Top 6 Film Scenes With Great Music

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Who hasn’t heard a great song or watched a brilliant scene and not felt something? I never understood people who said they “didn’t like music”. What? Who the hell doesn’t like music?  It’s one of our species’ oldest traditions. You feel that shit in your bones when it’s right. How does someone not like comedy movies? You hate laughter and happiness? You sick bastard.

At their essence these mediums exist to give their audience a reaction. It can be joy or sadness, discomfort or delight, fear or relief. When the reaction is strong enough scenes and songs can become unforgettable. This is part one of two. In part two I’ll talk about my top TV music moments. The following are some of my favorite film music moments in no particular order. Share your favorite scene in the comments if it’s not on the list!

Spoilers Below

Titanic

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The stage is set. Over a thousand people are about to die and it’s your job to keep them calm. The end draws near. You are about to try your chances at escaping but realize there is nowhere to escape to. If Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are screwed then you know you’re done too. The Titanic, the once unsinkable ship, is fucked. So what do you do? Play one last song as the ship sinks into the Atlantic. This scene is made all the more powerful by the fact that it really happened.

Wayne’s World

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Honestly, if you can watch the opening scene from Wayne’s World without nodding your head or feeling just a little bit better than you did before watching it you’re fucking dead inside. In less than 4 minutes they are able to establish an engaging world while giving you insight into the main characters goals and personalities. All while making you want nothing more than to be in the car rocking out with them.

The Last Samurai

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A fun evening out at Kabuki quickly takes a more violent turn. The drums keep us on edge as they ramp up and slow down along with the action. The Last Samurai isn’t everyone’s favorite but I honestly enjoyed this movie when I saw it in theaters. When Tom Cruise first came out in his samurai armor my cousin laughed out loud. Fair enough.

Interstellar

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I love this soundtrack. Hans Zimmer is god damned masterful. Receiving his messages after years on an alien planet Matthew McConaughey is overcome with emotion. The movie itself is plenty entertaining but the soundtrack is what hooks you in. It takes you on ride of ups and downs but each and every step of the way it wants you in it. Interstellar keeps you feeling. Even if that means being without music for a short time if it better serves the tone. Just do yourself a favor and listen to the songs for the movie on their own.

Children of Men

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Do yourself another favor and add Children of Men to your watch list if you haven’t seen it yet. Watch it again if you have. It’s a gorgeous film with cinematography that flows naturally effortlessly. 18 years ago the last baby was born. Infertility and instability have rocked the world. Also Charlie Hunnam has dreads. This is one my all time favorite scenes. Period.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

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I wanted to end on a more fun and less super dramatic moment for now. I’m a big fan of the Scott Pilgrim comics. I actually started reading them after watching the trailer for the movie and thinking it looked amazing. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is just a really fun movie. It’s visually stimulating, it’s funny, the music is great, and all those things truly work in unison. This scene sees Scott Pilgrim & Co. in a literal battle of the bands.

That’s all for now. More to come in like 8 months probably.

Beasts of No Nation (2015): No Glory in War

abraham-beasts-08192015Within Beasts of No Nation’s first hour I teared up three times and cried once. No punches are pulled in director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s brutal depiction of war as a child soldier. The film is an adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s novel of the same name. Forgive the cliched statement.. but Beasts of No Nation grabs you by the throat and does not let go.

Beasts of No Nation stars 14-year-old newcomer Abraham Attah as Agu. Attah was discovered cutting class and playing football(soccer) when he was approached to audition for the film. He plays a lovable kid from an unnamed West African nation that is devolving into civil war. Agu comes from a family much like any other. A loving mother and father, a big brother only concerned with his muscles and showing them to girls, and a grandpa that “has the lights on but no one is home”.

Attah’s performance is captivating to say the least. This kid deserves all the awards. Despite being a young and inexperienced actor; Attah commands your attention while sharing the screen with veteran actor Idris Elba. Elba plays a charismatic military leader known only as “Commandant”. He serves as a surrogate father figure that the young boys fear and admire. Elba has a strange talent for playing a cruel character and getting you to root for him regardless.

Abraham Attah as Agu on the right. Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye as Strika in the back.
Abraham Attah as Agu on the right. Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye as Strika to the left.

I must also applaud Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye as Strika. He becomes a friend to Agu soon after his transition into a child soldier. Quaye conveys so much emotion in the tiniest of moments without saying anything. His ability to convey so much through body language and facial expressions is something to be admired.

Beyond a wonderful cast, the film features beautiful visuals and audio. A scene featuring Agu’s first use of “brown-brown” stands out in particular. Brown-brown is a mixture of cocaine and smokeless gunpowder. It was reportedly given to child soldiers in West African conflicts. The colors and sounds of the film change to reflect Agu’s hallucinations in subtle yet visually stunning ways.

The film is worthy of praise in so many different categories but I found myself most impressed by their depiction of war’s brutality. It is common to see war movies that glorify the main characters on the right side of morality. It’s often depictions of the U.S. military as the conquering heroes or, oddly enough, as the underdogs.

Beasts of No Nation shows the perspective of a true underdog. We experience life through the eyes of beasts-of-no-nation-2-720x405children struggling to survive the environment they are now a part of. We observe their most horrific acts, how they cope, and how they struggle with what they have done. The film is 2 hours and 17 minutes long but I would recommend giving yourself some time after to process.

Beasts of No Nation paints a visceral depiction of war. There are no “good” or “bad” guys. There are survivors and there are the dead. That is what it comes down to as the film taunts your sense of morality. Beasts ventures into the darkest recesses of humanity without regard for how uncomfortable it may make you.

For all these reasons I applaud Beasts of No Nation. It dares to show the true face of war. It illustrates the manipulation, propaganda, and primal emotions that are exploited to convince youth to go to war. The reality of wars futility and suffering are on full display. Fury is another film that recently touched on this but to a much smaller extent.

Idris Elba as Commandant
Idris Elba as Commandant

While watching Beasts it’s important to recognize the truth in its portrayal of war. Every brutal scene has likely happened somewhere in the world within the last week. I know this is hard for many to acknowledge but it’s important that we understand war for what it truly is and not for the fantasy its become.

Beasts of No Nation is a powerhouse of a film that will leave you feeling way more than you want to. Transitioning from happiness to sadness and back in a moment is commonplace. I encourage everyone to check it out on Netflix or their local theater if it’s playing nearby. Beasts of No Nation is one of those films you may not want to watch but you need to see. 5 out 5. Go see this film.

Please visit Child Soldiers International at http://www.child-soldiers.org
To learn more about real child-soldiers, please visit Child Soldiers International at http://www.child-soldiers.org