantor on Rosh Hashana, so we never go then. On Sukkot we build our own Sukkah and want the kids to have that experience, so my parents come to us for at least one meal. We might get together with my parents on Hanukkah, but rarely with all of my siblings. Passover is very complicated and we usually have my parents at our house for one seder. So when my Mother said we would all be together, it was a real surprise.

First order of business, where to house this meal as it will be quite large. Time for some math. We are five and with my in-laws who are coming as well, we are seven. My parents make nine. My sister makes ten.  My younger brother the first and his family is five plus his in-laws makes seven. That makes seventeen so far. My younger brother the second and his three kids makes twenty-one.  Finally my mom’s brother and sister-in-law makes twenty-three. TWENTY THREE!

My mother’s thought was to rent a room at our Synagogue and cater the meal. NOT! Thank God mkm and my sister-in-law were able to convince my mother to do it at the house and we are all contributing to the food. We are bringing the sweet potatoes and the cranberry sauce. Both are either made or in the oven right now.

But wait, there’s more!

After dinner we will be driving up to Mount Snow VT to spend Shabbat with friends of ours who own a house up there.

It looks to be a fun weekend; I just hope we make it through tonight with all the cooking and laundry to be done.

To all my friends I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.

Enjoy!

Movie Music Week Day 3

Anyone who knows me might ask by now “How come there are no Beatles songs in your Movie Music list?” And that would be a good question. There have been a number of movies featuring Beatles music, some featuring many (Across the Universe (amazing), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band(horrible)) and some featuring one or more (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Exceptional), I Wanna Hold your Hand (not so exceptional)). Except for Across the Universe (which is all Beatles music), I don’t feel that any of these are memorable moments in film, so I won’t be including them here (although I must note Ferris Bueller’s Day off, and that moment is a memorable movie moment, but I want to focus elsewhere).

I am however going to include Paul McCartney in my list today so there is at least a connection to the Beatles. Perhaps the most successful movie franchise in history is the James Bond movies. I am not going to say anything good or bad on the films themselves, other than there were some good ones and some bad one. One thing that is unquestionable is that as a series of movies, the Bond films have had more hit songs that any series of movies. It got to the point that I would almost want to see the new Bond film just to hear what hit song would be part of the movie.

So what follows is a list of seven songs from seven different Bond films. Most of the songs titles are the same as the movie they were in, and all are great songs, most becoming big hits for the performers. They are listed in chorological order, not in any ranking (although my favorite is of course the McCartney song. What is amazing about this list is not only how good the music is, but the stars that they hired to write and sing the music. From Sir Paul to Madonna, almost every song is sung by another superstar. Shirley Bassey takes a prize for singing more than one (three!). You may notice that the first two movies are not listed. They did not include a major song in the movice.

Enjoy!

Goldfinger sung by Shirley Bassey

Thunderball sung by Tom Jones

You Only Live Twice sung by Nancy Sinatra

We Have all the Time in the World sung by Louis Armstrong
from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Diamonds are Forever sung by Shirley Bassey

Live and Let Die sung by Paul McCartney and Wings

The Man With the Golden Gun sung by Lulu

Nobody Does it Better sung by Carly Simon
from The Spy Who Loved Me

Moonraker sung by Shirley Bassey

For Your Eyes Only sung by Sheena Easton

All Time High sung by Rita Coolidge
from Octopussy

A View to a Kill sung by Duran Duran

The Living Daylights sung by A-Ha

License to Kill sung by Gladys Knight

GoldenEye sung by Tina Turner

Tomorrow Never Dies sung by Sheryl Crow

The World is Not Enough sung by Garbage

Die Another Day sung by Madonna

You Know My Name sung by Chris Cornell
from Casino Royale

Another Way to Die sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys
from Quantum of Solace

Movie Music Week Day 2

When you talk about movie music there are many things that you can think of. There are two different academy awards for original music. One is for song and the other is for score. There are many tremendous movie scores out there and some of them are etched into our collective conscious. For example, just like everyone recognizes the dum-dum-dum DUM of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, so too, many people (at least over a certain age) would recognize John Williams score of Star Wars (da-dum da-da-da-DA dum, da-da-da-DA dum, da-da-da-da) and others. I have chosen to write a little about movie songs, but I wanted to acknowledge that movies are more than just a few songs and the scores are really what sticks with us.

Yesterday I highlighted some classic rock songs from movies, today I want to focus on some more mellow pop songs. Again, the list is quite large out there of songs to choose from and of the three songs I am picking here only one became long lasting major hit. All three movies are from 1967-69 and were major hits. First is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). This movie made Robert Redford a household name. He had already done tons of television and a mild success with the Neil Simon movie Barefoot in the Park, but this movie, part comedy part drama solidified him as a real Hollywood Star. He co-starred with Paul Newman with whom he would make another hit movie a few years later (The Sting). The movie won four academy awards including best song for Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The song was the number one song on the Billboard top 100 for 4 weeks in January 1970, and I think still a great song.

