CineFix is back after a long hiatus with a brand new list highlighting the 10 best uses of music in movies, instances where music is used inside the film to further the plot…but not musical numbers or scores. There’s actually a word for this if you want to forgo a rip on your Word-of-the-Day Calendar: Diegetics. Within this concept are a whole lot of extremely specific uses for music in films: music provided by characters in a scene, contrapuntal scoring (or music provided to underscore a scene wildly out of sync with that particular scene’s gravity; think The Mickey Mouse March in Full Metal Jacket or the closing number from The Life of Brian), songs character choose to play that help define that character (ex: Peter Quill dancing to “Come And Get Your Love” in Guardians of the Galaxy), and a whole bunch of more esoteric musical film categories. Diegetics, people.
Diegetic sound. Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film: voices of characters. sounds made by objects in the story. music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)
As wonderful as a carefully crafted script is, some of the best movie moments are simply made up on the fly. CineFix returns with another great movie list – Top 10: Improvised Scenes in Movie History. Some directors hate improv and some barely require a formal script. I think erring on the side of having a Nolan-esque literary script in place is probably the prudent route, but as those are a handful a year, there’s something seriously admirable about an actor/director collaboration that just spontaneously generates magic on the spot. While improv is most associated with comedy, a good portion of the spots on the list go to famous dramatic scenes from Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, A Clockwork Orange, and The Breakfast Club. Improv is a staple of comedy, and a lot of your favorite comedy moments, be they from Judd Apatow, Bill Murray, or Chris Guest, also make the list. Rather than picking a scene for #1 though, CineFix made the very wise choice of simply sticking Robin Williams’s name up top. If you’re going to have a list heralding lack of structure, Robin deserves to sit atop it with his whole body of work.
Jurassic Park was the first PG-13 movie I ever got to see in the theater. Twenty-five years later, as the fifth film in the franchise is getting ready to lumber into theaters, the original still stands as one of the greatest blockbusters ever made. To honor those pesky dinos, WatchMojo has put together a list of the 10 best moments from the first four films of the Jurassic franchise. WM 90% nailed this one. The first film dominates the list, as it should. If I had to include every installment on the list, the only change between my list and theirs would have been to use the pterodactyl scene from Jurassic Park III instead of the Spinosaurus. The franchise is more notable for its ability to generate bank rather than its quality past the original film (the bomb that was JPIII aside). Fallen Kingdom’s early reviews don’t offer much hope that the fifth film will do much better than 2-4, but the original will always rank among my favorite summer films of all-time.
As critical as employment is, most of us have an epic quitting plan on file. Most of us will never use it, but we’d be lying if we said during hour two of an awful meeting we didn’t take it out, carefully review it, think of the perfect musical accompaniment, and refile it in our brain’s sanity file. Some people truly love their work, and the rest of us…well, we hate you. It’s not personal (it might be, I’m trying to soften it), but the majority of us are stabbing minutes trying to get to the small slice of the day that’s actually ours. That’s why WatchMojo’s Top 10 List of Movie Quitting Scenes is probably not a good idea for work. Both in content and inspiration, you should probably enjoy this shot of vicarious glee on the weekend. Unless you have to work on the weekend, in which case you absolutely hate your job and should watch this immediately (I am not responsible for what ensues). I sometimes have quibbles with WM’s lists, but I think they did a pretty good job here. I’d have swapped Road House for Burn After Reading off the Honorable Mention Lists, but epic quitting scenes from American Beauty, Fight Club, The Truman Show, Wanted, Office Space, and others are the kind of thing that will give you a case of the Mondays any day of the week.
WatchMojo’s got a timely list of everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder’s 10 best moments from the Star Wars Saga. WM does a really nice job putting together a highlight reel of Harrison Ford’s time with the character pulling its list from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Force Awakens (nothing from Return of the Jedi?).
The list comes in the wake of Solo: A Star Wars Story’s pretty disastrous opening weekend. Adjusted for inflation, it’s the worst opening in franchise history, and considering the film was shot twice, Lucasfilm had a lot of money wrapped up in its second spin-off. Every franchise eventually has a bomb, but it’s usually a film that deserves to bomb. In this case, Solo was doomed even before The Last Jedi’s controversy that alienated a large portion of the fan base that traditionally whips itself into a frenzy for opening weekends. I wrote a column last summer, before The Last Jedi alienated me, begging Lucasfilm to keep Star Wars in December and to stop trying to put the franchise back in May, where it had traditionally opened under FOX. Even though it’s uneven, Solo is ultimately a good film with a really nice cast that sets itself up for even bigger adventures that we likely now will never get to see. I hope we do, but that would take some serious introspection on Disney’s part as to why exactly the film failed to connect. Hopefully they’ll take the lessons they should learn, let future installments breathe, and realize their mistakes. If not, they’re going to have a much more serious problem than a single Star Wars film that lost money.