Also in 1969, the breakthrough movie Midnight Cowboy was released. This movie with its themes of sex and homosexuality became the only X rated movie (not to be confused with pornography, but similar to our current NC-17 rating) to win an academy award. The song Everybody’s Talkin’ won a grammy award for best male pop vocal performance.

Finally before both of these movies, was the immortal The Graduate. This movie, similar to Easy Rider was part of the new Hollywood and is significant in so many ways that there is no room to talk about it here. The Song Mrs. Robinson was a major part of the movie. Paul Simon was working on this song which was fully released a few years later on their album Bookends. The song was a number 1 hit for Simon and Garfunkel but won nothing from the movie.

Enjoy!

Movie Music Week

Its Movie music week at mykidsfamily! I have been thinking about doing a movie song week for a while, and on Friday it will be clear why I chose this week.

I have been thinking about songs from movies and looking at lists of songs in movies and I have come to the conclusion that I could probably do this for a whole month! Picking a few has been difficult, but I decided not to just look for the biggest hits, but to look for songs, first off that I like, and that were not necessarily the most well knows or top ten hits. With that in mind, there will be two special days later in the week that focus on a specific theme in movie music. Today, though, I will just highlight three of my favorite songs from movies.

I’ll start out with some Classic Rock music.

In 1969 the movie Easy Rider came out and really changed American movies and movie making. The film was produced by Peter Fonda and directed by Dennis Hopper, who both starred in the film. It began a phase in movie making that was dominated by young film producers and directors taking on topics ranging from drugs, racial strife and sex. The films were often filled with popular music and most did very well at the box office. The movie featured the great song Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf.

In 1979, the very popular Broadway musical Hair was adapted for the screen. The movie was amazing with beautiful photography, great songs that were from the original musical and unbelievable dance which was choreographed by Twyla Tharp. The best song from this musical is of course Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In which was later made famous by The Fifth Dimension. In the movie these two songs are separate songs.

The year before Hair came to the screen, another Broadway musical made it there with incredible songs. This of course was Grease and the song I am picking from Grease is Summer Nights. This is the movie that made a star out of Olivia Newton John and cemented John Travolta’s stardom after his performance in Saturday Night Fever.

These are three songs that I can remember singing all the time when hearing them on the radio. Born to Be Wild especially became the best roll down your windows and sing at the top of your lungs song for me, and probably for many other people as well. The amazing thing about these songs too is that you still will hear them on the radio today. Aquarius is a staple on oldies radio; Born to Be Wild on Classic rock and oldies radio, and Grease is being performed right now in a revival on Broadway.

Enjoy!

What the *#&%$!@ is wrong with Alaskans?

What goes on up there in Alaska? I have heard it is a beautiful place to visit and someday I hope to get there. But I will repeat. What the !@#$%^& is wrong with the people up there. First they go and elect Sarah Palin as their governor. Ok, I can almost forgive them this. Yeah she is a right wing nut who would be happy burning books in her library. But she is good looking and speaks like one of the people. I guess in Alaska all you need is love
good looks you fill in the blank.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Mark Begich, a democrat, won the Senate seat away from 6 term senator Ted Stevens (thank God). This is good news. What gets me is that there were only about 3,700 votes separating the two of them. Races like this are common in America today, but what is not common is that the person running for office is a convicted criminal (ok he was convicted on ethics charges, but still a crime). 49% of the voters in Alaska voted for a convicted felon to be their Senator. What is going on with that? I shudder to think where the Republican Party is going if they were telling voters to vote for him!

Luckily 51% of the Alaskan people are smart enough to realize that we don’t elect criminals to the US Senate. I don’t care if you are Democrat, Republican, Independent or what. I hope that people can come away from this with a lesson learned.

Song of the day

My love of The Beatles has clearly transferred to my children. Both Avi and Noam know many Beatles tunes, and they can usually identify a Beatles song even if they have not heard it before (I’m very proud). Now Shayna is also getting into the groove and she also knows Beatles songs. Of course she knows many of the words in Yellow Submarine (which was also Avi and Noam’s first Beatles song), but there is another song that all of them seem to like and often ask for.

The film Yellow Submarine has a very interesting story. In 1964 The Beatles contracted with United Artists to make three motion pictures. The first was the wonderful A Hard Day’s Night and the second was the not as wonderful HELP! Soon after they produced the British television movie Magical Mystery Tour which was very poorly received.

Not really wanting to do any more movies, but still having one movie left to make for UA, the group agreed to give their music to an animated film. Five new songs were added to a bunch of Beatles hits and the movie Yellow Submarine was born. Actors were hired to do the group’s voices and the movie was a big hit. In fact The Beatles themselves like the movie so much they added a short live scene at the very end in which they all appeared.

My kids love this movie (after having seen it at our friend’s house in Vermont) and became particularly fond of the song All Together Now which is one of the new songs.

Here are two videos with the song, one is where the song appeared in the movie and the other is the reprise at the end of the film. My kids get a real kick out of the end in that the words all together now are translated into many languages including Hebrew so they all keep an eye out for that.

Enjoy!